Best solo albums

Planet Rock is currently asking listeners to vote for the Greatest Solo Album.

Only those who were in established bands before they went solo count, so your Bob Dylans and David Bowies aren’t welcome on this occasion.

Ray Davies of Kinks fame has put out two corkers in recent years; I particularly enjoyed Other People’s Lives from 2006.

Don Henley can do no wrong in my book. Pete Townshend’s another prolific talent.

Two more that stand out are James Dean Bradfield’s The Great Western and Richard Ashcroft’s Alone with Everybody.

We all know that John Lennon’s Imagine will probably win, but Paul McCartney’s Electric Arguments has some great tunes (which you can listen to here). We shouldn’t forget Run Devil Run either, where David joined his Beatle chum to play some good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll.

If you’d like to vote, you have until this Friday to do so. Voters will be entered into a prize draw to win a DAB radio.

The Top 10 will be revealed on Saturday 26 September and repeated on Thursday 1 October. As always, everyone can listen to Planet Rock online.

I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you all vote for On an Island, About Face and/or David Gilmour, but I would like to know which others you’re most fond of.


  1. KenF

    My OAI vote was cast for David a couple of weeks back.

    I also voted for ‘Spectral Mornings’ by Steve Hackett.

  2. Ina


    10 minutes ago my voting at Planet Rock goes to David Gilmour “On an Island”.

    I love this radio station (we often listen via Satellite).

    Best wishes from Berlin

  3. snow

    I voted.

    All the best to all for tomorrow.

    Good to see that Guy has worked things out with JP.


  4. fanniefarkle

    Off the top of my head, I’ve come up with:

    David Byrne, Uh-Oh
    George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
    Robert Plant, Now and Zen
    Roger Waters, Amused to Death
    Syd Barrett, The Madcap Laughs
    Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive

  5. Paul Sexton

    Building the Perfect Beast – Don Henley
    Golden Heart – Mark Knopfler
    Luke – Steve Lukather
    Groove Approved – Paul Carrack
    The Nightfly – Donald Fagen

  6. Andrew

    Sorry to be off topic but some here may find this to be fascinating.

    I guess some may not remember Vera Lynn but some are still very entertained by her. Even more popular than the Beatles?



  7. Tomasz

    No order, no live solo albums as well:

    David’s On An Island
    Roger Waters, Amused To Death
    Richard Wright, Broken Dream
    Peter Gabriel, Up
    Robert Plant, Mighty Rearranger
    George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
    Steve Winwood, Nine Lives

    • Tiago Freitas

      “Richard Wright – Broken Dream”?

      Is this a mixture of Wet Dream and Broken China?

      By the way, Rick, I miss you. Can’t believe yet you’re gone… hope to listen to your final recordings one day.

    • Tomasz

      Is this a mixture of Wet Dream and Broken China?

      Yes, could not decide, which one I prefer. I like both albums for different reasons.

  8. ash

    Are we allowed to name a live album I wonder, like Gdansk for example? :)

    So many artists to look back at. A name that jumped into my mind is Peter Gabriel.

    ash X

  9. Luis

    David’s On an Island is, of course, great.

    Other choices could be:

    John Lennon- Plastic Ono Band + Imagine
    Peter Gabriel – So
    Eric Clapton – From the Cradle
    George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
    Paul Simon – Graceland

  10. Pete - Coventry

    Apart from David’s I always enjoyed…

    George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
    Chris Squire – Fish Out of Water
    Hayward and Lodge – Blue Jays (OK, not really a solo album)

    …and more recently…

    Steven Wilson – Insurgents

  11. ash

    I’d like to nominate Jimi Hendrix (any of his albums) who did extremely well after he’d left this group.

    Watch out for the flick of the wrist and the hand up and down the neck. Sign of things to come eh? :)

    ash X

  12. tim_c

    Run Devil Run seems such a collaboration that I don’t think of it as a solo work. Actually it’s difficult to think of many off the top of my head.

    Amused to Death and On an Island are of course shoo ins but we prefer to keep these items non-Floyd don’t we?

    “So” by Peter Gabriel jumps out of my iTunes library. Also “Nothing like the Sun” by Sting and “Stanley Road” by Paul Weller…

    I shall read with interest what other gems are unearthed.

  13. NewYorkDan

    Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” is one of the great albums of all time. McCartney’s “Electric Arguments” is also very good (it’s released under the stage name “The Fireman”). Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” was after his days in Buffalo Springfield, right? I grew up with that one, it has a special place in my heart.

    How about Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story,” which came after his days in Faces. Sting had a great one with “Blue Turtles” in 1985. Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” is a favorite. What else? David Crosby’s “If Only I Could Remember My Name” has got one very funny title, next to a picture of one wasted looking Crosby.

