Top 30 Albums of the 1960s

In 1960, The Beatles were naff skiffle-beat teens; by 1970, they'd overseen a revolution. In a decade, rock'n'roll had exploded into a global phenomenon; become an artform of genuine expression and experimentation. Whilst The Beatles were superstars, the time was just as fertile for underground counter-culture. The seeds of alternative music —punk, indie, alternative, electronic, noise, you name it— were sown back then; a range of strange musicians concerting to take recorded audio into new, uncharted terrains. For many, the fruits of this labor weren't felt 'til years later. Here, then, are 30 revolutionary '60s LPs.

01
of 30
The Monks 'Black Monk Time' (1965)

The Monks 'Black Monk Time'
The Monks 'Black Monk Time'. Polydor

1964, West Germany. Five American GIs in a rockband combat Beatlemania by attempting to be the "anti-Beatles." Managed by Situationist-minded German advertising gurus, they're wholly branded as The Monks: dressed in black cassocks, tonsures shaved on heads, nooses hung around their necks. They strip the drum-kit of its cymbals, bash a banjo as a percussive instrument, and grow ever tighter and nastier as they tour Germany constantly, playing for audiences who usually despise them. They make one viciously-rhythmic record, Black Monk Time then implode in the face of the public's disinterest/dislike. But they leave their mark: the subsequent generation of German krautrockers owing an obvious debt to The Monks' devotion to repetition.

02
of 30
The Fugs 'The Fugs First Album' (1965)

The Fugs 'The Fugs First Album' (1965)
The Fugs 'The Fugs First Album' (1965). ESP-Disk

If there was an American rock underground in 1965, The Fugs were it. But the band —vocalists Tali Kupferberg and Ed Sanders and 'percussionist' Ken Weaver— would've never defined themselves as rock'n'rollers; they were poets, burnouts, beatniks, punks; impish provocateurs out to slyly satirize America by co-opting popular music form. Taking their influence from the volumes of ethnomusical folksongs unearthed by Harry Smith, The Fugs made largely-vocal music that was staggeringly simple, their sing-song ditties driven forward by vocals. Such tribalism happily masked the fact that The Fugs had no idea how to play instruments. The Fugs First Album stood proud in its unmusicality decades before the DIY movement would take hold.

03
of 30
The Misunderstood 'Before the Dream Faded' (1966)

The Misunderstood 'Before the Dream Faded'
The Misunderstood 'Before the Dream Faded'. Cherry Red

It's cheating listing Before the Dream Faded as a classic '60s album, given it was first assembled in 1982. But The Misunderstood —a band whose name couldn't be more appropriate— never got to release it, or any other album, in their day. Though they boasted a bubbling UK following and a run of strong singles produced by English DJ John Peel, the ex-pat Californians fell apart when frontman Rick Brown was conscripted into service via the Vietnam draft. This collection of their studio recordings shows a band dappling their pop-songs with psychedelic effects and garage-rock passion; all quicksilver guitar licks, fuzzed-out bass, and the unhinged howls of Brown. Before the Dream Faded marks an important remnant of underground rock's salad days.

04
of 30
The 13th Floor Elevators 'The Psychedelic Sounds of...' (1966)

The 13th Floor Elevators 'The Psychedelic Sounds of...'
The 13th Floor Elevators 'The Psychedelic Sounds of...' (1966). International Artists

The 13th Floor Elevators —a gang of Texan teens doped up on péyote and LSD— came up with their own term for their swirling, heavily-reverberated, demented take on jug-band blues: psychedelic rock. Whilst the raw, ready-to-explode yelps of Roky Erickson were their defining element, the Elevators were rewriting rock back when their peers were still doodling with skiffle riffs: Stacy Sutherland's dark, gnarly guitar crackling with a snarling, sinister tone; Tommy Hall's 'electrified jug' creating bizarre patterns of unquantifiable arrhythmia. Yet, whilst it hinted at new frontiers for sprawling psychedelia, the Elevators' debut also delivered the eternally awesome two-minute blaster "You're Gonna Miss Me," which still kills to this day.

