Top 10 Rock Tribute Albums

Tribute albums can be a hit or miss proposition. The basic premise is to have a bunch of artists record songs by one classic artist and put them all on one album. Some artists choose to record faithful versions of the original song and others try to put their own stamp on a song by revamping it completely. Here is a list of some of the best rock tribute albums.  

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Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (1993)

Jimi Hendrix. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives-Getty Images

This tribute album is a combination of some of Jimi Hendrix's contemporaries like Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy and newer artists at the time like Body Count and Living Colour.

Highlights from this album include:

Eric Clapton "Stone Free" (Listen).

Seal and Jeff Beck "Manic Depression" (Listen).

Slash, Paul Rodgers and Band of Gypsys "I Don't Live Today" (Listen).

Living Colour - "Crosstown Traffic" (Listen).

M.A.C.C. "Hey Baby (Land of the New Rising Sun)" (Listen).

M.A.C.C. featured Soundgarden singer/guitarist Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron combined with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and bassist Jeff Ament. 

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Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors (2000)

Album cover courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group.

American record producer Ralph Sall put together this tribute album to The Doors pairing mostly contemporary artists with surviving band members guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore, and keyboardist Ray Manzarek (who died in 2013). The Lizard King himself, Jim Morrison, appears on four album tracks:

Album highlights include:

Stone Temple Pilots - "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" - featuring Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek (Listen).

Aerosmith - "Love Me Two Times" - featuring Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek (Listen).

Jim Morrison and John Lee Hooker - "Roadhouse Blues" - featuring blues legend John Lee Hooker, the four original Doors, Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea and others (Listen).

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AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered: A Tribute to U2 (2011)

Album cover courtesy of Mercury, Interscope, Universal Records.

AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered features covers of U2's entire 1991 Achtung Baby album. It includes 11 tracks covered by a who's who of rock artists plus a remix of U2's "Even Better Than The Real Thing". It was released in 2011 as a special CD in the December 2011 issue of magazine. The album is now available exclusively on iTunes Store with all proceeds going to the Concern Worldwide charity.

Album highlights include:

Nine Inch Nails - "Zoo Station" (Listen).

Garbage - "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" (Listen).

Depeche Mode - "So Cruel" (Listen).

Jack White - "Love Is Blindness". This cover is also featured on 2013's The Great Gatsby movie soundtrack (Listen).

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For the Masses - A Tribute to Depeche Mode (1998)

Album cover courtesy of A&M Records.

For the Masses is a Depeche Mode tribute album that celebrates the music of principle songwriter Martin Gore. Originally Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, and Marilyn Manson wanted to participate but their schedules prevented them. Manson later recorded a version of "Personal Jesus" for his Lest We Forget greatest hits album.

Standout tracks include:

The Smashing Pumpkins - "Never Let Me Down Again" (Listen).

Failure - "Enjoy The Silence" (Listen).

The Cure - "World in My Eyes" (Listen).

Deftones - "To Have and to Hold" (Listen).

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Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (1995)

Album cover courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin was an album which featured artists signed to or affiliated with Atlantic Records (Led Zeppelin's label) at the time it was released.

The album's best tracks include:

Stone Temple Pilots - "Dancing Days" (Listen).

Blind Melon - "Out on the Tiles" (Listen).

Cracker - "Good Times, Bad Times" (Listen).

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We're a Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones (2003)

Album cover courtesy of Columbia Records.

This tribute album to The Ramones was organized by Johnny Ramone who had complete control over the project. Rob Zombie co-produced and provided the album's artwork. 

Highlights of the album include:

Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Havana Affair" (Listen).

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder with Zeke - "I Believe In Miracles" (Listen).

Metallica - "53rd & 3rd" (Listen).

U2 - "Beat On The Brat" (Listen).

John Frusciante - "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" (Listen).

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Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon (2005)

Album cover courtesy of Hollywood Records.

Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon is a tribute album dedicated exclusively to covers of the late Beatles' singer/songwriter's solo work. 

Album highlights include:

Red Hot Chili Peppers - "I Found Out" (Listen).

Mad Season - "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier" (Listen).

Cheap Trick - "Cold Turkey" (Listen).

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Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen (2005)

Album cover courtesy Hollywood Records.

This 2005 album pays tribute to the band Queen with covers by a wide range of artists.

Standout tracks include:

Shinedown - "Tie Your Mother Down" (Listen).

Eleven featuring Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme - "Stone Cold Crazy" (Listen).

Breaking Benjamin - "Who Wants To Live Forever" (Listen).

The Flaming Lips - "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Listen).

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The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young (1989)

Album cover courtesy: Caroline Records.

This tribute album to Neil Young featured alternative rock artists covering Young's songs. A portion of the proceeds were donated to Young's Bridge School charity.

Highlights include:

The Flaming Lips - "After the Gold Rush" (Listen).

Pixies - "Winterlong" (Listen).

Sonic Youth - "Computer Age" (Listen). 

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Hard to Believe: A Kiss Covers Compilation

Album cover courtesy of C/Z Records.

Hard to Believe: A Kiss Covers Compilation (1990) is an out of print Kiss tribute album notable for featuring underground independent bands of the late 1980's.

Notable tracks include:

Nirvana - "Do You Love Me?" (Listen). This gritty cover is one of two Nirvana studio tracks that feature short-term guitarist Jason Everman. It is also a rare track featuring bassist Krist Novoselic on backing and some lead vocals. Kurt Cobain's mock cat calls at the song's end pokes fun Kiss' sexism to hilarious effect. 

The Melvins - "God of Thunder" (Listen).

Where to Buy:

These albums are available for purchase on Amazon except for the U2 tribute album available only on iTunes.