3 Eternal Classic Rock Operas

In the 1960s and 1970s, the rock opera concept album was a thing of beauty. Some of the greatest musical minds focused on creating records that not only boasted incredible songs but ones that had cohesive narratives throughout. Albums with characters, long storylines and themes that were specific and continuous. Where has that ambition gone?

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Either way, here below, we wanted to highlight a trio of terrific classic rock operas. Three records from some of the biggest names in music that hit hard not only in the music but in the elaborate stories they tell. Indeed, these are three eternal classic rock rock operas.

[RELATED: 4 of the Most Underrated Classic Rock Singers of All Time]

The Wall by Pink Floyd (1979)

This 26-track rock opera focuses on the character Pink, who builds a metaphorical wall, isolating him from negative (and incessant) social influence. In 1982, the album was turned into a film. The Wall was also the final album to feature the original Pink Floyd quartet, as keyboardist Richard Wright was fired midway during production. Inspired while the band was on their 1977 In the Flesh Tour, the album’s main character is a hybrid of the band’s Roger Waters and original co-founder Syd Barrett, who struggled with mental health issues later in life. The album features some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Comfortably Numb.”

Tommy by The Who (1969)

This 24-track album from The Who is about the titular character Tommy, a “deaf, dumb, and blind” boy who also happens to be a pinball genius. The album follows Tommy throughout his life, from boyhood through adulthood, as he deals with some unspeakable abuse and triumphant accomplishments. The album was later turned into a movie in 1975, featuring Eric Clapton, Tina Turner and Elton John. Seminal tracks from the LP include “The Acid Queen” and “Pinball Wizard.”

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie (1972)

This 11-track album from David Bowie focuses on a bisexual alien rocker from outer space who comes to Earth in an attempt to save or enlighten the planet through music before an oncoming apocalyptic disaster. For several years, Bowie dressed as the androgynous character with full makeup and mullet haircut. It’s since become likely his most iconic look. Backed by his Spiders from Mars band, the album features iconic songs like “Moonage Daydream” and “Starman.”

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