Compiling the following list of Top 25 Classic Rock Albums of 2017 involves several levels of critical thinking. You evaluate based on what might resonate within the musical landscape of this year, but also into the distant future. You try to avoid succumbing to zeitgeist hype, to the inevitable allure surrounding anything new.

Luckily, there are times like 2017, when a series of albums dropped that felt instantly timeless. The best new music sends us on unexpected journeys, but a true test can involve how any new project fits into a band's larger context. That's how songs ultimately transform from transient ear-worm to treasured artifact.

We were thrilled by long-awaited returns, most notably from Robert Plant, Roger Waters and Styx, as well as a powerful and poignant farewell from Gregg Allman. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie made an album together for the first time since Fleetwood Mac's Tango in the Night.

There were also plenty of albums by artists who added to their legacy in more incremental, if no less important, ways – including Bob Dylan, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Cheap Trick and others. Albums by Blondie and Todd Rundgren pushed back hard against expectations, while Van Morrison and Deep Purple provided a sense of constancy in an ever-changing musical landscape.

Artists like Ray Davies, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and John Mellencamp dug deeply into American roots music, while Chuck Berry reminded us of his stirring role in creating that cultural heritage.

Scroll down to find out how they all ranked in our the Top 25 Classic Rock Albums of 2017.

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