The BEST episodes of Classic Albums

Every episode of Classic Albums ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Classic Albums!

Classic Albums celebrates the making of the greatest albums in music. Each film features interviews with band members and producers discussing the creation of the recordings.

Last Updated: 1/19/2023Network:Sky Arts
Share:
The Doors: Morrison Hotel
star
10.00
1 votes

#1 - The Doors: Morrison Hotel

Season 13 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/1/2021

A look at the American rockers' fifth studio album. It saw them return to their blues-rock style and earned them their highest charting album in the UK.

Watch Now:Amazon
Frank Zappa: Over-Nite Sensation/Apostrophe
star
9.67
33 votes

#2 - Frank Zappa: Over-Nite Sensation/Apostrophe

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/1/2007

More accurately, "Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation/Apostrophe", as this rockumentary covers both releases. The rationale is that both were recorded about the same time, with the same musicians in the same style, and feature Zappa at his most accessible. Dweezil Zappa is at the studio console to peel off the many layers of tracks, and along with some live vintage concert footage we hear from Alice Cooper, Billy Bob Thornton, and members of the band, some of whom perform currently as Zappa Plays Zappa.

Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
star
9.50
2 votes

#3 - Amy Winehouse: Back to Black

Season 11 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/14/2018

Series looking at the creation of some classic rock albums looks at Amy Winehouse's second album Back To Black from 2006 and how it transformed the beehived girl from north London into a global star, with hits like Rehab, the title track and Love Is A Losing Game. Back to Black helped launch a wave of soul-influenced British chanteuses including Adele and Duffy and has since sold over 20 million copies. This film reveals Amy Winehouse the artist, focusing firmly on her lyrics, influences and vocal talents. Using unseen footage from the Miami and New York sessions and rarely seen archive of Amy in interview and performance, producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi and their respective musicians shine a light into the making of Back to Black and offer their firsthand accounts of Amy's genius and her emotional turmoil. Featuring producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, the Dap-Kings band, Amy's colleagues and friends, Island president and A&R director Darcus Beese and Ronnie Spector.

Nirvana: Nevermind
star
9.29
68 votes

#4 - Nirvana: Nevermind

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 2/18/2005

In 1991 Nirvana’s Nevermind, with the songs of Kurt Cobain, changed the music business without compromise, record company hype or media overkill. The album replaced Michael Jackson at the top of the American charts and so began a rapid rise to international superstardom for the band. This is the story of how Nirvana came to record Nevermind and the effect the record had on the music world and on the band themselves. It offers an insight into the songwriting genius of Kurt Cobain and reveals why Nevermind remains a milestone in rock history.

Directors: Bob Smeaton
Watch Now:Amazon
Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast
star
9.24
66 votes

#5 - Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/1/2001

Iron Maiden has been both criticized and praised for their unforgiving presentation of hard rock. This album took them to worldwide stardom, and awoke accusations of backward masking, subliminal messages, and Satanism. Producer Martin Birch dissects the master tapes with the five band members, who discuss the writing and recording of each song, while looking for the 'hidden' elements.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Doors: The Doors
star
8.92
61 votes

#6 - The Doors: The Doors

Season 8 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/14/2008

The Making of the Doors' Debut Album traces the history of the revolutionary 1967 album in a 90-minute package that features live footage and in-depth interviews with the three surviving band members members -- keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Kreiger and drummer John Densmore -- as they demonstrate the unique musical stylings that contributed to the making of this pivotal album. Others interviewed include engineer Bruce Botnick, and Doors-influenced musicians Henry Rollins and Perry Farrell.

Watch Now:Amazon
Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon
star
8.90
97 votes

#7 - Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/6/2006

Engineers Chris Thomas and Alan Parsons peel layers off the master tapes from this 1973 masterpiece. The songs are dissected methodically, and Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Rick Wright are on hand, (though separately), to demonstrate how simplistic some of the writing was.

