Published on February 22nd, 2023 | by Gillian Hill


Three Classic Rock Albums Turning 50 in 2023

We look at three seminal rock albums that are turning 50 in 2023. The popularity and influence they enjoyed 50 years ago remains strong today.

With 2023 rolling in, some iconic rock albums are turning 50. Despite being half a century old, many of them have become some of the most cherished records of all time. Acts like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and so many more rose to prominence and their influence can still be heard in today’s music.

Here are some classic rock albums turning 50 this year and the stories behind them:

Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy is the band’s fifth studio album, and at the time of its release, it was their most experimental. Their previous sound had mainly been heavy, classic rock, but they managed to take their trademark elements, taken from blues music, and deviate from them in an unusual yet refined manner.

Guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones both installed home studios during the album’s production, giving them time to come up with finished compositions and arrangements. This newfound cohesiveness allowed the band to develop the perfect formula for the songs on the album. Jimmy Page often used a variety of guitars for recording, but he was limited to one guitar at a time while playing live. During this period, he turned to the Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck to switch from six strings to 12 strings without changing guitar during performances. He used it often when playing ‘The Rain Song’ live.

Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album proved to be the band’s magnum opus and the peak of their commercial success — 50 years later, it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. The concept album dealt with a variety of topics, touching on greed, death, and mental health following the struggles of former band member Syd Barret. The album also cemented its legacy in an unusual way — our post “The Old Legend of a Stoner’s Folktale” explains the strange phenomenon of playing the album while watching The Wizard of Oz. It’s an eerie fit with a lot of dialogue and lyrical connections, combining the film’s visuals with the record’s songs in a way that seems like it can’t be coincidental.

Guitarist David Gilmour used several tools throughout the album’s recording and even added two pedals for playing live. He had a pretty advanced set of pedals for the time, consisting of phasing pedals and wah-wah pedals, among other things. The Vox pedal — particularly the Wah effect used by Pink Floyd — eventually became one of the core foundation pillars of rock music, creating well-loved sound effects with unique-designed, tube-powered analog models. As such, the album was highly praised for its impeccable production and audio quality for the period.

Queen, Queen

Queen’s eponymous debut album was just the beginning of the band’s glittering career, but it didn’t come without some challenges. The band compiled five songs — which would later become part of the tracklist of Queen — into a demo tape and sent it to various record labels, but met little success. Though the album isn’t one of their most well-known, it gave them a foundation that launched them into stardom later on.

Guitars were a big part of the Queen sound, thanks to guitarist Brian May. His guitar was custom-built by him and his father, as they couldn’t afford to buy one for him at the time. The homemade guitar is now known as the Red Special. It became an iconic fixture of his performances and recordings, and he used it almost exclusively throughout the band’s career. It was designed to produce feedback, giving a sound that seemed “alive” and interacted with the air around him, contributing to Queen’s overall tone.

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

Avatar photo

is a freelance writer and blogger who loves any and all things music, though she can’t hold a tune to save her life. She appreciates anything from rock classics and Motown hits to bubblegum pop and indie records and can never resist an addictive K-pop jam.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