100 Greatest Albums of 1981

Criteria: These 1981 albums were chosen for their initial and lasting popularity and their influence and impact on rock music in general. Also considered is critical acclaim. The list includes rock and roll and related genres that were influential on rock music.

Note: Yearly album lists go by earliest 'release date'. Not necessarily the year an album peaked in the U.S. charts.

1. Beauty And The Beat
The Go-Go's
2. Dare!
The Human League
3. Ghost In The Machine
The Police
4. Moving Pictures
5. Tattoo You
Rolling Stones
6. Damaged
Black Flag
7. My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
Brian Eno & David Byrne
8. Escape
9. 4
10. Private Eyes
Hall & Oates
11. Wild Gift
12. Face Value
Phil Collins
13. Bella Donna
Stevie Nicks
14. Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Soft Cell
15. No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith
16. Street Songs
Rick James
17. Computer World
18. Don't Say No
Billy Squier
19. Freeze-Frame
J. Geils Band
20. I Love Rock 'n' Roll
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
21. Abacab
22. Face Dances
The Who
23. Discipline
King Crimson
24. Paradise Theater
25. For Those About To Rock We Salute You
26. Get Lucky
27. Long Distance Voyager
Moody Blues
28. The Stray Cats
The Stray Cats
29. Working Class Dog
Rick Springfield
30. Precious Time
Pat Benatar
31. Never Too Much
Luther Vandross
32. Penthouse And Pavement
Heaven 17
33. Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
.38 Special
34. Tonight I'm Yours
Rod Stewart
35. Nightclubbing
Grace Jones
36. Breakin' Away
Al Jarreau
37. The Dude
Quincy Jones
38. Duran Duran
Duran Duran
39. Welcome To Hell
40. Mistaken Identity
Kim Carnes
41. Raise!
Earth Wind & Fire
42. Tin Drum
43. Diary Of A Madman
Ozzy Osbourne
44. Hard Promises
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
45. The Many Facets Of Roger
46. The Innocent Age
Dan Fogelberg
47. East Side Story
48. Tom Tom Club
Tom Tom Club
49. New Traditionalists
50. Fire Of Love
The Gun Club

51. Why Do Fools Fall In Love
Diana Ross
52. Trust
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
53. Killers
Iron Maiden
54. Talk Talk Talk
The Psychedelic Furs
55. Fiyo On The Bayou
The Neville Brothers
56. Exit...Stage Left
57. Heaven Up Here
Echo & The Bunnymen
58. High 'n' Dry
Def Leppard
59. Being With You
Smokey Robinson
60. Give The People What They Want
The Kinks
61. Fair Warning
Van Halen
62. Solid Gold
Gang Of Four
63. In The Pocket
The Commodores
64. Shake It Up
The Cars
65. Pirates
Rickie Lee Jones
66. Something Special
Kool & The Gang
67. The Blasters
The Blasters
68. Stands For Decibels
The dBs
69. Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive
Joe Jackson
70. October
71. Shot Of Love
Bob Dylan
72. Songs In The Attic
Billy Joel
73. Quarterflash
74. Worlds Apart
75. The Time
The Time
76. Time
Electric Light Orchestra
77. Youth Of America
The Wipers
78. Standing Hampton
Sammy Hagar
79. Dad Loves His Work
James Taylor
80. Live In New Orleans
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly
81. Prayers On Fire
The Birthday Party
82. Allied Forces
83. Skyy Line
84. Zebop!
85. Live
The Jacksons
86. The Visitors
87. Fire Of Unknown Origin
Blue Öyster Cult
88. Law And Order
Lindsey Buckingham
89. Love Is Where You Find It
The Whispers
90. Take My Time/Sheena Easton
Sheena Easton
91. Kim Wilde
Kim Wilde
92. Too Fast For Love
Mötley Crüe
93. Nine Tonight
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
94. Black & White
The Pointer Sisters
95. The Nature Of The Beast
April Wine
96. El Loco
ZZ Top
97. What Cha' Gonna Do For Me
Chaka Khan
98. Modern Times
Jefferson Starship
99. The Completion Backward Principle
The Tubes
100. Mob Rules
Black Sabbath
DigitalDreamDoor Editor Picks for 1981
Brett's choice - An unheralded great album from 1981
* The Keys Album
The Keys

Bruce's choice:
* Polecats Are Go!
The Polecats

Brian's choice:
* Wha'ppen?
The (English) Beat

Ryan's choice:
* The Only Fun In Town
Josef K.
1980   |   1982