Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 80-71


In September 2020, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291 200-191 100-91
490-481 390-381 290-281 190-181 90-81
480-471 380-371 280-271 180-171
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: The Sex Pistols
AlbumNever Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols
Year: 1977
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Holidays in the Sun”
  • “Liar”
  • “God Save the Queen”
  • “Anarchy in the U.K.”
  • “Pretty Vacant”

Thoughts:  This album is basically a requirement of best albums lists based on influence alone.  Fortunately, it’s good music to listen to as well. Coincidentally, I was introduced to this album through a list of great albums of the 70s published in Rolling Stone when I was in high school in the 1980s.  I remember borrowing the album from the public library (which apparently was very progressive in their music collection development purchases) and finding the music scary and dangerous on first listen.  Who’d have thunk then of how much punk music I’d end up listening to over the years.


Artist: Frank Ocean
Album: Blond
Year: 2016
Label: Boys Don’t Cry
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

Thoughts: I was surprised by Channel Orange, but Blond is more typical of the qualities I don’t like about contemporary R&B: downtempo, rambling and never building to anything,  overuse of distorted vocal effects… Obviously, my musical tastes are at odds with the majority, which is fine.  Vive la difference!


Artist: Elvis Presley
Album: The Sun Sessions
Year: 1976
Label: RCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “That’s All Right”
  • “Mystery Train”
  • “I Love You Because”
  • “Blue Moon”

Thoughts:  Some of Elvis’ earliest recordings reveal his country, Blues, and roots music origins.  I kind of like this version of Elvis a lot more than the big star Elvis he would become.


Artist: The Who
AlbumWho’s Next
Year: 1971
Label: Decca
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Baba O’Riley”
  • “The Song is Over”
  • “Behind Blue Eyes”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Thoughts: The Who is a band that I’ve never understood why they are as popular as they are, but never actively disliked either.  This album is full of songs that are very familiar to me despite not listening to a lot of the band’s music.  Part of that is unfortunately due to the the overuse of these tunes in commercials and soundtracks, but also this album simply contains a lot The Who’s greatest bangers all in one place.


Artist: Curtis Mayfield
AlbumSuper Fly
Year: 1972
Label: Curtom
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Pusherman”
  • “Freddie’s Dead”
  • “Superfly”

Thoughts: This soundtrack for a Blaxploitation film also works as a concept album dealing with the struggles of Black urbanites contending with racial discrimination, crime, and substance abuse.  The music is also super funky!


500 albums aretha franklin lady soul

Artist: Aretha Franklin
AlbumLady Soul
Year: 1968
Label: Atlantic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?:  Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Chain of Fools”
  • “People Get Ready”
  • “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”
  • “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone”
  • “Ain’t No Way”

Thoughts: For a moment, I thought that Rolling Stone had once again included a greatest hits compilation on its list.  But no, all of these Aretha Franklin bangers really did come out on the same album, so naturally it’s a GREAT ALBUM.


Artist: Kanye West
AlbumThe College Dropout
Year: 2004
Label: Roc-A-Fella
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Jesus Walks”
  • “Never Let Me Down”
  • “Through the Wire”

Thoughts: Early Kanye West seems like he’s having fun and while he has some braggadocio, he is not so self-serious as he would become on his later work.   I think I could’ve got into this version of Kanye if I didn’t know where his career would lead.


Artist: My Bloody Valentine
AlbumLoveless
Year: 1991
Label: Sire
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Only Shallow”
  • “When You Sleep”
  • “Sometimes”
  • “Soon”

Thoughts: My Bloody Valentine has become knowns as a band that dropped a masterpiece of early 90s alternative rock and then weren’t able to follow up for decades.  But oh, what an album!


Artist: Neil Young
Album: Harvest
Year: 1972
Label: Reprise
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Heart of Gold”

Thoughts: Did Neil Young ever work with Kanye West?  They both have 6 albums apiece on this list and both are critical darlings that I could never get into so it would make sense.  This album has more of the Laurel Canyon sound, and Young’s biggest hit.