    • FEd

      Lots of good tunes on Electric Arguments. ‘Highway’ stands out for me. Classic Macca.

      We need a Paul McCartney Appreciation Day as well as a Neil Young one.

  14. Michèle

    Maybe this will sound totally stupid, but, seeing that tomorrow it’s 15 September, I voted for Rick Wright, ‘Broken China’. My tribute.

    Fine, haunting and moving music. But of course it won’t win.

    I would add:

    – David, ‘On An Island’
    – Peter Gabriel, ‘So’ (Mercy Street, Don’t Give Up, Wow!) and ‘PG 3, Melt’ (for ‘Biko’)
    – Robert Plant, ‘Principle Of Moments’ (just for ‘Big Log’, love that song so much)


    • Alessandra

      It doesn’t sound stupid at all, not to me at least. It’s a nice tribute, instead. :)

      “Broken China” is a very good album, very underrated, in my opinion. It should have deserved much more attention than many other albums constantly released everywhere in every time.

  15. Julie Davies

    Well, I certainly would choose David’s albums over any others but I would also consider Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’.

  16. GianLuca

    Jeff Beck: Blow by Blow

    While opening the Planet Rock website I found out they set up a dating service… interesting idea… 😛

  17. frank par

    My vote’s in. David Gilmour About Face.

    Rick Wakeman had a solo album many moons ago called Seasons with piano solo recitals. Totally absorbing and serene music.

    • NewYorkDan

      If you like “Seasons,” you may also like an album from Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz entitled “Music for Piano and Drums.” Very jazzy, very fun to listen to.

  18. Jayne

    Oh I have one right away, and it’s Stevie Nicks, “BellaDonna”… Huge success. I know she still officially was with Fleetwood Mac, but it was her solo album and it was good.

    I too love the David Gilmour first solo album. I don’t know if he likes it but I do.

    Have a great day everyone!

  19. Jacob

    Speaking of the Beatles I don’t think any of them did as well on a solo album as George Harrison’s Cloud Nine or his masterpiece All Things Must Pass. Also does Neil Young count in this since he was in bands before going solo? If so that man kicked out some real pieces of musical art.

    My votes would be:

    George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
    Neil Young – Harvest
    Todd Rundgren (formerly from Nazz and Runt) – A Wizard and A True Star or his first solo success Something/Anything
    David Gilmour – On an Island

    It’s too hard to decide.

  20. Nick from the lovely South of the Netherlands

    Troy Donockley – The Madness of Crowds, think this is my number one… this new Celtic, classical stuff. It really takes me to an other world. Maybe you can compare it with the Castellorizon, but sorry David, it goes even further.

    I was really blown away by the first solo albums of Richard Wright and David Gilmour (’78). And later “On An Island” was certainly a master stroke, think my number 2.

    The Night Fly of Donald Fagan was another highlight.

    Roger Waters… Amused to Death, is probably his best, but the Pros and Cons isn’t bad too, mmm the Final Cut. 😉

    Peter Gabriel… every album.

    Ah and there so many more… Roger Hodgons, Tom Yorke, Micheal Rutherfort, Jon Lord, Bryan Ferry.


    Parzivals Eye – Fragments, Chris Postle from RPWL
    Bryan Josh – Through These Eyes

  21. Dom

    Would Neil Young count? Technically, The Springfield were an established band (albeit, short-lived one). I do find it hard to choose a favourite, but I will always love Rust Never Sleeps and On The Beach.

    Flickin’ through my record collection, I don’t have a huge amount of artists who have gone solo. As far as I’m aware, Aimee Mann was in a band back in the 80s so I’ll go for her album Lost in Space, one of my favourites.

    Now that Oasis have finally fizzled out, I’d like to see a Noel Gallagher solo album. Something acoustic of the likes found on the Masterplan collection. I thought his 2006 shows provided a nice counterweight to the overbearing-ness of Oasis. For those who haven’t heard it, the off-shoot live album ‘The Dreams We Have As Children’ is very good.

    Anyways. Take care, y’all.

    x x x

    • FEd

      Would Neil Young count? Technically, The Springfield were an established band (albeit, short-lived one). I do find it hard to choose a favourite, but I will always love Rust Never Sleeps and On The Beach.

      Don’t forget Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. How good is that album? Not sure it counts as he was with Crazy Horse for that one.

      Have we ever had a Neil Young Appreciation Day here…?

  22. Jonathan

    Phil Collins’ Face Value was pretty good.

    Just thinking of all the albums mentioned so far – all are fantastic in their own way. I would love to hear them all again – hmm, maybe I will!


  23. Alessandra

    These are my favourites, even though some of them have already been mentioned.

