For our list of Pete Townshend Albums Ranked Worst to Best, we stuck to his core solo LPs, omitting early records like Happy Birthday, I Am and With Love (collaborations dedicated to spiritual leader Meher Baba), and the various Scoop projects, which are compilations that include older, previously recorded material.

We also left out his entire catalog of albums by the Who, the band he guided as its songwriter, guitarist and sometime singer for more than 50 years. But that still leaves more than a half-dozen solo LPs he's released over a 20-year span between Who albums.

Like many of his contemporaries, Townshend has used his solo career to explore themes, music and influences he probably couldn't have gotten away with in his band, even though his fascination with and use of concept albums – which he turned into a genuine art form on records like the Who's Tommy and Quadrophenia – remain a familiar form of expression.

Three of his solo albums were made while the Who were still an active band, and it's telling that those records contain his best solo work and the furthest removed from his group, including a set of stripped-down demos, a folk-rock LP and a highly personal collection of songs that digs deep into his growing neuroses.

Townshend's best work came with the Who, but his solo catalog offers another side to one of rock's great songwriters that helps connect the dots among projects. The below list of Pete Townshend Albums Ranked Worst to Best serves as your guide to which ones you need to hear and which you should skip.