A debut album is often the most significant release in a musician’s career. While many artists will go on to develop their sound and produce some of their best and most commercial work on later releases, that first record often defines their musical mission. Serving as statements of intent, the best debut albums have enthralled fans, inspired countless other musicians and – sometimes – reshaped the music industry as a whole.
Here, then, are 20 of the best debut albums of all time: game-changing classics that served notice of their creators’ genius.
Best Debut Albums: 20 Must-Hear Early Works Of Genius
20: Sade: ‘Diamond Life’ (1984)
Due to its sophistication, originality and timeless soul sound, Sade’s debut album became an immediate hit whose sales were matched by critical acclaim. Introducing the singer as the new voice of British soul, Diamond Life won a Best British Album BRIT Award and eventually went multi-platinum, selling over ten million copies worldwide. It remains one of the best-selling debut albums of the era, and one of the all-time greatest records from a female British singer.
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