Over the years I have avoided doing a "Best Album" list. I've shown which albums I'd give an A+ (32 in total) and which are best of the decade, but not overall. Likewise, I've done 100 of the century, or a beginner's guide - but these aren't personal lists either, so much as they are road maps for others.
So here's what I personally think are the 100 Best Albums of All Time. Note that there are no classical recordings or musicals on the list, due to difficulties those would impose. Nor are there any compilations, greatest hits, or anthologies allowed - just LPs.
1. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
Of course Sgt. Peppers is the top of the list. Every note rings with perfection on thirteen inspired tracks of innovative rock brilliance. With this album rock moved into a new era, and stood triumphant with such tracks as the psychedelic pop of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the sitar-driven Harrison contribution “Within You Without You”, and the epic “A Day in the Life”.
2. The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds, 1966
It opens with a saccharine jingle, and then a snare-shot lets you know this isn’t a typical surf album. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is just the opener of the incredible sonic and harmonic journey. “God Only Knows” may be the best love song ever written, and that’s before you get to the moving “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” – Wilson’s personal cry.
3. Marvin Gaye, What's Going On, 1971
Socially-conscious soul – Marvin Gaye created a masterpiece on this 1971 album. With a suite-quality, the short (thirty-five minute) offering packs an immense amount of groove and beauty into a small space. “What’s Going On” is the most famous track; “Mercy Mercy Me” deserves equal praise. The coda of “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)” is a great finale.
4. James Brown, Live at the Apollo, 1963
“The hardest workin’ man in show business…” It’s a rare live album where you like listening to the spoken tracks – but the frenetic energy of Brown’s performance is felt on every track. “Try Me” has the audience erupt on the first word, before turning up the heat on “Think” and moving on to the inconceivable ten-song medley that starts and ends with “Please Please Please”.
5. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, 1959
Kind of Blue is universally praised at the greatest jazz album ever, and it’s easy to see why. The modal jazz pioneered moved the genre away from bop, towards a lusher sound. Backed by Adderley, Coltrane, and Bill Evans, Davis is in rare form on tracks “So What” and “All Blues”, while hinting at where the improviser is headed next on the Latin-tinged “Flamenco Sketches”.
6. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, 1964
A swirl of celestial notes, Coltrane made this album as a sincere offering to a higher power that lets him make music. Gorgeous and uplifting, Supreme has Coltrane sharing the spotlight with the best, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones included. A four-part suite, it opens with the tingling “Acknowledgement” before going all-out on “Pursuance” and elevating the soul on “Psalm”.
7. Daft Punk, Discovery, 2001
It is nearly impossible to not move with the French duo Daft Punk’s Discovery. Setting the tone for the 21st century of dance, the electronic group gets you swaying on “One More Time” before moving into more reflective notes, such as “Something About Us”. But it hooks you back on the groove with “Too Long” playing you out and into a new musical era.
8. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks, 1968
The Northern Irish Morrison is known on the radio for “Brown-Eyed Girl” which is a shame, since any track on Weeks could clobber the earlier pop offering. Unapologetically unique and innovative, the album opens with “Astral Weeks” setting the acoustic tone. The first side ends on “Cypress Avenue” signaling the loss that defines the back half including “Slim Slow Slider”.
9. Stevie Wonder, Talking Book, 1972
While Innervisions may be the more artistically worthy choice, Book has one thing the other doesn’t: joy. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” opens the album with unsurprisingly bright happiness. Wonder jams on to lower and more cynical places, hitting the peak of both on “Superstition” before re-elevating on “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever”.
10. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971
About a quarter of Zeppelin’s output is acoustic. The album has plenty of heavy metal cred – just listen to “When the Levee Breaks” – but has some of their best acoustic work as well, for example “Going to California”. Of course the supreme blending of the two, which became their signature tune “Stairway to Heaven”, shows how great it can be when rock’s two worlds meet.
11. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972
A straight-ish forward story of an alien rocker who becomes too glammed-out and decadent, Bowie brings the rock on “It Ain’t Easy” but throws in some ballad work that seems perfectly in place on “Ziggy Stardust” and, of course, provides the tragic ending of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”.
12. AC/DC, Back in Black, 1980
“Shoot to Thrill” is the ultimate distillation of hard rock. Aussie rockers AC/DC showed a new way into the 1980s with heavy tracks that still could get airtime: the double-whammy of “Back in Black” followed by “You Shook Me All Night Long” puts Black in a category of its own.
