Five Of The Best Live Albums By Genre 31 March 2016

I have recently updated my overall summary of the best live albums – The 106 Best Live Albums Ever Recorded & Released – but that list has the weakness that it is dominated by the genre polls with the most votes.

To present an alternative view of the best live albums, I thought I’d summarise the best FIVE live albums per genre poll provided the poll has at least 20 voters.

If you don’t agree, my your opinions known by VOTING. You can also leave a comment but please remember there is no right or wrong because these are opinions.

Best AOR Live Albums – 46 voters (see poll)

  1. Kansas Two for the Show (35%, 16 Votes)
  2. Journey Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour (33%, 15 Votes)
  3. Styx Caught in the Act (28%, 13 Votes)
  4. Journey Captured Live (26%, 12 Votes)
  5. Reo Speedwagon Live You Get What You Play For (26%, 12 Votes)

Albums 3, 4 and 5 are third equal but I can’t do that with the bullet points.

Best Art Rock Live Albums – 172 voters (see poll)

  1. Deaf School Second Coming (39%, 67 Votes)
  2. David Bowie Stage (22%, 38 Votes)
  3. David Bowie Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 (21%, 36 Votes)
  4. Talking Heads Stop Making Sense (19%, 32 Votes)
  5. Peter Gabriel Plays Live (15%, 25 Votes)

The Deaf School result is a result of the poll appearing on the band’s Facebook page.

Best Blues Albums – 54 voters (see poll)

  1. B.B. King Live at The Regal (63%, 34 Votes)
  2. Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 (33%, 18 Votes)
  3. Albert King Live Wire/Blues Power (26%, 14 Votes)
  4. B.B. King Live in Cook County Jail (20%, 11 Votes)
  5. John Lee Hooker Live at the Café Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison) (19%, 10 Votes)

With two albums in the top 4, BB King is running away with this poll and his #1 album, Live At The Regal has appeared in a remarkable 63% of voters’ selections.

Best Blues Rock Live Albums – 284 voters (see poll)

  1. Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East (47%, 133 Votes)
  2. Rory Gallagher Irish Tour (29%, 82 Votes)
  3. The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya Yas Out (23%, 64 Votes)
  4. Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won (22%, 63 Votes)
  5. Jimi Hendrix Band Of Gypsys & Live At The Fillmore East (22%, 63 Votes)

Best Classic Rock Live Albums – 300 voters (see poll)

  1. Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive (23%, 69 Votes)
  2. Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous (21%, 63 Votes)
  3. The Band The Last Waltz (18%, 54 Votes)
  4. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Live Bullet (18%, 53 Votes)
  5. UFO Strangers In The Night (17%, 51 Votes)
  6. Wings Wings Over America (17%, 51 Votes)

My definition of classic rock is to try to stay close to the mainstream without the (much-loved) excesses of some of the other genres.

Best Country Live Albums – 20 voters (see poll)

  1. Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison (80%, 16 Votes)
  2. Johnny Cash At San Quentin (55%, 11 Votes)
  3. Waylon Jennings Waylon Live (30%, 6 Votes)
  4. Garth Brooks Double Live (25%, 5 Votes)
  5. Willie Nelson Willie and Family Live (20%, 4 Votes)

This is still very early days for this poll but it shows the dominance of Johnny Cash but that might be due to his appeal and popularity to general music lovers. No other album received more than one vote.

Best Country Rock Live Albums – 39 voters (see poll)

  1. Grateful Dead Europe 72 (41%, 16 Votes)
  2. The Band Rock Of Ages (33%, 13 Votes)
  3. The Byrds Live at Fillmore: February 1969 (18%, 7 Votes)
  4. The Eagles Hell Freezes Over (15%, 6 Votes)
  5. Flying Burrito Brothers Authorized Bootleg: Fillmore East Ny Ny Late Show (13%, 5 Votes)
  6. Poco Live 1974 (13%, 5 Votes)
  7. The Eagles Live (13%, 5 Votes)

There was a three way tie for fifth place, but like the country poll, this hasn’t received enough votes yet. It looks strange to see the Grateful Dead album topping the country rock poll but it is very accessible.

Best Disco Live Album – 20 voters (see poll)

  1. Donna Summer Live & More (75%, 15 Votes)
  2. Chic Live at the Budokan (15%, 3 Votes)
  3. The Jacksons Live 1981 (10%, 2 Votes)

This is only a very small poll at the moment but I felt it was needed because the albums don’t fit neatly into the soul or funk polls. Hindsight also shows that the music was much better than I gave it credit in the 1970s.

Best Funk Live Albums – 50 voters (see poll)

  1. James Brown Love, Power, Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris 1971 (24%, 12 Votes)
  2. James Brown Live At The Apollo II (1967) (22%, 11 Votes)
  3. War Live (22%, 11 Votes)
  4. Parliament P Funk Earth Tour (20%, 10 Votes)
  5. Earth Wind & Fire Gratitude (20%, 10 Votes)

Best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Live Albums – 417 voters (see poll)

  1. Deep Purple Made In Japan (41%, 171 Votes)
  2. The Who Live At Leeds (25%, 106 Votes)
  3. UFO Strangers In The Night (24%, 101 Votes)
  4. Iron Maiden Live After Death (23%, 94 Votes)
  5. AC/DC If You Want Blood You Got It (22%, 91 Votes)

This has consistently been the most popular of the polls in terms of the number of voters and there is a second division poll to catch the less well known albums that aficionados will like.

Best Indie and Alternative Rock Live Albums – 42 voters (see poll)

  1. Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (55%, 23 Votes)
  2. Nirvana Live at Reading (21%, 9 Votes)
  3. Radiohead I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings (21%, 9 Votes)
  4. R.E.M. Live At The Olympia (19%, 8 Votes)
  5. Wilco Kicking Television: Live in Chicago (19%, 8 Votes)

I thought this poll would attract more attention but perhaps the best known acts haven’t released much that’s close to a definitive live album.

Best Power Pop Live Albums – 36 voters (see poll)

  1. The Who Live At Leeds (50%, 18 Votes)
  2. Wings Wings Over America (47%, 17 Votes)
  3. Cheap Trick At Budokan (31%, 11 Votes)
  4. The Kinks One For The Road (17%, 6 Votes)
  5. Big Star Live (1974) (14%, 5 Votes)

Best Progressive Rock Live Albums – 242 voters (see poll)

  1. Yes Yessongs (42%, 101 Votes)
  2. Genesis Seconds Out (38%, 93 Votes)
  3. Pink Floyd Pulse (29%, 71 Votes)
  4. Genesis Live (1973) (25%, 61 Votes)
  5. Rush All The World’s A Stage (23%, 56 Votes)

Best Psychedelic / San Francisco Live Albums – 30 voters (see poll)

  1. Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey (37%, 11 Votes)
  2. Pink Floyd Ummagumma (33%, 10 Votes)
  3. Grateful Dead Live / Dead (33%, 10 Votes)
  4. The Doors Absolutely Live (30%, 9 Votes)
  5. Quicksilver Messenger Service Happy Trails (23%, 7 Votes)

Best Punk & New Wave Live Albums – 44 voters (see poll)

  1. Talking Heads The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads (39%, 17 Votes)
  2. The Ramones It’s Alive (36%, 16 Votes)
  3. The Clash Live At Shea Stadium (25%, 11 Votes)
  4. The Clash From Here To Eternity (23%, 10 Votes)
  5. Talking Heads Stop Making Sense (23%, 10 Votes)

Best Reggae Live Albums – 47 voters (see poll)

  1. Bob Marley Babylon By Bus (49%, 23 Votes)
  2. Bob Marley Live (At The Lyceum 1975) (30%, 14 Votes)
  3. Peter Tosh Captured Live (17%, 8 Votes)
  4. Toots & The Maytals Live (1980) (17%, 8 Votes)
  5. Steel Pulse Rastafari Centennial: Live in Paris (15%, 7 Votes)

