Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth, initially comprised of guitarist / vocalists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, guitarist / bassist / vocalist Kim Gordon and drummer Richard Edson, were formed in New York City in 1981. A product of the No-Wave music scene of the late 1970s, the group had their roots in abrasive, experimental music, with Moore and Ranaldo having previously worked with the experimental composer Glenn Branca. The band were joined in 1985 by drummer Steve Shelley, and recorded 15 albums together, as well as many side and solo projects. Their work has been consistently challenging and innovative, and they are widely regarded as one of the most intriguing and influential bands of their time. This view has been added to by the strength of their record "Sonic Nurse", which also featured the talents of Jim O'Rourke. O'Rourke left the band in 2005. In 2006, Mark Ibold joined the group.

In September 2011, Sonic Youth went on "indefinite hiatus" following the separation of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore (the couple had been married since 1984).

First group studio was Echo Canyon (2) in New York City, after that Echo Canyon West located in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Final lineup:
Kim Gordon – vocals, bass, guitar (1981–2011)
Thurston Moore – vocals, guitar (1981–2011)
Lee Ranaldo – guitar, vocals (1981–2011), keyboards (2002-2011)
Steve Shelley – drums (1985–2011)
Mark Ibold – bass, guitar (2006–2011)

Former members:
Anne DeMarinis – keyboards (1981–1982)
Richard Edson – drums (1981–1982)
Bob Bert – drums (1982, 1983–1985)
Jim Sclavunos – drums (1982–1983)
Jim O'Rourke – bass, guitar, synthesizer (1999–2005)


N-ONE Sonic Youth - Sonic Youth album art Sonic Youth Sonic Youth (Album) Neutral Records (3) N-ONE US 1982 Sell This Version
n.9, neutral nine Sonic Youth - Confusion Is Sex album art Sonic Youth Confusion Is Sex (Album) Neutral Records (3), Neutral Records (3) n.9, neutral nine US 1983 Sell This Version
E#2 Sonic Youth - Sonic-Death Sonic-Youth Live album art Sonic-Youth* Sonic-Death Sonic-Youth Live (Album) Ecstatic Peace! E#2 US 1984 Sell This Version
BFFP 1 Sonic Youth - Bad Moon Rising album art Sonic Youth Bad Moon Rising (Album) Blast First, Homestead Records BFFP 1 UK 1985 Sell This Version
NOT 1 (BUT 2) Sonic Youth - Walls Have Ears album art Sonic Youth Walls Have Ears(2xLP, Num) Not NOT 1 (BUT 2) UK 1986 Sell This Version
SST 059 Sonic Youth - Evol album art Sonic Youth Evol (Album) SST Records SST 059 US 1986 Sell This Version
BFFP 20 Sonic Youth - Sister album art Sonic Youth Sister (Album) SST Records BFFP 20 UK 1987 Sell This Version
CHAT1 Sonic Youth - "Sister" Interview Disc album art Sonic Youth "Sister" Interview Disc(LP) Blast First CHAT1 UK 1987 Sell This Version
Di Di 145, DI DI 145, BFFP 34 Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation album art Sonic Youth Daydream Nation (Album) Enigma (4), Blast First Di Di 145, DI DI 145, BFFP 34 Greece 1988 Sell This Version
7 75403-4 Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation album art Sonic Youth Daydream Nation(Cass, Album, Dol) Enigma Records (3), Blast First 7 75403-4 Canada 1988 Sell This Version
9 24297-D2 Sonic Youth - Goo album art Sonic Youth Goo (Album) DGC 9 24297-D2 US 1990 Sell This Version
1301, SY 1301 Sonic Youth - Goo Demos album art Sonic-Youth* Goo Demos(CD) Sonic Death, Sonic Death 1301, SY 1301 US 1991 Sell This Version
GOO-02, goo two Sonic Youth - Hold That Tiger album art Sonic Youth Hold That Tiger Goofin' Records, Goofin' Records GOO-02, goo two US 1991 Sell This Version
#1302, SY 1302 Sonic Youth - Live At The Continental Club album art Sonic Youth Live At The Continental Club (Album) Sonic Death, Sonic Death #1302, SY 1302 US 1992 Sell This Version
GEC-24485 Sonic Youth - Dirty album art Sonic Youth Dirty (Album, Single, Comp) DGC GEC-24485 Philippines 1992 Sell This Version
94-16 Sonic Youth - In Concert New Rock album art The Lemonheads / Sonic Youth The Lemonheads / Sonic Youth - In Concert New Rock(2xCD, Transcription) Westwood One 94-16 US 1994 Sell This Version
none Sonic Youth - Live In Bremen album art Sonic Youth Live In Bremen Not On Label (Sonic Youth) none 1994 Sell This Version
*DGCD-24632, DGCD-24632 Sonic Youth - Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star album art Sonic Youth Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star (Album) DGC *DGCD-24632, DGCD-24632 US 1994 Sell This Version
03, #21 Sonic Youth - Live Venlo, Holland 12.27.83 album art Sonic Youth Live Venlo, Holland 12.27.83 Sonic Death 03, #21 US 1995 Sell This Version
R2 71591 Sonic Youth - Made In USA album art Sonic Youth Made In USA (Album) Rhino Records (2) R2 71591 US 1995 Sell This Version
DGCD-24825 Sonic Youth - Washing Machine album art Sonic Youth Washing Machine (Album, Comp) DGC DGCD-24825 US 1995 Sell This Version
MLR 001 95, MIR 001 95 Sonic Youth - Blastic Scene - SY Ao Vivo Em Lisboa, 14.7.93. album art Sonic Youth Blastic Scene - SY Ao Vivo Em Lisboa, 14.7.93.(CD, Album) Moneyland Records, Moneyland Records MLR 001 95, MIR 001 95 Portugal 1995 Sell This Version
GEC 35203 Sonic Youth - A Thousand Leaves album art Sonic Youth A Thousand Leaves (Album) DGC GEC 35203 Philippines 1998 Sell This Version
SYR 4 Sonic Youth - Goodbye 20th Century album art Sonic Youth Goodbye 20th Century (Album) Sonic Youth Records SYR 4 US 1999 Sell This Version
none Sonic Youth - NYC Ghosts & Flowers album art Sonic Youth NYC Ghosts & Flowers (Album) Geffen Records none 2000 Sell This Version

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November 23, 2021
Broad vinyl recommendation: all the mainline non-SYR albums got a Steve Shelley-overseen reissue in 2016ish. Word is the US presses got the Shelley approved masters, but the UK/EU (Back to Black stickered) simultaneous presses DIDN'T. I grabbed 4 or 5 of the US ones for gapfill (already had CDs but SY only band I needed all on wax) without complaint, all good quality in both mastering and quality control of the vinyl itself. Unless you're a first press junkie, or want specific presses for certain albums for whatever reason (want OG DN with poster, etc) I suggest it's the way to go for a new buyer.


July 7, 2021
The most honest, incredible, influential band!!! Without SONIC YOUTH life itself, would be so empty, dull, boring, uninspired. Personally, back in my 16 they collapsed my music world, and rebuilt it again in free forms. That was such a strong emotion of freedom there. Their music. No cliches. The unexpected forms of making a song, feelings full of pleasant surprise, the sounds; made exclusively by their instruments, the tools, their vintage equipment, the tunings, the poetry, the lyrics, the attitude, the knowledge, the fun. Huge band of the American History if you’d ask me.
I was lucky enough to see them live and meet them in person. So friendly, gentle, cool and simple people. Damn, I miss them. There will be no band like them in the future. So unique. I guess we feel all lucky enough to having crossed paths in life with those 4. And witnessed their craft, their magic gift to art, echoing at the universe.


