The 100 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

The 100 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

Our editors put their stamp of approval on the 100 best-ever albums culled from live performances.

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Showing 1 - 28 of 100 Results
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1. Live at the Apollo 1962
Live at the Apollo 1962
~ James Brown
4.6 out of 5 stars (85 customer reviews)
In Stock
Polydor / Umgd
March 23, 2004
Audio CD

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Price:$5.99


2. At Folsom Prison
At Folsom Prison
~ Johnny Cash
4.8 out of 5 stars (338 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sony
October 19, 1999
Audio CD

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Price:$6.99

Amazon.com
Johnny Cash had been breaking new ground for a decade when ... Read more

3. Sinatra at the Sands
Sinatra at the Sands
~ Frank Sinatra
4.8 out of 5 stars (310 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Reprise Records
May 26, 1998
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
Pop this on, close your eyes, and you'll be instantly transported back to the Vegas of 1966. The Sands Hotel was still the "class joint" where Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies partied, held court, and occasionally even performed. This priceless document (S... Read more

4. Live at Carnegie Hall
Live at Carnegie Hall
~ Bill Withers
4.8 out of 5 stars (65 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sbme Special Mkts.
February 1, 2008
Audio CD

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Price:$5.18


5. Judy At Carnegie Hall: Fortieth Anniversary Edition
Judy At Carnegie Hall: Fortieth Anniversary Edition
~ Judy Garland
4.8 out of 5 stars (220 customer reviews)
In Stock
Capitol
February 27, 2001
Audio CD

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Price:$20.04

Amazon.com
The late 1950s were tough on Judy Garland, but this live recording, cut on April 23, 1961, at Carnegie Hall, would (rightfully) bring the legendary icon back into the spotlight. Live would go on to win five Grammys, be Garland's bestselling record, and confirm that, yes, on certain levels, ... Read more

6. The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
~ Bob Dylan
4.9 out of 5 stars (208 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sony
October 13, 1998
Audio CD

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Price:$16.47

Amazon.com
The greatest live recording in rock & roll history was--officially, at least--buried in the vaults of Columbia Records for more than a quarter of a century. But no more: Live 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert has surfaced on two discs mixed and mastered from three-track source tapes that ... Read more

7. Ella in Rome: Birthday Concert
Ella in Rome: Birthday Concert
~ Ella Fitzgerald
4.9 out of 5 stars (24 customer reviews)
In Stock
Polygram Records
October 25, 1990
Audio CD

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Price:$10.78

Amazon.com
This live recording captures an exceptional performance from 1958, with a broad selection of standards that digs into the Songbooks that Ella Fitzgerald was then immersed in. Duke Ellington is prominent in the repertoire, with versions of "Sophisticated La... Read more

8. How The West Was Won
How The West Was Won
~ Led Zeppelin
4.7 out of 5 stars (445 customer reviews)
In Stock
Atlantic
May 27, 2003
Audio CD

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Price:$21.72

Amazon.com
For a band with such an overarching legacy, the official record of Led Zeppelin's legendary--and unpredictable--live act has heretofore been poorly represented by the disappointing, scattershot ... Read more

9. Kick Out the Jams
Kick Out the Jams
~ MC5
4.8 out of 5 stars (93 customer reviews)
In Stock
Elektra / Ada
November 26, 1991
Audio CD

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Price:$9.98

Amazon.com
Kick Out The Jams still sounds astonishingly powerful after almost 30 years. Recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom in 1968, this relentless, aggressive set offers the frenzy of politicized garage punks blasting through giant stacks: a blitzkrieg of hard rock ignited from the dueling guitars of Wayne Kramer and ... Read more

10. The Koln Concert
The Koln Concert
~ Keith Jarrett
4.6 out of 5 stars (167 customer reviews)
In Stock
Ecm Records
November 16, 1999
Audio CD

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Price:$11.88


11. Live Rust
Live Rust
~ Neil Young
4.6 out of 5 stars (91 customer reviews)
In Stock
Reprise Records
October 25, 1990
Audio CD

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Price:$10.48

Amazon.com
Mere months passed between the release of Neil Young's mid-career milestone ... Read more

12. Live in Europe
Live in Europe
~ Otis Redding
4.7 out of 5 stars (30 customer reviews)
In Stock
Rhino Flashback
February 3, 2009
Audio CD

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Price:$8.98


13. Stop Making Sense: Special New Edition (1984 Film)
Stop Making Sense: Special New Edition (1984 Film)
~ Talking Heads
4.6 out of 5 stars (123 customer reviews)
In Stock
Warner Off Roster
September 7, 1999
Audio CD

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Price:$15.19


14. MTV Unplugged in New York
MTV Unplugged in New York
~ Nirvana
4.8 out of 5 stars (544 customer reviews)
In Stock
Geffen Records
November 1, 1994
Audio CD

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Price:$8.39

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The last Nirvana collection recorded before the untimely death of Kurt Cobain, ... Read more