05
of 30
The Red Krayola 'The Parable of Arable Land' (1967)

The Red Krayola 'The Parable of Arable Land'
The Red Krayola 'The Parable of Arable Land'. International Artists

The debut album by psychedelic Texan fiends The Red Krayola —who'd later, post legal threat, be The Red Krayola— was dubbed a "free form freak-out." The band weren't making the claim lightly: the LP's every song —gnarly, noisy, psychedelic dins in which frontman Mayo Thompson barks, cajoles, and screams like a man possessed— separated by an experimental or improvised interlude. Some of these freak-outs are works of studio avant-gardism; almost musique concrète-esque exercises in tape manipulation. Others find up-for-it friends (including The 13th Floor Elevators) assembled en masse, instructed to bash out whatever they wanted in service of a veritable din. Infamous in its day, The Parable of Arable Land now sounds like proto-Sonic-Youth.

06
of 30
The Godz 'Godz 2' (1967)

The Godz 'Godz 2'
The Godz 'Godz 2'. ESP-Disk

The Godz are one of music history's most overlooked outfits, not least in that their name was, in the '70s, stolen by a dire hard-rock combo from Ohio. These Godz were a New York-born co-op out to explode blues-rock tropes into free-form noise-scapes of provocative avant-gardism. After their first LP, 1966's Contact High with The Godz, introduced them as avatars of the burgeoning '60s drug culture, Godz 2 pushed their psychedelic tendencies to further extremities. The album is nothing but a delirious din; its handful of scratchy, scrappy songs surrounded by zoned-out, neo-primitive exercises in percussion bashing, wordless wails, and willful amateurism. The result was a radical record that redrew the parameters of what a rockband could be.

07
of 30
Love 'Forever Changes' (1967)

Love 'Forever Changes'
Love 'Forever Changes'. Elektra

As a black man living in Los Angeles through times of intense civil unrest Arthur Lee had every reason to be pissed. But, as befitting the frontman of a band named Love, Lee used Forever Changes' regal closer, "You Set the Scene," to croon this life-philosophy: "this is the time and life that I am living/and I'll face each day with a smile." The third Love LP —whose sessions were infamously tense— was hardly a work of brainless bubblegum, Lee telling tales of a mythologized Sunset Strip populated by sad-eyed down-and-outers, as rainbow swirls of guitar, searing strings, and Latina brass oom-pahs make the record play like a regal coronation. In some ways, it was; its most devoted acolytes crowing Forever Changes the greatest album ever made.

08
of 30
The Velvet Underground 'The Velvet Underground And Nico' (1967)

The Velvet Underground 'The Velvet Underground And Nico'
The Velvet Underground 'The Velvet Underground And Nico'. Verve

No band so exploded the normative musical models of the mid-'60s as did those ultimate alternative legends, The Velvet Underground. A ragged, haggard flophouse of deconstructed rock'n'roll, the Velvets invented new combinations as they went: John Cale's prepared-piano repetitions and caustic bows of viola; the ghastly, ghostly, tuneless, Teutonic moan of Nico; Mo Tucker's rudimentary, thumped-out percussion; Lou Reed's raga-riffic guitar. Yet, the VU debut is no dusty museum-piece, no dull rock-history lesson. Filled with a host of three-minute pop classics, it sounds alive —still, somehow, happening in this instant— each time you play it. It's hard to think of another record so blessed with that mythical, alchemical musical 'timelessness.'

09
of 30
The Velvet Underground 'White Light/White Heat' (1968)

The Velvet Underground 'White Light/White Heat'
The Velvet Underground 'White Light/White Heat'. Verve

No other band earns two spots on the list, but no other band is The Velvet Underground. The infinitely-influential act are a unique historical proposition: after making an amazing debut, they completely reinvented themselves for their second LP, yet made something else —something different— just as amazing. Beating away the tender melancholia of And Nico, the combo found beauty in ugliness; pounding out ragged, raucous, saturated-in-feedback jams. But, rather than slowly flowering or reaching for a higher place, White Light/White Heat's jams grow more tense, more irritable, and more vicious as they go. It's New York street hustle turned into high-art; a band growing a menacing protective shell after a so-so reaction to their first album.

