I decided to post a few classic albums here, but they are classics -- I wouldn't feel worthy giving them reviews like every other album here. So instead I'll write a little on my opinions of the concepts of "making it" and "winning" in the industry, which are often unfortunate consequences of creating a "classic" album.
There are many different ideas about how to "make it" in the music world. Some are more accurate than others. One view is simply that the band that makes the most money has definitively "made it" -- this band "wins", and is "in". If you're reading this, you know damn well that this isn't the case; the "artists" (using the term very loosely) that make the most money are usually the ones that pander to a certain demographic for the sole sake of making money. These are not so much artists as businessmen, and as such they have "made" absolutely shit in terms of musical value. The next concept is the artist who gets the most fans. Although this falls prey to the same problem as the former idea, it is less wrong than the former idea; the artists who we genuinely describe as "winning" are often those who do have many fans, though for very different reasons. The last view I will present -- the idea that an artist "makes it" permanently by creating something that will be remembered through the generations -- is probably the closest. This is definitely a quality of all "classic albums"; the albums I'm uploading in conjunction with this post range from 5 years older than me to 18 years older than me, and they don't sound (that) dated. That being said, in this case I would say the art itself "won", not the artist. What, then, is the surefire way to determine if an artist has "made it"?
It's very simple, really: There is no way for an artist to definitively "make it".
Consider the case of Metallica. They're a band who invented a genre with their debut album, and have at least 3 definitive, almost unarguably "classic" albums, Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets (for the sake of playing devil's advocate, I'm not including the hotly contested Justice or the black album). Just a few years ago, however, the band put out what I (and many fans) would consider an awful album, St. Anger. Regardless of the album's content, I've seen statements from at least three well-respected artists saying that Metallica can do whatever they want muscially because they "won" for whichever album (usually in reference to Puppets or Black). They do have a point, in the sense of the aforementioned classic albums. However, they also put out St. Anger -- something of an extremely lacking album for a band who "won" as definitively as is said of them, don't you think? Thus is my point made: the band didn't win, as almost everyone has noticed since about 1991 until the present, the art won.
Artists cannot ever "win", in terms of the big picture. Eventually, every artist fails, either through inattention or simply through stopping recording. The art itself is what "wins". Audiences "win", as they experience the effect of art that "wins". Until artists understand this, we're going to continue to be bombarded by all this weak, sophomore-slump, "we just got a big check so we can do whatever we want, because we're famous and we WON" crap. No exceptions.
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Iron Maiden - Killers