Top 10 Debut Records Ever – Mike’s Picks

Top 10 Debut Records Ever - Mike's PicksJames decided to pick a new type of list for this month and a great topic it is (view James’ list here). His idea was to list our top debut albums from any genre. At first glance, you would think that you should pick your favorite bands’ debut release, but in reality, Judas Priest is my favorite band, but their debut album, Rocka Rolla, while a great CD, I would never be able to put it on this list. It was a great album, but not a milestone release by any means. Also, when I think of my favorite bands, most of my favorite releases of theirs is normally somewhere in the middle of their catalog.

This is really a tough list to pin down because you really have to think outside of the metal genre on this one, and if I thought narrowing down a top ten list from one band seemed tough, then this topic would be nearly impossible. Of course, we have to give it a go. This list really has no particular order.

Metallica – Kill ’em All
As debut releases go, there were not too many albums that changed a genre like Kill ’em All did. Still an amazing album, so this one is a no-brainer for this list. Metallica defined thrash metal with this release and thrash is one of my favorite genres of music. The only genre of music that comes close to thrash for me would be classic rock with black metal right behind the both of them.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Let’s give credit where it is do. If Metallica defined thrash metal with Kill ’em All, then Black Sabbath defined metal in general with their debut release. Enough said.

Dio – Holy Diver
Obviously, by the time Holy Diver came out, we all knew who Ronnie James Dio was for a long time. What we had no idea of was just how classic Holy Diver would become. Dio did something a little different and it became the staple of his sound. We love you Ronnie. R.I.P.

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
When Guns N’ Roses came out with Appetite for Destruction, we all knew that we were witnessing something special. There are so many classic tracks on this album, and this is probably the most widely known release on this list. Everyone knows who Metallica and Black Sabbath are, but most people outside of metal have no idea what the main riff for Phantom Lord is, but everyone knows the opening riff from Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child O’ Mine.

Kiss – Kiss
Do I seriously need to explain this?

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh*Nerd Skin*Nerd
No one has ever done southern rock better and this is one of their best releases. So many great songs on this release and, of course, it is highlighted by Free Bird.

The Doors – The Doors
While I was not born to experience this album in person, it has become one of my favorite releases of all time. I am a sucker for The Doors as there were a couple of musical geniuses in that band. They had that perfect blend of dark music and lyrical content injected with the classic rock that we all hold near and dear to us.

Pearl Jam – Ten
Love them or hate them, Ten was an astounding album that still holds up today. Pearl Jam was one of the bands that was doing the grunge thing the right way. Say what you want to about them today, but this release is amazing.

Van Halen – Van Halen
Eruption pretty much sealed the deal with me for the entire album. Eddie was doing things that we could never fathom at the time. He is credited as being the one to introduce tapping to the world and it sounded oh so good.

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Everyone knows them for The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, but with their debut, they had Syd Barrett doing some psychadelic rock that had never been done that way before.

Honorable Mentions

Run–D.M.C. – Run–D.M.C.
Rap was my favorite genre of music in the early 80s and Run–D.M.C.’s debut release came out, I could not put it down. While I do not listen to it too often any longer, it brings back a lot of memories when I do.

Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
I still have to blast No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn every once in a while just for the hell of it. Original for its time, but it was more than an experiment that happened to just work. The songs were solid. The Beastie Boys were far more than a simple gimmick.

Bad Company – Bad Company
The supergroup that was Bad Company was one of the few times that the supergroup gimmick actually worked. Still one of my favorite classic rock bands of all time and their debut had so many classic tracks on it.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
After this album, the electric guitar was never looked upon the same way.

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
While I really do not listen to it too much anymore, this album changed the way that I look at music. I knew that Pantera was going to be a special band, but I had no idea just how much influence they would have on the metal community. Love them or hate them for it, they shaped an entire new sound of metal for many years to come.

Aerosmith – Aerosmith
This is one of the ballsiest albums ever laid down. So many classic tracks came out of this album not the least of which is Dream On.

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
I kind of hate putting Led Zeppelin’s debut as almost an afterthought, but to me, a lot of this album was still very influenced by Black Sabbath. There are still some great songs on here though. Of course, it gets overshadowed by II and IV all of the time though. I still that that III is one of their best albums though.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood
So many songs off of this album have become stapled of classic rock stations throughout the U.S. I have always been a sucker for him because he is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. The licks and the tone are amazing.

U2 – Boy
I know that it is not cool to like U2 anymore, but the old stuff was classic. I was a huge fan of theirs growing up. The early 80s were amazing. The first four albums were all great, then they started to get a little too mainstream for my tastes. I Will Follow is still one of their best songs.

Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
Another guy that metal fans are not supposed to like, but I have always loved his music. He had some clunkers, but the man knew how to entertain an audience, had a great voice and could simply perform a song. Too many classics on this album to name.

Alice in Chains – Facelift
Love them or hate them, Alice in Chains had a huge impact on the grunge scene. While Man in the Box may be their best known song, Facelift is much more than just that single song. The entire album is solid and is still their best work ever.


  • This is an impossible list. The shocker I guess is neither of us have Ozzy-Bizzard of Ozz or Ratt-Out of the Cellar…Tesla-Mechanical Resonance, Fight-War of Words…god there are so many…this was truly hard