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Live Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness

Hailing from York, Pa., Live became one of the biggest bands of the alternative era. We’ve ranked all their albums in order of awesomeness in the gallery above.

The foursome comprising the original lineup of Live were friends since they were kids attending school together in the suburban sprawl. Initially going by the moniker Public Affection, singer Ed Kowalczyk, guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey changed their name to Live and released the EP Four Songs in late 1991.

The single “Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)” received heavy airplay on modern rock radio in nearby Philadelphia, setting the stage for full-length debut, Mental Jewelry, which came out on New Year’s Eve that same year.

Live rode the alternative wave spectacularly in 1994 with Throwing Copper, an epic sophomore album that hovered in the Top 100 of the Billboard album chart for a year before finally landing in the top spot, aided by the constant rotation of the single “Lightning Crashes” on both MTV and radio. Despite being tagged by some as Christian rock, often a death knell for mainstream popularity, Live rose above the label by doing what U2 had done a decade earlier: by putting out top-notch songs and being open about their religious beliefs.

Live’s popularity held steadfast throughout the ‘90s, buoyed by hits like “Turn My Head” and “The Dolphin’s Cry,” but waned as the ‘00s went on. They split with Kowalczyk in 2009, replacing him with Chris Shinn of Unified Theory, but that lasted only one album, and they reunited with Kowalczyk in late 2016.

So where does their later material stand in comparison with their better-known work? Click above to find out.

Next: Top 10 Albums of 1994

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