May 24, 2020
Not everyone gets it, because it is not for everyone. If it is for you, this band is. Massively influential for what came to be called "Alternative Music." That qualifies as 'Nuff Said, but it's just scratching the surface. These folks are a true definition of aural art. I saw them 7 times live while a band. Never a dull moment. Only a few pretty notes. No regrets.


April 6, 2020
edited about 1 year ago
Hands down one of the best bands ever- I saw them for the first time- hadn't even heard them yet- just before release of EVOL in Washington blew my mind. I was a young, scared, gay, punk kid from small-town West Virginia and this show (and thee LSD) changed everything for me. I actually persuaded owner of a bar in Morgantown WV to get them to play which is where I first met them and then I graduated high school and moved to San Francisco where I saw them numerous times through the years., Always a great time. I miss them. Along with Butthole Surfers, Siouxsie &The Banshees, Swans and Psychic TV, as far as I am concerned, these are thee cream of thee crop of exceptional musickal divinity.


March 7, 2020
edited about 1 year ago
“Over rated”
Your tripping brother👀 Count the releases and sales figures. They’re rated pretty spot on!


July 3, 2019
Maybe the best Band ever existed?
In my opinion they got close to it!


November 13, 2016
I don't usually like to comment on here, but the first comment on this page should do nothing but reiterate the positive comments of rose1978 below. The Motörhead comparison is spot on, especially in terms of longevity and for what they mean to so many. They sounded like no other and despite the obvious influence they have had down the years on all manner of musicians, no other sounded quite like them.

Did they change my life? Well without the enduring love I have had for their music since I was a teenager, I simply wouldn't be 'me' at all. Along with the music of Swans they have created something that has bonded with me on a cellular level. They are and always will be part of me and in my blood...I owe them the warmest thanks and love for everything they've given me. I'll never forget attending their gig in the Forum in London some years back. My friend who I had turned on to them and I were treated to an amazing set and I can still feel the shiver that travelled down my spine when the unmistakable intro to Schizophrenia kicked off the the

Can't wait to see Thurston with Swans at the Roundhouse next year. The same venue I saw Sonic Youth play Daydream Nation in full. THANKS FOREVER SONIC YOUTH!


July 25, 2016
edited over 5 years ago
had to sell all theyr records after seeing the tall foxy (...) guy in every single documentary about 80's music.. not worth much.. did they really discover art ? anyway, I can understand art students like them, guess they are "cool"


August 8, 2015
edited over 6 years ago
Sonic Youth is something "PURE & ORIGINAL" in rock idiom. Sonic Youth is something unique. Sonic Youth has CHARACTER & ATTITUDE. Sonic Youth for alternative rock is like Motorhead for hard rock n roll music. Their music is simple & complex at the same time. They changed listener's & musician's status wordwide. Also they re from Big Apple.....RESPECT!


March 26, 2011
edited over 11 years ago
Sonic Youth pioneered a new approach to making music, a fusion of post punk and art rock that focused more on the music and the moods created by it, rather than a traditional verse/chorus arrangement. This can be powerful (Joni/Daydream Nation) and beautiful (Beauty Lies in the Eye/Sister) in equal measure.

The band began using non-traditional guitar tunings and methods to produce an awe-inspiring sound that had never been heard before. On Confusion is Sex, this sounds very raw, but by Sister, this sound had been perfected. For me, Sister is the band's peak. The epic Daydream Nation that followed is often hailed as their best, but nothing comes close to the sheer experimentation that resulted in Cotton Crown (Sister).

By Goo, the band had moved to the David Geffen label and perhaps due to the pressure of following up on Daydream Nation, the album sounds over produced and stifled, lacking the creative energy of their earlier releases. This was recaptured to some extent on Dirty, however the band moved away from their sonic experimentation roots to a new, more commercial sound from here on in.

I would list them as the most creative band since Pink Floyd by a mile. Sister and Daydream Nation are works of true genius.

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