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Classic Albums By Young Musicians: 25 Age-Defying Greats

Some artists toil their whole careers to make a classic album, while others hit it straight out of the gate, here are some young musicians who got it right.

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Classic Albums By Young Artists

The Beatles were all in their 20s when they recorded their game-changing run of albums. Some artists toil their whole careers to create a classic, while others hit it straight out of the gate. Here are 25 young musicians who’ve created timeless work that still stands today.

Classic Albums By Young Musicians: 25 Age-Defying Greats

Stevie Wonder: Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius (1963)

Nothing but truth in advertising here: 12-year-old Stevie Wonder’s first live album was recorded at the Regal Theater in Chicago during a Motortown Revue performance in 1962 and featured an improvised version of his hit ‘Fingertips’. Wonder was already electrifying crowds and played a 10-minute version of the track, leading to Motown splitting the live version into ‘Fingertips Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ on the album. By the time he released his truly first classic song, ‘Uptight’, he was merely a 15-year-old genius.
Key track: ‘Fingertips Parts 1 And 2’

U2: Boy (1980)

This is perhaps the one mainstream classic album that was recorded by an entirely teenaged band – though both Bono and bassist Adam Clayton had crossed the line by the time of its release. When it wasn’t the explicit subject matter, the band’s youth was a subtext on all these songs, and Boy captured U2’s nascent stage before they became one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
Key track: ‘I Will Follow’

Jackson 5: Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 (1969)

Forget for a moment about anything he did later: with ‘I Want You Back’ 12-year-old Michael Jackson was the youngest person ever to sing lead on a stone-cold soul classic. Jackson 5’s debut album marked a new era in crossover pop and soul, and introduced the world to some of the most talented young musicians to date. Not bad for a bunch of kids; Jackie was the eldest at 19.
Key track: ‘I Want You Back’

The Jam: In the City (1977)

Paul Weller had In The City and its follow-up, This Is the Modern World, under his belt before leaving his teens; his Jam bandmates were both three years older. He built the songs on the trials and triumphs of his age, just as he’s done with every stage of his life since then.
Key track: ‘In The City’

Bee Gees: The Bee Gees Sing And Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs

The Brothers Gibb were ridiculously young when they first scored in Australia. On their debut single, ‘The Battle Of The Blue And The Grey’, their voices hadn’t even changed yet. The songs on this early album (later shuffled onto various reissues) are charming in their naivete, including the classic song ‘I Was A Lover, A Leader Of Men’. However, the real hits poured out after Barry turned 20 and the family band really got started.
Key track: ‘I Was A Lover, A Leader Of Men’

LL Cool J: Radio (1985)

You can’t say that LL Cool J didn’t live to the fullest during his late teens. He was still fresh-faced and exuberant on Radio (arguably the first hip-hop landmark by a 17-year-old), then gradually toughened up as he fired back at disses. By the time he fully struck back on Mama Said Knock You Out, he was a wise 22 and one of the most promising young musicians in hip-hop.
Key track: ‘Rock The Bells’

Genesis: Trespass (1970)

Everyone in Genesis was fresh out of Charterhouse School when they began work on their first classic album (which predated the arrival of Steve Hackett and the even younger Phil Collins). Notable here is the premature world-weariness that affects many of the songs, particularly on ‘Visions Of Angels’, which, as its main writer Anthony Phillips later admitted, was a coded response to Peter Gabriel stealing his girlfriend.
Key track: ‘Visions Of Angels’

Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

It’s easy to forget how impossibly young this band were at the time of their debut – not least because Alex Turner was a writer well beyond his years. Even at age 19, he convincingly channelled the punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
Key track: ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’

The Cowsills: We Can Fly (1967)

The siblings’ second album was an overlooked classic of sunshine pop, with harmonies to die for and a strong melancholy undertone (see the Bee Gees homage ‘In Need Of A Friend’). It’s true that a couple of brothers were leaving their teens by the time of its release, but the addition of eight-year-old Susan lowered the median age.
Key track: ‘In Need Of A Friend’

The Undertones: The Undertones (1979)

This Derry quintet were a young band even by UK punk standards, and they revelled in their youth. When they sang about “gettin’ teenage kicks right through the night”, they spoke from experience. On ‘Teenage Kicks’ and ‘Get Over You’ they managed to turn two-minute punk songs about teenage lust into enduring classics.
Key track: ‘Teenage Kicks’

Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens (1959)

Valens was one of the youngest artists ever to make a classic rock’n’roll record – three of them, in fact, since he cut ‘Donna’, ‘La Bamba’ and ‘Come On, Let’s Go’ by the age of 17. By comparison, Buddy Holly was an old geezer at 19 when he began releasing hits. Sadly, Valens was tragically killed in a plane crash before he released a proper album, but his posthumous debut (with all three singles) holds together just fine.
Key track: ‘La Bamba’

Amy Winehouse: Frank (2003)

Amy Winehouse is enough of an icon by now that it’s easy to forget how short her life was; all of her debut album, Frank, was recorded before she turned 20. She already had a voice for the ages, however, along with a youthful bravado that was cut short too soon.
Key track: ‘Brother’

The Runaways: The Runaways (1976)

As conceived by the notorious Kim Fowley, The Runaways were expected to make noise and raise eyebrows. They probably weren’t expected to deliver an enduring rock’n’roll classic on their very first try – as they did when singer Cherie Currie (16) and guitarist/writer Joan Jett (17) opened their debut album with ‘Cherry Bomb’.
Key track: ‘Cherry Bomb’

Trombone Shorty: Trombone Shorty’s Swingin’ Gate (2002)

When he made his debut as a bandleader, Trombone Shorty was still a good decade away from becoming the crown prince of New Orleans music. But he was already known as a prodigy, making his debut at 16 with this impeccably hip, mostly-instrumental album that touches on jazz, funk, R&B and zydeco. His career would begin in earnest when he released the genre-blasting Backatown at the ripe old age of 24.
Key track: ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’

Laura Nyro: More Than A New Discovery (1967)

Released when she was 19, Nyro’s first album was her most commercial, including four songs – ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, ‘Blowin’ Away’, ‘And When I Die’ and ‘Stoney End’ – that became major hits for other artists. It freed her up for the more idiosyncratic brilliance that came afterward. The album was later reissued by Colombia with a new title, The First Songs, and new cover art featuring a rose illustration in 1973.
Key track: ‘Blowin’ Away;

Bright Eyes: A Collection Of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 (1998)

Conor Oberst was born in 1980, so be amazed that he was setting a future direction for indie-rock when he should have been doing his homework. On his debut record, he proved himself a singular talent and a singer-songwriter the likes of which only comes along once in a generation.
Key track: ‘Falling Out Of Love At This Volume’

Kate Bush: The Kick Inside (1978)

This debut was released a few months shy of her 20th birthday, but Kate Bush was only 16 when she began making demos, with David Gilmour producing. A couple of those early songs made The Kick Inside, and one even turned into a UK No.1 single: ‘Wuthering Heights’.
Key track: ‘Wuthering Heights’

The Beach Boys: Surfin’ Safari (1962)

Brian Wilson turned 20 just before the group’s first album, Surfin’ Safari, was released, but most of the other Beach Boys were still high-school age (Carl Wilson, the baby of the band, was only 16 at the time), and their effect on American pop was already evident. Even their first single, ‘Surfin’’, famously scored Wilson an F in music class.
Key track: ‘Surfin’ Safari’

Free: Fire And Water (1970)

Free were remarkably young as legendary hard-rock bands go; all four members were teens on their 1969 debut. When they released their third album, Fire And Water, which included the classic ‘All Right Now’, bassist Andy Fraser was 18. He co-wrote that song along with singer Paul Rodgers, who’d just turned 20.
Key track: ‘All Right Now’

Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays (1969)

The youngsters in Fairport Convention were singers and guitarists Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol, aged 19 and 18, respectively. Which means that Thompson was just a teenager when he wrote Fairport’s existential anthem ‘Meet On The Ledge’, off their third album What We Did On Our Holidays. It would be a career-defining song if he hadn’t accomplished so much since then.’
Key track: ‘What We Did On Our Holidays’

Tony Williams: Life Time (1964)

The legendary drummer was only 17 when he and Herbie Hancock (then 21) joined Miles Davis’ second landmark quintet. Tony Williams recorded his first album as a leader two years later, with Hancock and Ron Carter, setting the stage for the innovative jazz fusion that followed.
Key track: ‘Two Pieces Of One: Red’

Lil Wayne: Tha Block Is Hot (1999)

Lil Wayne was already a rapper of note before even entering his teens, and his youth didn’t make his rhymes any less hard-hitting. By the time of this platinum debut he was a grizzled veteran at 19, having already scored big with his former group, Hot Boys.
Key track: ‘Tha Block Is Hot’

Traffic: Mr Fantasy (1967)

Steve Winwood was 18 (and four to five years younger than his bandmates) when he began work on Mr Fantasy, whose almost-title track is still played by your local cover band (and sometimes by Steve Winwood himself). Of course, Winwood was already something of a veteran by then, having come into the Spencer Davis Group at 14.
Key track: ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’

Lorde: Pure Heroine (2013)

Signed at age 13, Lorde shook the world with her breakout hit, ‘Royals’, at 17, and became an international superstar at 18, off the back of her debut album, Pure Heroine. With her 2017 follow-up, Melodrama, she proved she was capable of even more ambitious work, and is clearly set to deliver more first-class music as she approaches her mid-20s.
Key track: ‘Royals’

Spontaneous Combustion: Spontaneous Combustion (1972)

One of the great unknown prog-rock albums, this 1972 gem was made by the trio of guitarist Gary Margetts, drummer Tony Brock (later with The Babys and Rod Stewart) and bassist Tris Margetts – 18, 18 and 16 years old, respectively – and given shimmering production by Greg Lake, a Dorset neighbour who took the lads under his wing. Their sound anticipates Rush, with plenty of layered melodies and stacked guitars, while the vocals are positively Beatlesque. Seek out CD reissue that includes their second album, Triad, also terrific and teen-made, but lacking Lake.
Key track: ‘Leaving’

99 Comments

99 Comments

  1. Kandee Riggio

    March 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Where the heck is Free???

    • uDiscover

      March 22, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Really good suggestion!

      • bruce

        April 4, 2015 at 3:25 am

        whot about t rex mark bolan

    • Luciana

      March 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Totally agree with you! They were so young at the release of “Tons of Sobs”. Such a masterpiece.

      • lane

        March 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm

        glad others out there know about Ton of Sobs,to me the best album Free did

    • keith Rowley

      March 22, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      Too right tons of sobs

    • Mark Hall

      March 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Love the band Free.

    • Barry

      March 24, 2015 at 3:48 am

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Pat

      March 31, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Paul Kossoff: what an amazing guitarist. And Paul Rodgers, fine vocals.

      • Ray

        February 4, 2018 at 3:03 am

        And Simon Kirke, drums

    • Giko

      April 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      absolutely right!
      and what about Pearl Jam´s debut Ten?

  2. Gabe Gabrielsky

    March 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Except, sorry folks. Birth of the Cool was not an album. It was a collection of 12 singles recorded over 4 recording sessions in 1949 and 1950, only later to be reconceptualized as an album by the producer of the original sessions, Stan Kenton arranger, Pete Rugolo. Also, execpting for his Christmas albums and movie soundtracks virtually all of Elvis’s so-called “albums were really only collections of his singles.

    • uDiscover

      March 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Virtually every album back in this era was a collection of songs, but there’s no denting that Birth of the Cool was released as a long playing record, so it qualifies! As for Elvis, well he was not along, many LPs from this era were a collection of singles etc. It was still an LP though…so it again qualifies. Anyway, it’s a bit of fun and it’s interesting to get people thinking about the sheer audacity of Miles and Gerry in particular.

    • Philip James

      April 3, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      The point of this article, is to acknowledge how young the artists were, when they were made. For those who’d previously recorded the singles that were later put together into LPs, they were THAT much younger, making it even more significant! So it’s really irrelevant, for THIS article, whether they were LPs first, or singles gathered together into collections.

  3. super stevens

    March 22, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    What about Selling England by the Pound by Genesis? The oldest ones, Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett were barely 23 and this is a masterpiece!

    • uDiscover

      March 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      That’s a really good addition!

    • Rosie

      March 23, 2015 at 5:55 am

      Also not forgetting Trespass………considering how young they all were then that album is something of a masterpiece too…….Peter’s voice is already so mature and Ant’s guitar work mesmerising! (SEBT£ is my favourite though ;-)!)

    • Bob Ridgway

      March 25, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      And even better Foxtrot with 22 mins of prog heaven that is SUPPERS READY making Gabriel et al about 21 ish and then Kate Bush was 16

  4. Alan

    March 22, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Where is The Doors debut record

    • uDiscover

      March 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Alan, good shout! As with any list there are always things that are missing

  5. John Riddell

    March 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Album means collection. If a photo album has photos taken in different places and times it’s still an album. Peace;-)

  6. Anang Budiono

    March 22, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I need lyric the song of Blood Sweat and Tears. In album. I love you more you’ll never know…. Maybe someone like to give me ..thanks

    • Rand Stewart

      April 4, 2015 at 3:17 am

      If I ever leave you
      You can say I told you so
      And if I ever hurt you baby
      You know I hurt myself as well.

      Is that any way for a man to carry on ?
      You think he wants his little loved one gone
      I love you baby, more than you’ll ever know
      More than you’ll ever know.

      When I wasn’t makin’ too much money
      You know where my paycheck went
      You know I brought it home to baby
      And I never spent one red cent.

      Is that any way for a man to carry on?
      You think he wants his little loved one gone
      I love you baby, more than you’ll ever know
      More than you’ll ever know.

      I’m not tryin’ to be any kind of man
      I’m tryin’ to be somebody you can love, trust and understand
      I know that I can dream, yeah
      A part of you that no one else could see
      I just gotta hear, hear you say: ‘It’s all right, yeah, yeah, yeah’.

      I’m only flesh and blood
      I can be anything that you demand
      I could president of General Motors baby, heh
      Or just a tiny little grain of sand.

      Is that any way for a man to carry on?
      You think he wants his little loved one gone
      I love you babe, I love you babe
      I love you more than you’ll ever know.

      Yeah
      Yeah, yeah.

      If I ever leave you
      You can say I told you so
      And if I ever hurt you
      You know I hurt myself as well.

      Is that any way for a man to carry on?
      You think he wants his little loved one gone
      I tried to tell I love you baby, love you baby, yeah love you baby
      I love you more than you’ll ever know, ooh yeah yeah…

      I love you, I love you, I love you baby.

      Well all right!
      I told you so many times before
      I love you, I love you, I love you
      If you don’t know then I’ll tell you one more time
      I love you, I love you, I love you…

      Please note that this song featured lead by band creator Al Kooper rather than the more familiar David Clayton-Thomas. Beautiful.

  7. John Litrenta

    March 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Steve Winwood was 19 when he formed the band Traffic, 20 when their first album came out and had been with The Spencer Davis Group before that since he was 15.

    • Jim J Fox

      March 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Outstandingly wonderful both in bands and solo. What a voice, what songs, what lyrics!

  8. Jim King

    March 22, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    “Deep Purple In Rock” was their 5th album, “Shades Of Deep Purple” came out 2 years earlier.

    No one asked, but Jerry Lee Lewis’ first album came out when he was 21.

  9. Matt McGrath

    March 22, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    What about Jason Becker? He was only 19 when he released his solo album Perpetual Burn!

    • Larry

      April 4, 2015 at 7:12 am

      WOT?

  10. Dan

    March 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Free were a new band when they recorded Tons of Sobs March 14, 1969, and they were extremely young; none of them were yet twenty and the youngest, bassist Andy Fraser, was just sixteen years old.

  11. Geoffrey Holland

    March 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    This is not a surprise. I would think that most artists and bands best works were recorded when they were younger.

  12. ATSART

    March 22, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry, but Paul McCartney and George Harrison were not the same age.

    • uDiscover

      March 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      The Beatles began recording Revolver in April 1966, Paul and George were both 23 at the time.

    • Sean

      March 22, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Paul was 8 months older than George

  13. Shadi

    March 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Miles Davis was born in 1926 (Wikipedia) and Birth of Cool was released on 1957 so he was 31 actually, anyway great effort

    • uDiscover

      March 23, 2015 at 7:17 am

      As it says above, it is when the artist began recording the album, 1949 in the case of Birth of the Cool

      • bruce chant

        April 2, 2015 at 10:14 pm

        whot about steve earle

    • Nicholas Ashley

      June 6, 2015 at 11:19 am

      The Tracks on “Birth of the Cool’ were recorded in 1949 and 1950

  14. Franklin Tanner

    March 22, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    rick darenger/ todd rundgren lots more were missed!

  15. WCTAGG

    March 22, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I have a few of these!

