Related Videos

Top 10 Albums Performed by a Single Musician

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Brandon Stuhr. Most albums need an entire band to give it greatness, these only need one. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for Top 10 Albums On Which A Single Musician Plays All The Instruments. For this list, we took a look at a variety of different albums from all genres of music. In order to qualify though, the album’s individual instruments have to majorly be performed by one person. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript
Script written by Brandon Stuhr.

Top 10 Albums On Which A Single Musician Plays All The Instruments


Most albums need an entire band to give it greatness, these only need one. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 Albums On Which A Single Musician Plays All The Instruments.

For this list, we took a look at a variety of different albums from all genres of music. In order to qualify though, the album’s individual instruments have to majorly be performed by one person.

#10: “For Emma, Forever Ago” (2007)
Bon Iver

Bursting onto the scene with this debut album, American artist Bon Iver couldn’t have come out of the gates any better. While suffering from mono and a bad breakup with a girlfriend, frontman Justin Vernon secluded himself in a remote cabin for three months, spending the time to record the album by himself. The album, which was self-released in 2007, quickly received critical acclaim and has been considered one of the greatest breakup albums of all time. Sometimes seclusion works best for some musicians.

#9: “Both Sides” (1993)
Phil Collins

Pick a side. How about Both Sides! A milestone in his career, Phil Collins himself praises Both Sides, as it is his only album to be recorded completely by himself without the help of long time collaborators such as guitarist Daryl Stuermer and bassist Leland Sklar. Unfortunately the album was received poorly due to the strong lack of upbeat songs, but has since become a welcome addition into the artist’s catalogue. The recording of the album, which took place at the Genesis studio, lasted a mere six weeks, proving also that Collins is as efficient of a worker as he is a hands down great musician.

#8: “Mellow Gold” (1994)
Beck

Beck is no Loser. His major label debut, Mellow Gold was recorded primarily by himself, performing guitar, vocals, bass, harmonica, percussion, as well as others. Although the rest of the album differed in sound from the record’s lead single “Loser”, the entire work aims for a more anti-commercial outlook. Despite this and 1.2 million record sales later, the album was considered a surprise critical and commercial success. Just a small stepping stone in his career that would eventually land him a Grammy win.

#7: “Siamese Dream” (1993)
The Smashing Pumpkins

The second album from American rockers The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream is the perfect reflection of frontman Billy Corgan’s style of dream pop and shoegaze music. If you are totally unaware of what these two terms mean, just give this album a listen and you’ll figure it out in no time. The album was recorded mostly by Corgan himself, as the rest of the band was struggling with substance abuse and relationship issues. This didn’t harm the album, as it eventually sold six million copies worldwide and would become known as one of the defining albums of the 90’s.

#6: “Tubular Bells” (1973)
Mike Oldfield

Don’t know this one? Even if you haven’t heard of English musician Mike Oldfield, you have certainly heard his music before. If the name isn’t ringing any “bells”, the album’s most famous piano riff was used in the 1973 film “The Exorcist”. Oldfield’s debut album at the young age of 19 impressed critics with his multiple instrument talent which includes piano, guitar, and even the titular “tubular bells”. The album is actually the first released by now record mogul Virgin Records, which had a major impact on the company’s early success.

#5: “1999” (1982)
Prince

Were you guessing Purple Rain? No, not this time. Released as American songwriter Prince’s fifth album, the only help this funk legend got was a few background vocalists to support his iconic soulful voice. Although this entry could have gone Prince’s debut album For You, 1999 is more widely considered as a highlight in the artist’s critically acclaimed career. An album inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it also earned commercial success, going four times platinum in the U.S.

#4: “Foo Fighters” (1995)
Foo Fighters

What do you do when you’re fresh off the success of one of the most influential rock bands of all time? You make an album of your own of course! That’s what Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters did to deal with the death of fellow Nirvana band mate Kurt Cobain…and boy did it work! Grohl performed all of the instruments on the album himself, with the exception of the occasional guitar spot. The album went platinum in both the U.S and Canada, while also being praised by critics for its songwriting, proving that Dave Grohl wasn't done changing the rock genre.

#3: “Pretty Hate Machine” (1989)
Nine Inch Nails

The debut album of American industrial outfit Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine was hailed as a great album that was way ahead of its time. An album that would become one of the first independent releases to go platinum, Reznor played the majority of the keyboards, drum machines, guitars, and samplers that can be heard throughout. The album was a commercial and critical success, becoming a must listen for fans of both electronic and rock music. Although we think that The Downward Spiral is the more epic album in scale, it is Pretty Hate Machine that better demonstrates Reznor’s ability create complex, but infectious music.

#2: “Music of My Mind” (1972)
Stevie Wonder

We bet Stevie always has music on his mind. Wonder’s fourteenth studio album, it is considered by many to be the beginning of his classical period, which marked a change in production and a larger range of material. Wonder performed all of the instruments on the album except the trombone and the guitar, which were played by Art Baron and Howard Feitan respectively. Critics praised Stevie for showcasing his skill in blending multiple genres together as well as his addition of longer track lengths.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Way I Feel” (2002)
Remy Shand

“Lonerism” (2012)
Tame Impala

“Illinois” (2005)
Sufjan Stevens

“Centerfield” (1985)
John Fogerty

#1: “McCartney” (1970)
Paul McCartney

Anything with this man's name on it equals success. Due to estranged relationships with other Beatles band members, Paul McCartney wanted to create a darker album that would establish him as a serious solo artist. Besides his wife Linda McCartney’s occasional vocals, Paul performed every other instrument with a more back to basics approach. The album was poorly received by critics, being blamed as a reason for the Beatles break-up, but has since won critics over through the release of a reissue. Despite this, the album rode the wave of press from the break-up, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 200.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite single musician album? For more individual top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs