Love him or hate him, Bob Rock is one of the most important producers of the last three decades, helping produce some of the…actually the biggest album of the Soundscan Era. Love it or not, but 1991’s self-titled album, also known as “The Black Album”, is that album. He worked on multiple albums by Metallica, Motley Crue, The Cult and Bon Jovi, as well as Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation. He’s also worked with artists like The Offspring, 311, Bush, Loverboy, Skid Row, Little Caesar, Electric Boys, Quireboys, Black Veil Brides, The Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, Michael Bublé, and Cher. This list could have been made up of just albums by Metallica, The Cult and Motley Crue, but I thought better of it, and much like the Martin Birch article, it was hard to just choose one album by each of these artists. With that said, there are also albums by artists that people may say “how could you leave that off?”, some of these albums aren’t on the list because I just wasn’t into the band, or radio has just killed an album for me. In any event, I encourage people to debate the list below.
10. The Tea Party – Seven Circles – A band recommended to me by the legendary Gene Hoglan, take Led Zeppelin and mix it with stoner rock, hard rock, radio rock, middle eastern overtones and some simply sick melodies, and that’s what you get from The Tea Party. They are far from a one dimensional band, and Rock was able to channel what the band does on this 2004 release.
9. Kingdom Come – Kingdom Come – A band that I have written about in the past here on Talking Rock. The band in my opinion did not get a fair shake, but to each their own. An album that contained more than Zeppelin influenced material, a shame this lineup didn’t carry on past the following the album.
8. Veruca Salt – Eight Arms To Hold You – You can argue whether the band’s transition for American Thighs dirty, minimalist raw alternative rock sound to the more slickly produced rock album by Rock is better, or the right move by the band. But you can’t deny he was able to get a huge sound out of the band on their one big radio hit off of the album “Volcano Girls”.
7. Krokus – The Blitz – Ok, I’m cheating, Rock was one of the engineers on this album, not the producer. This is still a great album, the track “Midnight Maniac” was huge back in the day, I would argue that it’s one of the biggest hard rock songs by a Swiss artist to ever grace MTV, US radio, etc. Their cover of “Ballroom Blitz” also received a ton of airplay.
6. David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough – The what if album for DLR, this is the one album Jason Becker recorded with Roth, before ALS began to cripple the virtuoso. Had the disease not have taken over, could they have forged a song writing tandem like Roth had with Steve Vai? There are some hidden gems on this album that unfortunately Roth forgot about a long time ago, but Rock was able to get the best possible performance out of everyone, given the situation.
5. Joan Jett – Sinner – Possibly Jett’s heaviest album, definitely influenced by the 90s, dyed hair, piercings, and a lot rawer than the polished 80s radio hits Jett had released. That said, the album is also chalked full of the melodies and rock and roll badassery you’ve come to know from Jett. A credit to Rock that the album walks the tightrope between feeling it is less produced, it feels like a very live album, like it was jammed out in the studio.
4. Blue Murder – Blue Murder – Here’s an album that I would love to hear remastered, it is legendary, there are so many rumors about it, but the final product is one of the best things I’ve ever heard. The mix of John Sykes, Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice was like catching lightning in a bottle. This album from start to finish does not have a weak song on it, and I still listen to it quite frequently.
3. Metallica – Load – Let the shit storm begin! I love a lot of this album, and I honestly don’t care for much of Reload, I wish they would have combined both because there are elements/tracks of both that I could do without. As huge as “The Black Album” is, this is my list, and my weird taste in music, feel free to debate below. Load is a great hard rock album, it isn’t thrash, it isn’t groundbreaking like first four albums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it just the same. People were busy worrying about their hair cuts, piercings and guyliner to actually jump into the album’s content. No matter what album the band released, it was going to be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
2. Motley Crue – Motley Crue – Much like any other lead singer debate, you have the fan base split on whether this album is genius, their best album or “I want Vince back”. This to me is the only post Theater Of Pain album that comes close to comparing to this first three albums by the band. It is the most musically complex album by the band, thanks in part to John Corabi being able to play guitar on pretty much every track on the album, allowing Mick Mars to do things he had never been able to do before or since on a Crue album. Rock’s ability to corral the four members of the band, and push them further than before is clearly demonstrated on the album.
1. The Cult – Beyond Good And Evil – This is my favorite album by the band, and one of my favorite albums of all time. It is heavy, dense, and on fire from start to finish. A lot of people haven’t checked this album out, because in their eyes nothing will top Love, Electric or Sonic Temple, and although all of those albums have great tracks on them, none of them sound as good as this album does. I’ve converted more than one fan that was skeptical about how solid this album really is.