Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 380-371


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: Charles Mingus
Album: Mingus Ah Uhm
Year: 1959
Label: Columbia
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:

  • “Better Get Hit In Your Soul”
  • “Goodby Pork Pie Hat”
  • “Fables of Faubus”

Thoughts: I can’t remember who introduced me to Charles Mingus’ work, but I started listening to his music in my college years and it really changed my understanding of what jazz could be.  This album draws inspiration from Duke Ellington while incorporating the bop styles of the 1950s (or the “modern jazz”) that Chuck Berry has no kick about).  Mingus and his band play the tunes fast and slow and it’s all inspired and gets in your soul.  I included this album as an honorable mention in my 2009 list of favorite albums, but it should probably rank higher.


Artist: Rush
Album: Moving Pictures
Year: 1981
Label: Anthem
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: None

Thoughts: As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I am no fan of 70s/80s prog rock. So my knowledge of Rush is basically limited to “Tom Sawyer,” the lead track of this album, and Geddy Lee’s screech guest vocal on Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “Take Off.” Listening to the entire album does not change my opinion any as I found it all very boring. But it least it wasn’t grating!


Artist: Run-DMC
Album: Run-D.M.C.
Year: 1983
Label: Profile
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:

  •  “Rock Box”
  • “Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2)”
  • “It’s Like That”

Thoughts: I grew up 35 miles from Queens, New York, and even closer to the birthplace of hip hop in the Bronx, but worlds apart in terms of culture and music. When rap music trickled out into the suburbs in the early 80s, one of the standard-bearers were Run-DMC. In fact, the first hip hop album I owned was by Run-DMC, but we’ll discuss that one later in this list. The debut album has a minimalist feel to its beats but Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels already are expertly exchanging words on their rhymes.


 

Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: Fever to Tell
Year: 2003
Label: Interscope
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:

  •  “Date With The Night”
  • “Pin”
  • “Maps”

Thoughts: It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to Fever To Tell, and it holds up as one of the great albums of the Oughts, although the sound and energy channel the post-punk era of 25 years earlier. This album started a revival of rock music being cool enough to play on commercial radio. And “Maps” inspired Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” which is a good thing or a bad thing depending on if you like that song. But mostly this is just timeless and danceable rock music with Karen O’s distinctive vocals leading the way.


 

Artist: Neutral Milk Hotel
Album: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Year: 1998
Label: Merge
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:

  • “King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3”
  • “Holland, 1945”

Thoughts: I’ve heard of Neutral Milk Hotel, and know of some people who are devoted fans, but this is another album I failed to listen to before. The music on this album is something I don’t associate with the 1990s as it prefigures the folk-infused, baroque pop, indie rock of the 2000s from bands like Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. There are a few tracks I liked and overall the album is okay but it didn’t really grab me overall.


Artist: Green Day
Album: Dookie
Year: 1994
Label: Reprise
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:

  •  “Longview”
  • “Basket Case”
  • “She”
  • “When I Come Around”

Thoughts: I got this album when it first came out because the track “Longview” – a very relatable tune for a directionless young adult – was in regular rotation on alternative radio. I remember listening to it for a while and then growing tired of it and getting rid of it. Listening to it now, I don’t understand why I made that decision, because this album holds up surprisingly well and has more memorable Green Day songs on it than I recalled.


 

Artist: Robert Johnson
Album: King of the Delta Blues Singers
Year: 1961
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Essentially, since I got The Complete Recordings when it came out in 1990
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  •  “Cross Road Blues”
  • “Come On In My Kitchen”
  • “Walkin’ Blues”
  • “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”
  • “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)”
  • “When You Got a Good Friend”
  • “Traveling Riverside Blues

Thoughts: This is a good example of including a compilation album on this list because Robert Johnson recorded these songs in 1936-37 before long-playing records existed, and because it’s release in the 1960s was so influential on artists like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. Of course, this album also launched various myths, such as the idea that “real” blues were men who were virtuoso guitarists when in reality the biggest blues stars of the 20s & 30s were women like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Also, artists like Johnson would’ve have performed a variety of popular music types – including country – not just blues. I learned this from the excellent book Escaping the Delta by Elijah Wald which I highly recommend.


Artist: Isaac Hayes
AlbumHot Buttered Soul
Year: 1969
Label: Enterprise
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?: Ye
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Walk On By”
  • “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”

Thoughts:


500 albums janice joplin big brother and the holding company cheap thrills

Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Album: Cheap Thrills
Year: 1968
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Combination of the Two”
  • “Piece of My Heart”
  • “Summertime”

Thoughts:


Artist: The Temptations
Album: Anthology
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Very
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The Way You Do The Things You Do”
  • “My Girl”
  • “Since I Lost My Baby”
  • “Don’t Look Back”
  • “Get Ready”
  • “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
  • “I Can’t Get Next To You”
  • “Psychedelic Shack”
  • “Ball of Confusion”
  • “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
  • “Just My Imagination”
  • “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

Thoughts:


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