To answer this question, you have to be old enough to remember when vinyl double albums had Sides 1 and 4 on one LP, Sides 2 & 3 on the other.

Qualifications: Ixnay on compilations, soundtracks and live stuff. Let the double album debate begin...


Pink Floyd, "The Wall" (1979) - Personally, I've always thought there was too much filler and surreal meandering to call this their masterpiece. "Animals", "Wish You Were Here" and "Dark Side..." all have much more intense focus. They don't have "Comfortably Numb", though.

Led Zeppelin, "Physical Graffiti" (1975) - '75 was a stellar year for the classic rock LP, thanks to "Blood On The Tracks", "Born To Run" and "Katy Lied". That the Zeppers could put together a remarkable set essentially made up of (mostly) leftovers from albums "III" and "IV" is more than a clue on how superb they really were at their craft. Plus the original artwork/packaging was one of the all-time best, too; when you'd slide the albums out, the windows would reveal different 'storylines'. A hefty, breath-taking experience that still annihilates.

Todd Rundgren, "Something/Anything?" (1972) - Not only was Todd the sole singer-songwriter-producer-arranger, on the set's first three sides, he played every instrument! Take that, Prince! Classic ballads "Hello It's Me" and "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" nicely offset the mega-monster-heaviness of "Black Maria" and the funky "Wolfman Jack". 25 songs all together, all perfect. No wonder he went nutty into prog-land with Utopia. He just gave up all his best stuff.

Chicago, "Chicago Transit Authority" (1969) - Never mind what they became. They were truly rock pioneers on this one which featured classic radio hits, psychedelic blues, an amazing live jam and a Terry Kath distorted guitar workout equal to Hendrix. A double-record set for a debut album? Who had the balls to do that? This is still the only record by these guys that you will ever need, and need it you do.

The Rolling Stones, "Exile On Main Street" (1972) - Not much more need be said or written about this baby. The Stones rule the double-set roost with a batch of tracks that oozed the kind of sexy-saucy sound that neither The Beatles or The Who could come close to. Stone cold fact, pun intended.

Definitive? Maybe. Can you discuss it without losing it? Maybe not.


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