10
of 30
Silver Apples 'Silver Apples' (1968)

Silver Apples 'Silver Apples'
Silver Apples 'Silver Apples'. Kapp

Few albums —few careers, really— kick off with statements-of-intent as clear as "Oscillations," the opening track on the eponymous debut by New York outfit Silver Apples. The experimental duo were powered by the self-built synthesizer of Simeon Coxe III, who was more mad-inventor than simple songsmith. And, on "Oscillations," Coxe takes us into his audio world, beginning: "oscillations, oscillations/electronic evocations/of sound's reality." Silver Apples' highly-rhythmic drum/synth workouts were met with complete disinterest at the time; and the band broke up after 1970's Contact was permanently shelved by their label. Time has proved far more kind; Silver Apples now heralded as synthesizer sages whose music was years ahead of the curve.

11
of 30
Various 'Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis' (1968)

Various 'Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis'
Various 'Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis'. Philips

1968 was a watershed (counter-) cultural year for much of the globe, not least of all in Brazil. In rebellion to a military dictatorship, a crew of student provocateurs in Salvador —lead by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes— used musical transgression as a greater form of protest. Mongreling Brazilian popular music —the establishment's sound— with strains of Sgt. Pepper's, psychedelia, the Afro-Brazilian folk of the Brazilian North-East, and the people's music of bossa nova, these 'tropicalistas' blooded a new sound that stirred up a furore in its native land. Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis served as their manifesto: mixing experimentalism with sweeping orchestrations and archly-ironic lyrics in a stand of stylish defiance.

12
of 30
Gilberto Gil 'Gilberto Gil' (1968)

Gilberto Gil 'Gilberto Gil' (1968)
Gilberto Gil 'Gilberto Gil' (1968). Philips

Made at the same time as Tropicália, Gilberto Gil's second record —the first of his three self-titled LPs, oft clarified as 1968— found him collaborating with members of Os Mutantes and the orchestral overseer of tropicalismo, Rogério Duprat. Duprat dresses Gil's songs in flutters of woodwinds and sumptuous strings, giving a sense of orchestral grandeur to a suite of sambas delivered with a groovy rock'n'roll touch and marked with strange found-sound flourishes. Though 1968 ripples with sweetness and beauty —especially on the glorious "Êle Falava Nisso Todo Dia" and "Luzia Luluza"— it was proved too avant-garde for Brazil's ruling junta, who, in 1969, jailed Gil and his fellow tropicálista Caetano Veloso for being subversive influences.

13
of 30
Os Mutantes 'Os Mutantes' (1968)

Os Mutantes 'Os Mutantes' (1968)
Os Mutantes 'Os Mutantes' (1968). Polydor

None of Brazil's treasonous tropicalistas quite so mutated musical form as did Os Mutantes. Inspired by The Beatles' use of the studio as experimental tool, the outfit's outlandish debut LP is marked by manifold monkeyshines: overdriven guitars swamping a song in distortion, false endings fading in and out at random, traditional Afro-Portuguese rhythms broken down then brought back to Frankenstein-ish life. It's a longplaying monster as ridiculous as it is radical, as theatrical as it is musical. Authoring this freaky fusion of culture and genre, high-brow and low-brow, pop-song and experimentalism, it's as if Os Mutantes peered into the future; their hyper-modernist, genre-juggling, boundary-pushing pop still sounding utterly contemporary.

14
of 30
The United States of America 'The United States of America' (1968)

The United States of America 'The United States of America'
The United States of America 'The United States of America'. Columbia
The United States of America's name came loaded with irony: the band avant-gardists whose subversive politics were considered "treasonous" by their own (largely disinterested) label, Columbia. A crew of music scholars —students of modern composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen— who decided to try their hand at being in a rock'n'roll band, the USA were like no band ever seen. Electronic oscillations, ring modulator whine, scrapes of violin, and a circus calliope were amongst their bizarre bag of tricks. The crew's sole LP took their experimental approach to compositional extremes; songs herein —whilst sweetly sung by Dorothy Moskowitz— routinely assaulted by passages of white noise, eerie atmospheres, and cacophonous collage.