Artist: Bob Marley & The Wailers
AlbumExodus
Year: 1977
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Natural Mystic”
  • “Jamming”
  • “Waiting In Vain”
  • “One Love/People Get Ready”
  • “Punky Reggae Party”

Thoughts: Bob Marley was at his peak and on this album the reggae music is infused with sounds of soul, rock, and funk.  I also have to take a moment to appreciate that in the ten albums I reviewed this week, there’s one by Curtis Mayfield, and two that include covers of Mayfield’s most famous song.  That’s synergy!


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
  • 279. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 278. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
  • 276. Radiohead, The Bends
  • 275. Curtis Mayfield, Curtis
  • 274. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
  • 273. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  • 272. The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat
  • 267. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  • 266. The Beatles, Help!
  • 263. The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night
  • 262. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
  • 261. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
  • 260. The Slits, Cut
  • 259. Janis Joplin, Pearl
  • 257. Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
  • 256. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
  • 254. Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters
  • 252. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  • 250. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  • 246. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • 245. Cocteau Twins, Heaven of Las Vegas
  • 242. The Velvet Underground, Loaded
  • 240. Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
  • 239. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  • 238. Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express
  • 237. Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger
  • 236. Daft Punk, Discovery
  • 232. John Coltrane, Giant Steps
  • 229. Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
  • 228. De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead
  • 227. Little Richard, Here’s Little Richard
  • 226. Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  • 223. John Lennon, Imagine
  • 221. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • 220. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Déjà Vu
  • 215.  Grateful Dead, American Beauty
  • 213. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel…
  • 212. Nina Simone, Wild is the Wind
  • 211. Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
  • 210. Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul
  • 209. Run-DMC, Raising Hell
  • 206. David Bowie, Low
  • 205. Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
  • 202. Björk, Homogenic
  • 201. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders
  • 198. The B-52’s, The B-52’s
  • 197. The Beatles, Meet the Beatles!
  • 195. Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • 193. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Willy and the Poor Boys
  • 192. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  • 191. Etta James, At Last!
  • 190. The Who, Tommy
  • 189. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  • 185. The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
  • 184. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • 181. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
  • 178. Otis Redding, Otis Blue
  • 177. Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
  • 176. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
  • 175. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  • 174. Jimmy Cliff and Various Artists, The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack
  • 173. Nirvana, In Utero
  • 172. Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 171. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  • 170. Cream, Disraeli Gears
  • 169. Billy Joel, The Stranger
  • 167. Depeche Mode, Violator
  • 166. Buddy Holly, 20 Golden Greats
  • 165. R.E.M., Murmur
  • 164. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
  • 162. Pulp, Different Class
  • 161. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  • 156. The Replacements, Let it Be
  • 155. Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • 154. Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace
  • 153. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  • 150. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
  • 149. John Prine, John Prine
  • 148. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • 146. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  • 144. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • 143. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  • 142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
  • 141. Pixies, Doolittle
  • 140. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Catch a Fire
  • 139. Black Sabbath, Paranoid
  • 138. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • 137. Adele, 21
  • 136. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  • 135. U2, The Joshua Tree
  • 134. Fugees, ‘he Score
  • 132. Hank Williams, 40 Greatest Hits
  • 131. Portishead, Dummy
  • 130. Prince, 1999
  • 127. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • 125. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
  • 124. U2, Achtung Baby
  • 123. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II
  • 122. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
  • 121. Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
  • 120. Van Morrison, Moondance
  • 119. Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!
  • 116. The Cure, Disintegration
  • 114. The Strokes, Is This It
  • 113. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
  • 111. Janet Jackson, Control
  • 109. Lou Reed, Transformer
  • 108. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn …
  • 107. Television, Marquee Moon
  • 104. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
  • 103. De La Soul, Three Feet High And Rising
  • 102. The Clash, The Clash
  • 101. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
  • 99. Taylor Swift, Red
  • 98. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • 94. The Stooges, Fun House
  • 92. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love
  • 88. David Bowie, Hunky Dory
  • 87. Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
  • 86. The Doors, The Doors
  • 85. John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
  • 84. AC/DC, Back in Black
  • 83. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis
  • 82. Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • 81. Beyoncé, Beyoncé
  • 80. The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols
  • 78. Elvis Presley, The Sun Sessions
  • 77. The Who, Who’s Next
  • 76. Curtis Mayfield, Superfly
  • 75. Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul
  • 73. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  • 71. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Exodus

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 330-321


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381
490-481 390-381
480-471 380-371
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421
420-411
410-401

Artist: The Rolling Stones
AlbumAftermath
Year: 1966
Label: London
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Paint it Black”
  • “Flight 505”
  • “Going Home”

Thoughts: I’m glad this album appears on this list because it’s not often mentioned among the great Rolling Stones albums, but it’s one of my favorites by the band. “Paint it Black” is one of my favorite Stones tracks with Brian Jones capturing the 60s zeitgeist by playing sitar.  But by and large this album is what the Stones do best, straightforward blues rock.


