Making an album is no small feat. Making 11 of them is another matter entirely.
For some artists, the work piles up quickly — Bob Dylan’s 11th album, New Morning, arrived in 1970, only eight years after his debut recording. The Rolling Stones issued their 11th album, 1973’s Goats Head Soup, less than a decade after their 1964 debut.
Others have taken a bit more time to get to that point. Robert Plant released his 11th solo album, Carry Fire, just a few years ago in 2017. It’s difficult to imagine, then, that there was a point in the earlier days of his career where Plant wrote off the notion of working as a solo artist.
“During the Zep years, I never imagined a full-scale album project without the other guys, and even less, the idea of new writing partners,” Plant said in a 2019 episode of his Digging Deep With Robert Plant podcast.
For some, their 11th albums served as landmark releases and opened new doors not only in their careers but the trajectory of rock music as a whole: The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, the Beatles’ Abbey Road, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
Others could be found experimenting with albums that didn’t necessarily break the charts upon release, but were nonetheless important stepping stones: David Bowie began his “Berlin trilogy” with Brian Eno, releasing Low in 1977; Neil Young introduced the Synclavier into his work on Re-ac-tor in 1981; Joni Mitchell shifted back toward pop with Wild Things Run Fast in 1982.
From groundbreaking to grounding, we’re taking a look at Rock’s 40 Best 11th albums in the below list.
Top 40 11th Albums
Some were groundbreaking, while others were grounding.