Uncut’s 100 best debut albums

From Elvis to Eminem, Arctic Monkeys to Zeppelin… we give you the greatest debuts

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19 THE SEX PISTOLS
Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977)
The most feverishly-anticipated LP of all time, how could Bollocks live up to the raging hype? By delivering the definitive soundtrack to punk. Its obnoxious brilliance made it near-immune to criticism, with producer Chris Thomas mining wall-of-sound gold from the chaos.
Best track: “Bodies”
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18 PATTI SMITH
Horses (1975)
Smith, a respected poet, eschewed punk’s Year Zero-ism, evoking instead Dylanesque visions and employing tough basic rock, adding a visceral female sensibility with no precedent.
Best track: “Kimberly”
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17 THE BEATLES
Please Please Me (1963)
A detonation more than a debut. Recorded in 10 hours, the eight Lennon-McCartney originals threw down a songwriting gauntlet to every group that followed.
Best track: “Please Please Me”
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16 NEW YORK DOLLS
New York Dolls (1973)
The Dolls gave ’70s US rock a lipstick-smeared kiss of life, mixing the trash aesthetic of Bolan and warped world view of Lou Reed with a healthy dose of nihilism. Somewhere, Malcolm McLaren was listening…
Best track: “Jet Boy”
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15 THE ROLLING STONES
The Rolling Stones (1964)
The Beatles’ 50-week reign at the top of the UK charts was broken by this raw, brash collection of R’n’B covers (plus Jagger-Richards’ plaintive “Tell Me”) that started the groups’ rivalry as stylistic leaders.
Best track: “Not Fade Away”
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14 PINK FLOYD
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
Syd Barrett’s only complete Floyd album, his influence is clear in the fairytale-ish whimsy that envelops the material. Piper is textbook Brit psychedelia: weird, ingenious pop songs; freewheeling instrumentals crammed with experiments in dissonance and feedback.
Best track: “Interstellar Overdrive”
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13 THE BYRDS
Mr Tambourine Man (1965)
The darlings of Sunset Strip melded The Beatles, Dylan and Bach into glorious, folk-rock heaven. Jim (later Roger) McGuinn’s Rickenbacker became the definitive sound of mid-’60s LA, while the tiered harmonies and Gene Clark’s songwriting established The Byrds as the first US band to seriously threaten the dominance of the Fabs themselves.
Best track: “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”
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12 RAMONES
Ramones (1976)
Ramones reduced rock to basics: leather jackets, solo-less riffs, lyrics torn from True Confessions. It was at once brilliant and dumb. Without it, claimed Joe Strummer, there would’ve been no UK punk.
Best track: “53rd And 3rd”
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11 THE WHO
My Generation (1965)
With its pillhead stutter, “My Generation” was the ultimate disaffected teen anthem, but its originality lay more in the sound – raw, brittle R’n’B drenched in Townshend’s squealing feedback.
Best track: “The Kids Are Alright”
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10 THE STOOGES
The Stooges (1969)
Drawing on British R’n’B, US garage rock and psych, The Stooges was a work of frenzied unease enhanced by John Cale’s production. Released in the same week as Woodstock, this record finally killed the ’60s.
Best track: “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
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9 ROXY MUSIC
Roxy Music (1972)
Roxy arrived fully formed, like a sci-fi group from the 1950s or a nostalgia act from the future. On “Virginia Plain”, the band had married Bryan Ferry’s knowing pop classicism with Brian Eno and Andy Mackay’s avant-garde sensibilities. The LP outstripped it, fusing Hollywood glamour, elegant disenchantment and art-pop wit.
Best track: “Re-make/Re-model”

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