15 epic and influential American rock albums from 1969

These 15 rock masterpieces were the best albums from rock in the final year of the 1960s.
Creedence Clearwater Revival in concert
Creedence Clearwater Revival in concert / Michael Putland/GettyImages
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By 1969, rock had evolved from the tingy guitars of the 1950s to a voluminous and bombastic sound of the beginning of metal. In 10 years, the genre had gone from Buddy Holly to Led Zeppelin. Big changes were afoot.

In the final year of the 1960s, a wide array of artists delivered an impressive collection of classic albums that made 1969 one of the best years in music history.

Rock and roll was likely the most popular genre globally by this time, especially among Western listeners. As such, some of the best albums of the year came from that genre of music – both stateside and across the pond in England.

These 15 albums from US bands prove 1969 was one of the best years in rock

Though 1969 had its fair share of albums from multiple genres that have held up since their release, these 15 rock albums from the U.S., which are celebrating their 55th anniversary this year, are clearly among the best. Read on to explore the 15 finest US rock albums from the final year of the 1960s.

15. The Stooges – The Stooges

A raw and exciting listen that keeps you intrigued throughout, this album is highlighted by the seminal "I Wanna Be Your Dog", which is a proto-punk stomper that predated that genre by nearly a decade.

The album is also home to strange, chanted vocals on the ten-minute long "We Will Fall," which is a highly unusual and hypnotic, paleolithic-sounding dirge, and it sounds especially jarring when sandwiched in between two of the group's best-known songs: the aforementioned "Dog" and "No Fun," which is a showcase of Iggy Pop's singular vocal stylings. Influential and still engaging.

14. Four Sail – Love

Strong guitar parts and interesting, idiosyncratic melodies and arrangements sound very unlike anything on this album’s seminal predecessor Forever Changes – and that is very much by design, as Love’s frontman and lead songwriter Arthur Lee set out to write something completely new and unlike his prior work with the group.

As such, the album still sounds highly original and fresh 55 years after release, with only the flashy guitar solos giving this away as a rock album from the late 1960s. Otherwise, songs such as "I'm With You" sound like something an indie group from the early 2000s might produce. Terrific stuff.