15. Live!
Live!
~ Bob Marley
4.8 out of 5 stars (59 customer reviews)
In Stock
Island
June 12, 2001
Audio CD

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Price:$11.18

Amazon.com
When Bob Marley and the Wailers recorded their legendary 1975 London gig, little did they know of its lasting power. From the opening shuffles of "Trenchtown Rock" to the rabble-rousing "Get Up, Stand Up," this brief recording captured Marley's combo of... Read more

16. Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
~ The Rolling Stones
4.6 out of 5 stars (128 customer reviews)
In Stock
Abkco
August 27, 2002
Audio CD

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Price:$14.57


17. Black & White Night
Black & White Night
~ Roy Orbison
4.7 out of 5 stars (131 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sony
February 7, 2006
Audio CD

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Price:$9.34


18. Live At Leeds [Deluxe Edition]
Live At Leeds [Deluxe Edition]
~ The Who
4.7 out of 5 stars (362 customer reviews)
In Stock
Mca
September 18, 2001
Audio CD

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Price:$27.71

Amazon.com
Long considered one of the greatest live albums ever recorded, the Who's ... Read more

19. The Concert in Central Park
The Concert in Central Park
~ Simon & Garfunkel
4.5 out of 5 stars (113 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Warner Bros / Wea
October 25, 1990
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
You can almost hear Simon & Garfunkel begin to like each other again on this now-legendary set. On September 19, 1981, the duo reunited for just the second time since their initial breakup and revealed a camaraderie that had apparently vanished years earlier. Not only do they reprise their ... Read more

20. Live at Monterey
Live at Monterey
~ Jimi Hendrix
4.5 out of 5 stars (50 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Geffen Records
October 16, 2007
Audio CD

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Amazon.com
It's no exaggeration to say this might be the most intense and groundbreaking 45-minute performance in the history of rock. Jimi Hendrix's debut American set at 1967's Monterey Pop Festival is generally considered one of the most radical and legendary live... Read more

21. Cheap Trick At Budokan
Cheap Trick At Budokan
~ Cheap Trick
4.6 out of 5 stars (30 customer reviews)
In Stock
SonyBMG Special Markets
March 25, 2008
Audio CD

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Price:$7.86


22. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
~ John Coltrane
4.7 out of 5 stars (153 customer reviews)
In Stock
Blue Note Records
September 27, 2005
Audio CD

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Price:$15.45

Amazon.com
Every year sees a crop of newly found jazz gems, but rarely are listeners treated to anything as special as this 1957 concert recording of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, which was accidentally discovered in an unmarked box by a Library of Congress engi... Read more

23. Concerto De Aranjuez
Concerto De Aranjuez
~ Rodrigo
4.7 out of 5 stars (24 customer reviews)
In Stock
Polygram Records
May 18, 1993
Audio CD

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Price:$10.94


24. Life on Planet Groove
Life on Planet Groove
~ Maceo Parker
4.6 out of 5 stars (43 customer reviews)
In Stock
Minor Music
September 9, 2008
Audio CD

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Price:$14.99


25. Roseland NYC Live
Roseland NYC Live
~ Portishead
4.7 out of 5 stars (107 customer reviews)
In Stock
Go Beat/London
November 10, 1998
Audio CD

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Price:$11.99

Amazon.com
Usually, groups wait until they've released at least three or four records before putting out a live album, but ... Read more

26. From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition
From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition
~ Elvis Presley
4.8 out of 5 stars (103 customer reviews)
In Stock
Sony Legacy
July 28, 2009
Audio CD

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Price:$16.47


27. Live In London
Live In London
~ Leonard Cohen
4.8 out of 5 stars (293 customer reviews)
In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
Sony
March 31, 2009
Audio CD

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Price:$12.99


28. Alive!
Alive!
~ Kiss
4.6 out of 5 stars (284 customer reviews)
In Stock
Mercury
July 15, 1997
Audio CD

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Price:$16.39

Amazon.com
The fact that Alive! is arguably Kiss's best album highlights the fact that they are performers first, musicians second. There's nothing wrong with that, especially when a live album sounds this good. Stuffed to bursting with classic tracks, Alive!, originally released in 1975, is a classic metal album. "Deuce," ... Read more

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Customer Discussions: 100 Greatest Live Albums

The 100 Greatest Lists

Throughout 2009, we'll be creating definitive album lists for a variety of categories. Here are the lists so far:
100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time
100 Greatest Romantic Albums of All Time
100 Greatest Singer-Songwriter Albums of All Time
100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All Time
100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time
100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time

Selection Criteria

There are plenty of live albums issued solely as afterthoughts or contract fulfillments, but there are plenty that are as transcendent as the best concert experiences, all with zero lines at the bathroom. For this particular list we came up with the following criteria:

• Only one album per artist.
• Albums were performed live in front of an audience, but don't necessarily have to be culled from a single performance.
• No EPs or singles—this list is about albums
• We decided to limit this list to music, which means no comedy. We wanted to save those records for a separate list for laffers.

Of course, our editors exercise their judgment regarding quality and/or historical significance. If you disagree with our choices (and there's a good chance you will), let us know in the customer discussions at the bottom of the page.