Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 10-1


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 80-71
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161 70-61
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151 60-51
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141 50-41
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131 40-31
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121 30-21
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111 20-11
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: Lauryn Hill
Album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Year: 1998
Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia
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:

  • “Ex-Factor”
  • “Doo-Wop (That Thing)”
  • “Forgive Them Father”

Thoughts: Here’s another album that was not at all on my radar in the late 90s, if you need any more evidence of my cluelessness. But, yeah, it’s pretty damn good.


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Blood on the Tracks
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Tangled Up In Blue”
  • “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts”
  • “Buckets of Rain”

Thoughts: If you’ve been reading this series, you are probably aware that while I appreciate Bob Dylan’s contributions to music, his work is not something I would typically choose to listen to.  I don’t feel different about his highest-ranked album on this list.  In fact, I’m a bit surprised that with all of Dylan’s experimentation with different types of music that stylistically this doesn’t all that different from Highway 61 Revisited from a decade earlier.


Artist: Prince and the Revolution
Album: Purple Rain
Year: 1984
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:

  • “Let’s Go Crazy”
  • “Computer Blue”
  • “When Doves Cry”
  • “I Would Die 4 U”
  • “Purple Rain”

Thoughts: Prince rose to be the biggest thing in the world with a hit movie and a hit soundtrack that contains some his most memorable songs.  I remember listening to this as a kid and being creeped out by the backmasking on “Darling Nikki.”  But a lot of the rest of the album was a lot of fun and these songs remain my soundtrack of the Summer of 1984.


Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Album: Rumors
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:

  • “Dreams”
  • “Don’t Stop”
  • “Go Your Own Way”
  • “The Chain”
  • “You Make Loving Fun”

Thoughts: I’ve tried to hate Fleetwood Mac, especially due to their ubiquity on retail playlists, but their songs are just too irresistible.  This album features songs about acrimonious breakups among the two couples in the band.  It’s kind of delicious that it’s basically a collection of diss tracks where the subject of derision is forced to sing backup lyrics about how bad they are.


Artist: Nirvana
Album: Nevermind
Year: 1991
Label: Geffen
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:

  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • “In Bloom”
  • “Come As You Are”
  • “Endless, Nameless”

Thoughts: My opinion of Nevermind is colored by the fact that I was 17-years-old and a freshman at college when the album was released and seemingly changed the music industry overnight. Despite the nostalgia I might have for this album, I actually never owned a physical copy of the album, I just listened to it in other peoples’ dorm rooms.  Thirty years later, this album still sounds fresh and different to me.  Which is strange, because Nirvan were drawing on influences going back decades earlier and have inspired infinite soundalike bands since.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumAbbey Road
Year: 1969
Label: Apple
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:

  • “Something”
  • “Octopus’s Garden”
  • “Here Comes the Sun”
  • “The End”

Thoughts: After abandoning the Get Back sessions, the Beatles reconvened in the studio for the final time to record Abbey Road, their last but not really final album. Abbey Road is most famous for the collection of songs and song snippets arranged as a suite to finish out the album (well, except for a 20-second hidden track about the Queen).  I wouldn’t put Abbey Road as my number one Beatles album but it’s definitely in the Top 5.


Artist: Stevie Wonder
Album: Songs in the Key of Life
Year: 1976
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Love’s in Need of Love Today”
  • “Village Ghetto Land”
  • “Sir Duke”
  • “I Wish”
  • “Knocks Me Off My Feet”
  • “As”
  • “Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call)”

Thoughts: A sprawling album of 21 tracks, many of them over 5 minutes long, that originally was released as a two LPs with a bonus EP. It’s reminiscent of the Beatles’ “white album” both in the exploration of musical styles and the thought that maybe this could be trimmed down to a solid single album, but which tracks would you cut? Nevermind, just splendor in the surplus of sound.


Artist: Joni Mitchell
Album: Blue
Year: 1971
Label: Reprise
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Carey”
  • “California”
  • “River”

Thoughts: Along with Kanye West and Neil Young, the appearance of another Joni Mitchell album on this list elicits a resigned sigh from me.  And I do feel bad about that and apologize to all the Joni Mitchell lovers out there.


Artist: The Beach Boys
Album: Pet Sounds
Year: 1966
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
  • “God Only Knows”
  • “I Know There’s An Answer”
  • “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

Thoughts: The Beach Boys, a band known for fun songs about surfing and fast cars, put out this album with mature and introspective lyrics and more complex musicality in 1966.  It proved to be a stepping stone in the evolution of Rock to a more artistic form of music and the dawn of the Album Era. I generally think that the Beach Boys are vastly overrated, but Pet Sounds is definitely worthy of praise and a spot on this list, although the second best album of all time is questionable.


Artist: Marvin Gaye
Album: What’s Going On
Year: Tamla/Motown
Label: 1971
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:

  • “What’s Going On”
  • “Flying High (In the Friendly Sky)”
  • “God is Love”
  • “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”

Thoughts: When I first saw the 2020 Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums List, I was so pleased to see What’s Going On at the top.  There are a lot of albums that can make the claim to greatest album of all time, and What’s Going On is definitely one of them, but in the Jann Wenner-era of Rolling Stone, Dylan/Beatles/Stones/Zep/Floyd reigned supreme.  Seeing What’s Going On at the top of the list was a sign that it was going to be at least a little bit different than what came before.  And now that I’ve listened to all 500 albums I can say that I’ve heard a lot of great music and learned of many great artists (and reconsidered some others).  That makes the list worthwhile in my mind.


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
  • 68. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  • 66. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
  • 65. James Brown, Live at the Apollo
  • 64. OutKast, Stankonia
  • 61. Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full
  • 60. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
  • 59. Stevie Wonder, Talking Book
  • 58. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV 
  • 56. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  • 54. James Brown, Star Time
  • 53. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland
  • 52. David Bowie, Station to Station
  • 51. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
  • 50. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
  • 49. OutKast, Aquemini
  • 48. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
  • 47. Ramones, Ramones
  • 46. Paul Simon, Graceland
  • 45. Prince, Sign O’ the Times
  • 44. Nas, Illmatic
  • 43. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  • 42. Radiohead, OK Computer
  • 41. The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
  • 40. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
  • 39. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
  • 35. The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • 34. Stevie Wonder, ‘Innervisions
  • 33. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
  • 32. Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • 31. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • 30. Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced
  • 29. The Beatles, White Album
  • 27. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang(36 Chambers)
  • 26. Patti Smith, Horses
  • 25. Carole King, Tapestry
  • 24. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 23. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico
  • 22. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
  • 21. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
  • 20. Radiohead, Kid A
  • 19. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  • 16. The Clash, London Calling
  • 15. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  • 14. The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
  • 13. Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • 11. The Beatles, Revolver
  • 10. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  • 8. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
  • 7. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours 
  • 6. Nirvana, Nevermind
  • 5. The Beatles, Abbey Road
  • 4. Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
  • 2. The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds 
  • 1. Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 20-11


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 80-71
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161 70-61
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151 60-51
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141 50-41
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131 40-31
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121 30-21
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: Radiohead
Album: Kid A
Year: 2000
Label: Parlophone
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:

  • “Everything in its Right Place”
  • “The National Anthem”
  • “Idioteque”

Thoughts:  I like a lot of Radiohead albums but haven’t listened to them in a while. I couldn’t remember what was on Kid A, but it turns out they are all bangers.


Artist: Kendrick Lamar
AlbumTo Pimp A Butterfly
Year: 2015
Label: TDE
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:

  • “Wesley’s Theory”
  • “Alright”
  • “Momma”
  • “The Blacker the Berry”

Thoughts:  How did I not know that “Alright” is by Kendrick Lamar?  I’ve only heard that track a thousand times.  Anyhow this is clearly my first listen of To Pimp A Butterfly which matches some great rapping with classic R&B, funk, and jazz samples.  Excellent work!


Artist: Bob Dylan
AlbumHighway 61 Revisited
Year: 1965
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Like A Rolling Stone”
  • “From a Buick 6”
  • “Highway 61 Revisited”

Thoughts: I’m never going to be a Dylan-head, but this is no doubt some pretty good stuff.  I remember having one of the whistles used on “Highway 61 Revisited” when I was a kid and thinking it pretty awesome when I heard the song on the radio.  I may have played along.


Artist: Kanye West
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Year: 2010
Label: Roc-A-Fella
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:

  • “POWER”
  • “Runaway”
  • “Lost in the World”

Thoughts: I’ve always liked “Runaway.”  “Let’s have a toast to the douchebags,” is just a funny line.  This is definitely the best of the Kanye West albums on this list, but ultimately I have found that I just don’t like Kanye’s music.


Artist: The Clash
Album: London Calling
Year: 1979
Label: CBS
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:

  • “London Calling”
  • “Hateful”
  • “Rudie Can’t Fail”
  • “The Right Profile”
  • “Lost in the Supermarket”
  • “Guns of Brixton”
  • “The Card Cheat”
  • “Train in Vain”

Thoughts: This is more my speed.  I have Rolling Stone to thank for my first time listening to this album as a kid because they ranked it #1 in a list of Best Albums of the 1980s (even though it was released at the end of 1979).  Before that I just knew The Clash for “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”  This quickly became one of my favorite albums and remains so to this day.

I previously wrote a Music Discovery about The Clash’s discography.


Artist: Public Enemy
Album: It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Year: 1988
Label: Def Jam
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:

  • “Bring the Noise”
  • “Don’t Believe the Hype”
  • “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got”
  • “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”
  • “Rebel Without a Pause”
  • “Prophets of Rage”
  • “Party for Your Right To Fight”

Thoughts: Another flashback to my high school days, albeit I actually listened to this album when it was current. Nothing has ever compared to the sonic assault of Public Enemy’s richly layered samples, beats, and rhymes.  Unfortunately, most of the issues referenced on this album are still relevant three decades later.


Artist: Rolling Stones
Album: Exile on Main Street
Year: 1972
Label: Rolling Stones Records
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:

  • “Shake Your Hips”
  • “Tumbling Dice”
  • “Torn and Frayed”
  • “Loving Cup”
  • “Let It Loose”
  • “Shine A Light”

Thoughts: For most of their history, the Rolling Stones have been a great singles band.  But from 1968-1972, the band released four consecutive albums that are masterpieces in their own right. The final of these four albums, Exile on Main Street, didn’t spawn any huge hits and really all the songs work best in the context of the album. Listening to this album feels like going to a roadside bar somewhere in rural America (in a magic place where rhythm and blues and country get equal billing) and listening to the local bands rock out.  On a good night, and after a few drinks, you might even exclaim that this is the best band ever, even if no one outside your county has ever heard of them.  Except, of course, this is music is from one of the most famous bands ever.  I like some of the other Rolling Stones’ albums better musically, but Exile on Main Street is that works best as a cohesive entity.


Artist: Aretha Franklin
Album: I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
Year: 1967
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:

  • “Respect”
  • “I’ve Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”
  • “Dr. Feelgood (Love is a Serious Business)”
  • “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”
  • “A Change Is Gonna Come”

Thoughts: Ooh!  Just listen to that voice!


Artist: Michael Jackson
AlbumThriller
Year: 1982
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Thriller”
  • “Beat It”
  • “Billie Jean”

Thoughts: Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit big just after I turned 9-years-old, and I didn’t really like it.  I mean I didn’t hate it, but the hype and everyone around me losing their shit over Michael Jackson got old real fast.  Later in life, I learned to appreciate Jackson’s art and craft better and like the songs better.  But then the revelations of the evil things Jackson did made me not want to listen to the anymore.  This album is obviously a musical landmark that can’t be ignored, but it’s also tough to reckon with in regards to the extreme fame we give to some people, and how the famous can abuse the power the fame gives them.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumRevolver 
Year: 1966
Label: Apple
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:

  • “Eleanor Rigby”
  • “I’m Only Sleeping”
  • “Yellow Submarine”
  • “And Your Bird Can Sing”
  • “Got to Get You Into My Life”
  • “Tomorrow Never Knows”

Thoughts: This has been my favorite Beatles album for a long time, so I’m glad to see it ranked so highly.  It’s the Beatles experimenting with studio effects and learning to craft new (and weird) songs.  Who else could have hits with songs seemingly so against the grain of pop music in 1966 as “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine?”

NEXT WEEK, THE TOP TEN ALBUMS!!!


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
  • 68. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  • 66. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
  • 65. James Brown, Live at the Apollo
  • 64. OutKast, Stankonia
  • 61. Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full
  • 60. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
  • 59. Stevie Wonder, Talking Book
  • 58. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV 
  • 56. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  • 54. James Brown, Star Time
  • 53. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland
  • 52. David Bowie, Station to Station
  • 51. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
  • 50. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
  • 49. OutKast, Aquemini
  • 48. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
  • 47. Ramones, Ramones
  • 46. Paul Simon, Graceland
  • 45. Prince, Sign O’ the Times
  • 44. Nas, Illmatic
  • 43. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  • 42. Radiohead, OK Computer
  • 41. The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
  • 40. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
  • 39. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
  • 35. The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • 34. Stevie Wonder, ‘nnervisions
  • 33. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
  • 32. Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • 31. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • 30. Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced
  • 29. The Beatles, White Album
  • 27. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang(36 Chambers)
  • 26. Patti Smith, Horses
  • 25. Carole King, Tapestry
  • 24. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 23. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico
  • 22. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
  • 21. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
  • 20. Radiohead, Kid A
  • 19. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  • 16. The Clash, London Calling
  • 15. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  • 14. The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
  • 13. Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • 11. The Beatles, Revolver

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 30-21


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 80-71
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161 70-61
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151 60-51
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141 50-41
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131 40-31
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: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Album: Are You Experienced
Year: 1967
Label: Track
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:

  • “Purple Haze”
  • “Hey Joe”
  • “I Don’t Live Today”
  • “Fire”
  • “Third Stone From the Sun”
  • “Red House”

Thoughts: It’s a bit of a surprise that this is Jimi Hendrix’s highest ranked album on this list since I think he improved and matured over time.  But he started off at such a high level that this debut album definitely deserves a spot in this list regardless. I listened to this album for the first time in the late 80s and it was still a mindboggling sound.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumThe Beatles
Year: 1968
Label: Apple
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:

  • “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
  • “Happiness is a Warm Gun”
  • “I’m So Tired”
  • “Blackbird”
  • “Don’t Pass Me By”
  • “Helter Skelter”
  • “Long, Long, Long”
  • “Revolution 9”

Thoughts: The Beatles weirdest album, nicknamed “The White Album” for it’s unadorned cover, is a sprawling collection of 30 tracks on two LPs. The Beatles play with musical genres such as reggae, country, proto-metal, music hall, and avant garde sound.  And a lot of the tracks don’t feature all four members of the bands as their splintering interests find them working in smaller groups or alone and with support from outside artists.  Despite all this it is a wonderful, wild collection. I can’t imagine what people in 1968 thought when they heard this.  Yes, there is the stereotype that everyone was using psychedelic drugs while listening to the White Album but I’m sure there were plenty of “normies” who found listening to the new sounds of their beloved moptops trippy enough while sober.

I reviewed The Beatles “White Album” Super Deluxe Edition back in 2018


Artist: D’Angelo
AlbumVoodoo
Year: 2000
Label: EMI
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:

  • “Devil’s Pie”
  • “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”

Thoughts: D’Angelo drew up 60s & 70s soul, jazz fusion, and a touch of Prince mixed with a hip-hop sensibility to create this album.  I have only recently learned of the neo-soul movement of the late Nineties/Early Oughts of which this album is the apotheosis.  As typical of these albums I appreciate the artistry while not being moved by the often downbeat tunes.


Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Year: 1993
Label: Loud
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:

  • “Shame On A N—-“
  • “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber”
  • “C.R.E.A.M.”
  • “Protect Ya Neck”

Thoughts: I’ve been looking forward to listening this album because I’ve heard a lot in recent years how legendary it is.  Curiously, at the time this was released I was listening to Fu-Schnickens, a hip-hop act of significantly less regard who also incorporated the aesthetic of martial arts movies into their music.  I’m often on the wrong side of history, but Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was worth the wait.


Artist: Patti Smith
AlbumHorses
Year: 1975
Label: Arista
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:

  • “Gloria: In Excelsis Deo”
  • “Break It Up”
  • “Land: Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/La Mer”

Thoughts: Patti Smith’s minimalist/punk rock/poetry debut is the stuff of legend.  I’m not sure what to make of it, and was originally considering filing it under Not My Thing, but I think it deserves further contemplation when I have more time.  So my opinion on this album is still forming.


Artist: Carole King
AlbumTapestry
Year: 1971
Label: Sony
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:

  • “I Feel the Earth Move”
  • “It’s Too Late”
  • “Way Over Yonder”
  • “You’ve Got a Friend”

Thoughts: Carole King’s presence in popular music is so big that you know her music even if you don’t know who she is.  After writing hit songs for over a decade, King recorded herself singing a collection of her originals as well as some “covers” of songs that she wrote that were big hits for other artists.  I generally don’t like the singer/songwriter sound of the early 70s, but this album is really good.


Artist: The Beatles
Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Year: 1967
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “With a Little Help From My Friends”
  • “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”
  • “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
  • “When I’m Sixty-Four”
  • “Lovely Rita”
  • “A Day in the Life”

Thoughts:  For so many years Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the perennial Number One on lists of Greatest Albums of All Time.  The Beatles ambition in creating this album which reshaped the possibilities of rock music and cemented the album as the main way to release popular music for decades, cannot be denied.  But musically, it hasn’t held up as well as a lot of The Beatles other work.  Which is to say, it’s still pretty darn good.


Artist: The Velvet Underground and Nico
Album: The Velvet Underground and Nico
Year: 1967
Label: Verve
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:

  • “Sunday Morning”
  • “I’m Waiting For the Man”
  • “Run, Run, Run”
  • “Heroin”

Thoughts: I’ve always liked The Velvet Underground better without Nico, because I find her precise diction kind of pretentious.  But it turns out that she doesn’t have the lead vocal an all that many tracks.  This is another album that must’ve been mind-blowing to people hearing it when it was first released, although that was a small group.  The rest of us had to catch up.


Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.
AlbumReady To Die
Year: 1994
Label: Bad Boy
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:

  • “Things Done Changed”
  • “One More Chance”
  • “Juicy”
  • “Big Poppa”
  • “Suicidal Thoughts”

Thoughts:  Biggie sounds really good on his debut album.  Lyrically, I really love how appreciative he sounds of his fame and fortune as well as his honesty about his past.  It’s also something to consider that he’s among the first generation to grow up with rap, and he pays tribute to his forebears.  I liked the misogyny and celebration of crime and violence a whole lot less.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Born to Run
Year: 1975
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:

  • “Thunder Road”
  • “Tenth Avenue Freezeout”
  • “Born To Run”

Thoughts: Bruce Springsteen has gone through a lot of musical styles and images through his long career, but the Born to Run era is the one that stands out as iconic Springsteen.  I don’t like this album as much as some of the other Springsteen albums we’ve discussed but it is undeniably a good one.


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
  • 68. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  • 66. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
  • 65. James Brown, Live at the Apollo
  • 64. OutKast, Stankonia
  • 61. Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full
  • 60. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
  • 59. Stevie Wonder, Talking Book
  • 58. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV 
  • 56. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  • 54. James Brown, Star Time
  • 53. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland
  • 52. David Bowie, Station to Station
  • 51. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
  • 50. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
  • 49. OutKast, Aquemini
  • 48. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
  • 47. Ramones, Ramones
  • 46. Paul Simon, Graceland
  • 45. Prince, Sign O’ the Times
  • 44. Nas, Illmatic
  • 43. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  • 42. Radiohead, OK Computer
  • 41. The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
  • 40. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
  • 39. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
  • 35. The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • 34. Stevie Wonder, ‘nnervisions
  • 33. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
  • 32. Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • 31. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
  • 30. Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced
  • 29. The Beatles, White Album
  • 27. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang(36 Chambers)
  • 26. Patti Smith, Horses
  • 25. Carole King, Tapestry
  • 24. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 23. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico
  • 22. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
  • 21. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 40-31


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 80-71
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161 70-61
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151 60-51
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141 50-41
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: David Bowie
Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Year: 1972
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:

  • “Five Years”
  • “Moonage Daydream”
  • “Starman”
  • “Lady Stardust”
  • “Ziggy Stardust”
  • “Suffragette City”

Thoughts: This concept album offers a lot to chew on regarding aliens, fictional rock stars, and impending doom. Musically it’s a compilation of rock and roll styles bridging rockabilly to punk rock. A definite Bowie classic.


