100 Greatest Albums – Which Do You Own?

I was recently tagged on a Facbook meme which asks you to note which of the 100 Greatest Albums Ever, as decided by Rolling Stone, you own. Because I know a lot of people don’t like being tagged in these sort of things, I thought I’d bring it out on to the open web, and leave it to people to continue the meme if they would like to.

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles YES
2. Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys NO
3. Revolver, The Beatles YES
4. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan NO
5. Rubber Soul, The Beatles YES
6. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye YES
7. Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones NO
8. London Calling, The Clash NO
9. Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan NO
10. The Beatles (“The White Album”), The Beatles YES
11. The Sun Sessions, Elvis Presley NO
12. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis YES
13. Velvet Underground and Nico, The Velvet Underground YES
14. Abbey Road, The Beatles YES
15. Are You Experienced?, The Jimi Hendrix Experience YES
16. Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan NO
17. Nevermind, Nirvana YES
18. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen NO
19. Astral Weeks, Van Morrison NO
20. Thriller, Michael Jackson YES
21. The Great Twenty-Eight, Chuck Berry NO
22. Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon NO
23. Innervisions, Stevie Wonder YES
24. Live at the Apollo (1963), James Brown YES
25. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac YES
26. The Joshua Tree, U2 YES
27. King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. 1, Robert Johnson YES
28. Who’s Next, The Who NO
29. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin NO
30. Blue, Joni Mitchell NO
31. Bringing It All Back Home, Bob Dylan NO
32. Let It Bleed, The Rolling Stones NO
33. Ramones, Ramones NO
34. Music From Big Pink, The Band NO
35. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie YES
36. Tapestry, Carole King YES
37. Hotel California, The Eagles NO
38. The Anthology, 1947 – 1972, Muddy Waters NO
39. Please Please Me, The Beatles YES
40. Forever Changes, Love NO
41. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, The Sex Pistols YES
42. The Doors, The Doors YES
43. The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd NO
44. Horses, Patti Smith NO
45. The Band, The Band NO
46. Legend, Bob Marley and the Wailers NO
47. A Love Supreme, John Coltrane YES
48. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy NO
49. At Fillmore East, The Allman Brothers Band NO
50. Here’s Little Richard, Little Richard NO
51. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel YES
52. Greatest Hits, Al Green YES
53. The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings, 1952 – 1959, Ray Charles NO
54. Electric Ladyland, The Jimi Hendrix Experience YES
55. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley NO
56. Songs in the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder YES
57. Beggars Banquet, The Rolling Stones NO
58. Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band NO
59. Meet the Beatles, The Beatles YES
60. Greatest Hits, Sly and the Family Stone YES
61. Appetite for Destruction, Guns n’ Roses NO
62. Achtung Baby, U2 YES
63. Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones NO
64. Phil Spector, Back to Mono (1958 – 1969), Various Artists NO
65. Moondance, Van Morrison YES
66. Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin YES
67. The Stranger, Billy Joel NO
68. Off the Wall, Michael Jackson YES
69. Superfly, Curtis Mayfield YES
70. Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin NO
71. After the Gold Rush, Neil Young NO
72. Purple Rain, Prince NO
73. Back in Black, AC/DC NO
74. Otis Blue, Otis Redding NO
75. Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin NO
76. Imagine, John Lennon NO
77. The Clash, The Clash NO
78. Harvest, Neil Young NO
79. Star Time, James Brown NO
80. Odessey and Oracle, The Zombies NO
81. Graceland, Paul Simon YES
82. Axis: Bold as Love, The Jimi Hendrix Experience YES
83. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin NO
84. Lady Soul, Aretha Franklin NO
85. Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen YES
86. Let It Be, The Beatles YES
87. The Wall, Pink Floyd NO
88. At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash YES
89. Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Springfield NO
90. Talking Book, Stevie Wonder YES
91. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John NO
92. 20 Golden Greats, Buddy Holly NO
93. Sign ‘o’ the Times, Prince NO
94. Bitches Brew, Miles Davis NO
95. Green River, Creedence Clearwater Revival NO
96. Tommy, The Who NO
97. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan NO
98. This Year’s Model, Elvis Costello NO
99. There’s a Riot Goin’ On, Sly and the Family Stone NO
100. In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra NO

So, I own 39 of the 100 greatest albums of all time: is that good or bad? I really have no idea. However the list made think a few things:

1. We really have produced an amazing amount of good music. I can’t be bothered to count how many albums are by British or Irish bands (and I’d be tempted to include Hendrix in that list, as he was the only American in the band and had to come to London to be appreciated), but there are a lot.

2. If this list had been written by a British magazine, say Q or NME*, it would have looked a lot different – probably a lot more varied and, I’d argue, more valid. Only 1 hip hop album? Where’s De La Soul for God’s sake? Or The Stone Roses? Or any Radiohead? Massive Attack? Screamadelica?

This list is essentially the most well known music of the 60s & 70s and is really quite lazy. How can a serious music magazine include Best Of albums (or Meet The Beatles, not a true album but a record company bastardisation) in a Top 100? Why not just include Now That’s What I Call 60s and be done with it?

3. What I think would make for a much more interesting insight into how good albums really are would be to ask which of the 100 albums you’ve listened to over, say, the last 12 months. Doing a very quick estimate, I’d guess that I’ve listened to around 11 or 12 of these albums in the last year (as in actually listened to the album, as opposed to individual tracks from the albums), with only U2, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder & John Coltrane in the last month or so.

Certainly, according to last.fm, none of the albums selected feature in my most listened to list, with What’s Goin’ On coming in at #21. Which just goes to show that it’s very easy to buy the appearance of being cultured/cool/whatever, but it doesn’t actually mean that you are. James Joyce’s Ullyses is regularly voted the best novel ever and, whilst its weight causes many a middle-class book-shelf to groan, I doubt that more than 10% of those who own it have actually read it.

Anyway, whatever the case, it is, after all, only meant to be a bit of fun. So feel free to fill in your own ‘How Cool Am I?’ questionnaire by continuing the meme in the comments or on your own blog/Facebook profile/wherever whilst I leave you with Jimi Hendrix, who features 3 times in the list, covering the title track from “The Greatest Album Ever”™. He originally covered it just two days after its release, and Paul was in the audience – talk about ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. Amazing.

*The Q list was voted for by readers and so is open to the Angels Syndrome**, where the most recently popular albums get an undeservedly high ranking.

** A few years back Robbie Williams’ Angels was voted the best song of all time by, I think, listeners of Radio 1. It’s not.

100 image by Paul Keleher on flickr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *