Double Albums/CDs, curse or blessing?

For no good reason, I have been thinking about the worth of double albums or cds that bands release. The only two that I can come up that make sense are the Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall. These are obviously rock opera type albums that hang together. Excluding Greatest Hits which might make sense, are there others doubles that people think of highly?

Most other double albums (double cds more so) I am familiar with would have been much better if only the best material had made it onto a single disc. Examples in my view would be Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium, Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion I & II (at least they are sold separately).

While it may make the bands more money to issue doubles, I think that it generally cheapens the brand.

What do fellow agoners think?
Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"...every song is wonderful and couldn't have been done a one record.
Just like everything in audio, some make sense and some do not.

I like Pink Floyd also and I particularly love their live concert recordings which often come in double CDs. If you don't have them already, try the "Delicate Sound Of Thunder", "Is There Anybody Out There?", and "Pulse"; all are excellent.

truth be told, most good double lps would be great edited down to a single. my short list of genuinely great double lps would include (in no particular order):
exile on main st.
blonde on blonde
white album
bitches brew
warehouse songs and stories (husker du)
velvet underground 1970
fillmore east (allmans)
london calling
I think there are lots of examples (especially lp), how about:
Smashing Pumpkins Meloncollie
Zepplin Physical Graffetti
U2 Joshua Tree
Who Quadraphenia
Joshua Tree? That's on one record, as far as I can recall.

All of us have different preference's.The main thing to me is
getting a high quality recording.If you get a lot of enjoyment
out of it,I think it's worth it.Same goes for our audio gear.
I forgot to mention,how many single albums have we bought that
has just that one song we wanted.Then we get it home to listen
to it only to find out the engineer did a bad job,and the rest
of the songs are lousy.That to me is a real ripoff.It happens
way more than a double album.A single or double that is done
right is a good deal.
Layla (to me) is an excellent double LP and justified.
First, the band, Dominos, was so dysfunctional it could only hold together for a short period. One year?
Secondly, the passion and intensity of the music makes this one of the all time "best of rock" LPs ever.
Cream's Wheels of Fire was also justified in that one was a studio recording and the other live. Quality was poor, but... Again, Crossroads is worth it.
Generally, I agree that most dbl Lps could be edited to one.
Then again, there's Electric Ladyland...and, Dylan and The Band and...
The Grateful Dead Europe 72 -which can be turned inside-out to look like the White Album

The Grateful Dead "skull and roses".
In the main, I probably agree with the OP...however, with respect to legitimate double LPs...

Jimi Hendrix' "Electric Ladyland" as mentioned by Oregon.

Genesis, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".

The Beatles, "White Album"...ok, this is subject to debate.

Allman Bros "At the Fillmore East"...maybe "Eat a Peach".

Peter Frampton, "Frampton Comes Alive".

Little Feat, "Waiting for Columbus".

Funny how so many are live albums.

Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago's first album, should also be on the list.
a think you've overlooked 'a hundred' or so perfect ones...soft machine-3rd, pink floyd-ummagumma,love-out here, alan price-performing price, bob dylan-blonde on blonde, donovan-a gift from a flower to a garden, crosby stills nash and young-four way st, doors-absolutely live, yada yada
Fleetwood mac "Tusk", All double live albums, Seger, Supertramp, Skynyrd etc, Pink Flyd "meddle" are few that come to mind.
Basically agree with OP, but really, LIVE albums are a different animal. They most always have SEVERAL albums of material to pull from when performing live, thus making it much easier to stay strong over a Double album.

Also, live tracks are very often MUCH longer, so a SINGLE live album might have only, say, 4 eight or ten minute cuts, so a Double Live seems to make sense, to include more tracks. An album with only four or five cuts could be a tougher sell, so what do you do? Add another LP. (Think
like record label)


Best LIVE Double Albums

Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won (OK....actually a triple album)
Pink Floyd - Delicate Sound of Thunder
Deep Purple - Made in Japan
Hawkwind - Space Ritual
The Allman Brothers - Live at the Fillmore East
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Live Rust
Yes - Yessongs (OK....actually a triple album..again)
Wishbone Ash - Live Dates
Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous
Traffic - On the Road
Rush - All the World's a Stage and Exit Stage Left
Humble Pie - Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore
Be Bop Deluxe - Live in the Air Age
UFO - Strangers in the Night
Jean Michel Jarre - Concerts in China
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - 4 Way Street

