10. Led Zeppelin – IV
Records Sold 37 million
Though untitled it is known colloquially as Led Zeppelin IV, the album was a success, with hits like “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll” and “Going to California”. The album was also mired in controversy, with the accusations of alleged back masking satanic messages.
The album was recorded between December 1970 and March 1971 at several locations, most notably Headley Grange (a three-story stone structure Built in 1795 in Headley, Hampshire, England, UK)
Best Guitar Moment: Stairway to Heaven
Zeppelin’s Jimi Page is known as a prolific guitarist. It is hard to choose any of his works, though the Best guitar moment in IV is a no brainer in the 8 minute + “Stairway to Heaven”. Considered by many, much to the chagrin of guitar shop owners, to be one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest song and a prominent staple of Classic Rock radio and still heard on rotation to this day. The song starts off with a finger picked Acoustic intro in morphing through several sections each adding more layers of guitar including 12 string, (becoming a rock symbol live with the use of the Dual neck Gibson SG) and working up to an exciting guitar solo that wasn’t too flashy and served the song expertly.
Fun fact though Jimi is known as a Les Paul player he cut the iconic solo using a 1959 Fender Telecaster and through his Supro amp, (though in a Guitar World interview he said it could have been a Marshall). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stairway_to_Heaven#cite_note-Light-13
9. Shania Twain – Come On Over
Records Sold 39 million
The 3rd studio album from Country Pop star Shania Twain. Written and co produced with Mutt Lange, the album went on to become the best-selling country album of its time. With hits such as “You’re Still The One” and “From This Moment” it stayed on the top 10 for 54 weeks, set a record for longest stay in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 of 112 weeks, and in top 40 for 127 consecutive weeks. If you were watching MTV/Vh-1 in ’97 you were exposed to some Twain…
Best Guitar Moment: Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
The Album opener, the song has a catchy hook, and features simple riffs and a tasty Country flavored Rock solo likely played by a session player. The video famously pays homage Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” music video, featuring Twain dancing with ripped male models staring blankly at the camera.
8. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Records Sold 40 million
The eleventh studio album by British-American rock band. It was mostly recorded in California and spawned massive hits “Go Your Own Away” and “Don’t Stop”, it is regarded as their most successful album. Though lots of drama due relationship issues plagued the making of the album it didn’t stifle its success. On the contrary all those mixed emotions may have helped them mold this masterpiece. The album stayed at the top of the Billboard 200 for 31 non-consecutive weeks.
Best Guitar Moment – Don’t Stop
The guitar playing of Lindsey Buckingham is all about serving the song. Using then state of the art recording techniques they captured beautiful tones. An honorary mention has to be made about the brief bass solo right before the outro section and guitar solo of “The Chain” It has a gorgeous sound and feel and give way to a great release!
7. Bee Gees and various Artists – Saturday Night Fever
Records Sold 40 million
Hairy chests? Check
One of 2 Soundtracks in this list, Saturday Night Fever was a massively successful album to accompany an equally successful movie with heart-throb John Travolta. The album was certified 15x Platinum, being added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally or aesthetically significant. The Bee Gees are featured significantly in the album. Fun Fact The Bee Gees’ involvement in the film did not begin until post-production. As John Travolta asserted, “The Bee Gees weren’t even involved in the movie in the beginning … I was dancing to Stevie Wonder and Boz Scaggs.
Best Guitar Moment – Manhattan Skyline
Being a Disco album it is sparse in the guitar department save for the occasional wah wah riff. The main melody line at the beginning of Manhattan Skyline features a warm slightly compressed clean guitar tone.
6. The Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-75
Records Sold 42 million
With selections from the Eagles’ first four albums, “Greatest Hits” was for a long time the best-selling album. It has been certified 29 x Platinum by the RIAA. Considered by the band as way for the record company to make more money off of product without having to produce anything new. As true as that may be, the album was hugely successful.
Fun Facts it is the first album to receive the RIAA platinum award, introduced in 1976 to honor albums that shipped one million copies in the US.
Best Guitar Moment – One Of These Nights
The album “One Of These Nights” has been called the dress rehearsal for what would become Hotel California. It was recorded Criteria Studios, Miami, & Record Plant, Los Angeles, 1974-1975
Featuring the newly added Don Felder, he brought the rock edge the band was looking for. In this song he plays a funky solo with a tone to die for. Discussed by forum goers to be nothing more than his Les Paul into a Fender tweed which may or may not have also contained distortion and or fuzz pedals in the signal path. Whatever the case the solo is peppered with amazing phrasing and little clicks and pick squeaks it just oozes rock n roll. all killer no filler.