The 10 Best Album Productions of All Time

A Listmania! list by Jason R. Conger (Tampa, FL USA)
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The list author says: "Everybody loves an album that sounds good. A great album needs more than great lyrics, great playing, and great vocals to be great. It also has to SOUND great. Some bands are hurt by great production; AC/DC and The Ramones come immediately to mind. However, most bands benefit from it. The productions on my list made it either because of how great they sound(#1-8) or because of ideas that the producers had(#9 and #10)."
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1.  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
The list author says:
  "Throw the lyrics, the quality of the musicianship, and all the concepts and ideas that Paul and John had going on here out the window: this is George Martin's baby. The production job on this album is immaculate and perfect and still amazes to this day."
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Pet Sounds
2.  Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys
The list author says:
  "Brian Wilson's most ambitious album and most ambitious production. He attempted the greatest album ever made on this one. Although he fell a little short, he still managed the second most impressive production in the history of pop music."
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Mezzanine
3.  Mezzanine by Massive Attack
The list author says:
  "The best production of the 90's, it doesn't get much more dense than Mezzanine. The quality of the production only adds to the feelings of paranoia, dread, and creepiness that the beats and lyrics manage to perfectly evoke."
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Low
4.  Low by David Bowie
The list author says:
  "By a very narrow margin, the best production of the 70's. What makes the Low production so special is that it introduced a signature "snare-drum" sound that was very innovative at the time. "Breaking Glass" demonstrates this innovation perfectly."
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Dark Side Of The Moon
5.  Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd
The list author says:
  "I am not this album's biggest fan but I will not deny how impressive the sound is on this one. "Any Colour You Like" and "Time" sound like electronic rock perfection and the majority of the credit goes to the album's stellar production."
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Thriller
6.  Thriller by Michael Jackson
The list author says:
  "Ever wonder how the hits on Thriller sound so darn catchy? Well, you can thank the genius of Quincy Jones for it. Not to take any credit away from Michael, but can you imagine Thriller being such a worldwide smash if it weren't for Quincy behind the boards? I can't."
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Joshua Tree
7.  Joshua Tree by U2
The list author says:
  "Another album I am not a huge fan of, but you have to give it up for the majestic sound quality of Joshua Tree. Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno are pretty tough to beat behind the boards because they understand as well as anybody the dynamics of sound textures."
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Abbey Road
8.  Abbey Road by The Beatles
The list author says:
  "Don't believe anybody who says the production on Abbey Road is better than Sgt. Pepper because they would be dead wrong. The reason is because the production on Sgt. Pepper meant everything to its greatness. Still, George Martin made sure that the band's final album would not disappoint in the sound department and boy did he come through in spades."
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Paul's Boutique
9.  Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys
The list author says:
  "It's not so much the sound that makes the Dust Brothers' production such a masterpiece. It's the way the duo make all the samples featured on the album COME TOGETHER. Not that the album's sound isn't stellar, it most certainly is, but the sound becomes secondary to the creativity that makes Paul's Boutique such a fascinating listen."
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Exile on Main Street
10.  Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones
The list author says:
  "Upon first listen, you might think this is one of the worst productions of all time. After repeat listens however, you come to realize that producer Jimmy Miller had a brilliant idea: make the sound of Richards' guitar and Watts' drumming more prominent (since those are the two most important components of the Stones) and drench Jagger's voice in murk. Bingo...the best album of the band's career."
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Jason R. Conger (Tampa, FL USA)
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Last updated: 5/17/10
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