There are a lot of greatest live album ever lists so I thought it would be an idea to combine them to produce one overall best live album list.
I’ll talk more about the methodology I used later but let’s get on to what seem to be consistently the greatest live albums.
There are a few surprises here.
Great Live Albums Ever – Based On Points From the Lists
- The Who Live At Leeds
- The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out
- Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York
- Kiss Alive
- Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison
- James Brown Live At The Apollo
- Neil Young Live Rust
- Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won
- Talking Heads Stop Making Sense
- The Allman Brothers Live At Fillmore East
- Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive
- Cheap Trick At Budokan
- Bob Marley Live
- MC5 Kick Out The Jams
- Bob Dylan Live 1966
- AC/DC If You Want Blood
- Thin Lizzy Live & Dangerous
- The Band The Last Waltz
- U2 Under A Blood Red Sky
- Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road
- Iron Maiden Live After Death
- Kraftwerk Minimum Maximum
- Curtis Mayfield Curtis Live
- Motorhead No Sleep Til Hammersmith
- Radiohead I Might be Wrong
- Sam Cooke Live At Harlem Square
- Johnny Cash At San Quentin
- Deep Purple Made In Japan
- Rush Exit Stage Left
- Jeff Buckley Live At Sin-E
I got this ranking by taking a list of the top 100 live albums and giving the album positioned first 100 points, the second 99 points etc.
Where it was a top 50 list of albums, it didn’t make sense to give the first album 50 points because that implied this list was only worth half as much as the top 100 list so again I started with 100 points for the first, 99 for the second etc. This gives a proper rating for the top albums but effectively penalises those albums which would have been 51st to 100th if the list had been extended.
While this didn’t seem right, I was also concerned with the idea that the first album was 100 times as good as the 100th because any album that has been mentioned deserves some attention.
I then produced a second list based on the numbers of mentions in the lists I used, regardless of rating on the basis that any album that os regularly listed must be worth a listen.
This is what I got
Greatest Live Albums Ever – Based On Number Of Times Mentioned
11 – The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out
11 – The Who Live At Leeds
9 – Kiss Alive
9 – Nirvana MTV Unplugged In New York
8 – James Brown Live At the Apollo
8 – Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison
8 – Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won
8 – Talking Heads Stop Making Sense
8 – Neil Young Live Rust
7 – Cheap Trick At Budokan
7 – Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive
7 – Allman Brothers Live At Fillmore East
6 – Bob Marley Live
6 – MC5 Kick Out The Jams
5 – AC/DC If You Want Blood
5 – Bob Dylan Live 1966
5 – Curtis Mayfield Curtis Live
5 – Iron Maiden Live After Death
5 – Kraftwerk Minimum Maximum
5 – Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From The Road
5 – Radiohead I Might be Wrong
5 – The Band The Last Waltz
5 – Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous
5 – U2 Under A Blood Red Sky
What Do You Think About These Greatest Live Album Lists?
Many of my favourite live albums are missing from it.
I’d like to know what you think. Have the critics got it right or have they overlooked one or more terrific live albums?