Artist: Talking Heads
Album: Remain In Light
Year: Sire
Label: 1980
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:

  • “Crosseyed and Painless”
  • “The Great Curve”
  • “Once in a Lifetime”
  • “Houses in Motion”
  • “Listening Wind”

Thoughts: It’s kind of appropriate for Talking Heads to follow David Bowie since they both took their own form of weirdness and made it so compelling that it forced the mainstream to accept them.  The Heads merged New Wave and avant garde music with African polyrhythms and funk grooves to create an album that was both art rock and commercially accessible.


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Blonde on Blonde
Year: Columbia
Label: 1966
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:

  • “Rainy Day Women #12 and #35”
  • “Pledging My Time”
  • “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)”

Thoughts: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the Bob Dylan albums on this list, but this one meets my preconceived notion of Dylan as someone singing SAT vocabulary words in a nasally voice.  It is a surprise that most of the songs are blues tunes as well as some more traditional folk love ballads.  The opening track is a classic, but most of this album gets a “meh” from me.


Artist: Dr. Dre
Album: The Chronic
Year: 1992
Label: Death Row
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:

  • “The Day the N****z Took Over”
  • “Lil’ Ghetto Boy”
  • “Lyrical Gangbang”
  • “Stranded on Death Row”

Thoughts: Hip hop producer Dr. Dre makes his performing debut album with Snoop Dogg also making a significant early career appearance as a featured rapper.  No doubt this is an historic collaboration.  Beyond that I had the realization that internet staples like “beeotch” and “deez nuts” probably had their origin here.  Overall I found the misogyny and n-words too much, and probably enjoyed the tracks best when I liked the sample sources of artists like Parliament, Funkadelic, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, and Isaac Hayes.


Artist: Michael Jackson
AlbumOff The Wall
Year: 1979
Label: Epic
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:

  • “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
  • “Rock With You”

Thoughts: Michael Jackson was at his peak of fame and talent during the impressionable years of my childhood.  And I felt like the only kid who wasn’t gaga for Michael Jackson.  Later in life I came to appreciate his work as an artist even if it wasn’t the first thing I’d chose to listen to.  That was followed revelations that Jackson was a bad, perhaps even evil, person who harmed children making me even less willing to reevaluate his music. Anyhow, I kind of like Jackson’s hits on this album more than his bigger hits on Thriller, but we’ll get to that later.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumRubber Soul
Year: 1965
Label: Parlophone
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:

  • “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
  • “Nowhere Man”
  • “Think for Yourself”
  • “The Word”
  • “Girl”
  • “I’m Looking Through You”
  • “In My Life”
  • “If I Needed Someone”

Thoughts: It kind of boggles the mind that in the years 1963-1965, the Beatles averaged two new albums per year plus singles and eps, toured the world, and made two movies.  And yet their 6th album, released at the end of 1965, shows no sign of exhaustion and decline.  Instead the band were beginning their transition to a studio band with inventive new song stylings and production.  One demerit for ending this album with “Run For Your Life,” a hateful stalker song.


Artist: Stevie Wonder
Album: Innervisions
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Living for the City”
  • “Higher Ground”
  • “All In Love Is Fair”
  • “He’s Misstra Know-It-All”

Thoughts: This album features a jazzier sound for Stevie Wonder with some funk overtones. I found it not as consistent as his previous albums with some valleys and peaks, but when the peaks are “Living for the City” and “Higher Ground” they are some mighty fine peaks!  Also, “He’s Misstra Know-It-All” is a song about a bad President that became all-too-relevant again in recent memory.


Artist: Amy Winehouse
Album: Back to Black
Year: 2006
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:

  • “Rehab”
  • “You Know I’m No Good”
  • “Back to Black”
  • “Tears Dry On Their Own”

Thoughts: I’m so happy to see Amy Winehouse’s classic album ranked so highly in this RS 500.  Winehouse’s personal troubles and tragic death have overshadowed her remarkable talent and the perfection of this album. I remember first hearing “You Know I’m No Good” back in 2007 and being blown away and I still feel the same listening to this album today.


Artist: Beyoncé
AlbumLemonade
Year: Parkwood/Columbia
Label: 2016
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:

  • “Hold Up”
  • “Sorry”
  • “6 Inch”
  • “Freedom”

Thoughts: I wasn’t all that attentive to Beyoncé’s music until 2016 when Lemonade forced me to pay attention.  I suppose some people will argue that this album is too recent to be ranked #32, but really from the first time I heard it I knew it was an instant classic. It definitely deserves a spot among the best albums of all time.


Artist: Miles Davis
AlbumKind of Blue
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:

  • “So What”
  • “Freddie Freeloader”
  • “All Blues”

Thoughts: Miles Davis, trumpeter and composer, made some of the most brilliant jazz music ever.  Listen to this album to find out.


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
  • 68. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  • 66. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
  • 65. James Brown, Live at the Apollo
  • 64. OutKast, Stankonia
  • 61. Eric B. and Rakim, Paid in Full
  • 60. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
  • 59. Stevie Wonder, Talking Book
  • 58. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV 
  • 56. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  • 54. James Brown, Star Time
  • 53. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland
  • 52. David Bowie, Station to Station
  • 51. Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
  • 50. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
  • 49. OutKast, Aquemini
  • 48. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
  • 47. Ramones, Ramones
  • 46. Paul Simon, Graceland
  • 45. Prince, Sign O’ the Times
  • 44. Nas, Illmatic
  • 43. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  • 42. Radiohead, OK Computer
  • 41. The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
  • 40. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
  • 39. Talking Heads, Remain in Light
  • 35. The Beatles, Rubber Soul
  • 34. Stevie Wonder, ‘nnervisions
  • 33. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
  • 32. Beyoncé, Lemonade
  • 31. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 200-191


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:

500-491 400-381 300-291
490-481 390-381 290-281
480-471 380-371 280-271
470-461 370-361 270-261
460-451 360-351 260-251
450-441 350-341 250-241
440-431 340-331 240-231
430-421 330-321 230-221
420-411 320-311 220-211
410-401 310-301 210-201

Artist: Sade
Album: Diamond Life
Year: 1984
Label: Epic
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:

  • “Smooth Operator”

Thoughts: “Smooth Operator” is unquestionably one of the great smooth, romantic hits of the 1980s.  But a whole album of songs like this is a tough sell for me.