15
of 30
Pearls Before Swine 'Balaklava' (1968)

Pearls Before Swine 'Balaklava'
Pearls Before Swine 'Balaklava'. ESP-Disk
After discovering The Fugs, teenage Floridian poet Tom Rapp fired off a set of his eerie, psychedelic folksongs to ESP-Disk, and cut his first Pearls Before Swine LP, 1967's One Nation Underground, at just 19. At 21, he authored the mighty Balaklava, a parable on war steeped in horror, dread, and aching sadness at the conflict in Vietnam. Rapp marshals flutes, organs, strings, and eerie atmospheric effects on his songs, and rallies a variety of anti-war allies —a quote from Herodotus, text from Tolkein, lyrics from Leonard Cohen, a field-recording of Florence Nightingale— in support of their message. Throughout, Rapp's trembling, lisping voice stands stark naked; the songsmith sounding as if reduced to tears by man's inherent belligerence.

16
of 30
Tyrannosaurus Rex 'My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair...' (1968)

Tyrannosaurus Rex 'My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair...'
Tyrannosaurus Rex 'My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... but Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows'. Regal Zonophone

Veteran listeners were aghast when bearded freak-folk pin-up boy Devendra Banhart arrived in the mid-'00s, all ridiculous warble and flower-child mysticism. Banhart's shtick was a veritable facsimile of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the bizarre folkie beginnings for Marc Bolan. Bolan's cosmically-titled debut, My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... but Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, finds his swooping, screeching voice and guitar-flaying playing matched to zoned-out bongos; the whole sounding as if lost in a psychedelic, fairy-tale forest filled with magic mushrooms. Bolan would soon rebrand has band T. Rex, and find fame peddling glam-rock boogie, but in such success his strangeness —his uniqueness— was completely lost.

17
of 30
The Incredible String Band 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' (1968)

The Incredible String Band 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter'
The Incredible String Band 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter'. Elektra
You'd think having the blessing of the church would be anathema to counter-cultural credibility, but when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, calls the Incredible String Band's music "holy," he's onto something. On "A Very Cellular Song," the 13-minute centerpiece of their undoubted masterpiece, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, Mike Heron draws connections between all life forms, from the divine to the amoebic. Such musical pantheism draws broadly from religions —incorporating a Bahamian spiritual and a Sikh hymnal— and musics —featuring oud, gimbri, shenai, sitar, and panpipes— as it meanders ever further into strangeness. Decades before folk weirdness was vogue, these Scottish oddballs had already made it into high, holy art.

18
of 30
Shirley and Dolly Collins 'Anthems in Eden' (1969)

Shirley and Dolly Collins 'Anthems in Eden'
Shirley and Dolly Collins 'Anthems in Eden'. Harvest

Shirley Collins is the defining voice of the folk-revival; its purest practitioner, its spiritual sage, its most gracious —and, perhaps, greatest— presence. And Anthems in Eden is her undoubted magnum opus, a work of dizzying ambition, savage beauty, and cultural resonance. Its Side A is a single 28-minute work; a nine-part "Song-Story" that repositions a host of traditionals into a narrative charting the destructive effect of World War One casualties on rural England. Working with London's Early Music Consort, the song-cycle matches Collins' rough-hewn voice to archaic instruments called things like crumhorn, sackbut, sordun, and rackett. It's undeniably a product of '60s idealism, but Anthems in Eden sounds timeless, ancient, eternal.

19
of 30
Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left' (1969)

Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left'
Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left'. Island

The regal prince of folkie melancholy delivered his debut album with the decade dwindling, and he'd follow it up with two more tender, tortured LPs before dying, in 1974, at just 26. Five Leaves Left introduced the singular, near-perfect sound Nick Drake achieved across all three records; his honeyed croon and fingerpicking guitar dressed in the sumptuous orchestrations of Robert Kirby. The production, by studio sage Joe Boyd, makes everything sound warm and glistening, songs glowing like newly-blown glass. Despite Drake's youth, the album feels filled with resignation and regret; a lamentation born from a life of hard-earned wisdoms. He was barely 20 at the time, but Drake was, it seems, already in the autumnal years of his life.

20
of 30
Kevin Ayers 'Joy of a Toy' (1969)

Kevin Ayers 'Joy of a Toy'
Kevin Ayers 'Joy of a Toy'. Harvest
After a tour in which his band, Soft Machine, opened for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, eternal free-spirit Kevin Ayers —a close friend of legendary Pink Floyd recluse Syd Barrett— retreated to an Ibiza beach, and retired from music. Luckily, he found the freedom far too alluring, and in isolation authored the songs for his kooky debut solo LP, Joy of a Toy. Embracing the freedoms of being his own boss, Ayers peppered his purely-melodic folk-pop songs with whimsical influences drawn from free-jazz, avant-gardism, Malaysian folksong, psychedelia, circus music, English music-hall, and any other oddball audio source he wished. The record ended up serving as a blueprint for Elephant 6 outfits like Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal in the '90s.