  16. Michael Norris

    March 23, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Stevie Winwood with Spencer Davis & and all of Def Leppard on On Through the Nighh

  17. David

    March 23, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Birth of the Cool material first came out on 78rpm singles, then as this 10″ long play (LP):

    Classics in Jazz: Miles Davis (1954 10″ LP, Capitol H-459)

    Side A

    “Jeru” (Gerry Mulligan) – 3:09
    “Moon Dreams” (Chummy MacGregor, Johnny Mercer, arranged by Gil Evans) – 3:13
    “Venus de Milo” (Mulligan) – 3:05
    “Deception” (Davis, arranged by Mulligan) – 2:42

    Side B

    “Godchild” (George Wallington, arranged by Mulligan) – 3:02
    “Rocker” (Mulligan) – 2:59
    “Israel” (Johnny Carisi) – 2:12
    “Rouge” (John Lewis) – 3:07

    Classics in Jazz was a series title for a number of reissues of older jazz material on the Capitol label in 10 inch LP format. The other three instrumental tracks recorded by the Nonet were released on various artists compilations in the Classics in Jazz series.[51] The Modern Idiom (Capitol H-325)[52] included “Budo” in 1952, Trumpet Stylists (Capitol H-326)[53] included “Move”, and Cool & Quiet (Capitol H-371)[54] included “Boplicity” in 1953.

  18. larry

    March 23, 2015 at 1:13 am

    The Kinks First album was released in late 1964
    Dave was 17
    Ray and Mick were 20
    Pete was almost 21
    You Really Got Me was released in the Summer of 64
    Though their first realy good/great album wasn’t for another year and a half or so

    • Howard

      April 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Why are you highlighting the Kinks’ first album ? The article is about great albums which have been written, performed and recorded by musicians at a particularly young age. ‘Kinks’ is not a great album, most of the album songs are covers.

  19. Zeerak

    March 23, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Oh man you have to add Closer by Joy Division, they were all early 20s (though I don’t remember specific ages).
    Great list though!

  20. nightfly_dp

    March 23, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Submission: Aqualung – Jethro Tull:

    Ian Anderson – 23
    Martin Barre – 25
    Clive Bunker – 24
    John Evan – 22
    Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond – 24
    Glenn Cornick – 23

    That was their 4th album, but considered the signature. Anderson was 20 when Tull was formed.

  21. Jacob

    March 23, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Where’s Frogstomp by Silverchair?

  22. Ben Finn

    March 23, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Nick Drake- Five Leaves Left

  23. MikeGaines

    March 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Arctic Monkeys-Whatever people say I am is what I’m not. They were all mid to late teens, broke records for debut sales and had one of the best records of the 2000s.

  24. Dan

    March 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Good review, would have liked to see respect for the Black Crowes…their shake your money maker album saved traditional raw Rock N Roll against nirvana and grunge…

  25. Dr. Winston O'Boogie

    March 24, 2015 at 12:45 am

    How old was Eddie Van Halen when the debut LP was released?

  26. Mark May

    March 24, 2015 at 2:54 am

    This really amuses me 90 percent at least, surely, of classic rock albums and songs would have be recorded by people in their teens and early 20’s I would be more interested in a list of classic rock albums created by people in their 50’s 60’s or even 70’s. When your young you have that great creative spurt, the pressure is less. As you get older to got to come up with new ideas, ideas that don’t sound an echo of earlier work. So go and find classic albums by musicians in this age group (they are out there) and I’ll be more impressed.

  27. Martin Hubbard

    March 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I question some of the stated ages in particular the Beatles. You state Paul and George as the same age when it is common knowledge that George was 2 years younger and Ringo is actually older than John. I am aware of the ages of Clapton and the members of Zeppelin and they are accurate so I’m assuming most are correct. The most interesting observation is that around 95% of the world’s greatest rock artists where all born during the 1940’s. I wonder if the post war optimism had any influence being passed on to the children at the time?

  28. Adam Tobin

    March 25, 2015 at 1:55 am

    The Beach about entry is incorrect. Carl Wilson was 19 and Dennis was 21 when Pet Sounds was recorded.

  29. Dennis Peck

    March 25, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Elvis Presley was 21 when much of his first album was recorded, although 5 of the tracks were left over from his Sun sessions and he would have been 19 when he recorded a couple of them.

  30. John Knutson

    March 25, 2015 at 3:59 am

    Procol Harum! – everyone in the band was 22 or younger when the first album was made.

