In popular music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical". Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing to a single overall theme or unified story.
The Downward Spiral is the second full length studio album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released in 1994 on Trent Reznor's own Nothing Records. "Halo 8" of the official Nine Inch Nails halo releases, it is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man, from the beginning of his "Downward Spiral" to his climactic suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno, and metal music, in contrast to the dance-influenced Pretty Hate Machine (1989).
The Dark Side of the Moon is the sixth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, and was released in March 1973. The concept album built on ideas explored by the band in their live shows and earlier recordings, but it lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterised their work following the departure in 1968 of founding member, principal composer, and lyricist Syd Barrett.
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that became a musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It highlights the political and interpersonal struggles of Judas Iscariot and Jesus. The rock opera is based on St John's Gospel account of the last week of Jesus' life, beginning with the preparation for Jesus' and his followers' arrival in Jerusalem and ending with the Crucifixion.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the English rock group The Beatles, released in June 1967. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning in December 1966, Sgt. Pepper sees the band exploring further the experimentation of their previous album, Revolver (1966).
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (often shortened to Ziggy Stardust or simply Ziggy) is a 1972 concept album by English rock musician David Bowie. It peaked at number five in the United Kingdom and number 75 in the United States on the Billboard Music Charts. A concert film of the same name directed by D.A. Pennebaker was released in 1973.
Strange Little Girls is a concept album released by singer-songwriter Tori Amos in 2001. The album's twelve tracks are covers of songs written and originally performed by men, reinterpreted by Amos from a female's point of view. Amos created female personae for each track (one song featured twins) and was photographed as each, with makeup done by Kevyn Aucoin.
Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters was a 1974 satirical concept album by Robert Calvert, the former frontman of British space-rock band Hawkwind. It consists of a mixture of songs and comic spoken interludes. The concept was based on the German Air Ministry's purchase of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, colloquially known as the Widowmaker.
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is a 1978 concept album by Jeff Wayne and others, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Its format is progressive rock using narration and leitmotifs to carry the story along in between rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of various characters.
The Wall is the ninth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Presented as a double album, it was released on 30 November 1979. It was subsequently performed live, with elaborate theatrical effects, and adapted into the film Pink Floyd The Wall. The Wall is a rock opera that centres on the character Pink, who is largely based on the band's bassist and lyricist Roger Waters.
Shotgun Angel is the title of a 1977 album released by Daniel Amos. The album itself is named after a song written by Bill Sprouse Jr.. For additional information on the song itself, see "Shotgun Angel (song)". The album is named after the song of the same name, which is also found on the album. The song was written years earlier by Bill Sprouse Jr. for his band The Road Home.
Animals is the eighth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Released in January 1977, Animals is a concept album that provides a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of 1970s Britain, and presents a marked change in musical style from their earlier work. Animals was recorded at the band's studio, Britannia Row, in London.
Tommy is the fourth album by the English rock band The Who, released by Track and Polydor in the United Kingdom and Decca and MCA in the United States. A double album telling a loose story about a "deaf, dumb, and blind boy" who becomes the leader of a messianic movement, Tommy was the first musical work to be billed overtly as a rock opera. Released in 1969, the album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend.
Quadrophenia is the sixth studio album by the English rock band The Who. Released on 19 October 1973, by Track, Polydor in the United Kingdom and Track and MCA in the United States, Quadrophenia is a double album, and the group's second rock opera. Its story involves social, musical, and psychological happenings from an English teenage perspective, set in London and Brighton in 1964 and 1965.
The Who Sell Out is the third album by the English rock band The Who, released in 1967 by Track Records in the United Kingdom and Decca Records in the United States. It is a concept album, formatted as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with faux commercials and public service announcements. The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London.
Thick as a Brick is a concept album by English progressive rock band Jethro Tull released in 1972. This was their fifth release and first LP to feature new drummer Barriemore Barlow. Its lyrics are built around a poem written by a fictitious boy, "Gerald Bostock" a.k.a. "Little Milton" (Ian Anderson himself). The album featured only one song, lasting nearly 45 minutes. To accommodate the album on LP vinyl and cassette, the seamless track was split on both sides of the record.
A Passion Play is a concept album released by Jethro Tull. Apparently concerning the spiritual journey of one man in the afterlife, it is similar to Thick as a Brick in that it is one long track split across both sides of the LP vinyl record (actually a medley of segued shorter songs) save for the interruption of the oddly whimsical spoken-word piece "The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles".
Autobahn is the fourth studio album by Kraftwerk, released in 1974. The album’s 22-minute title track was edited to about 3 minutes for single release and reached #25 on the US Billboard charts, charting even higher around Europe, including #11 in the UK. This commercial success came after the band had released three experimental and purely instrumental albums. Autobahn is also the first of Kraftwerk’s concept albums of sorts, which they have done up to 2003.
We're Only in It For the Money is an experimental rock album by The Mothers of Invention. It bridges a variety of styles and genres. The album peaked at number thirty on the Billboard 200. The album satirizes many aspects of 1960s culture, lampooning the hippies, the conservative establishment, and everything in between. First released in 1968 on Verve Records, it was re-released by Rykodisc in 1986 with newly recorded bass and percussion tracks.
Pieces of Eight is the eighth studio album and second concept album by Styx, released September 1, 1978. The album was the band's follow-up to their Triple Platinum selling The Grand Illusion album. The band members produced the album and recorded it (like their previous three efforts) at Paragon Studios in Chicago with recording engineer Barry Mraz and mixing engineer Rob Kingsland. "I'm O. K" was recorded at Paragon and St. James Cathedral, because of the pipe organ.
Box Car Racer is the only album by Box Car Racer, a side project of Blink-182 members Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker. The bassist for Blink-182 and +44, Mark Hoppus, provided guest vocals on "Elevator" as did Tim Armstrong and Jordan Pundik, of Rancid and New Found Glory respectively, on "Cat Like Thief".
Smile, sometimes typeset with the idiosyncratic partial capitalization SMiLE, is a solo album by Brian Wilson, with lyrics by Van Dyke Parks released on 28 September 2004 on CD and two-disc vinyl. Wilson, Parks and Darian Sahanaja completed the legendary unfinished album project, started in 1966 for Wilson's former band, The Beach Boys. It was released in September 2004 with back-up from members of his touring band, including three members of Wondermints.
Conspiracy is a name of a concept album by King Diamond, the second part of the story begun on the album "Them". It was released in 1989. The song "Cremation" appears in the 2009 video game game Brütal Legend. This was the last album to feature original drummer Mikkey Dee, however, he was only studio musician at that time.
What's Going On is the thirteenth studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released May 21, 1971 on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Recording sessions for the album took place in June 1970 and March–May 1971 at Hitsville U.S.A. , Golden World and United Sound Studios in Detroit, Michigan and at The Sound Factory in West Hollywood, California.