The Greatest Third Albums Ever

14 July 2018, 12:00

Third albums collage
Third albums collage. Picture: Press

Sometimes third place is pretty good. Let's take a look at some of the best third outings in music.

  1. Radiohead - OK Computer

    Radiohead - OK Computer
    Radiohead - OK Computer. Picture: Artwork

    Radiohead's third studio effort arguably saw them transform from just another post Brit-pop indie band to the critically acclaimed artists we see today. Regularly thought of as one of their most popular works among fans, their 1997 album includes the likes of Karma Police, No Surprises and their epic Paranoid Android single.

  2. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead

    The Smiths - The Queens Is Dead
    The Smiths - The Queens Is Dead. Picture: Artwork

    The Smiths' album, which was released on 16 June 1986, spent 22 weeks on the UK album chart and peaked at number two overall. Following their eponymous debut and Meat Is Murder album, the record saw Morrissey and Marr reach writing perfection, boasting fan favourites in the likes of I Know It's Over, The Boy with the Thorn In His Side and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

  3. Led Zeppelin - III

    Led Zeppelin - III
    Led Zeppelin - III. Picture: Artwork

    The aptly named album, which was released in 1970, marked an important milestone in the band's history and saw the band's music mature and move towards a more folky sound.

    Watch Led Zep perform Immigrant Song live:

  4. Metallica - Master Of Puppets

    Master - Master Of Puppets
    Master - Master Of Puppets. Picture: Artwork

    Released on 3 March 1986 and produced by Flemming Rasmussen, Master Of Puppets was the band's last album to feature bassist Clif Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during their promotional tour. Released to critical acclaim, the record - which includes the title track as a single - was the first thrash metal record to be certified platinum.

    Watch James Hetfield and co. play Master Of Puppets live:

  5. The Verve - Urban Hymns

    The Verve - Urban Hymns
    The Verve - Urban Hymns. Picture: Artwork

    The Verve's Urban Hymns was deemed both a commercial and critical success, regularly featuring on best British albums lists across the decades. Featuring singles in Bitter Sweet Symphony, Sonnet, The Drugs Don't Work and Lucky Man, the album - which was released in 1997 - confirmed Richard Ashcroft's status of part of the great British songwriting canon.

    Despite this, one of their most successful hits was marred by a controversial legal battle.

    Find out why Bitter Sweet Symphony was so bittersweet here.

  6. The Clash - London Calling

    The Clash - London Calling
    The Clash - London Calling. Picture: Artwork

    Released as a double album on 14 December 1979, The Clash's London Calling served as a blueprint for many punk rock bands to come. Incorporating everything from reggae to rockabilly, the record played with a variety of styles and genres and spawned the likes of London Calling, Spanish Bombs and Train In Vain.

  7. Blur - Parklife

    Blur - Parklife
    Blur - Parklife. Picture: Artwork

    The 1994 album saw Blur come back fighting following the disappointing sales of 1993's Modern Life Is Rubbish. Spurred on with hits in Girls & Boys, Parklife, End of a Century and To the End, the album went four times platinum in the UK, peaking at No.1 in the chart.

    Listen to album track, This is a Low:

  8. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

    Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    Arcade Fire - The Suburbs. Picture: Artwork

    Following the success of their Funeral and Neon Bible albums, Arcade Fire continued their assault on the charts with The Suburbs. The sprawling, soundscape of a record - which Win Butler has referred to as a mix of Depeche Mode and Neil Young - not only debuted at number one in the UK, US, Irish and Canadian album charts, it also scored them a GRAMMY and BRIT Award.

    On August 30 2010, the Canadian outfit released an interactive video for We Used to Wait, which made use of Google Maps and Google Street View to guide people through their hometowns. Enter your postcode and watch your personal video here.

  9. Green Day - Dookie

    Green Day - Dookie
    Green Day - Dookie. Picture: Artwork

    Green Day's Dookie saw the band reach punk rock perfection. The album - which includes enduring anthems in Basket Case, When I Come Around and Welcome To Paradise - helped bring the band into the mainstream, scored them a number two in the US Billboard Chards and a GRAMMY Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

  10. Nirvana - In Utero

    Nirvana - In Utero
    Nirvana - In Utero. Picture: Artwork

    Released on 21 September 1993, In Utero was the third and final record to come from the band. Intentionally made to sound less polished than its predecessor, Nevermind (1991), In Utero saw Nirvana recapture the heavy and abrasive sound of their early days. Stand out tracks include Heart-Shaped Box, Rape Me, and the unforgettable ballad All Apologies.

    The album, and Nirvana's infamous MTV Unplugged performance (which was also made into a 1993 album), went on to be the band's swan song after Kurt Cobain tragically lost his life to suicide on 5 April 1994.

The Greates Ever Second Albums