21
of 30
Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)

Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)
Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969). Fontana

A veritable pop-star in his adopted homeland of England, Scott Walker —teen-pop pin-up turned television-variety-show host— took an artistic leap-of-faith on Scott 4, a commercially-disastrous masterwork that, in hindsight, shows an artist heading out into the artistic darkness. Heard with contemporary ears, the things that may've alienated listeners in its day —Walker's weird interpretive delivery, the uneasy orchestrations (which walk a fine line between cheesy and crazy), the strange, strained relationship between the emotionality of lyric and music, its lyrical obsession with imperfection— sound classical. This is a big, regal, important, near-operatic album from an era in which men —both figuratively and literally— shot for the stars.

22
of 30
Alexander 'Skip' Spence 'Oar' (1969)

Alexander 'Skip' Spence 'Oar' (1969)
Alexander 'Skip' Spence 'Oar' (1969). Columbia

Skip Spence's one-and-only album is the stuff of legend. Its mythology tells the tale of a Moby Grape guitarist whose heavy doses of LSD lead to a bout of schizophrenia, an attempt to kill a bandmate with a fire ax, and a stay in a mental hospital. There, he wrote a suite of songs, and, on release, used his solo-LP advance-money on a motorcycle, rode down to Nashville in his hospital pyjamas, then showed up to work day and night, playing every instrument himself on a set of veritable demos unpolished, strange, heavy on cheap echo, and utterly unhinged. Supposedly Columbia's worst-ever-selling record upon its release, Oar's off-the-deep-end take on blurred, disturbed Americana went on to become on of the great cult records anywhere, ever.

23
of 30
Brigitte Fontaine 'Comme à la Radio' (1969)

Brigitte Fontaine 'Comme à la Radio'
Brigitte Fontaine 'Comme à la Radio'. Saravah

In 1969, a French stage actress, an Algerian multi-instrumentalist, and a Chicago jazz quartet authored an experimental, exploratory, revolutionary attempt at redrawing musical parameters by fusing French chanson, North African folk, free jazz, and Western classical in sweet, strange, psychedelic songs. The first collaboration between fated foils Brigitte Fontaine and Areski Belkacem roped in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and together they cast a spell of magical creation. Though its various musical elements are all deconstructive —Fontaine breaking down traditional song-forms, Belkacem musical/cultural boundaries, the AEC jazz strictures— the LP builds a magnificent sense of togetherness, its every element contributing to the greater whole.

24
of 30
Higelin & Areski 'Higelin & Areski' (1969)

Higelin & Areski 'Higelin & Areski'
Higelin & Areski 'Higelin & Areski'. Saravah

Brigitte Fontaine's Comme à la Radio wasn't the only groundbreaking recording Areski Belkacem worked on in 1969. His collaboration with chanteur Jacques Higelin was just as radical; Belkacem positioning the vocalist's crooning in a series of minimalist, merely-hinted-at arrangements shocking in their utter starkness. For much of the pair's eponymous collaboration, Higelin's voice is presented the only melodic instrument, matched to an array of ethnomusical percussion bashed with interpretive irregularity. In part, Belkacem is drawing from his Algerian heritage, but, largely, he's working artfully with the concept of negative space; Higelin & Areski an album as defined by its deployments of silence as its uses of sound.

25
of 30
Nico 'The Marble Index' (1969)

Nico 'The Marble Index' (1969)
Nico 'The Marble Index' (1969). Elektra

Regarded as near-talentless muse through her work with The Velvet Underground and on her bizarro-chanteuse debut, 1967's Chelsea Girls, Nico showed herself to be a fearless, peerless artist on The Marble Index, which matched her deep, doleful, half-spoken vocals with the wheezy, creepy drones of a harmonium. Delivered with no percussion nor any kind of consistent rhythm, the LP feels wholly unmoored; feels rootless, formless, bodiless, worldless. With Nico's spectral singing evoking moaning ghosts, these sombre laments and brutal dirges float "close to the frozen borderline," that eerie realm between life and death. It's the perfect expression of a woman who, even whilst alive, seemed a lot like a ghost, already half-lost to the darkness.