13. Guns n Roses, Appetite for Destruction, 1987
You feel you’re in an arena for the entirety of Appetite’s unrepentant glorification of sex, drugs, and rock. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is the anthem, but “Nightrain” deserves the ‘Makes You Want to Be a Rock Star’ award. “Rocket Queen” screws subtlety and overlays a solo with actual sex.
14. PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2000
Audaciously opening with “Big Exit” Harvey quickly shows off her rock chops. The quintessential early aughts sound moves through the pensiveness of tracks like “Beautiful Feeling” and ends on the affirmative sound of “We’ll Float”.
15. The Who, Who's Next, 1971
Having finally mastered what became “Underture” on Tommy The Who now moved to new sounds. “Baba O’Reilly” captures a new openness of sound. “Behind Blue Eyes” portrays a sympathetic villain, while “Won’t Get Fooled Again” provides an anthem of shoulder-shrugging.
16. Allman Brothers, At Fillmore East, 1971
“Statesboro Blues” opens the collection of jam sessions, and suggests a typical live album. Wrong. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” clocks in at thirteen minutes of Duane Allman’s guitar virtuosity, followed by the twenty-three minutes of “Whipping Post”. It paved the way for many to follow.
17. The Zombies, Odessey and Oracle, 1968
Oracle is the highlight of a small subgenre called ‘Baroque Pop’. It’s easy to see the appeal of lavish orchestration backing the stunning harmonies of tracks such as “Brief Candles” and “Changes”. The last track, however, “Time of the Season”, is pure psychedelic rock.
18. Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left, 1969
The folk-rock sound took a turn for the minor-key with Drake. Brooding, melancholic, and apprehensive in tone, tracks such as “Three Hours” and “Cello Song” remind you that every sunny day casts many shadows. In the end the brightness of “Saturday Sun” wins out.
19. Love, Forever Changes, 1967
Rivals of the “band across the street” (in this case, The Doors) Forever is an extraordinary one-off. Feeling the influence of Herb Alpert on “Alone Again Or” they move on to stranger pastures in “The Red Telephone” and “The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This”.
20. Nas, Illmatic, 1994
In the early nineties hip-hop was dominated by the West coast sound of N.W.A. Nas brought the scene back to the East coast on “New York State of Mind” and “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)”. But it’s not all a postcard – he shows he can go deep on tracks like “Represent”.
21. Keith Jarrett, The Koln Concert, 1975
Jarrett left behind the jazz fusion of heavy guitars and wailing horns to make this impossibly beautiful album in 1975. Just solo piano, for over an hour, we remember what jazz had originally been about on tracks “Part I” and “Part II A”.
22. Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow, 1967
Grace Slick’s voice gives much of the power to Jefferson Airplane, especially on its two hit tracks “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”. The rest of the album, however, is just as good if not as famous, and captures the counter-culture sound.
23. The Strokes, Is This It?, 2001
The faded fuzz of The Strokes’ debut set the standard for indie rock. “Soma” may be the best track on the album, even if “Last Nite” became the radio DJ favorite; ironically the album started to shift power from the industry anyway.
24. The White Stripes, Elephant, 2003
As indie rock became increasingly fascinated by their own bellybuttons in came The White Stripes to inject a much-needed blues-rock. “Seven Nation Army” is darker than it sounds, and “The Air Near My Fingers” blasted the notion that rock in aughts had to be airy and light.
25. Ravi Shankar, Three Ragas, 1956
To Western ears Shankar just sounds ‘Indian’, as old as the Ganges. But Shankar actually radically modernized North Indian music, and the sound of the sitar particularly. Tracks like “Raga Jog” and the slow-burn of “Raga Simhendra Madhyamam” made huge strides.
26. Cannonball Adderley, Somethin' Else, 1958
Miles Davis was just about done being anyone else’s sideman in 1958. Luckily, this recording captures him with Adderley and Art Blakey taking a last look at bop. Standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “Love for Sale” get the royal treatment as a result.
27. Sasha, Global Underground 013: Ibiza, 1999
The late-nineties rave and club scene was one of unprecedented musical fertility. Sasha is arguably the most adept DJ in the world of techno, and on Ibiza he mixes and manipulates tracks like “Deep Progress” and “Xpander” into a concentration of the Spanish party scene.
28. Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Clifford Brown and Max Roach, 1955
It’s a bop masterwork, but also one of the first LPS that actually felt like it benefited from a full forty minutes. “Daahoud” and “Joy Spring” have become standards, a fitting legacy to Brown, who died in a car crash a year later, while Roach went on to help ease jazz into the 60s.
29. Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt, A Meeting by the River, 1993
“Longing” sounds as though it would be perfectly at home in a Bollywood film. The extraordinary “Ganges River Blues” shows the flip side to the coin, with Bhatt’s Mohan Veena matching perfectly with Cooder’s bottleneck, and a driving, pulsing tabla.