Watch Now:Amazon
Deep Purple: Machine Head
star
8.89
90 votes

#8 - Deep Purple: Machine Head

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/27/2002

The 1972 early metal classic is examined here. After a brief recount of Deep Purple's history prior, all five members of the group from that time recount the making of the album, and Jon Lord, Richie Blackmore, and Roger Glover isolate some of their parts, and play along live. Engineer Martin Birch also lends a hand, describing how the instrumental sounds were produced.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Queen: A Night At The Opera
star
8.80
35 votes

#9 - Queen: A Night At The Opera

Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/17/2006

The musicianship that went into one of rock's premier achievements is examined. Surviving members Brian May and Roger Taylor talk about Freddie Mercury's contributions, and producer Roy Thomas Baker shows us some isolated channels from the master tapes. Also commentary from Joe Perry and Ian Hunter is included.

Watch Now:Amazon
Def Leppard: Hysteria
star
8.65
91 votes

#10 - Def Leppard: Hysteria

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/7/2003

Def Leppard labored for more than a year to record this, their follow-up to 'Pyromania'. Producer Mutt Lange and the group describe track by track what went into the writing, rehearsing, and recording. Layers are peeled away at the mixing board as we see and hear how their vocal sound, guitar effects, and drums are engineered. Also, they play acoustic versions of two of their biggest hits from the record. As a bonus, an early rendition of 'Love Bites', which thankfully was given a complete overhaul, is presented.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Metallica: Metallica (Black Album)
star
8.62
97 votes

#11 - Metallica: Metallica (Black Album)

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 11/13/2001

Metallica's 12 million selling breakthrough album is examined in depth. Taped at One on One Studios, where it was recorded, Producer Bob Rock, along with all four band members, discuss the making of each song, and how they polished their sound to command a wider audience.

Watch Now:Amazon
Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures
star
8.50
2 votes

#12 - Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures

Season 9 - Episode 3 - Aired 6/26/2010

The latest addition to the acclaimed & award winning Classic Albums series tells the story behind the making of two legendary albums from Rush. "2112" was the album that saw Rush break through to major chart success, going to No.1 in their native Canada and Top 75 in the USA where it would eventually be certified triple platinum. "Moving Pictures" opened them to a mass audience for the first time and remains the biggest selling album of their career. It also went to No.1 in Canada and went quadruple platinum there while hitting No.3 in both the UK and USA. Rush members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart talk us through the making of the albums, together with original producer Terry Brown via interviews, demonstrations, archive videos and use of the original multi-track tapes.

Watch Now:Amazon
Black Sabbath: Paranoid
star
8.00
9 votes

#13 - Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Season 9 - Episode 1 - Aired 5/1/2010

Watch Now:Amazon
The Who Sell Out
star
8.00
1 votes

#14 - The Who Sell Out

Season 13 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/23/2021

The Who Sell Out: Set to be re-released in 2021, this is an in-depth look at the acclaimed concept album by the iconic rockers, first released in 1967.

Watch Now:Amazon
Cream: Disraeli Gears
star
8.00
8 votes

#15 - Cream: Disraeli Gears

Season 6 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/3/2006

Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton are interviewed in the studio for a track by track analysis of their 1967 classic. Each of them play acoustically, including Bruce on the piano, and some archival footage is presented. Lyricist Peter Brown discusses the creative process for 'Sunshine Of Your Love', among other things.

Watch Now:Amazon
Phil Collins: Face Value
star
7.94
34 votes

#16 - Phil Collins: Face Value

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/2/1999

Phil's first solo album, which launched his career outside of Genesis, is examined here. Engineer Hugh Padgham peels the layers of sound back, and Phil explains how the lyrics to many of the songs wrote themselves, as he was going through a bitter divorce. Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Darrell Stuermer are on hand, and many of the studio musicians who contributed are seen as they describe working with Phil.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Sex Pistols: Never Mind The Bollocks
star
7.92
38 votes