26
of 30
The Stooges 'The Stooges' (1969)

The Stooges 'The Stooges'
The Stooges 'The Stooges'. Elektra

Modern listeners who've grown up with Iggy Pop as some eternal punk godfather, hearing "I Wanna Be Your Dog"'s one-note staccato-piano riff played only in a classic-rock-radio context, will possibly be shocked to hear "We Will Fall," the ten-minute centerpiece of The Stooges' self-titled '69 debut. As the viola of producer John Cale (the Velvet Underground's resident avant-gardist) wails in an unending drone, the band chant tribalist incantations, making for a mantra that proceeds at a slow crawl. This open-mindedness shows a band out to author their own take on rock'n'roll. They ended up writing a string of rifftastic classics —"No Fun," "Little Doll," "1969"— that have gone on to inspire innumerable rockbands, from punk founders onwards.

27
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Can 'Monster Movie' (1969)

Can 'Monster Movie'
Can 'Monster Movie'. Liberty

West Germany in the late-'60s found a fertile creative climate, a libertarian generation out to author a new culture unburdened from the sins of the past. This gave birth to a floodtide of early-'70s acts that became the krautrock movement. Can were the first to arrive; a band of sweaty, hairy dudes who, on stage, played exploratory jams inspired by free-jazz, and in the studio worked with a fastidious precision and the intent to explore the limits of magnetic tape. Can's essential duality is perfectly captured on "Yoo Doo Right," the legendary 20-minute cut that takes up the whole of Side B on their 1969 debut Monster Movie. Both funky rocksong and radical experimentation, it introduced a ferocious new outfit out to conquer new frontiers.

28
of 30
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band 'Trout Mask Replica' (1969)

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band 'Trout Mask Replica'
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band 'Trout Mask Replica'. Straight

Captain Beefheart's bizarre monsterwork of cut-up recontextualization and rampant Dadaism has long been one of the fringe's most persistently puzzling discs. The double LP finds Beefheart —Californian conceptualist and dictatorial savant Don Van Vliet— dealing almost entirely in atonalism and arrhythmia, his Magic Band —a crew of crack musicians so well-drilled it bordered on torture— exploding blues form and assembling the pieces together in a splattered, scattershot fashion inspired by free-jazz seer Ornette Coleman. For many, Trout Mask Replica will be the definition of difficult listening, but its fearlessly 'out' playing has proved infinitely influential, whole movements —no-wave, post-punk, noise-rock— owing the set an obvious debt.

29
of 30
Cromagnon 'Orgasm' (1969)

Cromagnon 'Orgasm'
Cromagnon 'Orgasm'. ESP-Disk

What must it have been like to hear Orgasm, the sole album for New Yorker noiseniks Cromagnon, in 1969? What reference points were there for a record that sounds, over four decades on, like some genre-splattering mash-up of the digital age? These days, you can interpret Orgasm as blending black metal, Celtic folk, industrial noise, and neo-primitivism together, can see this LP as some spiritual antecedent of Einstürzende Neubauten, Royal Trux, Wolf Eyes, Liars, early Animal Collective, and countless other purveyors of abject audio terrorism. But when it came out? What did people think? Luckily enough, no one seems to have actually heard Orgasm in its day, making it no casualty of history, but glimpse of the future.

30
of 30
The Shaggs 'Philosophy of the World' (1969)

The Shaggs 'Philosophy of the World'
The Shaggs 'Philosophy of the World'. Third World Records

Though completely unknown in its day, Philosophy of the World has since been celebrated in two divergent ways: as both work of outsider-art weirdness, and as one of the worst records ever made. A trio of sisters from small-town New Hampshire, The Shaggs were the brainchild of one of history's most monomaniacal stage-parents, Austin Wiggin. Despite the obvious absence of musical ability in his offspring, Wiggin pushed them to start a band, play weekly, and make an LP. Said record adheres to no known logic, follows no familiar rhyme nor meter. Its guitars are out of time and out of tune, its melodies haphazard, its lyrics bizarrely bland. It is undoubtedly painful to listen to. And up to you to work out whether that's good, bad, or both.