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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Double Albums of All Time

Your selections include ‘The Wall,’ ‘London Calling’ and ‘Quadrophenia’

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Pulling off a great double album was much easier in the vinyl age. Back then, most records over 45 minutes long were forced onto two separate discs. (When they crammed much more than that onto a record, the sound quality began to suffer.) Until 1966, few artists even thought about releasing a double album, but the huge success of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde kicked open the door. Suddenly, everyone from the Beatles to Frank Zappa were releasing double albums. Visionaries like Pete Townshend and Roger Waters were no longer forced to tell a story in 45 minutes or less – but by the CD age, the length of an album suddenly doubled.

That probably explains why most of the winning albums on this poll were released before CDs. Two hours of music is a lot and you need a pretty great album to justify all that time. Click through to see your selections for the greatest double albums of all time. 


The Beatles The White Album

Courtesy of Apple Records

1. The Beatles – ‘The White Album’

The Beatles were barely functioning as a band when they began cutting The White Album in the spring of 1968. The death of manager Brian Epstein left them without a leader and long-simmering personal and creative issues began boiling over. Things got so bad that Ringo Starr quit the group for a brief time, forcing Paul McCartney to play drums on some of the songs. The four members were all writing on their own at this point, and many critics have pointed out that the album is almost four solo discs fused together. None of that takes away from the power of the album and, if anything, the wildly varying tone of the songs is the album's greatest strength. "Rocky Raccoon" sounds nothing like "Revolution 9," which sounds nothing like "Piggies," but somehow, it all works. The Beatles simply couldn't make a bad album, even when they couldn't stand the sight of each other.