Tom Petty & Heartbreakers - Pack Up the Plantation:Live
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Weld
Peter Frampton - Comes Alive
Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live

Best STUDIO Double Albums

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The Beatles - White Album
The Who - Quadrophenia
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric LadyLand
Pink Floyd - The Wall
The Clash - London Calling
The Who - Tommy
Amon Duul II - Tanz der Lemminge
Amon Duul II - Yeti
Mike Oldfield - Incantations

Omissions (for me, at least)

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffitti..should have been a single LP, way too much filler for Led Zep.
I love this band....I do NOT love this bloated album.
Pull off the best 40 minutes and it could have been sweet.

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde ....good stuff, not my cup of tea, tho.

'nuff said.....
Stresland's 'Love is the Answer' is two cd's, but just two different versions of the same material. I've played both and I am hard pressed to tell the difference, other then paying $22 dollars. So, just order the single cd seems a better bargain. Maybe this is a trend, you know, issue two versions of the same music. In any event, Barabra does sound good as ever. Can your system tell the difference is the issue.
If the material is not good then the double album may be a curse. I know I have a few that I only play a few songs on one album and nothing on the other. I actually like Stadium Arcadium. You mentioned the Who and I would have to include Quadrophenia alongside Tommy. I also rate the Beatles White Album and Zep's Physical Graffiti very highly. Hope this doesn't lead to another remasters post/thread.
I'll add another: Bruce Springsteen-The River. I don't believe this could have been edited down to a single LP. All sides are as they should be.
My list would include:

Al Kooper Live: Soul of a Man

Dan Fogelberg The Innocent Age

Umphrey's McGee The Best Show on Earth

Chicago II and III

Will the Circle be Unbroken
This reminds me of an interview I saw recently with Paul McCartney. The subject came up about how the White Album could've been the Beatles 'Greatest' record had they edited it down to one disc. At which point Paul basically rolls his eyes, shrugs his shoulders and sez; "Yeah I've heard that, but we're talkin' about the Beatles fookin' White album!
It depends on the singer or group, the Definitive Collection, Best Of The Best Double Cd by santana is a blessing
Second's to Loomis for "Exile On Main Street" and Smholl for "The River". Both are solid throughout, IMO.
Plenny of em' would probably have more impact if pared down. Alot of times a single cd is as long as a 2 album set so comparisons can get blurry. A few that I'm glad got released as double albums:
Kraan/ Live
Allman Brothers/ Live At Fillmore East
Zappa/ Roxy and Elsewhere
Amon Duul II/ Tanz der Limminge
Rory Gallagher/ 1974 Irish Tour
Gentle Giant/ Playing the Foole (wish the cd sounded better).
Humble Pie/ Rocking the Fillmore
Zappa/ Live in New York
Hendrix/ Electricladyland
Captain Beefheart/ Trout Mask Replica
Scorpions/ Tokyo Tapes
Zappa/ Joes's Garage II & III
Miles Davis/ Agharta
Soft Machine 3/ (bummer on the recording quality)
Volker Kriegel/ Missing Link
Most single CD's released in the CD era, if they are released on vinyl, are 2 record sets. How do we account for these?
Deep Purple Live in Japan are also very fine double CD^s
A couple more good Live 2-album sets I think are:
REO Speedwagon - You Get What You Play For
Lynyrd Skynyrd - One More From The Road
A few to consider that have not been mentioned:

Stevie Wonder "Songs In the Key of Life"
Prince "Sign O' The Times"
Kinks "One For The Road"
Gutter Twins "Saturnalia"
Miles Davis "Friday & Saturday Night At The Blackhawk"

My favorite double LP: The Clash "London Calling"
10-03-09: Loomisjohnson
"truth be told, most good double lps would be great edited down to a single" (LP)

Well actually most single LPs could be edited down to a single 45!

All of these double albums made a huge impression on us and that is why we are discussing them. They are all classics and are wonderful works of art. Without the depth and journey afforded by their length, we would never have had the chance to really get into a longer work by any of these great musicians and songwriters. Cmon, who can provide a perfect single song mix for the White Album? Really? 'Nuff said.
I would suggest Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and New Order, Substance.