  31. tom

    March 25, 2015 at 5:34 am

    The amazing part of the Beach Boys and the Beatles albums is how many albums they had released before these albums and how young they were.

  32. Joey

    March 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Blind Faith?

  33. cistow

    March 25, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Where is the velvet underground and nico ? it is a masterpiece

  34. lost patrol

    March 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    how about The Stooges debut album ?

  35. Milan

    March 25, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Mike Oldfield was only twenty when he released his debut album Tubular Bells at 1973.

  36. Smiley Smile

    March 26, 2015 at 1:15 am

    ….and Pet Sounds was actually The Beach Boys 11th studio album. Staggering.

  37. Forest

    March 26, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Alice Cooper band started right after High School. I yhink they were all about 19 when third album “Love It To Death” broke for them.

  38. ruben

    March 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I was 14 years old when I first heard in rock with non english knowledge whatsoever but I was capture by heaviest sounds of deepest and coolest of this record mark my life for ever

  39. jonny owen

    March 28, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    The Doors and Free are notable omissions, but what about the Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn. And what is the commercial flop album Layla & Assorted doing there?

    • Vaughan Sinclair

      March 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Because it was and Still Is Good!, Jonny-boy. A kid like You needs understand the difference between $$$ and Talent. So, go back to The Archie’s! How many people who recorded these L.P.’s thought “This will make Millions?”

  40. Vaughan Sinclair

    March 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Why is Layla here? It is a fantastic L.P., That’s Why. Go back to the Archie’s or the first Nancy Sinatra record. This is where We talk Rock!

  41. Mister Ron

    March 29, 2015 at 2:45 am

    How about Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Dion and the Belmonts, and Ronnie Hawkins backup group The Hawks (later known as The Band).

  42. rpmcb

    March 29, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Left out Traffic and Def Leopard, Wasted and Rock Brigade are still 2 of my favorite Def Lep songs, from the debut album On Trough the Night, and Tommy James

  43. Micha

    April 2, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    What about Pink Floyds The Piper at the Gates of Dawn? Syd was 21, Roger 23…
    And it’s an epic masterpiece!

  44. Russ Cox

    April 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I think The Jams All Mod Cons should be on this list too Paul Weller was 20, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler 22

  45. Richard

    April 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Rush? When 2112, their third album and first big hit, came out, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were 22, and Neil Peart was 23.

    • Steve

      April 15, 2015 at 9:53 am

      sure that must be a typo.

      2112 was the fourth album and I think the first time they toured the UK.

  46. Giko

    April 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I´m missing Chicago´s – Chicago Transit Authority (Walter 24, Terry 23, Danny & Jimmy 20, Lee 21 and Robert 25) and what about STP´s debut Core (Robert 26, Dean 29, Eric 26 and Scott 25).
    And not to forget: Queen´s – A Night At The Opera (Freddie 29, Roger 26, Brian 28 and John 24)

  47. L.A. Gotshalk

    April 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Though outside the mainstream, Spirit, Spirit’s first album, and a classic, was written and recorded when Randy California was 16-17 years old. A true prodigy if there ever was one.

  48. Mary Bowles

    April 2, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    How about the Moody Blues…Days of Future Passed

    • Peter Lauritzen

      April 3, 2015 at 9:25 am

      I agree, Mary. Great innovative album

  49. Tim

    April 2, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Tommy Stinson was seventeen when The Replacements recorded Let It Be.

  50. Olav

    April 2, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Ramones–Ramones (1976)
    Deja Vu–CSN&Y

  51. Timmy2Chicks

    April 3, 2015 at 6:15 am

    “Where is every other album by every other band?” asked everyone here. Come on people, they can’t list every good album ever made! Just do the research and list it yourself if you think said band should be included.

  52. Dizzychick

    April 7, 2015 at 8:35 am

    I saw a pencil
    walk in the White Spot!

  53. rob

    April 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    How can McCartney write songs like Eleanor Rigby and Here, There and Everywhere when he was only 23?

  54. Michael Leary

    April 9, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Robert Fripp was only 23 when King Crimson released “The Court Of The Crimson King”, one of the seminal and most influential progressive rock albums ever created.

  55. Steve

    April 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

    What about The Skids – Scared to Dance album released when they were all only early to mid twenties.

  56. Rodrigo

    April 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Todd Rundgren was 23 when he put out Something/Anything?… it’s somewhat of an overlooked record, but I would say it’s one of the best double LPs ever made.

  57. elisdad44

    June 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I suppose at 23 Pete Townshend was young enough not care that he pretty much stole, if not the actual music, lyric and story, the feel, the sound, and the concept of SF Sorrow from Phil May and the Pretty Things. Though most now acknowledge that Pete took something from the Pretty Things, albeit, usually with such caveats as “well Tommy is the better album any way”, they still can’t picture him listening to SF Sorrow non-stop for four days before coming up with “his” allegedly better concept, story and music. Well to me Overture sounds just like SF Sorrow is born, though not nearly as good. And yes the Pretty’s story seemed confusing at the time, least until the movie Jaccob’s Ladder came out and then their story’s theme became quite apparent thanks to movie’s visualization of that same theme. However, if you prefer the story of the hip new Helen Keller stunning the world with pinball prowess, well to each his own.

  58. Guytar

    June 6, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Grand Funk was not their debut album, it was GFR 2nd LP. A masterpiece though! On Time was a year earlier. Great pick though. A real rock band.

  59. Michael Ronayne

    June 7, 2015 at 7:33 am

    going in the other direction i ‘ve heard that Ed Cassidy was seeing a woman who’s son , Randy California was forming a band in need of a drummer , and we get the band “Spirit ” with the oldest man in rock n roll.

  60. r

    June 18, 2015 at 12:56 am

    This is silly r&r is a young mans game. NOBODY wants to see a old guy. Its the flavor of the month & goodbye & typically a 1st album is the best for most. Im just saying when you get old you play what you wrote when you were young if anyone even still cares. Like Townsend had anything memorable lately. Silly article & lemming comments.

  61. Matt

    July 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    If anything, it’s surprising how OLD some of these people were – 24, 30? Rock’n’Roll is a young man’s game, I’d suspect most classic albums were made by musicians in their early 20s. As another person pointed out, a list of classic albums made by people over the age of 30 would be more interesting and enlightening (heavy metal icon Dio was over 40 when he recorded his FIRST solo album, “Holy Diver” and 67 when he did the well-received Heaven & Hell “Devil You Know”). Or maybe, under the age of 20; Michael Schenker was 16 or 17 when he played on the Scorpions’ debut album, and while not a well-known album, his guitar playing is fantastic. Rick Allen was only about 16 or 17 when recording Def Leppard’s debut and maybe 20 when their classic “Pyromania” came out.

  62. Wouter Vuijk

    September 29, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Don’t forget that Fleetwood Mac’s 3rd album, the mesmerizing “Then Play On” was released in september 1969.
    At that time Peter Green (22), Mick Fleetwood (22), John MacVie (23), Danny Kirwan (19) and Jeremy Spencer (21) were also in their teens and early 20’s.

  63. Bill

    September 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Peter Frampton was 16 when he played with humble pie. Sammy Hagar was 17 and played with Ronnie Montrose

    • Wouter Vuijk

      September 29, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      As much as I like Peter Frampton, this is a discussion about classic ALBUMS(!) by young artists, not about young musicians that made a career.

  64. Michael Bounds

    October 31, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Erik Keith Brann was 17 when Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was released. He joined the group when he was 16.

  65. virgil wilson

    December 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Gene Vincent and a lot more Rockabilly are not mentioned.

  66. duilama

    March 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Well, well, well, I would like to know if most of them were living in their parents’ basement and had no bills to pay, no food to worry and stoned out of their mind. The funny thing in music is if you don’t hit it big while you are young, you will not make it, how many of them have to pay their due like Bonnie Raitt. And Even she hit it big, she could not sustain, like these younger big names, she is now making gigs in casinos and small theaters.

  67. marc

    April 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    and Hanson? where’s Hanson? 😛

  68. Barry Horsebutter

    April 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    U2’s ages are all wrong. Bono and Adam were 23 and Edge and Larry 22.

  69. Chris Squires

    April 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Kate Bush was 13 when she wrote “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” and most of the Kick Inside was written between 13 and 16, Wuthering Heights completed when she was just 18. The Kick inside was release when she was just 19.

    Mike Oldfield, similarly, had Tubular Bells (or Opus One) written by the time he was 18. It took two years to get it out onto record but the work had mostly been done before he left his teens.

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