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50 GREATEST DEBUT ALBUMS

 

This is NME’s celebration of the best debut albums from the last 50 years. It's not a countdown. Instead, we've selected one album from each year.

Disagree with our choices? You can always vote your own favourites to the top via our debut albums reader poll, and share your thoughts on the office blog.

This article originally appeared in the November 6 issue of NME. Subscribe here, or get this week's digital issue.

 
 
 

An unexpected hit that set the wheels of the '60s folk movement rolling well before Dylan came along.


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Without Elvis-for-virgins Cliff pouting and flouncing over his music, Hank Marvin proved himself a rather shit-hot surf guitar geek hero, and not merely cockney rhyming slang for ‘starving’.


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Bob Dylan

He wasn’t yet a virtuoso songwriter, but Dylan’s seldom-heard debut is a lesson in interpretation – greatness soon followed.


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Recorded in a day, this was the sound of The Beatles fighting-fit from years of performance in Hamburg, drenched in simple reverb that made its dense harmonies glisten.


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The diva destroyed all the lame-assed Cillas and Petulas with one husky hoof through ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’.


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Largely ignored upon its initial release, the album has gone on to become one of the bedrocks of art-rock and a sacred musical text – it instantly makes you wish you were part of the Velvets’ nihilist gang of miscreants.


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The Beatles had songs, The Stones had sass, but The Who had anger – and never was it more potent than on their turbo-charged garagey debut.


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Frank Zappa’s first band outing was the Ronseal-named battlecry of a thousand-thousand student dorms through the ages.


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Dylan’s backing band came good with this roots rock benchmark; ‘The Weight’ alone became a staple of every redneck bar scene of ’70s cinema.


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Formulating their attack in the basement of the Asheton’s childhood home, the band only had five tracks to include on their debut. The other three songs – ‘Real Cool Time’, ‘Not Right’ and ‘Little Doll’ – were written overnight and recorded the next day.


 
 
 
 
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