The Beatles

'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (1967)
'Sgt. Pepper's' is significant in so many ways. It's one of the first albums that truly sounds like an album and not just a collection of songs -- there's a thematic tie to the record's 13 songs that pulls them all together. The intricate production buries so much so deeply that each listen reveals new details. And it's structured like a work of art, its musical canvas a kaleidoscopic explosion of sounds that paint a portrait of late-'60s idealism rooted in nostalgia. No other album has had the influence of 'Sgt. Pepper''s over the years. Traces of it can be found in everything from indie rockers Animal Collective's art-pop to rapper Kanye West's densely layered productions. It's a truly revelatory work that shaped '60s music and everything that followed.

'Revolver' (1966)
No band has ever achieved, or will ever achieve, what the Beatles accomplished between June 1965 and April 1967, when they recorded the songs that would make up their three greatest albums, which also happen to rank among the best LPs ever made. From McCartney's string-guided lament 'Eleanor Rigby' to the bubbling playfulness of 'Yellow Submarine' to Lennon's closing mind-screwing freak-out 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' 'Revolver' is a thrilling and revolutionary piece of music-making that turned pop music on its head with its innovative uses of loops, backward tapes and overdubs.

'Rubber Soul' (1965)
f 'Help!' hinted at the Beatles' creative growth, 'Rubber Soul' made it clear: They were no longer just a pop group. From the deeply confessional ('Norwegian Wood [This Bird Has Flown]') to the poignantly nostalgic ('In My Life'), the band's sixth album is one of rock's most important and influential works, the moment where the music, and its most significant group, grew up.