Artist: DJ Shadow
AlbumEndtroducing…
Year: 1996
Label: Mo’ Wax
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Building Steam With A Grain of Salt”
  • “The Number Song”
  • “Organ Donor”
  • “Midnight In a Perfect World”

Thoughts:

Here’s another album I’d never heard of that is absolutely brilliant.  DJ Shadow combines a hefty dose of samples with electronica beats.  This album feels like the missing link between De La Soul and Portishead.


Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Modern Vampires of the City
Year: 2013
Label: XL
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Step”
  • “Diane Young”
  • “Finger Back”

Thoughts: I haven’t listened to the full album in a long time, although “Step” remains of my favorite tracks.  While nothing else on the album stands out as much to me, the songs are remarkably consistent in their quality.


Artist: The Who
AlbumLive at Leeds
Year: Decca
Label: 1970
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Heaven and Hell”
  • “A Quick One, While He’s Away”
  • “Shakin’ All Over”

Thoughts: The Who are a band that has never resonated with me for some reason.  They’re definitely not a bad band, I guess they’re just not my thing.  I listened to this album once before because it was recommended as a great live album.  I definitely think The Who must’ve been an exciting band to see in concert during their peak, but that’s an opportunity I never had.  I also like that this live album includes the banter between songs, which should be a requirement of live albums (assuming the band has good banter).


Artist: Prince
AlbumDirty Mind
Year: 1980
Label: Warner Bros
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Dirty Mind”
  • “When You Were Mine”
  • “Head”
  • “Partyup”

Thoughts: I’m mostly familiar with Prince’s music from his peak commercial years of around 1982-1992.  This early Prince album sounds different – heavy on chirpy synths – but still brilliant.  And horny.  So very horny.


Artist: Jerry Lee Lewis
AlbumAll Killer No Filler!
Year: 1993
Label: Rhino
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Crazy Arms”
  • “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On”
  • “Great Balls of Fire”

Thoughts: I couldn’t find this anthology on my streaming service so I listened instead to The Essential Jerry Lee Lewis [The Sun Sessions] instead which has almost the same number of tracks and a lot of overlap.  Basically it’s a case of Rolling Stone needing to include something from a rock & roll pioneer so I don’t think it matters either way.  I’m no Jerry Lee Lewis expert, but his Live at the Star Club, Hamburg album is critically acclaimed and would be less of a cop-out than a compilation. Or they could just have left him off entirely since he’s abusive, creepy, and a philanderer and thus doesn’t really deserve the special effort to squeeze him into a greatest albums list.


Artist: Coldplay
Album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Year: 2002
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks: None

Thoughts: Sigh. I had to listen to Coldplay.  So I did.  I guess they’re not really bad, per se, just kind of boring for all the attention they get.  Oh well, I don’t have to listen to it again.


Artist: The Clash
AlbumSandinista!
Year: 1980
Label: Epic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The Magnificent Seven”
  • “Hitsville, U.K.”
  • “Somebody Got Murdered”
  • “The Sound of Sinners”
  • “Lose this Skin”

Thoughts: Three albums full of Clash music is the perfect palate-cleanser after Coldplay.  I wrote about Sandinista! a couple of years ago in my Music Discovery of The Clash.  It’s always worth revisiting this eclectic mix of punk, reggae, new wave, funk, and “world music.”


Artist: Elvis Presley
AlbumFrom Elvis in Memphis
Year: 1969
Label: RCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Wearin’ That Loved On Look”
  • “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)”
  • “Suspicious Minds”

Thoughts: Last week we listened to Elvis Presley’s debut album from 1956. From Elvis in Memphis is something of a second debut, introducing the new Elvis making his return to a straightforward music-making after years of Hollywood movies.  This album shows that he can venture ably into different musical styles – country, gospel, soul, and rock and roll – and includes my favorite Elvis song of all-time, “Suspicious Minds.”


Artist: Lana Del Rey
AlbumNorman Fucking Rockwell!
Year: 2019
Label: Polydor/Interscope
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The Next Best American Record”
  • “The Greatest”

Thoughts: Back in 2012 there was a lot of buzz about Lana Del Ray’s album Born to Die.  So I gave it a listen, and I didn’t like it all, so I haven’t given Del Rey much thought since then although there continues to be a buzz about her music. Del Rey definitely has an interesting voice and I like the lush arrangements on these songs.  But it still doesn’t resonate with me.  Maybe it’s all the sardonic lyrics about the California lifestyle or the fact that Del Ray seems bored by everything.  I don’t know.


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485, Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483, Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482, The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481, Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478, The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477, Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469, Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465, King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464, The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459, Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457, Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456, Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455, Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453, Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451, Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448, Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446, Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444, Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443, David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440, Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439, James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438, Blur, Parklife
  • 437, Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435, Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433, LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431, Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430, Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429, The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428, Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427, Al Green, Call Me
  • 426, Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425, Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424, Beck, Odelay
  • 423, Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422, Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421, M.I.A., Arular
  • 417, Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416, The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415, The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414, Chic, Risqué
  • 413, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409, Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408, Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406, Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405, Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403, Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402, Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401, Blondie, Blondie
  • 400, The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398, The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397, Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392, Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390, Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388, Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387, Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386, J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385, Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384, The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380, Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378, Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375, Green Day, Dookie
  • 374, Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373, Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371, The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369, Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368, George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365, Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364, Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363, Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360, Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358, Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357, Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356, Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354, X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351, Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350, Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349, MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348, Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347, GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346, Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345, Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344, Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343, Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342, The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341, The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338, Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337, Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335, Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334, Santana, Abraxas
  • 333, Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332, Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330, The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329, DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328, Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326, Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323, The Clash, Sandinista!

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 340-331


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:


Artist: Snoop Dogg
Album: Doggystyle
Year: 1993
Label: Death Row/Interscope
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Murder Was the Case” (featuring Dat Nigga Daz)
  • “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”

Thoughts: This album is lyrically crude, but I do like the grooves.  Snoop Dogg openly acknowledges his predecessors like George Clinton and PFunk and Slick Rick.  As someone who is still ignorant of 90s hip hop, I’m mostly surprised that this album seems to be source of all the vocabulary still used by white dudebros online to this day!


Artist: Janet Jackson
Album: Rhythm Nation 1814
Year: 1989
Label: A&M
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Rhythm Nation”
  • “Miss You Much”
  • “Black Cat”

Thoughts:Rhythm Nation 1814 completed the transition of Janet Jackson from the “little sister” to (imho) the most creative and talented of all the Jackson family members.  The earnestness of the lyrics addressing social injustices by “coming together” seem a little bit silly, but it’s also unsettling that the issues addressed on this album are still relevant 32 years later.


Artist: Brian Eno
Album: Another Green World
Year: 1975
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Almost entirely through music Eno has worked on as a producer
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • Kind of like the whole thing, but the instrumentals are better than the songs with vocals.

Thoughts: Brian Eno is one of those people constantly name checked by music nerds. I never gave much thought to what music he’d make when not producing other people’s work.  Turns out it is pretty good.  But I tend to like ambient music, at least as something to lose oneself in.  Bonus fact:  Phil Collins plays the drums!


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: John Wesley Harding
Year: 1967
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “As I Went Out One Morning”
  • “All Along the Watchtower”
  • “I’ll  Be Your Baby Tonight”

Thoughts: Speaking of artists who music nerds love to name drop.  Open the Dylan hose, because there are two of his albums to discuss this week.  The album is a collection of acoustic folk tunes with minimal instrumentation, a return to this style for Dylan who had spent several years recording Blues-inflected music with electric instruments.  Dylan’s voice is less strained and nasally than I’ve typically heard him and actually pleasant to listen to.  I think I’ve finally heard a Dylan album where I get the hype.


Artist: Roxy Music
Album: Avalon
Year: 1982
Label: E.G./Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: “Avalon” is the one song by Roxy Music I really know from repetitive play on Rock and then Classic Rock radio since the 1980s.  It turns out that I am also familiar with “More Than This” for similar reasons.  The band’s final album is largely an adult contemporary snooze although they sound vaguely like contemporaneous Talking Heads on “The Main Thing.”


Artist: Bob Dylan and the Band
Album: The Basement Tapes
Year: 1975
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks: Kind of enjoyed the general vibe more than any individual songs.
Thoughts: As a Dylan skeptic, I’m finding myself surprised to be enjoying two different Dylan albums in the same post.  Much of this album was recorded in rural New York in 1967 while Dylan was recovering from a serious motorcycle crash, with some additional tracks recorded by The Band in ensuing years.  It was released in 1975 and since it was never intended to be an album it naturally doesn’t really cohere as an album.  Nevertheless, there’s an underlying relaxed and experimental feel to all the songs that dive into genres ranging from folk rock and Americana to rockabilly and country.


Artist: Santana
Album: Abraxas
Year: 1970
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”
  • “Oye Como Va”
  • “Mother’s Daughter”
  • “Hope You’re Feeling Better”

Thoughts: I was familiar with the two hits – “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” – which I learned from the Rolling Stone synopsis are both cover songs from very different sources.  It was great to listen to this album and hear the fusion of so many different styles – Afro-Latin, soul, psychedelia, Blues, etc. – all harmonizing together.


Artist: Bill Withers
AlbumStill Bill
Year: 1972
Label: Sussex
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?”
  • “Use Me”
  • “Lean on Me”
  • “Kissing My Love”

Thoughts: I like Bill Withers but I’ve only listened to his greatest hits.  So I’d like to credit the RS500 for listing an original Withers studio album instead of a compilation as they are wont to do, especially with soul & R&B artists.  Of course, every song on this album sounds great so it may as well be a greatest hits compilation.


Artist: Elvis Presley
Album: Elvis Presley
Year: 1956
Label: RCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Blue Suede Shoes”
  • “I Got a Woman”
  • “I’ll Never Let You Go (Litle Darlin’)”
  • “Blue Moon”
  • “Money Honey”

Thoughts: Elvis the Celebrity, Elvis the Icon, Elvis the Self-Parody, and Elvis the Tragedy are often more than enough to overshadow Elvis the Great Rock and Roll Performer.  Listening to this debut album when I was younger was a revelation because up to that point I mainly knew Elvis as an eccentric guy who inspired battalions of Elvis impersonators. Albums were unusual for rock and roll artists at the time, and even more unusually the entire album was released as single (making it a compilation in reverse).  Sadly the contemporaneous hit single “Heartbreak Hotel” was left off the album which would have pushed this album to another level.


Artist: Madonna
Album: Like a Prayer
Year: 1989
Label: Sire
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Express Yourself”
  • “Love Song” (with Prince)
  • “Keep It Together”

Thoughts: I was never big on Madonna’s music but I can’t deny her talent.  Not only did she have a keen ear for adapting musical trends at just the right time but from a business perspective she redefined what was possible for a woman artist taking control of her own career.  This album caps off Madonna’s domination of 1980’s pop (alongside Michael Jackson) and it right in the middle of her imperial period.  I tend to like Madonna’s earlier work the best so I was surprised when I peaked ahead at the RS500 rankings and saw that this was the earliest album release by Madonna to make the list. By the way, I never knew that Madonna and Prince collaborated.  Why wasn’t “Love Song” a bigger deal?


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485, Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483, Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482, The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481, Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478, The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477, Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469, Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465, King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464, The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459, Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457, Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456, Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455, Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453, Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451, Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448, Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446, Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444, Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443, David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440, Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439, James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438, Blur, Parklife
  • 437, Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435, Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433, LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431, Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430, Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429, The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428, Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427, Al Green, Call Me
  • 426, Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425, Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424, Beck, Odelay
  • 423, Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422, Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421, M.I.A., Arular
  • 417, Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416, The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415, The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414, Chic, Risqué
  • 413, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409, Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408, Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406, Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405, Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403, Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402, Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401, Blondie, Blondie
  • 400, The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398, The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397, Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392, Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390, Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388, Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387, Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386, J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385, Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384, The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380, Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378, Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375, Green Day, Dookie
  • 374, Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373, Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371, The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369, Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368, George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365, Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364, Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363, Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360, Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358, Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357, Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356, Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354, X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351, Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350, Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349, MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348, Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347, GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346, Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345, Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344, Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343, Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342, The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341, The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338, Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337, Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335, Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334, Santana, Abraxas
  • 333, Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332, Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley