What Are The Greatest Live Albums Ever Recorded?
That’s the question I set out to answer when I started this website and, by using readers polls, I’m getting closer to having some definitive answers.
Of course, the results will continue to wax and wane as more people have their say and categories outside of hard rock, classic rock, progressive rock and blues rock get more popular.
Inevitably I don’t agree with the results (I have my say here) but I do think the results are fascinating.
What I’ve done is to take the album’s highest number of vote recommendations from the genre polls and combined them to create an overall rating as at 31 March 2015.
Any poll is only as good as the preferences of the people who take part.
The Greatest Live Albums Ever Recorded
- Deep Purple Made In Japan – 128
- The Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East – 88
- The Who Live At Leeds – 78
- UFO Strangers In The Night – 73
- Genesis Seconds Out – 72
- Yes Yessongs – 69
- Deaf School Second Coming – 67
- AC/DC If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It – 66
- Iron Maiden Live After Death – 66
- Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same – 55
- Rory Gallagher Irish Tour – 54
- Kiss Alive! – 54
- Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won – 54
- Jimi Hendrix Band Of Gypsys / Live At The Fillmore – 53
- Pink Floyd Pulse – 51
- The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya Yas Out – 49
- Judas Priest Unleashed From The East – 48
- Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous – 48
- Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive – 46
- Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road – 42
- Wings Over America -39
- Rainbow On Stage – 38
- Genesis Live – 38
- Bob Seger Live Bullet – 35
- Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey – 35
- Scorpions Tokyo Tapes – 34
- Little Feat Waiting For Columbus – 34
- Rush All The World’s A Stage – 34
- The Band The Last Waltz – 34
- Humble Pie Performance Rockin The Fillmore 32
- Derek & The Dominoes Live At The Fillmore – 30
- Jethro Tull Bursting Out – 30
- Emerson Lake & Palmer Welcome Back My Friends – 30
- David Bowie Stage – 30
- The Rolling Stones The Brussels Affair – 29
- Queen Live Killers – 28
- Bruce Springsteen Live 1975/85 – 28
- Emerson Lake & Palmer Pictures At An Exhibition – 27
- Queen Live At Wembley ’86 – 26
- Blue Oyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees – 25
- Rush Exit Stage Left – 25
- Wishbone Ash Live Dates – 24
- Cheap Trick At Budokan – 24
- Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon ’75 -24
- Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now – 22
- Motorhead No Sleep Til Hammersmith – 21
- BB King Live At The Regal – 21
- Bob Dylan Before The Flood – 21
- David Bowie Nassau Colisseum 76 – 21
- Cream Live At The Royal Albert Hall 20
- Camel A Live Record – 20
- King Crimson The Night Watch – 20
- Roxy Music Viva – 19
- Talking Heads Stop Making Sense – 19
- Metallica Live Shit, Binge, Purge – 19
- Johnny Winter Live Johnny Winter And… – 19
- Crosby Stills Nash & Young 4 Way Street – 19
- Hawkwind Space Ritual – 19
- Ozzy Osbourne Tribute -18
- Bob Marley Babylon By Bus 18
- Free Live – 18
- Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York – 17
- King Crimson Absent Lovers – 17
- David Bowie David Live – 17
- Talking Heads The Name Of The Band Is… – 16
- The Eagles Live – 16
- David Bowie Santa Monica ’72 – 16
- Gentle Giant Playing The Fool – 16
- Yes Yesshows – 16
- Neil Young Weld 15
- Aerosmith Live Bootleg – 15
- Robin Trower Live – 15
- Rick Wakeman Journey To The Centre Of The Earth – 15
- Peter Gabriel Plays Live – 15
Buying These Great Albums
Why Are There 74 Albums?
I decided to make 15 vote/recommendations the cut-off point and that’s where the axe fell.
I have polls for well known bands as well as for the music genres and that has produced a few oddities:
- The best live album by The Rolling Stones according to the group poll is The Brussels Affair which gets 7 more votes than Get Yer Ya Yas Out.
- The best David Bowie live album according to his artist poll is Nassau Colisseum but Stage is getting more votes in the genre poll.
- The best Bob Dylan live album according to his artist poll is Live 1966 The Royal Albert Hall Concert followed by Live 1975 and At Budokan but Before The Flood is getting most votes in the genre polls.
- In the best Led Zeppelin live album poll, How The West Was Won beats The Song Remains The Same but not in the genre polls despite the fact that they are so similar that they are always competing against each other.
Biases Of The Voters
In time, I hope the chart gets more evenly distributed as live albums for AOR, Blues, Country, Disco, Folk, Funk, Indie & Alternative Rock, Jazz, Punk & New Wave, Reggae, Rock&Roll and Early R&B, Singer Songwriter, Soul and Southern Rock get more votes.
If You Don’t Agree With The Results…
First make sure you cast your vote recommendations in the polls that you care about. Tell your friends about the poll through social media and encourage them to vote.
If I’m missing one of your favourite live albums, then please leave me a comment. I’m always really pleased to hear about a great live album.
We all have our opinions but what I’m trying to show here is a consensus.
Because this is based on opinions, you can’t say someone is wrong (they know their opinions better than you do) but you can say that you don’t agree and make your own thoughts clear.