Trios: Favorite Albums by Three-Member Groups

I stole this idea from who is one of my favorite music YouTube vloggers.

Glen limited his list to 10, but I’m going to exceed that number.

Here we go, and these are in no particular order.

James Gang Rides Again (1970) – James Gang. The band’s second album, maybe the best material Walsh has ever written and his musical prowess is outstanding. Not just a blues-hard rock sound, there are ballads and orchestral textures. “Funk #49”, “The Bomber Medley”, “Tend My Garden” and “Ashes the Rain and I”.

Homecoming (1972) – America. The group’s second album, a more commercial effort, a full band sound, but not losing the personal feel of their introspective songs. “Ventura Highway”, “Don’t Cross the River”, “To Each His Own”, “Only in Your Heart” and “Saturn Nights”.

Trilogy (1972) – Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Another hard selection. The entire first side is a must play. A delicate blend of progressive-rock, classical and pop. “The Endless Enigma (Parts 1 & 2)”, “Fuge”, “From the Beginning”, “The Sheriff” and “Hoedown” are quite breathtaking.

Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) – Crosby, Stills & Nash. The debut album and quite a landmark recording. “Marrakesh Express”, “Helplessly Hoping”, “Wooden Ships” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”.

Zenyatta Mondatta (1980) – The Police. Not their top ranked album, but a damn good one and my favorite. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, “Driven to Tears” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”.

Genesis (1983) – Genesis. The self-titled album may not be their best, but it’s great from start to finish. “That’s All”, “Home By the Sea”, “Silver Rainbow” and “It’s Gonna Get Better”.

Disraeli Gears (1967) – Cream. Baker, Bruce and Clapton. The second album by the trio, a 33 minute feast. “Strange Brew”, “Sunshine of Your Love”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “SWLABR”.

Electric Ladyland (1970) – Jimi Hendrix. Magnificent, but one could pick any of his Experience albums. Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “All Along the Watchtower”.

Eliminator (1983) – ZZ Top – “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Legs”. The band shifted their sound toward a more contemporary synth-drum machine 80’s MTV gloss. It was successful without totally abandoning their signature blues/rock vibe.

Built for Speed (1982) – Stray Cats. In actuality. A compilation album, but it introduced American to this group including “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut”.

Peter, Paul and Mary (1962) – Peter, Paul and Mary. Their debut album, and what a fresh, exciting sound. Folk groups were the rage, but sounding distinctive and gaining a foothold on airplay was difficult. “If I Had a Hammer”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “Lemmon Tree” and “This Train”.

Skylarking (1986) – XTC. The British band was now a trio. Working with producer Todd Rundgren, Skylarking was their most successful album. Quirky, pop, it reminds me of a cross between the Beatles and early Pink Floyd. “Dear God”, “Big Day”, “The Meeting Place” and “That’s Really Super, Supergirl”.

Honorable Mention: Mountain, Mountain; We’re an American Band, Grand Funk Railroad; Moving Pictures, Rush; In Utero, Nirvana; Bridge of Sighs, Robin Trower; Life Beyond L.A., Ambrosia; The Kingston Trio, The Kingston Trio; Red, King Crimson; Beck, Bogert & Appice; Beck, Bogert & Appice;

One thought on “Trios: Favorite Albums by Three-Member Groups

  1. Do look up Highway Robbery, a Cream-inspired power trio out of San Francisco — only heavier. They made one album (MCA, MGM I think?) and it pre-dates the “Montrose sound” (the Sammy Hagar-era). They’ve ended up on a few “Top Ten” best band lists, metal albums you’ve never heard, etc.


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