Monday, August 23, 2010

The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time

What follows is my ranked list of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. I refrained from annotation, since I think virtually all of them have been written about on this blog elsewhere (and I have a feeling that those which haven't been will be in the future). But, as always, I made a few guidelines while putting together the list:
  • This list incorporates only the greatest rock and roll albums from what I define as the Rock and Roll Era (1954 to the present). As great and influential as LPs like Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours, and Robert Johnson's King of the Delta Blues Singers may have been, they do not constitute rock and roll music in and of themselves.
  • I also excluded any multiple-artist anthologies, mainly because they are in a different category than one artist's original album -- and the best ones often fall under the category of a greatest hits collection anyway (see below). So as great and influential as The Harder They Come soundtrack, the initial Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era double-LP, or Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection box set may have been, they fell outside of the category that this list sought to address.
  • The only exception I made in terms of previously-released material was with live albums, either because the material was all essentially new or it showcased the artist in a way that was unique than a regular studio album. That said, I ruled out all albums that were "greatest hits live" on principle, not that those are ever any good anyway.
  • I also did my best to factor in the album's influence, as well as its quality. Thus, if the majority of the list seems slanted to the past, that's because I believe something needs to be around for a while in order to prove its greatness. Plus, comparing any album to another essentially becomes an apples to oranges game, and I just as soon default to the "classics" -- especially since they're usually called that for a reason.
  • Finally, per usual, I should preface this list by saying that this is not so much my list of my own favorite albums as much as it is my list of what I believe are the overall greatest albums (in terms of both influence and quality) in rock and roll history.
So all that said, here is my ranked list of the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time:

  1. The Beatles: Revolver (1966)
  2. Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  3. The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street (1972)
  4. The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (1966)
  5. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  6. Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (1971)
  7. Elvis Presley: The Sun Sessions (1976)
  8. The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)
  9. Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  10. Michael Jackson: Thriller (1982)
  11. Nirvana: Nevermind (1991)
  12. The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969)
  13. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced (1967)
  14. The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  15. The Clash: London Calling (1979)
  16. The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (1969)
  17. Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You (1967)
  18. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (1975)
  19. James Brown: Live at the Apollo (1963)
  20. Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)
  21. The Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
  22. Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry Is on Top
  23. Led Zeppelin [IV] (1971)
  24. David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
  25. The Beatles [“The White Album”] (1968)
  26. Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)
  27. Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973)
  28. U2: The Joshua Tree (1987)
  29. Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
  30. The Ramones (1976)
  31. The Who: Who’s Next (1971)
  32. The Doors (1967)
  33. The Band (1969)
  34. Otis Redding: Otis Blue/Otis Sings Soul (1965)
  35. The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet (1968)
  36. Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1968)
  37. Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend (1984)
  38. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)
  39. Prince: Purple Rain (1984)
  40. Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
  41. The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead (1986)
  42. R.E.M.: Automatic for the People (1992)
  43. Elvis Presley (1956)
  44. Radiohead: OK Computer (1998)
  45. Derek and the Dominoes: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
  46. Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
  47. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1968)
  48. Little Richard: Here’s Little Richard (1957)
  49. Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
  50. Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
  51. The Strokes: Is This It (2001)
  52. Patti Smith: Horses (1975)
  53. The Eagles: Hotel California (1976)
  54. Led Zeppelin II (1969)
  55. Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  56. Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
  57. The Clash (1977)
  58. Sly & The Family Stone: Greatest Hits (1970)
  59. John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  60. Paul Simon: Graceland (1986)
  61. U2: Achtung Baby (1991)
  62. Guns N’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction (1987)
  63. The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
  64. The Stooges: Fun House (1970)
  65. Led Zeppelin [I] (1969)
  66. R.E.M.: Murmur (1983)
  67. Television: Marquee Moon (1977)
  68. The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1977)
  69. Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)
  70. Prince: Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
  71. AC/DC: Back in Black (1980)
  72. Stevie Wonder: Talking Book (1972)
  73. The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (1971)
  74. Run-D.M.C.: Raising Hell (1986)
  75. The Pixies: Doolittle (1989)
  76. Van Morrison: Moondance (1970)
  77. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention: We’re Only in It for the Money (1968)
  78. The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  79. The Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique (1989)
  80. Elvis Presley: From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
  81. The Harder They Come Soundtrack (1972)
  82. Al Green: Greatest Hits (1975)
  83. Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988)
  84. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1979)
  85. Neil Young: After The Gold Rush (1970)
  86. Talking Heads: Remain In Light (1980)
  87. Buddy Holly: The “Chirping” Crickets (1957)
  88. The Who: Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy (1971)
  89. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica (1969)
  90. David Bowie: Hunky Dory (1971)
  91. The Zombies: Odessey and Oracle (1968)
  92. Elvis Costello: This Year's Model (1978)
  93. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991)
  94. Neil Young: Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
  95. Jerry Lee Lewis: Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1964)
  96. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis: As Bold As Love (1968)
  97. Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  98. Sly and the Family Stone: There’s a Riot Goin’ On! (1971)
  99. Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country & Western (1962)
  100. Randy Newman: Good Old Boys (1974)