Seven musical artists who turned in exquisite five-album runs

These five-album runs are not to be missed.
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Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
The River (1980)
Nebraska (1982)
Born in the USA (1984)
Tunnel of Love (1987)

Springsteen has the greatest first eight albums in all of rock & roll and the only real question is which five to choose. I’m skipping the first three so that I can end with Tunnel of Love, his most underrated album. That means excluding the huge breakthrough – Born to Run – which landed him on magazine covers and proved to the world that of all the “new Dylans,” this was the one who would carve out his own remarkable path.

Darkness is tortured – both in its songs and in its production. But the results are overwhelming. The River was his first number-one album and yielded his first top-ten hit - “Hungry Heart.” It may be the weakest of the albums in this run, but that’s only because it is the only double album, and there is naturally going to be a little bit of filler.

Springsteen didn’t succumb to the impulse to release his next two discs as a double album. Though much of Born in the USA was composed at the same time as Nebraska, Springsteen and producer Jon Landau correctly recognized that half of his new songs were best suited for a lone voice and guitar, while others needed a full-out band treatment. Nebraska became his most personal and influential recording. Born in the USA became his monster hit. Tunnel of Love is as deep, mysterious, and heartfelt as any rock album examination of love is likely to get.