    Neil Young – Harvest
    Roger Waters – Amused to Death
    Peter Gabriel – So (or maybe “Us”, I can’t choose)
    Robert Plant – Fate of Nations
    Eric Clapton – Unplugged
    Eddie Vedder – Into the Wild
    Robbie Robertson – Music for the Native Americans

    My vote is just obvious. 😉

    • FEd

      I hate having to choose between Harvest and After the Gold Rush. One has ‘Southern Man’, the other has ‘Alabama’.

      But I think I’d vote as you have, mainly because the final track on Harvest is so good that you want – nay, have – to listen to it again (and ‘Cripple Creek Ferry’ just doesn’t have that same effect on me).

    • Alessandra

      Yes, they are both great albums, so it’s hard to choose.

      I also think the last track of an album is very important and I’ve always thought that, if the songs are in a precise order, there must be a reason behind it. That’s why I could never download only some mp3 songs from an album, as many people I know use to do.

      My “obvious” vote was for David’s “On an Island”, but I would certainly vote for “Harvest”, if I could express a second preference. 😉

  24. Beppo the Mime

    Pete Townshend – All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
    David Gilmour – David Gilmour
    Roger Waters – Amused To Death
    Neil Young – Harvest
    Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

    • FEd

      And what about Jeff Beck’s playing on ‘What God Wants (Pt 1)’? To say it grabs you would be an understatement.

      Also, one for our Thought-Provoking Lyrics discussion…

      What God wants, God gets… God help us all.

  25. peter m

    I don’t know that I could come of with the best, or even a favorite, but here are a few I quite like:

    In no particular order

    Steve Howe – The Steve Howe Album
    Pete Townshend – Empty Glass
    Syd Barrett – Madcap, Barrett
    Donald Fagen – The Nightfly

    I don’t know if Neil Young counts, but if so… take your pick

    Lou Reed – Transformer
    Tom Verlaine – Warm and Cool
    Levon Helm – Dirt Farmer
    Jerry Garcia – Garcia
    David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name
    Dan Auerbach – Keep it Hid

    We could keep this up forever, so that will do for now.

  26. FEd

    For another good one from the last few years, I should have mentioned The Nightwatchman by Tom Morello (from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave).

  27. Alessandra

    I forgot to add to my list Mark Knopfler’s “Sailing to Philadelphia”. It’s my favourite among his solo albums.

    I don’t know if his new one, “Get Lucky”, has been already released, but I’m curious to listen to it. If what I read is true, it should be a beautiful album and quite different from the other ones.

    • Alessandra

      I haven’t heard it, thank you very much, Michèle, for posting the link. :)

      I’m listening to it right now and it sounds nice.

      I don’t find it so different from the style of the last Knopfler’s album, though.

  28. Josh

    Phil Collins’ “Face Value” and “No Jacket Required” are pretty good but, uh, the winner for me (sorry David) is ahem, “So” by Mr. Peter Gabriel.

  29. Alessandra

    Maybe someone has already mentioned him, but what about Robert Wyatt?

    He wrote some beautiful solo albums, in my opinion. My favourite is “Rock Bottom”, but the last one, “Comicopera”, is very good, too.

  30. lorsomething

    There are so many… My favorite by David is the first, maybe because it was the first. I don’t know. It’s just my favorite.

    Others that I have loved are Sting’s Dream of the Blue Turtles, Robert Plant’s Dreamland, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Mark Knopfler’s Golden Heart, Peter Gabriel’s So, Paul McCartney’s McCartney, Annie Lennox’s Bare, and Steve Winwood’s Back in the High Life. (And all the other’s I can’t think of right now.)

  31. FEd

    The results were as follows:

    01. David Gilmour – On an Island
    02. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Oz
    03. Roger Waters – Amused To Death
    04. Peter Gabriel – 1
    05. Fish – 13th Star
    06. Richie Sambora – Stranger In This Town
    07. Pete Townshend – Empty Glass
    08. David Lee Roth – Eat ‘Em and Smile
    09. Robert Plant – Fate of Nations
    10. Gary Moore – Still Got the Blues

    There was also space in the Top 40 for Live in Gdansk and David Gilmour.

    Full results can be found here.

  32. KenF

    We all know that John Lennon’s Imagine will probably win

    Amazingly it didn’t even make the top ten, only managed #14.

    Very pleasantly surprised to see OAI make it to #1, well done David (and FEd), the power of this blog comes to the fore yet again…

    • FEd

      I suppose it’s not too surprising when you consider that they play David’s music more than Lennon’s and the Beatles’. Still, great result for On an Island, plus two others in the Top 30. Three out of four’s not bad at all.

      But where’s Don Henley? And just one by Neil Young? That can’t be right.

    • Fran

      But where’s Don Henley? And just one by Neil Young? That can’t be right.