Artist: Pavement
Album: Slanted and Enchanted
Year: 1993
Label: Matador
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:

  • “No Life Singed Her”
  • “In the Mouth a Desert”
  • “Here”

Thoughts: I remember checking this album out from the library in the 1990s and kind of liking it but not remembering it to well.  It turns out that a few songs stuck in my head a lot better than I realized.  This is definitely a perfect example of an indie rock album from the early 90s, although for me I only a handful of songs stand out as something I want to revisit.


Artist: The B-52’s
Album: The B-52’s
Year: 1979
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:

  • “Planet Claire”
  • “52 Girls”
  • “Dance This Mess Around”
  • “Rock Lobster”

Thoughts: In 1989, The B-52’s hit the big time with their album Cosmic Thing (which is criminally absent from the RS 500), a quirky but accessible bit of pop music brilliance. Even though I was familiar with “Rock Lobster” (a staple of middle school and high school dances), nothing prepared me for the mind-blowing, frantic weirdness of the band’s debut album from a decade earlier. “Planet Claire” also reminds me of my sister’s delightfully weird college housemate Claire.


Artist: The Beatles
Album: Meet the Beatles!
Year: 1964
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Essentially
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  • “I Saw Her Standing There”
  • “All My Loving”
  • “I Wanna Be Your Man”
  • “Not a Second Time”

Thoughts: When I went through my Classic Rock Phase in high school, I stubbornly acquired only the official UK releases of The Beatles albums.  Meet the Beatles! is the American version of the band’s second UK album With the Beatles. While the US version has only 12 tracks to the original’s 14, it also replaces 5 cover songs with 3 Lennon/McCartney originals that were previously released as singles.  So it’s oddly a more “Original” album.  It’s definitely not as butchered as some later US releases so I’ll give it the thumbs up.


Artist: Robyn
Album: Body Talk
Year: 2010
Label: Konichiwa
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:

  • “Dancing On My Own”
  • “None of Dem”

Thoughts: Body Talk opens with the Swedish singer Robyn’s fantastic hit song “Dancing on My Own,” heretofore the only song by Robyn that I knew.  It proves to be the standout track amid an album of otherwise enjoyable dance pop.


Artist: Leonard Cohen
Album: Songs of Leonard Cohen
Year: 1967
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:

  • “Suzanne”
  • “Sisters of Mercy”
  • “So Long, Marianne”
  • “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”

Thoughts: Leonard Cohen charted a different course from other singer-songwriters who made impressive debut albums and had their songs covered by umpteen different artists.  As he got older, and his voice got deeper, his own recordings got even better right up until his death.


Artist: Michael Jackson
Album: Bad
Year: 1987
Label: Epic
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:

  • “Bad”
  • “The Way You Make Me Feel”

Thoughts: I may have just been a contrarian, but I never liked Michael Jackson’s music all that much.  I mean, I could appreciate the craft and liked some of his songs, but not to the level of constant exposure that Jackson’s massive fame in the 1980s entailed.  There were only four years between Thriller and Bad, but it felt like a long break from “MJ All the Time.” To Jackson’s credit his music was updated to the time and once again was able to dominate the zeitgeist.  This was probably the last time Michael Jackson was on my radar because his latter hits came when I was no longer paying attention to Top 40 radio or MTV.


Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Album: Willy and the Poor Boys
Year: 1969
Label: Fantasy
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:

  • “Down on the Corner”
  • “Fortunate Son”
  • “The Midnight Special”
  • “Effigy”

Thoughts:  CCR churned out some of the best songs of the late 60s and this album contains several of my favorites. I was also impressed hearing the final track, “Effigy,” for the first time, showing that over 50 years later CCR can still surprise.


Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Licensed to Ill
Year: 1986
Label: Def Jam/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?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “She’s Crafty”
  • “Fight for Your Right”
  • “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”

Thoughts: Beastie Boys were one of the first white rap acts and even as a kid something bothered me about how extremely popular they became (I didn’t know what cultural appropriation was at the time).  It wasn’t just that they were white, but that they were so obnoxious.  Later they revealed that they were playing obnoxious characters (which I only half believe) and proved to be more intelligent and conscientious than we were first lead to believe.  While I don’t think I’d ever listened to the whole album before, I’m amazed that I recognize pretty much every track.  I guess that was how much Beastie Boys were in the ether in 1986-1987.  And I have to admit that, in retrospect, a lot of this album really slaps.


Artist: Etta James
Album: At Last!
Year: 1961
Label: Argo
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:

  • “A Sunday Kind of Love”
  • “I Just Want to Make Love to You”
  • “At Last”
  • “If I Can’t Have You” (with Harvey Fuqua)

Thoughts: Some time in the mid-1990s, “At Last” suddenly was everywhere – movie soundtracks, commercials, first dances at weddings, inspirational montages for sports teams.  I don’t know what prompted the Etta James “At Last” revival other than it’s a great song.  Listening to the whole album for the first time makes me think that there are a whole lot of Etta James’ songs that also deserve the “At Last” treatment.


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!

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 270-261


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:

500-491 400-381 300-291
490-481 390-381 290-281
480-471 380-371 280-271
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Kacey Musgraves
AlbumGolden Hour
Year: 2018
Label: MCA Nashville
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:

  • “Happy & Sad”

Thoughts:  While I’m not a country music fan, I do remember really liking “Follow Your Arrow,” one of Kacey Musgraves singles from her debut album in 2013.  I haven’t followed her career since then, but I’m happy for her that this album made the list since she seems to be a talented pop country artist.  While this music isn’t my thing, it’s clear that this is an exemplarily work of the genre.


Artist: Kanye West
AlbumYeezus
Year: 2013
Label: Roc-A-Fella
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:

  • “Black Skinhead”
  • “New Slaves”

Thoughts: I never got the big deal over Kanye West.  The man seems incredibly full of himself and the nonstop critical acclaim only encourages him.  I’ve got to admit that there’s a lot of great beats and grooves here, though.


Artist: Randy Newman
Album: Sail Away
Year: 1972
Label: Reprise
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:

  • “Political Science”
  • “Burn On”

Thoughts: I’ve been reconsidering Randy Newman over a long period of time.  For the long time I didn’t like his music at all because of annoying hits like “Short People” and “I Love L.A.”  But becoming aware of his vast output of film scores (film-scoring is something of a family industry for multiple generations of the Newman family).  So I’ve come to appreciate Randy Newman a lot more.  But I’m still not there, because I didn’t really enjoy much on this album, although I didn’t hate it either.