30. Duke Ellington, Ellington at Newport, 1956
This album is actually studio chicanery – four of the five tracks weren’t live, including “Newport Up” that helped revitalize the Duke’s swinging career. The one live track, “Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue” captures the sound of one of the century’s best composers.
31. Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads, 1940
Guthrie laid the foundations in this remarkable work (originally released in a package of 78s). The tune of “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” was copied by Dylan, Seeger, and Van Ronk, while “Pretty Boy Floyd” sang the praises of the outlaw, made notorious by the song.
32. Les McCann and Eddie Harris, Swiss Movement, 1969
A bit of soul music goes a long way in this live jazz album. “Compared to What” brings up Vietnam, and became a hit, while “Cold Duck Time” is more typical. It’s all the more remarkable since many of the musicians hadn’t played together before.
33. Tangerine Dream, Rubycon, 1975
The moog synthesizer and mellotron show off in this German techno album. “Part 1” verges on the ambient and sci-fi side of things, while “Part 2” puts an eerie beat to the sounds before returning to the feel of a spacecraft on a trip beyond the stars.
34. Anais Mitchell, Hadestown, 2010
Mitchell’s folk album combines the story of Orpheus with a New Orleans sound (evident in tracks like “Way Down Hadestown”) and some powerful guests including Ani DiFranco and Justin Vernon, whose voice may convince you of mythical powers on “Epic (Part 2)”.
35. The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street, 1977
The Stones had a number of great albums, but it all came together in the swirl of boogie blues-rock goodness on Exile. “Tumbling Dice” slowly builds into something tantamount to an anthem, while “Soul Survivor” reminds us why we like them in the first place.
36. The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969
It opens with unique sound of “Come Together” referencing the origins of rock with Chuck Berry. The back half of The Beatles’ swansong is an impressive medley, including Ringo’s only drum solo on “The End”.
37. Moby, Play, 1999
Moby’s Play should be credited with making the post-modern accessible to the wary. “Porcelain” overlays a haunted piano over fuzzy echoing lyrics about death, while a toe-tapping beat reminds you this is music. “Run On” combined house music with a gospel-blues sound.
38. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti, 1975
Most double albums go on too long, but not so Zeppelin’s final success. The group gets to play around with Plant’s vocals and Page’s guitar on gems like “In the Light” and the perennial favorite, “Kashmir”, without losing sight of their sound.
39. Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, 1984
“Hi. I have a tape I want to play you” begins David Byrne. It’s hard to nail down The Talking Heads to one studio album, which makes this live performance so rewarding, as it has all of their best tracks, like “Psycho Killer” and “Life During Wartime” performed with tremendous energy.
40. The Clash, The Clash, 1977
London Calling is an exercise in what happens when you throw in everything, including the kitchen sink, and pour it into an album. The Clash is punk rock with jagged edges, some reggae influences, and in-your-face disregard on tracks like “Clash City Rockers”.
41. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, 1968
The Kinks moved from British invasion band into concept albums about the British experience. Society captured the loss of the British way with winks (“God save the little shops, china cups, and virginity”) but sincerity as well, for example “People Take Pictures of Each Other”.
Pete Seeger may be the first person who got Carnegie Hall to do a sing-along. A mix of folk songs, protest songs, and civil rights anthems, the reverberations of the joyous, defiant concert hall are enough to lift any spirit. Besides the title track, "Guantanamera" is a gem.
43. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory, 1991
Jazz and hip-hop finally meet on this abstract album with Q-Tip and Pfife Dawg. Jazz bass lines and beats mix together strikingly, while the final track, “Scenario”, launched Busta Rhymes’ career (besides being one of the best posse cuts ever).
44. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers, 1976
The Boston-based group invented punk, but the work was shelved until the success of others convinced the producers to release the album. Singer Richman provides lyrics about being an outcast and living in the Massachusetts burbs in “Roadrunner”.
45. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing....., 1996
Shadow’s album is forever enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first album to be comprised solely of samples. Diverse, yet unified, the track “Midnight in a Perfect World” captures the nineties’ brief fascination with trip-hop.
46. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill, 1995
“Do I stress you out?” Morissette opens in “All I Really Want”. The best-selling album heralded a return of female singer-songwriters who were also rockers, somewhat absent in the eighties. Feminism had a powerful new, Canadian, voice.
47. Carole King, Tapestry, 1971
Initially part of a song-writing duo with Gery Goffin, King broke out on her own in this landmark. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” had been a hit when belted by Aretha Franklin, but in the sincere tones of its writer, it reaches new earnestness.
