#1 – Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 – Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 was released to both commercial and critical acclaim in 1988, despite the supergroup coming about somewhat accidentally.

Within 6 months the album had sold 2 million copies – more than any Bob Dylan record had sold at the time.

The Traveling Wilburys released multiple successful singles and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1989.

And yet despite its breakout success, CDJ readers voted Volume 1 the #1 most underrated album in classic rock.

#2 – In Through The Out Door – Led Zeppelin

When Led Zeppelin recorded In Through the Out Door, the band was in a state of turmoil. The album received poor critical reviews upon its release in 1979, but in 1990 Robert Plant defended it saying, “In Through The Out Door wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but at least we were trying to vary what we were doing, for our own integrity’s sake.”

Despite its early reception, the album has since been certified 6x Platinum.

#3 – The Who By Numbers – The Who

The Who By Numbers was released in 1975, eventually peaking at #7 on the UK album chart and #8 on the Billboard 200 (US). While “Squeeze Box” was a top 10 hit in the UK and Top 20 in the US, its follow-up, “Slip Kid” did not chart.

Nonetheless, a Rolling Stone review at the time stated, “They may have made their greatest album in the face of [their personal problems]. But only time will tell.”

The Who By Numbers was eventually certified Platinum (1M sales) in the US in 1993.

#4 – Meddle – Pink Floyd

When Pink Floyd recorded Meddle in 1971, the band started without a clear direction for the album. They tried a series of experiments in the studio in order to spur the creative process but went weeks without having a finished song to show for it. The band had touring commitments at the time and so the recording of the album was spread out.

The album reached #3 in the UK but didn’t sell well in the U.S. (generally blamed on lack of publicity on the part of the record label). NME called it “an exceptionally good album” upon its release CDJ readers are calling it the #4 most underrated album in classic rock.

#5 – Procol Harum – Procol Harum

Of Procol Harum‘s debut album, lyricist Keith Reid said in 1972, “I suppose the first album was the album I was the happiest with. It was fantastic, you know; I thought all the songs were great. It was the worst recorded album, but I really like it.”

The album was included on Classic Rock magazine’s list “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”. CDJ readers voted it the #5 most underrated album in classic rock.

Procol Harum’s massively successful debut single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was not featured on the UK album release but was the first track on the US version.