5 All-Time Classic Albums Released in the Month of July

July has been a good month for rock and roll. It’s not only the birth month for several classic albums, but also a career-saving moment for some of rock’s most iconic musicians.

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The history of music is filled with tragedy, but also triumph. Rock and roll is the underdog genre where a group of friends with guitars can change the world.

Each of the July albums below deserves to be played at a supremely high volume. Is there any other way to listen to Iggy Pop or Angus Young but loud?

Behold five classic albums released in July. A thousand lights look at you.

Closer by Joy Division (July 18, 1980)

Joy Division’s second and final studio album became a touchstone of post-punk. Singer Ian Curtis died by suicide in May 1980 just as the band was scheduled to tour North America for the first time.  

Following Curtis’ death, Factory Records released “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a non-album single. Closer followed a month later marking a tragic end to the highly influential band.

The remaining members—Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris—formed New Order, whose influential and iconic sound evolved from post-punk to electronic music. New Order is an accidental triumph formed from the chaos of Joy Division’s tragic end.

Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac (July 11, 1975)

A few albums on this list involve reinventions. Fleetwood Mac’s 10th studio album is the first to feature Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. After moving from England to California, the band experienced yet another lineup change. Following Bob Welch’s departure, producer Keith Olsen introduced Mick Fleetwood to Buckingham.

Buckingham convinced Fleetwood to hire Nicks as well and the new lineup became the band’s most successful. Nicks wrote and sang “Landslide” and “Rhiannon,” two of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular songs.

Fun House by The Stooges (July 7, 1970)

The Stooges’ second album opens with the garage rock jam “Down on the Street.” Though Fun House wasn’t a commercial success, Iggy Pop and his band created a proto-punk classic that shaped Rage Against the Machine, Jack White, Steve Albini, and Joey Ramone.

Without Fun House, the punk rock sounds that emerged from CBGB in New York might have sounded very different. Jack White said the album was “by proxy the definitive rock album of America.” Come on!

Foo Fighters by Foo Fighters (July 4, 1995)

In the aftermath of Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, Dave Grohl quietly recorded a collection of songs and labeled the cassette Foo Fighters to hide his identity. Capitol Records signed “the band” and Grohl then assembled a group of musicians to tour the self-titled album.

The debut features Foo Fighters’ classics “This Is a Call,” “Big Me,” and “I’ll Stick Around,” and remains one of the group’s best-selling albums. Grohl, as Nirvana’s drummer, backed Kurt Cobain, whose songwriting changed popular music. He’s since spent the past three decades singing in front of sold-out stadiums.

Back in Black by AC/DC (July 25, 1980)

AC/DC’s sixth studio album Highway to Hell in 1979 was a commercial breakthrough for the group. However, tragedy soon followed as lead singer Bon Scott died after a night of binge drinking in London.

Producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange suggested singer Brian Johnson, who fronted a British rock band called Geordie. The new lineup recorded Back in Black between April and May 1980 while Johnson was thrust into a new environment, having to adjust to Lange’s obsessive production style.

Back in Black became the fourth best-selling album in the United States and is widely considered one of the greatest rock albums in history. AC/DC’s tragedy fueled a masterpiece.

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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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