The 106 Best Live Albums Ever Recorded & Released 31 March 2016

I have combined the votes from the different genre polls to produce an overall best live albums list. I last did this a year ago to create The 74 Best Live Albums Ever Recorded & Released.

I have used the same criteria – i.e. every album that has collected at least 15 votes (recommendations) is included with the albums ranked by their maximum vote. I have also looked at the data another way and summarised the top 5 albums by genre.

If you don’t agree with the list, you need to vote in the various polls. You will see that the list is very different from my favourite live albums.

Last year the top 3 were:

  1. Deep Purple Made In Japan
  2. The Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East
  3. The Who Live At Leeds

Have these three widely recognised classic live albums managed to keep their lofty positions or has another great live album leapt ahead of one or more of them?

The 106 Best Live Albums Ever Recorded & Released

  1. Deep Purple Made In Japan – 171 votes (also in #1 in the 2015 results)
    Deep Purple Made In Japan
  2. The Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East – 133 votes (#2)
    The Allman Brothers band At Fillmore East
  3. The Who Live At Leeds – 106 (#3)
    The Who Live At Leeds
  4. UFO Strangers In The Night – 101 (#4)
    UFO Strangers In The Night
  5. Yes Yessongs – 101 (#6)
    Best Prog Rock Live Album
  6. Iron Maiden Live After Death – 94 (#9)
    Iron Maiden Live After Death
  7. Genesis Seconds Out – 93 (#5)
    Genesis Seconds Out
  8. AC/DC If You Want Blood You’ve Got It – 91 (#8)
    If You Want Blood You've Got It AC/DC
  9. Rory Gallagher Irish Tour ’74 – 81 (#11)
    Rory Gallagher Irish Tour 74
  10. Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same – 75 (#10)
    Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same
  11. Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous – 72
  12. Pink Floyd Pulse – 71
  13. Kiss Alive – 71
  14. Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won  – 70
  15. Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive – 69
  16. Deaf School Second Coming – 67
  17. Judas Priest Unleashed In The East – 66
  18. The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya-Yas Out – 64
  19. Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys/Live At The Fillmore – 63
  20. Genesis Genesis Live – 61
  21. Rush All The World’s A Stage – 56
  22. Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road – 56
  23. The Band The Last Waltz – 54
  24. Bob Seger Live Bullet – 53
  25. Wings Wings Over America – 51
  26. Little Feat Waiting For Columbus – 48
  27. Rainbow On Stage – 48
  28. Neil Young Live Rust – 44
  29. Queen Live At Wembley – 43
  30. Emerson, Lake & Palmer Welcome Back My Friends – 43
  31. Derek & The Dominos Live At The Fillmore – 42
  32. Scorpions Tokyo Tapes – 40
  33. Rush Exit Stage Left – 40
  34. Jethro Tull Bursting Out – 40
  35. Humble Pie Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore – 39
  36. Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey – 39
  37. Queen Live Killers – 39
  38. Bruce Springsteen Live 1975/85 – 39
  39. Cheap Trick At Budokan – 38
  40. David Bowie Stage – 38
  41. Blue Oyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees – 38
  42. The Rolling Stones Brussels Affair – 37
  43. David Bowie Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 – 36
  44. Bob Dylan Before The Flood – 36
  45. Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon ’75 – 36
  46. Emerson, Lake & Palmer Pictures At An Exhibition – 35
  47. King Crimson The Nightwatch – 34
  48. Wishbone Ash Live Dates – 34
  49. BB King Live At The Regal – 34
  50. Talking Heads Stop Making Sense – 32
  51. Crosby Stills Nash & Young Four Way Street – 32
  52. Motorhead No Sleep Till Hammersmith – 32
  53. David Bowie David Live 30
  54. Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now – 29
  55. Metallica Live Shit, Binge & Purge – 28
  56. Sam Cooke Live At Harlem Square – 28
  57. Bob Dylan Live 1975 The Rolling Thunder Revue – 27
  58. Johnny Winter Live Johnny Winter And – 27
  59. Neil Young Live At Massey Hall – 26
  60. David Bowie Santa Monica ’72 – 26
  61. The Kinks One For The Road – 26
  62. Peter Gabriel Plays Live – 25
  63. Aerosmith Live Bootleg – 25
  64. Hawkwind Space Ritual – 25
  65. James Brown Live At The Apollo 1962 – 24
  66. Camel A Live Record – 24
  67. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison – 24
  68. Free Free Live – 24
  69. Talking Heads The Name Of The Band Is Talking Heads – 24
  70. Neil Young Weld – 24
  71. Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York – 23
  72. Roxy Music Viva – 23
  73. Gentle Giant Playing the Fool – 23
  74. Bob Marley Babylon By Bus – 23
  75. Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway Live – 22
  76. Bob Dylan Live 1966 The Royal Albert Hall Concert – 22
  77. The Eagles The Eagles Live – 22
  78. Ozzy Osbourbe Tribute – 22
  79. Black Sabbath Live Evil – 22
  80. Cream Live At The Royal Albert Hall – 21
  81. MC5 Kick Out The Jams – 21
  82. J Geils Band Full House – 20
  83. Supertramp Paris – 20
  84. The Eagles Hell Freezes Over – 20
  85. Yes Yesshows – 20
  86. King Crimson Absent Lovers – 20
  87. Rick Wakeman Journey To The Centre Of The Earth -18
  88. Muddy Waters At Newport – 18
  89. Kiss Alive 2 – 17
  90. Blue Oyster Cult Some Enchanted Evening – 17
  91. Simon & Garfunkel Concert In Central Park – 17
  92. ZZ Top Live At Germany – 17
  93. Rennaissance Live At Carnegie Hall – 16
  94. The Ramones It’s Alive – 16
  95. Grateful Dead Europe ’72 – 16
  96. Bob Seger Nine Tonight – 16
  97. Ten Years After Live At The Fillmore 1970 – 16
  98. Roxy Music Rocy Music Live – 16
  99. Kansas Two For The Show – 16
  100. Elton John Here & There – 15
  101. Robin Trower Live – 15
  102. Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek – 15
  103. Scorpions World Wide Live – 15
  104. Journey Live In Houston 1981 The Escape Tour -15
  105. Donna Summer Live & More – 15
  106. Curtis Mayfield Curtis Live – 15

The genre polls that have made major contributions to this list are – blues rockclassic rockheavy metal & hard rock progressive rocksinger songwriter

The genre polls that have made some contribution are – AORart rockbluescountrycountry rockdiscoindie & alternative rockpower poppunkreggaesoulsouthern rock

The genre polls that made no contribution (because there weren’t enough votes) are – boogieeasy listeningfolkfunkglam rockhip hopjazzpopproto-punkpsychedelicrock & roll and early R&Bska & two-tonesynthpop

My Thoughts On The List

A poll finds the most popular of the great live albums and therefore albums that are well known and have sold well, have an advantage over those that never received the success they deserved.

Personally, I’m not keen when the music gets very heavy, so the glories of an album like Live After Death by Iron Maiden are lost on me.

Some artists benefit from having support tightly focused on one album – Deep Purple, The Allman Brothers Band and The Who all have an obvious choice for the #1 live album but it’s much less clear what album would come in at #2. That’s where the artists polls beat the genre polls.

For other artists and bands, popular support is spread over two or more live albums. The classic example is Led Zeppelin with the #10 and #14 albums. Strangely The Song Remains The Same triumphs in the hard rock and heavy metal genre poll but How The West Was Won tops the Zeppelin artist poll. I find it hard to explain.

The poll leaves me plenty to puzzle over. I don’t understand the popularity of Frampton Comes Alive but I can’t deny that many love it.

More votes are accumulated with each passing month but the top four live albums have stayed in the same places:

  1. Made In Japan
  2. At Fillmore East
  3. Live At Leeds
  4. Strangers In The Night

That consistency underlines the popularity of the albums.

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