Ultimate Albums

VH1 (ended 2003)


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Episode Guide

  • Season 1
    • Supernatural
      Episode 19
      Santana was already a guitar legend long before he made this record, but his spirituality and positive messages went to a new level here. Collaborating with Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean, Dave Matthews, Lauryn Hill, and Eagle Eye Cherry, this collection of Afro-Cuban rhythms and infectious classy melodies struck a worldwide chord with pop fans. Selling 24 million copies and winning nine Grammy awards, Carlos' reuniting with Clive Davis at Arista became by far his biggest success.moreless
    • Country Grammar
      Country Grammar
      Episode 18
      Nelly came out of St. Louis, and with a relatively fresh type of rap. Not gangsta, not ghetto, but a little of both with a heapload of funky party beats, and a lot of fun. He rapped about hard times in the streets, yes, but infused an uplifting message about making good. Nicknamed Midwest Swing, this type of rap is laden with pop hooks. Hardcore rappers criticized its integrity, and many would question the moniker, 'Ultimate Album', but it certainly took the nation by storm.moreless
    • Butterfly
      Episode 17
      With this release, Mariah Carey gave her image and her sound a complete makeover. Producing the songs herself, and opening up her personal emotions in the lyrics, she ventured into hip-hop and scored yet another major success.
    • Songs in A Minor
      Songs in A Minor
      Episode 16
      This debut launched Alicia Keys' career as a soul/r & b artist. This episode looks at her upbringing in New York City's Hell's Kitchen, and how she studied classical piano and dance at age 5. We also hear how Clive Davis heard her for the first time, and immediately compared her favorably with Aretha Franklin. Aided by a breathtaking performance on Oprah Winfrey's show, 'Songs In A Minor' went on to sell over ten million copies.moreless
    • The Black Album
      The Black Album
      Episode 15
      By enlisting the services of producer Bob Rock, Metallica took their gritty, uncompromising approach to rock, and packaged it in shorter, more accessible pieces. Though no less defiant in attitude or content, they produced a work which changed the world's view of heavy metal, and still has vast appeal and influence to this day.moreless
    • Back In Black
      Back In Black
      Episode 14
      In April 1980, AC/DC's vocalist, Bon Scott, died from heavy drinking one night and choked. The remaining members forged on, and despite all the odds, crafted one of the finest hard rock records of all time. With Bon's spirit evident in the survival themes on the album, new vocalist Brian Johnson slipped comfortably into the band's dynamic approach.moreless
    • KISS Alive
      KISS Alive
      Episode 13
      KISS Alive took the band to a new level. Though Kiss had built a following with their previous studio efforts, their live presentations were the stuff of legend, and this 1975 album brought their good-time party spirit, and the outlandish visual performances to millions of new 'Kiss army' fans. Included are plenty of rare clips from various shows, and interviews with Kevin Bacon, Ted Nugent, and producer Eddie Kramer, along with other managers and reporters.moreless
    • Dr. Feelgood
      Dr. Feelgood
      Episode 12
      This in-depth look at Motley Crue's 1989 hit, Dr. Feelgood, was apparently shelved at the last minute. Vh1 shows no information about the episode, yet it is mentioned in the description of Vh1's own Ultimate Albums main page.
    • Led Zeppelin IV
      Led Zeppelin IV
      Episode 11
      Another mouth-watering installment of this series that was announced, heavily publicized, yet never aired.
    • CrazySexyCool
      Episode 10
      This look at TLC's huge hit, CrazySexyCool, was publicized by Vh1, but so far has never aired.
    • Tragic Kingdom
      Tragic Kingdom
      Episode 9
      This highly anticipated, and publicized, look at the making of No Doubt's breakout album, never was aired. Hopefully the masters exist in a vault somewhere in the Vh1 offices.
    • Raising Hell
      Raising Hell
      Episode 8
      Run-DMC did not produce the first rap album. But 'Raising Hell' was easily the most successful rap record to that time, and its 1986 release opened rap/hip-hop to the mainstream, affecting teenagers all over America. They did not sing, and had little melody, but they rocked hard with heavy guitars and back beats. Here they discuss the inspiration behind their sound, and the collaborative effort with Aerosmith, 'Walk This Way', which merged rock and rap, paving the way for many of today's crossover artists.moreless
    • The Marshall Mathers LP
      Eninem followed up his platinum 'Slim Shady' debut with this album, which pushed the envelopes of taste and artistic freedom, and raised the social conscience to new levels with his disarmingly graphic, uncompromising hip-hop lyrics. Taking aim at his wife, his mother, his fans, and other musicians, he discusses how fame took him completely by surprise, and his turbulent personal life added heaps of publicity. Interviews with Snoop Doggy Dogg, Big Boy, and Xzibit are also featured.moreless
    • Blood Sugar Sex Magik
      Red Hot Chili Peppers were the world's greatest party band - except the world didn't know it yet. All that changed with BloodSugarSexMagik. Inspired by sobriety, a new guitarist, and maybe a ghost or two, the veteran group's 1991 crossover success redefined the California sound. Ultimate Albums celebrates the sexy insanity of the disc's popfunk'n'roll.moreless
    • Bat Out of Hell
      Bat Out of Hell
      Episode 5
      Rock listeners around the world almost immediately understood the power of Bat Out of Hell. But it took a while for America to get to the heart of Meat Loaf's rock musical, which ultimately put some much-needed body fluids back into rock ‘n' roll. Here were seven turbo-charged songs - nay, arias - about things that made sense to anyone who'd ever lived through prom night.moreless
    • Slippery When Wet
      Here we look at Bon Jovi's smash album, 'Slippery When Wet'. Richie Sambora, Tico Torres, and Jon Bon Jovi discuss the making of the album, it's influences, and the feelings they shared while enjoying its success. Engineer Bob Rock comments on some of the recording techniques, and mention is made of the role videos played in the group's pretty boy image.moreless
    • Legend
      Episode 3
      'Legend' is a 'best-of compilation of Bob Marley, released posthumously in 1984. Here we are taken back to Marley's life and this epitaph of his biggest hits. "Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight", he sang, and inspired a whole nation to move, change, and be counted. His best songs are evocative and revolutionary, and we hear from Rita Marley, and Cedella Booker, wife and mother of the late reggae star.moreless
    • Dookie
      Episode 2
      Green Day exploded onto the music scene in 1994 with this release. It not only made them international stars, but brought punk-rock into the pop mainstream, and contributed to the decline of grunge. This episode explores the band's expectations and response to it's success.
    • Pyromania
      Episode 1
      Featured in this premiere episode, Def Leppard went into the studio as a ragged bunch of kids who had struggled with bad record sales, and emerged a year later as one of the biggest rock acts in history. Producer Mutt Lange made it clear that Pyromania was to be their make or break release, and he demanded improvement. Here we are told by the band themselves what that meant to them, and how it took its toll on guitarist Pete Willis, who was replaced after many of his parts were recorded. The album went on to sell 6 million units in the US alone, and spawned three hit singles.moreless
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