And here I was, thinking the greatest rock album from 1988 list would be a short one. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.


Heh. “I Was Wrong,” from Social Distortion‘s 1996 masterpiece White Lights, White Heat, White Trash. No, that one doesn’t make the list. Wrong year. 1988 is the year in question, so we’re focusing on albums that turn 35 in 2023. It’s the latest in my anniversary-celebrating series of the 12-Inch Poll. We’ve already started the conversations–which are ongoing–about the greatest albums of 2003, 1998, 1993, and 1983. You can cast your votes for those if you haven’t yet on the 12-Inch Poll page.


1988. I was 11 years old, and just starting to test the waters outside of what was in my parents record collection and what they’d put on the car radio (it was WBCN, of course). MTV played a part, and MTV played a ton of music videos from Cheap Trick, so I knew they’d be on the list for Lap Of Luxury, which is a fine late-80s entry in their discography. Ditto on Living Color’s Vivid. Still love that one. Those, plus the obvious ’88 choices from Metallica and Bon Jovi, were my short list. Couldn’t think of much else.


What’s the Greatest Rock Album from 1988?

Then I dug into this list of 27 Albums that Turn 35 in 2023 and my list started getting a lot longer. Not only was ’88 stacked with regards to rock, it was diverse! Tons more metal than I remembered. And even though this is pre-Seattle grunge explosion in ’91, there’s a lot of strong alternative and modern rock standing side-by-side with the hair metal and traditional rock bands.


I think you’ll be surprised by some of the albums on the list. Take a look, cast your vote, and if I left one you love off, hit the ROCK 92.9 Facebook or Twitter and let me know.

  • AC/DC ‘Blow Up Your Video’

    Released on January 18, 1988

  • Bon Jovi ‘New Jersey’

    Released on September 19, 1988

  • Cheap Trick ‘Lap Of Luxury’

    Released on April 12, 1988

  • Guns N’ Roses ‘GN’R Lies’

    Released on November 29, 1988

  • Iron Maiden ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’

    Released on April 11, 1988

  • Jane’s Addiction ‘Nothing’s Shocking’

    Released on August 23, 1988

  • Joan Jett And The Blackhearts ‘Up Your Alley’

    Released on May 23, 1988

  • Lita Ford ‘Lita’

    Released on February 2, 1988

  • Living Colour ‘Vivid’

    Released on May 3, 1988

  • Megadeth ‘So Far, So Good…So What!’

    Released on January 19, 1988

  • Metallica ‘...And Justice For All’

    Released on September 7, 1988

  • Poison ‘Open Up And Say…Ahh!’

    Released on May 3, 1988

  • R.E.M. ‘Green’

    Released on November 7, 1988

  • Soundgarden ‘Ultramega OK’

    Released on October 31, 1988

  • U2 ‘Rattle And Hum’

    Released on October 10, 1988

  • Van Halen ‘OU812’

    Released on May 20, 1988

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