48. Sam Phillips, Fan Dance, 2001
Phillips has a smoky, bourbon voice. Produced by then-husband T Bone Burnett, Dance has great lyrics to back the production. Alt-rock and country seem to blend on tracks like “How to Dream” while other offerings present glimpses, or sketches, of a Phillip’s private musical world.
49. Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols, 1977
'Bollocks' is a snarl that echoes through the decades. More audacious than anything else at the time, lead singer Johnny Rotten brought a healthy measure of discontent to the English way of life on tracks like "God Save the Queen". Even the album cover was charged with obscenity.
50. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA, 1984
Expanding from, but still firmly rooted in, New Jersey themes, U.S.A. is slicker than anything else Springsteen ever did. “Dancing in the Dark” became the Grammy-winning single, but the whole album is full of standing-on-your-own manifestos.
51. Queen, A Night at the Opera, 1975
Of course “Bohemian Rhapsody” has become the signature track, but don’t be too quick to overlook the other seriously heavy rock tracks on Opera. It’s not all screaming guitars though: Mercury has his fun, too, on Victorian-inspired ditties sprinkled throughout.
52. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Alternative country has a history going back to outlaws like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, and Case has more in common with these lyricists than, say, Patsy Cline. “Maybe Sparrow” is two-and-a-half minutes of the contemporary alt-country scene, refined.
53. Big Star, #1 Record, 1972
Power pop wanted to replace the void left by The Beatles, and Big Star was among the best. “The Ballad of El Goodo” is characteristic of the sound, but the album has many great tracks.
54. Beck, Sea Change, 2002
Influenced by personal sorrow as much as by French rocker Serge Gainsbourg, tracks like “Paper Tiger” are menacing, and introspective at the same time. Beck worked wonders outside of the mainstream.
55. Gustavo Santaolalla, Ronroco, 1998
Santaolalla has been quietly introducing us to the sounds of Argentina without fuss (despite winning two Academy Awards). “Iguazu” shows off why we should pay more attention.
56. The Bothy Band, Old Hag You Have Killed Me, 1976
Much of the traditional music from Ireland is trite. But on tracks like “Fionnghuala’s Bothy” you know immediately that The Bothy Band, the originators of the phenomenon, are the real deal.
57. The Doors, The Doors, 1967
Jim Morrison hadn’t yet become a parody of himself, and the band rocked with a dangerous fury on tracks like “Break on Through”. The rest of Doors is held up with those epic organ jams.
58. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico, 1967
From the scene of Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground broke open a whole new sound of experimental rock with songs like “The Black Angel’s Death Song” redefining ‘menace’.
59. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses, 1989
In the late eighties England, specifically Manchester, decided to forsake the popular hair metal sound, and return to the sixties, ironically defining the nineties, on tracks like “Waterfall”.
60. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn..., 1999
A number of singer-songwriters in the late nineties helped bring the piano back to rock, exiled for over a decade. Apple’s “On the Bound” created a sound that influenced a great many more.
61. Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970
Assorted tracks run the gamut in their final collaboration, perhaps none being better than simple lament, “The Only Living Boy in New York” where Simon considers the City without Art.
62. U2, The Joshua Tree, 1987
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” created a new type of rock song many bands are still indebted to to this day. Bono’s pleading vocals were only just beginning, though.
63. David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971
At the start of his many personas Bowie created an album that focused on being a misfit and defiantly standing up to the normals, most notably on the opening “Changes”.
64. The Band, Music from Big Pink, 1968
The backing band for Bob Dylan went into upstate New York, and in a barn affectionately dubbed 'big pink' recorded their first album, with the most notable track being 'The Weight'.
65. T. Rex, Electric Warrior, 1971
Nothing else quite sounded like T. Rex. “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” became a hit, but the whole album is full of tracks just as good, if not better.
66. Paul Simon, Graceland, 1986
Working with black South Africans during apartheid was bold enough, but not as bold as the sound on tracks like “The Boy in the Bubble”.
67. Quicksilver Messenger Service, Happy Trails, 1969
Part murky live album from the depths of the San Francisco counterculture (“Where You Love”), part studio guitar work, this album seizes hold of the late sixties in one record.
68. Roxy Music, Avalon, 1982
So much of the eighties sounds like Avalon and so little is as good. Roxy Music left their art rock (and Brian Eno) behind and turned on the synthesizers on tracks like “More Than This”.
69. Jeff Buckley, Grace, 1994
“Buckley had a voice like an oversexed angel” claimed Rolling Stone in a review. Tracks like “Eternal Life” get away from the high notes, and let the guitars show off.