Artist: Minutemen
Album: Double Nickels on the Dime
Year: 1984
Label: SST
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “One Reporters Opinion”
  • “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing”
  • “Corona”
  • “The Glory of Man”

Thoughts: Minutemen is a band that I have absolutely no prior knowledge about.  It’s a but stunning to see an album with 45 tracks on it! But mostly true to their name, Minutemen songs are all very short, in the 1-2 minute range.  Their musical style seems to be in the transition from Modern Lovers to Pixies and Fugazi.  I like it.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumHelp!
Year: 1965
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “Help!”
  • “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
  • “Ticket to Ride”
  • “I’ve Just Seen a Face”

ThoughtsHelp! is The Beatles fifth studio album in a little over two years made to accompany their second film in just over a year (this one, in colour!).  The band could’ve put out an album of filler and still had a massive hit.  Instead they are innovating musically and lyrically, setting the stage for the string of creative albums that would come in the following years.  The songs feel mature, and in the lyrics of “Help!” and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” they seem to have moved from teen heartbreak to dealing with more intense pain and depression.  The Dylan-esque “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” remains one of my favorite songs by The Beatles.


Artist: Pavement
AlbumWowee Zowee
Year: 1995
Label: Matador
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: None
Thoughts: This is the second of three Pavement albums on this list.  And for the second time I feel it’s generic 90s rock.  There’s nothing wrong with that but there’s also nothing here that makes me want to come back and listen to it again.


Artist: Pink Floyd
AlbumWish You Were Here
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Wish You Were Here”

Thoughts: Pink Floyd are better than most, and I like some of their songs, but I really have a thing against 70s prog rock.  There’s only so many masturbatory guitar solos and synth stabs I can listen to before I reach my limit.  Does this album really need two different suites of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” that clock in at 13 minutes each.  The title song is nice, though. And the album cover is pretty cool.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumHard Day’s Night
Year: 1964
Label: United Artists
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:

  • “A Hard Day’s Night”
  • “I Should Have Known Better”
  • “If I Fell”
  • “And I Love Her”
  • “Things We Said Today”
  • “You Can’t Do That”

Thoughts: There are two Beatles albums in this week’s post and they from the two movies the Beatles starred in as fictional versions of themselves (this one is in black & white).  The album is significant for being the first album where every single song was an original composition.  It’s also the peak of the early Beatles sounds before their later experimental periods.


Artist: New Order
AlbumPower, Corruption, & Lies
Year: 1983
Label: Factory
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:

  • “Age of Consent”
  • “586”
  • “Leave Me Alone”

Thoughts: I knew the music of Joy Division and I knew the music of New Order from the mid-to-late 80s, but I’d never before listened to this album that is a transition between the two.  Although “Age of Consent” does sound familiar. The “danceable synth-rock” as Rolling Stone describes it is emerging nicely from the post-punk sounds of Joy Division.  It was a new sound for the 80s that is among the best musical innovations of the decade.


Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Check Your Head
Year: 1992
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Jimmy James”
  • “Finger Lickin’ Good”
  • “So What’Cha Want”

Thoughts: My freshman year in college when I was a greenhorn DJ at the college radio station, my friends called up and requested “Professor Booty” by the Beastie Boys.  Turns out the song is filled with profanities.  I commited a FCC violation. My friends knew this and they set me up.  Luckily, the FCC was not listening to college radio that day or I wouldn’t be here writing this.


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 350-341


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: Stevie Wonder
AlbumMusic of My Mind
Year: 1972
Label: Motown/Tamla
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:

  • “Love Having You Around”
  • “Happier Than the Morning Sun”
  • “Keep on Running”
  • “Evil”

Thoughts: It’s kind of unfair having a greatest albums list if Stevie Wonder is allowed to participate.  And Music of My Mind was only the prelude to Wonder’s mid-70s musical dominance. It’s a testament to Wonder’s talent that this album, as great as it is, has basically become one big deep cut in his catalog.

For more thoughts on this album check out my Stevie Wonder music discovery post.



Artist
: MC5
Album: Kick Out the Jams
Year: 1969
Label: Elektra
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:

  • “Kick Out the Jams”
  • “Motor City Is Burning”
  • “I Want You Right Now”

Thoughts: I’ve heard of MC5 as being a protopunk act.  This live set  recorded from Detroit’s Grand Ballroom at the end of October 1968 does sound like it’s from a decade in the future.  But it also sounds firmly within the countercultural and leftist political culture of the time.  Either way, it sounds like it rocks really hard.


Artist: Gillian Welch
Album: Time (The Revelator)
Year: 2001
Label: Acony
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:

  • “Dear Someone”
  • “Red Clay Halo”
  • “Ruination Day, Pt. 2”
  • “Everything Is Free”

Thoughts: It’s nice to see this list recognized contemporary folk/roots/Americana music.  I’d never listened to this album before, oddly enough, despite the fact that it was released right in the middle of my Folk Music Period of roughly 1998-2003. Listening to the sad and lonesome harmonies today, I have regrets.


Artist: GZA
Album: Liquid Swords
Year: 1995
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Only by reputation
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Liquid Swords”
  • “Cold World”
  • “I Gotcha Back”

Thoughts: I somehow missed the entire Wu-Tang Clan phenomenon, which is perhaps not surprising considering my general ignorance of hip hop from Nineties and Oughts.  Liquid Swords is particularly discussed about in reverent tones, so it’s about time I gave it a listen. Consider me initiated.


Artist: Arctic Monkeys
AlbumAM
Year: 2013
Label: Domino
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Vaguely
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Do I Wanna Know?”

Thoughts: I’m starting to feel like this project is just a series of confessions of me being too lazy to listen to different artists. I remember seeing Arctic Monkey performing “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. I thought that they sounded good but never followed up on listening to more of their music. This album came out a year later. AM is a nice mix of 70s classic rock sounds with 2010’s indie pop. It’s a perfectly cromulent album and I probably should’ve listened to it earlier.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Year: 1973
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:

  • “The E Street Shuffle”
  • “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
  • “Incident on 57th Street”
  • “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”

Thoughts: Bruce Springsteen and I were born in the same town although I moved away as an infant so didn’t experience a full New Jersey childhood.  I’ve always appreciated Springsteen’s anthems for the common person, but I’m more of a “greatest hits” type of listener and haven’t listened to the vast majority of his albums. This is the first of five Springsteen albums on the list so I will be getting to experience the deep cuts. This album is funkier and jazzier than I’d ever expected of Springsteen. It’s epic and fun!


Artist:  Toots and the Maytals
Album: Funky Kingston
Year: 1973
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Ye
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Funky Kingston”
  • “Pomps & Pride”
  • “Country Road”
  • “Pressure Drop”

Thoughts: I love when this list does things like puts two completely different albums from the same year back-to-back. Toots and the Maytals were reggae pioneers and this American release of this album helped make Jamaica’s music famous worldwide.  The songs are a mix of original reggae tunes focused on the trials and joys of ordinary Americans mixed with covers of American songs like “Louie Louie” and “Country Roads.”


Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Album: Greatest Hits
Year: 1970
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:

  • “I Want to Take You Higher”
  • “Dance to the Music”
  • “Everyday People”
  • “Hot Fun in the Summertime”
  • “Sing a Simple Song”
  • “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”

Thoughts: I continue to the object to the inclusion of greatest hits compilations on a greatest albums list, but I’ll make an exception for this one.  First, there are two other Sly & the Family Stone albums coming up on this list.  Second, there are only four songs that overlap with one of those albums and zero with the other.  And finally, Greatest Hits includes three tracks not available on other albums.  Thus, it makes a good primer for Sly and the Family Stone’s music, and also serves as my imaginary Sly and the Family Stone Broadway jukebox musical that really needs to exist.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumLet It Be
Year: 1970
Label: Apple
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:

  • “Two of Us”
  • “Across the Universe”
  • “One After 909”
  • “For You Blue”
  • “Get Back”

Thoughts: This album shouldn’t be as good as it is.  By January 1969, The Beatles had spent a decade of constant togetherness: gigging, touring, recording two albums worth of material per year, making films, and even going on a transcendental meditation retreat together.  They should’ve made a new year’s resolution to take a year off and go to therapy or something. Instead the started an ambitious project to “get back” to their roots, record an album, and rehearse for a concert performance all while a camera crew documented their every move.  A month later the project was abandoned among acrimonious infighting.  Then The  Beatles got together three weeks later to start creating an entirely different brilliant album.  Let It Be was released shortly after The Beatles broke up in 1970 as a quasi-movie soundtrack/live album although with Phil Spector’s production it is not really either of those things.  And despite all of that it’s a solid and unique Beatles album with some of my favorite of the band’s songs.


Artist: The Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Siamese Dream
Year: 1993
Label: Virgin
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?: Just the hits
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Cherub Rock”
  • “Today”
  • “Disarm”

Thoughts: In the early 90s, there were a lot of innovative alternative rock bands who changed the face of music.  The Smashing Pumpkins were not one of them. I don’t say this as an insult, but to emphasize that The Smashing Pumpkins were craftsmen who used took the new alt-rock sounds (and a healthy dose of 70s bombast) to churn out songs that rocked.  I never felt strongly either way about the Pumpkins but was pleasantly surprised that their tunes held up so well over 30 years.


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

Book Review:Help!: The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration by Thomas Brothers


Author: Thomas Brothers
Title: Help!: The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration
Narrator: Keith Sellon-Wright
Publication Info: HighBridge Audio (2018)
Summary/Review:

I received a free advance review copy of this audiobook through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

The author of this book is a Duke University musicologist, and I don’t think I will represent the musicology well in this summary, although I did find it interesting to listen to. Brothers uses two popular music acts of the 20th century to illustrate the creative genius of musicians collaborating together to create new tunes: Duke Ellington and The Beatles.  This is basically two books in one with half the book about each group of artists.

Ellington is generally depicted as a lone genius composer, but Brothers states that he was more of an arranger than a composer.  He relied on others – particularly Bubber Miley and later Billy Stayhorn – to write the songs, and his entire band contributed parts as they worked on a tune.  That Ellington frequently gave himself sole writing credit was a recurring source of disgruntlement for Ellington’s band members.

The Beatles are more widely recognized as a collaboration – Lennon-McCartney – although it’s commonly believed that John Lennon and Paul McCartney only composed songs together in The Beatles’ early years.  Brothers breaks down the recordings and shows that not only were Lennon and McCartney were collaborating right up until the Beatles broke up, but a wider group of collaborators contributed to creating the Beatles music including George Harrison, Ringo Starr, producer George Martin, sound engineer Geoff Emerick, guest artists like Eric Clapton and Billy Preston, and yes, even Yoko Ono.

Brothers makes the controversial, but accurate, statement that Strayhorn was musically more talented than Ellington, and that McCartney’s musical talent outclassed Lennon’s.  But Ellington had the ability to listen to various solos by the artists in his band and arrange them tunefully, while Lennon brought a rock & roll edge and lyrical bite to McCartney’s music.  As I noted, there’s an academic level to this book that is perhaps beyond a novice to me, but I still enjoyed reading about these great artists and how they made their most memorable tunes.  But mostly, I want to listen to some Duke Ellington and The Beatles now.

Recommended books: How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll by Elijah Wald, Dreaming the Beatles by Rob Sheffield, Duke Ellington by James Lincoln Collier

Rating: ***

Music Discoveries: The Beatles Go Solo, Finale


I managed to listen to every album that George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney released between 1968 and 1980 as documented in part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.  But my review of ex-Beatles’ musical output was missing something, including some of the best songs they recorded during this period, and that is the non-album singles.  So, to complete this music discovery, I listened to the following songs:

1969 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – “Give Peace a Chance”

One of John’s political anthems that is more fun than preachy.  It still resonates today even if I can’t understand the

1969 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – “Cold Turkey”

I’m surprised I’ve never heard this one before.  It has a rockin’ riff, but otherwise is dull.

1970 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – “Instant Karma!”

An all-time classic, and one with a great backstory of how it was created in (nearly) one day.

1971 – Paul McCartney – “Another Day”/”Oh Woman, Oh Why”

“Another Day” is a perfectly fine McCartney ballad, but feels a bit watered down compared to his best love songs. The b-side is just blah.

1971 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – “Power to the People”

More anthemic but less resonant that “Give Peace a Chance.”

1971 – George Harrison – “Bangla Desh”/”Deep Blue”

The charity single is born, and like “We Are the World” later on, it has good intentions with cheezy lyrics.  Harrison should be remembered for his dedication to the cause though, that likely had greater real world effect than Lennon’s sloganeering.  “Deep Blue” is a folksy-blues tune about Harrison grieving his mother that ties in personal tragedy with the global catastrophe of the A-side.

1971 – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

The reuse of the tune for “Stewball” and its frequent repetition every December since its release makes this song feel an oddity.  But the Harlem Community Choir is genuinely charming and it works as both a Christmas pop song and an anti-war anthem.

1972 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”

I find it interesting that Lennon & McCartney both recorded political songs about the Irish Troubles at this time.  The Irish issue didn’t seem to be much of interest to either of them at any other point in their life.  McCartney is not known for political anthems and it humors me that Great Britain actually banned the song despite its milquetoast lyrics.

1972 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Mary Had a Little Lamb”/”Little Woman Love”

Holy crap, an ex-Beatle totally recorded “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and released it as a single!  The B-side is a fun rockabilly number, but nothing special.

1972 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Hi, Hi, Hi”/”C Moon”

More mediocrity.

1972 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Live and Let Die”

McCartney at his most bombastic perfectly suits the UK’s bombastic James Bond film series.  I like this one despite myself.

1974 – Paul McCartney & Wings -“Junior’s Farm”/”Sally G”

McCartney tries on 70s arena rock and it’s not too shabby. The b-side is a nice bit of twangy country.  This is McCartney at his competent, okay-ness.

1974 – Paul McCartney & The Country Hams – “Walking in the Park with Eloise”

An instrumental ragtime tune with country twang.  Not bad, but sometimes I wonder if McCartney ever wanted to be a rock star.

1977 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Mull of Kintyre”

Another song that I never heard until recently despite that fact that it was one of the biggest singles in UK history. I’ve heard better pop songs with bagpipes.

1978 – Paul McCartney & Wings – “Goodnight Tonight”/”Daytime Nighttime Suffering”

Wings does disco, fulfilling an ancient prophecy.

1979 – Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmastime”/”Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae”

I’ve actually successfully made it through this holiday season without ONCE hearing “Wonderful Christmastime” for the first time in decades, so I’m certainly not going to listen to the Worst. Christmas. Song. Ever. on purpose.  I listened to the B-side so you wouldn’t have to. It’s an instrumental reggae version of “Rudolph” played on violin.  For realz!


Ex-Beatle Superlatives

George Harrison:

Best AlbumAll Things Must Pass
Runner Up – Wonderwall Music
Worst Album – Extra Texture (Read All About It)
Best Song – “What is Life?”

John Lennon:

Best Album – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Runner Up – Imagine
Worst AlbumMind Games
Best Song – “Instant Karma”

Ringo Starr:

Best AlbumRingo
Runner Up – Goodnight, Vienna
Worst Album – Ringo the 4th
Best Song – “Photograph”

Paul McCartney:

Best Album – Back to the Egg
Runner Up – Venus and Mars
Worst AlbumLondon Town
Best Song – “Maybe I’m Amazed”


The Ex-Beatles Greatest Hits

To finish off, here are the 22 best songs by former Beatles up to 1980:

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band :: Give Peace a Chance

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band :: Instant Karma!

Paul McCartney :: Maybe I’m Amazed

George Harrison :: What is Life?

John Lennon :: Working Class Hero

John Lennon :: Imagine

John Lennon :: New York City

George Harrison :: Living in the Material World

Ringo Starr :: Photograph

Ringo Starr :: You’re Sixteen

Paul McCartney & Wings :: Live and Let Die

Paul McCartney & Wings ::Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

John Lennon :: #9 Dream

Ringo Starr :: No No Song

Paul McCartney & Wings :: Silly Love Songs

George Harrison :: Not Guilty

Paul McCartney & Wings :: Getting Closer

Paul McCartney :: Coming Up

John Lennon & Yoko Ono :: (Just Like) Starting Over

John Lennon & Yoko Ono :: Watching the Wheels

John Lennon & Yoko Ono :: Woman

 

 

Music Discoveries: The Beatles Go Solo, part 5


Heading into the home stretch on the first decade of post-Beatles music, and I’ve not been all impressed with the mid-to-late 70s offerings of Paul, George, & Ringo and John has gone on sabbatical. Entering the period covered by this period, they can all be relieved that the then most popular band in the world – the Bee Gees – decided to put together an all-star cast to make a film and album based on Beatles’ songs called Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  And it BOMBED!  So the former Beatles could rest assured they would not make to most embarrassing music tied to the Beatles in the late 1970s.

AlbumLondon Town
Artist: Paul McCartney & Wings
Release Date :31 March 1978
Favorite Tracks: none
Thoughts:

Paul McCartney ventures into yacht rock by literally recording parts of this album on a yacht.  The band is down to a trio once again with McCartney and Denny Laine collaborating on a number of songs. It’s awfully yawn-ful.


AlbumBad Boy
Artist: Ringo Starr
Release Date: 21 April 1978
Favorite Tracks:
Thoughts:

Ringo cuts back the disco flourishes (thankfully!) and eschews famous guest artists, focusing on an album of mostly covers with the same backing band behind him.  Unfortunately, the world didn’t need Ringo’s renditions of these songs.


AlbumGeorge Harrison 
Artist: George Harrison
Release Date:20 February 1979
Favorite Tracks: Not Guilty,
Thoughts:

And now George releases a yacht rock album, with Steve Winwood going overboard on the cheezy synths on many tracks.  “Not Guilty” is good, but I like the version recorded for the White Album better.


AlbumBack to the Egg
Artist: Paul McCartney & Wings
Release Date: 8 June 1979
Favorite Tracks: Getting Closer, Spin It On, Old Siam Sir, So Glad to See You Here
Thoughts:

With an album title this dumb, I braced myself for the worst, only to be surprised that this is the most enjoyable McCartney album released thus far! Part of the reason is that this album rocks harder than McCartney & Wings have ever done before.  Songs like “Spin It On” even approach a punk rock sound, albeit one that will never be confused with The Ramones or Sex Pistols.  It seemed like McCartney had been creatively stuck for some time, with his previous 8 albums all sounding like they could’ve been outtakes from the Beatles recording sessions circa 1967-1969.  Blending in punk and new wave influences helps reconnect McCartney with his own rock & roll roots, and create something original for the first time in ages. The album slows down on the backside and lyrically it’s not strong, but definitely an improvement on the McCartney oeuvre.


AlbumMcCartney II
Artist: Paul McCartney
Release Date: 16 May 1980
Favorite Tracks: Coming Up, On the Way,
Thoughts:

So, Paul McCartney releases his second album, disavowing everything that was released over the previous 10 years.  I jest.  With McCartney playing every instrument, experimenting with synthesizers, and drawing some influence from synth-pop, this album is quite odd, sometimes delightfully so.  Even “Temporary Secretary” is a fun track, albeit not one I’m going to listen to over and over. It’s not all good, but McCartney experimenting is better than McCartney repeating the same old dreck in my book.


AlbumDouble Fantasy 
Artist: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Release Date:  17 November 1980
Favorite Tracks: (Just Like) Starting Over, Watching the Wheels, Woman
Thoughts:

John & Yoko record their first album together since 1972, and John’s first recording at all since 1975 on the album set up as a conversation between the once-again happily married couple.  The critics don’t like it, they never like anything with a lot of Yoko Ono on it, but I think it was a pretty good comeback and a sign of possibilities to come (never realized).  Besides, Yoko’s music is now no weirder than some new wave music being released at the time, like the B-52s.  This album was released just before my 7th birthday and I distinctly remember it as among my earliest memories of knowing anything about the Beatles, so it holds a particular nostalgia.

 

 

The 1980s would not see a Beatles’ reunion.  John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980.  The surviving members of the band all continued on in their own ways, but made fewer waves than in the previous two decades. Paul McCartney would work to drag down the careers of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson and then perform with a frog chorus, before re-rediscovering that he’s a rock star at the end of the decade.  Ringo Starr retreated from recording for most of the 80s, spending some time narrating Thomas & Friends, before getting back on the music bandwagon in 1989 with His All-Starr Band, that has served him well.  And George Harrison also retreated from making music for a time before returning with some big solo hits and then forming the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.