Triple Played, May 11, 2012
Rolling Stone Magazine recently released a special edition of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It cost $12, but I wanted to read it, so I picked up the issue last week.
The list was based on the results of two polls: a 2003 poll of 271 artists, journalists, producers and industry executives picking the best albums of all time and a 2009 poll of 100 picking the best albums of the 2000s.
These lists are all subjective so I will try to summarize the results and add my opinion, as opposed to nitpicking.
There are 11 albums from the 1950s on the list, 105 from the ‘60s, 187 from the ‘70s, 82 from the ‘80s, 75 from the ‘90s, 38 from the 2000s and two from this decade. This proves what I have said all along about the 1960s and ‘70s being the strongest musical decades.
Starting with the list’s bottom 10, numbers 491–500 contain such notable artists as Albert King, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, the Eurythmics, Wilco, the White Stripes, Outkast and Boz Scaggs.
Heading the list at No. 1 is the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which came as no surprise to me or most of you.
Five Beatles albums were in the top 10 and 10 of the Beatles’ 14 albums made the list. “Let It Be” was ranked lowest at 392.
After “Sgt. Pepper,” the rest of the top 10, in order, are the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”; Beatles, “Revolver”; Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited”; Beatles, “Rubber Soul”; Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”; Rolling Stones, “Exile On Main Street”; the Clash, “London Calling”; Dylan, “Blonde on Blonde”; and Beatles, “White Album.”
That list is hard to argue with, although some might say that the Velvet Underground’s groundbreaking release “Velvet Underground & Nico” as well as the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” should make the top 10. They both fall short at numbers 13 and 14, respectively.
Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles tied with 10 albums each in the top 500. Based on this list, the Beatles’ impact on music is obvious since the band was only together for a few years and only released 14 albums.
Bruce Springsteen has eight albums on the list and the Who have seven. Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, U2, Elton John and Radiohead all placed five albums on the list. All three of Jimi Hendrix’s albums are in the top 100 with “Are You Experienced” at 15, “Electric Ladyland” at 55 and “Axis Bold as Love” at 83.
This list is not just a list of rock ‘n’ roll records but of other genres as well.
There are nine blues albums listed from musicians such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline are among the country artists listed. Jazz albums from Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis and John Coltrane are included.
Frank Sinatra has two albums on the list as does Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley has three.
I was a bit disappointed that Van Morrison only has two albums in the top 500. Not that “Astral Weeks” and “Moondance” aren’t good choices, I just feel that Morrison has at least two others that should have been included: “Tupelo Honey” and “His Band and Street Choir.”
I also don’t quite understand why Tom Petty and Dire Straits only have one album each on the list.
I said I wouldn’t nitpick.