70. Bonnie Prince Billy, I See a Darkness, 1999
Melancholic at the best of times, this indie milestone isn’t entirely gloomy and sad. There are moments when he almost seems upbeat, “Nomadic Revery (All Around)”, for example.
71. The O'Jays, Back Stabbers, 1972
Philadelphia soul ambassadors The O’Jays brought the strings and horns to their funky love songs, with no greater testament to the power of world brotherhood than “Love Train”.
72. Jethro Tull, Aqualung, 1971
Often derided for their flute solos, prog rockers Jethro Tull sing of tramps like Aqualung among a cast of homeless characters. “Wind Up” displays the album’s other, atheist, theme.
73. Ted Hawkins, The Next Hundred Years, 1994
Hawkins lived on the streets, singing on the corner, and his voice shows it. Put in the studio as an old man the blues strains of “Big Things” are powerful testaments to the inspiration of music.
74. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife, 2006
Mixing accordions, melodicas, and Colin Meloy’s indie lyrics, The Decemberists created a sort of a concept album, with tracks such as “Summersong” echoing the decade’s hipster scene.
75. The Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole, 1997
“Block Rockin’ Beats” brought the big beat sound to a wider audience, and, with the rest of the album, created a template for what would eventually become popular techno forms like dubstep.
76. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible, 2007
Canadian rockers Arcade Fire became indie royalty with Funeral, but their second release captures their essence even better, while “No Cars Go” presages their next stage.
77. Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica, 1969
The height of art rock, Replica was produced by Zappa, and recorded in a few hours. But don’t be fooled: the band spent eight months perfecting songs like “Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish”.
Often regarded as Dylan's masterpiece, the opening track 'Like a Rolling Stone' is certainly a high-water mark for Dylan's lyricism. The sprawling ending doesn't suck too much.
79. Stevie Wonder , Innervisions, 1973
Magnificent in range and crystalline precision, Innervisions avoids the lengthy jams that mar many of Wonder's works. Social justice is still there, though, on “Living for the City”.
80. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin, 1969
Zeppelin created heavy metal with “Good Times Bad Times” ushering in a new rock era.
81. Charlie Mingus, Mingus Ah Um, 1959
Using cutting edge style Mingus looks back on the works of Ellington, “Jelly Roll”, and others.
82. Curtis Mayfield, Superfly, 1972
Combining funk and soul on “Superfly” made for a new, influential sound for the seventies.
83. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, 1973
Engineering obsession led to landmark prog rock tracks like “Money” and became a huge hit.
84. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, 1969
Jimmy Page’s best guitar work is on II, “Whole Lotta Love” proving they were here to stay.
85. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain, 1984
“When Doves Cry” famously has no bass line, but the whole album still makes you move.
86. The Cars, The Cars, 1978
As responsible for new wave rock as anyone, “Good Times Roll” shows it’s a good thing.
87. Pentangle, Basket of Light, 1969
Psychedelic rock meets folk, “House Carpenter” results, and all is well.
88. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Damn the Torpedoes, 1979
“Refugee” put Petty firmly in the rock immortals category, along with every other track.
89. The Meters, Rejuvenation, 1974
Funky but able to experiment, “Hey Pocky A-Way” became a standard funk track.
90. Lennie Tristano, Lennie Tristano, 1956
Tristano blends live and studio overdubbing, with results like “East Thirty-Second”.
91. Art Pepper, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, 1957
Supposedly Pepper had no idea he’d be recording “Straight Life”, or any other songs, that day.
'Hotel California' gets the airtime of this forty minute ennui tribute.
93. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run, 1975
“Born to Run” grabs hold of a feeling and doesn’t let go, riding a crescendo to glory.
94. Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights, 1982
Their marriage fell apart while recording, creating bitter masterpieces like “Wall of Death”.
95. Paul Desmond, Take Ten, 1963
More adventurous than Time Out, Desmond shows off cool jazz with “Embarcadero”.
96. Black Sabbath, Paranoid, 1970
Some of the thematically darkest rock at the time, “Paranoid” became a rock classic.
97. Sun Ra, Jazz in Silhouette, 1959
Remarkably avant-garde with songs like “Ancient Aiethopia” Sun Ra defined a new sound.
98. Fairport Convention, Liege and Lief, 1969
Thompson and Sandy Denny pair well in an album of electrified traditionals like “Tam Lin”.
99. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery, 1973
Prog rock superstars show off their skills on songs like “Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 1”.
100. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy, 1973
Straying from their roots, attempts like “No Quarter” showed Zeppelin could experiment.