#17 - The Sex Pistols: Never Mind The Bollocks

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/26/2002

The Sex Pistols only released one album before breaking up, but it set off the punk movement, and turned the British music industry on its head. Featuring interviews with John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), Steve Jones and Paul Cook, plus original bassist Glen Matlock, along with producer Chris Thomas, Classic Albums looks at the way it was written and recorded. Also shown is some rare television footage from that time, and some concert performances by the groundbreaking band.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Simply Red: Stars
star
7.91
64 votes

#18 - Simply Red: Stars

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/7/2005

Simply Red, the loosely based group of musicians led by Mick Hucknall, take us into the studio to examine the making of this album. While not as commercially successful in the US, it was the biggest selling album in the UK in 1991, and shipped 8.5 million copies worldwide. The musicians who were with the group at that time runite and take us through the tracks. Included is an interview with songwriting legend Lamont Dozier.

Watch Now:Amazon
Elton John: Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road
star
7.72
40 votes

#19 - Elton John: Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/6/2001

Elton John, along with some of his past and present band members discuss the creation of his opus, 'Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road'. Producer Gus Dudgeon and engineer David Henschel pull up some of the original multi-tracks, and demonstrate how the music was played and sang. Bernie Taupin is also on hand to describe his lyric writing, and some rare footage of rehearsals, and photos shot in the studio, are presented.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Band: The Band
star
7.67
3 votes

#20 - The Band: The Band

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 4/17/1997

Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson discuss the making of their classic 1969 release. Each member explains how they achieved their distinct sound, with all of them often switching instruments. We hear from Eric Clapton and George Harrison on the influence the record had. Also included is a tribute to suicide victim Richard Manuel.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair
star
7.67
6 votes

#21 - Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair

Season 12 - Episode 1 - Aired 2/14/2020

Documentary that explores the creation of the seminal, second album by Tears for Fears. Songs from the Big Chair took the gothic synth-pop foundations of the band and combined them with arena-ready anthems, leading to critical acclaim and three international hit singles, Mothers Talk, Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World. This documentary, made with the full cooperation of the band, explores how the album was recorded and how the band left their indelible imprint on new wave music.

Watch Now:Amazon
Duran Duran: Rio
star
7.67
90 votes

#22 - Duran Duran: Rio

Season 8 - Episode 3 - Aired 11/22/2008

Tells the story behind the writing, recording and subsequent success of Rio through interviews, musical demonstrations, and archive footage. Original band members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor are all interviewed along with director Russell Mulchay, former manager Paul Berrow, journalist Beverley Glick, designer Antony Price and Bob Geldolf amongst others.

Watch Now:Amazon
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
star
7.51
65 votes

#23 - Fleetwood Mac: Rumours

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 7/22/1997

The band's Grammy-winning 1977 album is given the Classic Albums treatment. We hear from all the band members, and technicians who worked on the project. Each track is examined and the master tapes are analysed. Included is some archival performance footage, along with some home movies.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
star
7.50
2 votes

#24 - The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds

Season 9 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/19/2010

This edition of the series celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of Brian Wilson's masterpiece, the Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds. Wilson and the surviving members of the Beach Boys - Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks - guide us through the writing and recording of the landmark album that is consistently voted one of the top three most influential albums of all time. Featuring exclusive interviews, classic archive and rare studio outtakes from the recording sessions, the film tells the story of the creation of the record that cemented the Beach Boys' reputation as a leading force to rival the Beatles, and Brian Wilson as a songwriting genius.

Watch Now:Amazon
John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band
star
7.50
4 votes

#25 - John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band

Season 8 - Episode 2 - Aired 6/24/2008

Classic Albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band examines in detail the creation of this album and the effect it had on music, and the people who created it. This included Ringo Starr on drums, Klaus Voormann (a member of Manfred Mann, and old friend from the early Hamburg years of the Beatles) on bass, and Billy Preston; sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle on piano. And of course Lennon himself on guitar.

Watch Now:Amazon

Want to see the rest of the rankings?

Episode Ninja is a small business run by one person.
Pro memberships help fund servers and new feature development!