47. Crack the Sky, 'Crack the Sky' (1975)
American rockers aren't known for their prog ambitions, and the bands that did push the boundaries usually slipped through the commercial cracks. Case in point: West Virginia wise-asses Crack the Sky, who created an outright classic with their kaleidoscopic debut. Led by singer-mastermind John Palumbo, the band expertly navigated chunky hard-rock riffs ("Hold On"), barbed art pop ("Surf City"), fusion funk (the wicked breakdown in "She's a Dancer") and long-form balladry ("Sea Epic"). Yet they never achieved more than a faithful regional following, despite a glowing Rolling Stone review: "Like the first albums of Steely Dan, 10cc, and the Tubes, Crack the Sky's debut introduces a group whose vision of mid-'70s ennui is original, humorous and polished. . ." Bolstered by the fans they do have, Crack the Sky have kept at it: Their 15th studio album, Ostrich, was released in 2012. R.R.