Ahhh, the double album. It wasn’t always just for greatest hits packages and live releases. Yes, there was a time when these twin-plates were the format of choice for musicians with a lot of material and a lot to say. The results were usually sprawling opuses, packed to the brim with epic tracks. Sure we record buyers had to shell out a little extra cash, but we didn’t care. In fact, we felt spoiled: We were being treated to TWO new records by our favorite artist instead of just one!
We have Bob Dylan to thank for the rise of the double disc, becoming the first major pop artist to use it when he cut Blonde On Blonde in’66. Clearly this guy had a problem with time limitations; a year earlier he issued “Like A Rolling Stone,” the longest single ever released up to that point. By breaking through the barrier and giving music space to spread out, he helped expand the form of rock, making it more than just discs full of ordinary two-and-a-half-minute pop songs. It could be long sprawling instrumentals (even drum solos), rock operas, avant garde freakouts, or….anything, really!
In this digital age when everything seems aimed for the MP3 market, double albums are starting to fall out of favor. And that kind of bums us out a little bit. So we’d like to take a minute and look back to a time when the double discs were king. Head up to the gallery above to see the RIAA certified best-selling original (no greatest hits, soundtracks, live or compilation) double albums of all time! Consider it our Ode to the Double Disc. Enjoy!