4. The Smiths (1984)
Seemingly fully formed at the outset of their recording career, the Smiths' self-titled debut is a startlingly coherent sound and vision, setting the stage for what is to become one of the most extraordinary catalogs in the history of rock music. Few bands have ever managed such a clear conception of their mission purview at such an embryonic stage. But songs like "Reel Around The Fountain," "This Charming Man," and "Hand In Glove" are virtuosic, layered and sophisticated forerunners of those elements that will light a shining path towards a classic band's inevitable greatness.