Best Singer Songwriter Live Albums – 90 voters (see poll)

  1. Neil Young Live Rust (49%, 44 Votes)
  2. Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue (30%, 27 Votes)
  3. Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now (30%, 27 Votes)
  4. Neil Young Live At Massey Hall 1971 (29%, 26 Votes)
  5. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (27%, 24 Votes)

Best Soul Live Albums – 94 voters (see poll)

  1. Sam Cooke Live At The Harlem Square Club (30%, 28 Votes)
  2. James Brown Live At The Apollo 1962 (26%, 24 Votes)
  3. Donny Hathaway Live (1971) (23%, 22 Votes)
  4. Curtis Mayfield Live (1971) (16%, 15 Votes)
  5. Bill Withers Live At Carnegie Hall (10%, 9 Votes)
  6. Aretha Franklin Live At Fillmore West (10%, 9 Votes)

Best Southern Rock Live Albums – 91 voters (see poll)

  1. Allman Brothers Band Live at Fillmore East (65%, 59 Votes)
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road (62%, 56 Votes)
  3. Little Feat Waiting for Columbus (51%, 46 Votes)
  4. ZZ Top Live In Germany 1980 (19%, 17 Votes)
  5. Outlaws Bring It Back Alive (13%, 12 Votes)

I have plenty of other genre polls that haven’t reached the 20 voters de minimus I set for inclusion on this summary page. The polls I most want to get more voters to express their opinions are jazz and folk.

Best Live Albums Listing By % Of Votes

I’ve used the number of votes (recommendations) as the criteria for the The 106 Best Live Albums Ever Recorded & Released summary but, putting this list together, it has occurred to me that another approach would be to list the albums by their acceptance in the genre categories.

I’ve set 30% as the minimum acceptance for this list.

  1. Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison (80%, 16 Votes)
  2. Donna Summer Live & More (75%, 15 Votes)
  3. Allman Brothers Band Live at Fillmore East (65%, 59 Votes)
  4. B.B. King Live at The Regal (63%, 34 Votes)
  5. Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road (62%, 56 Votes)
  6. Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (55%, 23 Votes)
  7. Johnny Cash At San Quentin (55%, 11 Votes)
  8. Little Feat Waiting for Columbus (51%, 46 Votes)
  9. The Who Live At Leeds (50%, 18 Votes)
  10. Neil Young Live Rust (49%, 44 Votes)
  11. Bob Marley Babylon By Bus (49%, 23 Votes)
  12. Wings Wings Over America (47%, 17 Votes)
  13. Yes Yessongs (42%, 101 Votes)
  14. Deep Purple Made In Japan (41%, 171 Votes)
  15. Grateful Dead Europe 72 (41%, 16 Votes)
  16. Deaf School Second Coming (39%, 67 Votes)
  17. Talking Heads The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads (39%, 17 Votes)
  18. Genesis Seconds Out (38%, 93 Votes)
  19. Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey (37%, 11 Votes)
  20. The Ramones It’s Alive (36%, 16 Votes)
  21. Kansas Two for the Show (35%, 16 Votes)
  22. Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 (33%, 18 Votes)
  23. Journey Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour (33%, 15 Votes)
  24. The Band Rock Of Ages (33%, 13 Votes)
  25. Pink Floyd Ummagumma (33%, 10 Votes)
  26. Grateful Dead Live / Dead (33%, 10 Votes)
  27. Cheap Trick At Budokan (31%, 11 Votes)
  28. Sam Cooke Live At The Harlem Square Club (30%, 28 Votes)
  29. Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue (30%, 27 Votes)
  30. Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now (30%, 27 Votes)
  31. Bob Marley Live (At The Lyceum 1975) (30%, 14 Votes)
  32. The Doors Absolutely Live (30%, 9 Votes)
  33. Waylon Jennings Waylon Live (30%, 6 Votes)

Don’t rush to dismiss this because it has a Donna Summer album at #2. It has given us a much more diverse list that isn’t dominated by heavy metal, blues rock and prog rock.

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