      No Phil Collins either. 😡

  33. ash

    I expect people here feel much as I do, don’t give two hoots about these sorts of opinion polls because we know what is the best album and who cares what anyone else thinks… How about that?

    On an Island won! Well done David and band!

    ash 😀

  34. NewYorkDan

    These results are bound to make Roger’s nostrils flare. David gets the #1 title where Roger has to settle for #3; David has 3 of his albums on the list, while Roger has only 2.

    I actually feel bad for Roger here, because he is so competitive by nature.

  35. Terrence Reardon

    Doesn’t surprise me David made it to the list.

    My favorite solo albums are in no order:

    David Gilmour – self titled and On an Island
    Phil Collins – Face Value and Hello I Must Be Going
    Pete Townshend – Empty Glass and Chinese Eyes
    Roger Daltrey – McVicar and Under a Raging Moon
    Dennis DeYoung – Desert Moon and One Hundred Years From Now
    Robert Plant – Pictures at Eleven and The Principle of Moments
    Joe Walsh – But Seriously Folks and There Goes the Neighborhood
    Paul McCartney – Band On the Run and Tug of War
    John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band and Imagine
    George Harrison – All Things Must Pass and Cloud Nine
    Peter Gabriel – Car and Melt
    Roger Hodgson – In the Eye of the Storm
    Dio – Holy Diver
    Mike Rutherford – Smallcreep’s Day
    Rick Wright – Wet Dream
    Don Henley – I Can’t Stand Still (FEd better be proud of me, I always loved this album) and Building the Perfect Beast (“Not Enough Love In the World” is one of my favorite Henley solo tracks)
    Roger Taylor – Fun in Space
    Greg Lake – self titled
    Tommy Shaw – Girls With Guns
    Neil Young – The Rust Never Sleeps
    Joe Perry – Let the Music Do the Talking
    Roger Waters – Amused to Death
    Geddy Lee – My Favorite Headache
    Ace Frehley – KISS Solo 1978
    Paul Stanley – KISS Solo 1978
    Don Felder – Airborne
    Rob Halford – Resurrection

    • FEd

      Don Henley – I Can’t Stand Still (FEd better be proud of me, I always loved this album) and Building the Perfect Beast (”Not Enough Love In the World” is one of my favorite Henley solo tracks)

      I’m very proud – excellent choice. I Can’t Stand Still is worthy of inclusion down to ‘Dirty Laundry’ alone, in my view. (Did you ever hear Lisa Marie Presley’s version?)

      I also like The End Of the Innocence. Beautiful title track and what a poetic lyric:

      But now those skies are threatening
      They’re beating ploughshares into swords
      For this tired old man that we elected king

      One of these days, we’ll have to have a day to celebrate delightfully opinionated Texan musicians who sing, write songs and play the drums.

    • Terrence Reardon

      Lisa Marie’s version was alright but love the original so much (other favorites of mine on I Can’t Stand Still (so many) are the title cut, “Talking to the Moon”, “Long Way Home” and his cover of “Unclouded Day”).

      I also did like The End of the Innocence album as well (got lots of airplay on US Album Rock radio in 1989/90). The title cut (that verse you alluded to was either speaking of Reagan or the elder George Bush (whom became President when The End of the Innocence was being recorded and released at start of elder Bush’s tenure as President) has always been a favorite of mine.

      Other standouts on The End of the Innocence are “How Bad Do You Want It”, “The Last Worthless Evening”, “New York Minute” (featuring the late Jeff Porcaro, who played on David’s About Face) on drums and Pino Palladino (who also played on About Face) on bass guitar and jazz acapella group Take 6 on harmonies), “If Dirt Were Dollars”, “I Will Not Go Quietly” (with Axl Rose of Guns and Roses on backing vocals, Don would return the favor by playing drums with Guns and Roses at the American Music Awards after original drummer Steven Adler was injured in January, 1990) and of course “The Heart of the Matter” (which The Eagles did this and NY Minute on their Hell Freezes Over Tour).

  36. Alessandra

    I’m so happy that “On an Island” got the number one and David featured more than once in the list.

    It’s nice our votes gave a contribution, too. 😉

    I’m also happy to read “Amused to Death”, Peter Gabriel’s “So” and Robert Plant’s “Fate of Nations” in the list, but, I agree, only one by Neil Young is too unfair.

  37. Sonny

    George Harrison “Dark Horse”
    George Harrison “All Things Must Pass”
    Chris Squire “Fish Out of Water”
    Eric Clapton “Layla”

    Dont know if this would count since it wasn’t completely solo, but

    Justin Hayward and John Lodge “Blue Jays”

    Debbie Harry and Roger Daltry both had solid solo albums, but for the life of me, I cant remember the titles. 😉

  38. peter catchpole

    David Gilmour’s first solo album was and still is the dog’s b******s.

    I rest my case.