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100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

From the Beatles to Nas and beyond

It was 50 years ago that the Beatles‘ released their first album, Please Please Me. In honor of that world-changing LP, we’ve compiled a list of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time. A note on how we made the list: Albums got docked points if the artist went on to far greater achievements (which is why Please, Please Me and Greetings from Asbury Park, great as they are, didn’t made the Top 10); conversely, we gave a little extra recognition to great debut albums that the artist never matched (hello, Is This It and Illmatic!). We also skipped solo debuts by artists who were already in well-known bands, which is why you won’t see John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band or Paul Simon. We focused, instead, on debuts that gave you the thrill of an act arriving fully-formed, ready to reinvent the world in its own image.

Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
22

‘Violent Femmes’

Violent Femmes
Slash, 1983

Is there a more brilliantly icky – let alone unlikely hit-making – leadoff track in history than "Blister In The Sun"? A trio of Milwaukee nerds using little more than guitar, standup bass, and a snare drum, the Femmes did big-box string-band busker-pop years before Marcus Mumford was a rumble in his parents' pants. And they did it with a wickedly tragic sense of humor. When Gordon Gano whines "Why can't I get just one fuck?!" on "Add It Up," you hear the voice of every pimply, frustrated teenage dude since time began. Unsurprisingly, it (eventually) went platinum.