worst sounding great lps

Boss-born to run
Deep Purple-Machine Head
Meatloaf-bat out of hell
I was just listening to machine head. It ain't bad at all. Bat out of hell is two dimensional and lacking dynamics but ok otherwise.
Just about anything on Atlantic between 1971 - 1977. Especially Zep 4 and ELP Works Vol 1.
Utopia - Adventures in Utopia

Bright, thin and shrill but with great tunes. In fact, most things Rundgren mixed/mastered himself sound like crap.
agree with the rundgren comment, great music live, but the albums just dont come close to the experience
Led Zeppelin LPs are of a poor sound quality -- agree, but they're just average on performances i.e. almost solid C except probably few songs out of all. The fact of gazillion records sold and popularity unfortunately does not bite me as I only value music and musicians which is only partially there.
Add: Sabbath vol 4 and Who's next...actually have an older Castle remaster of Sabbath debut that sounds phenomenal...picked up mint copy of machine head on LP...sounds better than I recall.
iggy's raw power (david bowie) is a famously botched production, as is marshall crenshaw's field day (steve lillywhite). i'd throw in sst-era husker du (really great songs terribly recorded); i've also been surprised at how bad-sounding some of the smiths records were. not to be unduly controversial, but nevermind never sounded quite right to me, either--its super-clean, polished sheen saps the oomph you feel on in utero.
Ebm, It's indeed very important, but there are even more important also here!
Forgot about Raw power and Husker du...Kinks Muswell hillbillies up there as well...although according to legend that was deliberately recorded in a vintage low fi manner.
Here's some classic rock records that I feel have poor or inconsistent sound despite the great music within.

Ted Nugent-'Double Live Gonzo!'
Kiss-'Hotter than Hell'
Blue Öyster Cult-'Blue Öyster Cult'
Deep Purple-'In Rock'
not to start flames spewing but i have copies of many of the records mentioned here that sound fantastic. born to run, any record by yes, any record by zep, Derek and the Dominos, who's next, Kinks Muswell hillbillies... my copies come form Tom Port of Better Records and they cost a bloody fortune. each pressing or copy of a vinyl record can sound very different. Tom and his crew assemble many copies, often 30, 40, or more and shoot them out. he sometimes packages two records, one for side on and one for side two. Many people on Audiogon trash him without ever trying his stuff. i have collected his goods for 15 years and place a higher value on those pressings than my very expensive equipment. i have bought multiple copies (5 or 6 or more) of a record and done my own shoot outs when Tom does not pursue a certain artist or record and have had some luck with finding a good copy but i do not start with a big enough pool, so i find myself giving Tom my credit card number all too often.
Motorhead - Ironfist
Jethro Tull - Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll

I have a love/hate relationship with Stevie Wonder's 70's albums; some of the stuff is miked great but almost all the albums sound veiled and a little muffled. Yet the music is AWESOME.
Bop 'til You Drop a "catastrophe"? I dunno, sounded pretty darn good to me. And the music is superlative, one of my all-time favorite albums.

Maybe you need to process your copy with an Intelligent Chip, Geoff? [smile]

good thread--interesting and controversial responses. katy lied had a whole checkered history--apparently the original mix was botched due to dbx and had to be remastered--there's an interesting article about it here: http://www.steelydan.com/dennys3.html. i still think it sounds pretty good, though flatter and not as expansive as their other stuff.
gotta disagree with zep and derek and the dominos--love 'em.
Cat Stevens "Foreigner"

All Steely Dan albums but "Aja". Though Aja in CD is terrible.

Last Donald Fagen "Sunken Condos"
Hey Loomis. Hello again. That link didn't work (at least for me).

Try this one (also interesting re Katy Lied).

All the comments about Katy Lied are interesting. I forgot about this one. If any LP can make your speakers sound like they are covered by a blanket, this one can.

I have three copies, original, MoFi and a recently acquired new sealed one and all three are unlistenable. Yet, listen to tracks from this album on Steely Dans/Greatest Hits mastered by Robert Ludwig, and the difference is night and day. Especially Doctor Wu, one of my favorite Steely Dan tunes. Thank God for this Greatest Hits compilation. And Robert Ludwig too!

I have a first pressing vinyl of Cat Stevens' Foreigner and it sounds great.
Paraneer - My experience matches yours on Katy Lied vinyl... "the blanket effect". Just ordered the 1999 re-mastered CD ($5 new w/shipping from Amazon). Supposedly it was re-mastered right with Fagen, Becker & Nicols all involved. We shall see (or hear, I guess).
Don't get your hopes up on Katy Lied, Ghosthouse. I have a re-issue vinyl copy and the 1999 CD, MCAD-11916 copyright 1999, bar code 08811 19162. Don't know if the CD is remastered; there is nothing in the jacket info about that. Regardless, the CD does not sound as good as the vinyl when I use my PL-15D II / 2M Red rig. I consider the vinyl unplayable on my Sota / Graham / XX2 MKII rig. Good luck and happy listening anyway!
I respectfully disagree on the Cheap Trick Live at Budhokan--I find their studio albums to be really flat and Budhokan finally has some life to it. Great record! Agree with Katy Lied. Derek and the Dominoes is great but just kind of muffled. Bop to You Drop (the first digital R&R record!)is okay and Ry is always great.
Phasecorrect, are you referencing "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull? If so, I strongly disagree! I believe there is a group called Aqualung, so maybe you mean them. JT's "Aqualung" is just an outstanding album in every way-including production. I have many versions and prefer the original UK vinyl and the 40th Anniversary Edition CD. I don't know what you are hearing but I consider the recording quality on my two versions above just outstanding. Don't take it personally.

I do agree with Mattmiller that the Led Zepplin recordings are pretty uniformly awful. Fortunately, the songs on several of the albums are so memorable that you can forgive the poor quality recording. Also, for the record I love ALL the Steely Dan records...especially Katy Lied.
The first JT Aqualung released on CD is the worst I own in 30 years of collecting. I've heard that studios, in a rush to get things to market, would use phono equalized masters to make CDs. I think that's the case here...
Great to see the distinction made between the sound and the music; and, the idea that an album can be great even if it suffers from questionable sound. Questionable because I think it's important to remember (in keeping with the above comment) that in some cases the sound is a deliberate choice as an expression of the artist's aesthetic; in general or for that particular record. Crappy sound by audiophile standards is not always a result of bad production and can in some cases be another dimension of the music; like it or not.
MB days of future passed...innovative production, strings, etc...but very veiled, murky results.
Second U2...outside of Achtung baby...not real sonic marvels.Boy remaster is an improvement. Never been happy with JT.
"Aqualung...dreadful production."
-You've obviously never heard the Classic Clarity single sided 45RPM set of Aqualung.

"Anything from Queen"
-Try "Jazz" and "The Game"
Another one bites the dust has world class production...it is disco Queen which may turn some off...but stellar sound.
A lot of Queen I hear is recorded quite well.

Days Of Future Past? I can't agree on that one either.
If memory serves me, pre Sheer Heart Attack was really recorded badly with Queen 2 being a great recording.