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.

0Unknown Pleasures (1979)

After 50 trillion retrospectives, exhibitions and tell-all biographies, what else is there to say about the suffocating and exhilarating ‘Unknown Pleasures’? Tony Wilson was so convinced by the band he sunk his life’s savings into making it.

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0Killing Joke (1980)

While Blondie and The Jam took punk in poppier directions, ‘Killing Joke’ employed the genre’s Sturm und Drang to create modern industrial rock, inspiring everyone from Nirvana and Metallica to MBV.

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0Speak and Spell (1981)

A stylistic pop anomaly in the Mode’s brooding oeuvre, it’s also one of their most outright enjoyable albums.

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0Lexicon Of Love (1982)

A stone cold suave-pop classic from a band seemingly made entirely of sequins and gold lamé.

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0Murmur (1983)

Muddy and ephemeral, ‘Murmer’ set the blueprint of US indie for the next three decades.

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0The Smiths (1984)

This introduced the best pop star since Bowie and the greatest songwriting partnership since The Beatles.

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0Psychocandy (1985)

A pop record in love with The Velvet Underground, Phil Spector, The Ramones and The Shangri-Las, it’s still a ceaselessly cool lynchpin of modern shades’n’black leather indie.

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0Licensed To Ill (1986)

The sound of three definitely-non-Buddhist New York brats crashing their punk-rock jetfighter into hip-hop’s mountain lair, getting out and wiggling their bums lasciviously.

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0Appetite for Destruction (1987)

“You’re in the jungle, baby/You’re gonna die!” The evergreen philosophy of W Axl Rose.

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0Isn't Anything (1988)

Before the tribulations of ‘Loveless’, ‘Isn’t Anything’’s fuzzy otherworldliness set the template for the whole shoegaze genre.

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