What Is the Best Live Album Ever?

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 17 2011 4:19 PM

What Is the Best Live Album Ever?

Bill Wyman thinks Lou Reed's Take No Prisoners is the best live album ever. Do you agree?

Yesterday in Slate, I considered what had happened to those two-disc live sets that, long ago, defined almost every important rock artist’s career.

I also took the opportunity to list some of my favorite tracks from all manner of live albums—though, as I mentioned in the piece, the list leaned heavily toward the live album’s 1970s heyday.


In the end, the best live album seemed to be Take No Prisoners, Lou Reed’s scabrous comedy classic. But I also adore the Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, Van Morrison’s It’s Too Late to Stop Now, Springsteen’s Live/1975-85, Joni Mitchell’s Miles of Aisles, Led Zeppelin’s How the West Was Won… the list goes on. And commenters on the original story had a great number of other suggestions.

What do you think the perfect live album is? Are you an unapologetic member of the 1970s rock lumpenproletariat, favoring Blue Oyster Cult’s On Your Feet or On Your Knees, perhaps? Child of the ’80s, forever clutching your cassette copy of Under the Blood Red Sky? Or maybe you’re a James Brown stalwart, preferring his legendary Live at the Apollo.

Vote for your favorite in the poll below. You have until Tuesday at 2 pm to weigh in. And if your favorite is missing, let me know in the comments.

Bill Wyman is the former arts editor of NPR and Salon. More at www.hitsville.org.


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