The 50 Greatest Rock Albums

Here are the rules: No greatest hits, no compilations, no live records, no various artists, 50% of the songs have to be originals, and no artist can be in the list twice in the same band. A lot of no-brainers here. Hopefully you’ll find a few gems too.

Pet Sounds – Beach Boys – 1966

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Beatles – 1967

Velvet Underground and Nico – Velvet Underground – 1967

Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix Experience – 1967

Astral Weeks – Van Morrison – 1968

Willy and the Poor Boys – Credence Clearwater Revival – 1969

Arthur – Kinks – 1969

The Gilded Palace of Sin – Flying Burrito Brothers – 1969

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel – 1970

Fun House – Stooges – 1970

There’s A Riot Goin’ On – Sly and the Family Stone – 1971

Who’s Next – Who – 1971

Exile on Main Street – Rolling Stones – 1972

Modern Lovers – Modern Lovers – 1972

New York Dolls – New York Dolls – 1973

Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan – 1974

Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen – 1975

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – Sex Pistols – 1977

Rocket to Russia – Ramones – 1977

Let There Be Rock – AC/DC – 1977

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac – 1977

I’m Stranded – Saints – 1977

Street Hassle – Lou Reed – 1978

52nd Street – Billy Joel – 1978

Rust Never Sleeps – Neil Young – 1979

Squeezing Out Sparks – Graham Parker – 1979

Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones – 1979

Germ Free Adolescents – X-Ray Spex – 1979

London Calling – Clash – 1980

Get Happy! – Elvis Costello – 1980

Swordfishtrombones – Tom Waits – 1983

Pleased to Meet Me – Replacements – 1987

Cuba – Silos – 1987

Sign o’ the Times – Prince – 1987

He’s Drunk + Plus, Also, Too – Scrawl – 1988

Hell’s Ditch – Pogues – 1990

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got – Sinead O’Connor – 1990

Achtung Baby – U2- 1991

Love is Murder – Michael Hall – 1992

Gentlemen – Afghan Whigs – 1993

Exile in Guyville – Liz Phair – 1993

There is No-One What Will Take Care of You – Palace Brothers – 1993

Foolish – Superchunk – 1994

The Bends – Radiohead – 1995

Dirty Three – Dirty Three – 1995

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel – 1998

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams – 1988

White Blood Cells – White Stripes – 2001

Funeral – Arcade Fire – 2004

Separation Sunday – Hold Steady – 2005

Heretic Pride – Mountain Goats – 2007

Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant – 2008

Aim and Ignite – Fun – 2009

21 – Adele – 2011

Strange Desire – Bleachers – 2014

Title – Meghan Trainor – 2015

Here are the rules: No greatest hits, no compilations, no live records, no various artists, at least 50% of the songs have to be originals, and no artist can be in the list twice in the same band. A lot of no-brainers here. Hopefully you’ll find a few gems too. My 2000’s suck. I know. Sue me. I’m working on it. Put in the comments any you think I missed or where I’m full of it. So here it is in chronological order. Enjoy.

Pet Sounds – Beach Boys – 1966

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Beatles – 1967

Velvet Underground and Nico – Velvet Underground – 1967

Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix Experience – 1967

Astral Weeks – Van Morrison – 1968

Willy and the Poor Boys – Credence Clearwater Revival – 1969

Arthur – Kinks – 1969

The Gilded Palace of Sin – Flying Burrito Brothers – 1969

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel – 1970

Fun House – Stooges – 1970

There’s A Riot Goin’ On – Sly and the Family Stone – 1971

Who’s Next – Who – 1971

Exile on Main Street – Rolling Stones – 1972

Modern Lovers – Modern Lovers – 1972

New York Dolls – New York Dolls – 1973

Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan – 1974

Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen – 1975

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – Sex Pistols – 1977

Rocket to Russia – Ramones – 1977

Let There Be Rock – AC/DC – 1977

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac – 1977

I’m Stranded – Saints – 1977

Street Hassle – Lou Reed – 1978

52nd Street – Billy Joel – 1978

Rust Never Sleeps – Neil Young – 1979

Squeezing Out Sparks – Graham Parker – 1979

Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones – 1979

Germ Free Adolescents – X-Ray Spex – 1979

London Calling – Clash – 1980

Get Happy! – Elvis Costello – 1980

Swordfishtrombones – Tom Waits – 1983

Pleased to Meet Me – Replacements – 1987

Cuba – Silos – 1987

Sign o’ the Times – Prince – 1987

He’s Drunk + Plus, Also, Too – Scrawl – 1988

Hell’s Ditch – Pogues – 1990

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got – Sinead O’Connor – 1990

Achtung Baby – U2- 1991

Love is Murder – Michael Hall – 1992

Gentlemen – Afghan Whigs – 1993

Exile in Guyville – Liz Phair – 1993

There is No-One What Will Take Care of You – Palace Brothers – 1993

Foolish – Superchunk – 1994

The Bends – Radiohead – 1995

Dirty Three – Dirty Three – 1995

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel – 1998

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams – 1988

White Blood Cells – White Stripes – 2001

Funeral – Arcade Fire – 2004

Separation Sunday – Hold Steady – 2005

Heretic Pride – Mountain Goats – 2007

Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant – 2008

Aim and Ignite – Fun – 2009

21 – Adele – 2011

Strange Desire – Bleachers – 2014

Title – Meghan Trainor – 2015
 

My Reasons for Listening

We all listen to music for different reasons. Better yet, we can never know for sure why someone else listens to music. So, since they are not you, it’s safe to say that their reasons aren’t your reasons. Or mine.

As a kid, music was a therapy for loneliness. For me. Bottom line. I needed it for that reason. The only kind of music that mattered was rock n’ roll. Classical was so sterile, so clean. It brought me nowhere. But rock responded to those pressures which made me lonely: from my family, my peers, myself, and dragged me kicking and screaming to a place where I could feel whole again.

And it did this by doing everything it you weren’t supposed to do. It was loud. You weren’t supposed to be loud. It was vulgar. You weren’t supposed to be vulgar. You see where I am going with this, right? Growing up, I had to do what I was supposed to do. And for some ineffable reason this felt wrong. I felt wrong. And rock, at least temporarily, fixed that.

We all listen to music for different reasons. Better yet, we can never know for sure why someone else listens to music. So, since they are not you, it’s safe to say that their reasons aren’t your reasons. Or mine. As a kid, music was a therapy for loneliness. For me. Bottom line. I needed it for that reason. The only kind of music that mattered was rock n’ roll. Classical was so sterile, so clean. It brought me nowhere. But rock responded to those pressures which made me lonely: from my family, my peers, myself, and dragged me kicking and screaming to a place where I could feel whole again. And it did this by doing everything it you weren’t supposed to do. It was loud. You weren’t supposed to be loud. It was vulgar. You weren’t supposed to be vulgar. You see where I am going with this, right? Growing up,

I had to do what I was supposed to do. And for some ineffable reason this felt wrong. I felt wrong. And rock, at least temporarily, fixed that. I’m not talking about older rock or the architects of classic rock like the Beatles or the Beach Boys. I’m talking more about the loud, angsty, angry rockers who sucked me into their sonic sanctuaries where I could nurse my childish grudges against mankind and feel justified at the same time. AC/DC, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Guns n Roses. As I got older and supposedly more sophisticated, I exchanged these bands for the Velvets, the Stooges, The Sex Pistols, Superchunk, Bruce Springsteen in his darker moments. I dug other stuff too, of course, and by no means is all rock is like this. But when I felt most at odds with the world, when I was at my lowest, this is where I took cover. That’s something classical music could never do for me. It seems that that was never its point. It’s not there to make you whole. It’s not there to fight your demons for you. It leaves that to you (as it should), and instead, assumes that you are already grown up enough to appreciate what it is about to give you. That is its starting point: the grown up. And from there it takes you to God, whatever or however you may perceive Him to be. I am not lonely anymore. So it make sense then that classical now makes sense to me. Rock is still there, but I don’t need it like I used to. I can still sympathize with Springsteen’s Magic Rat. I can still raise my fist with Bon Scott’s Problem Child or hurl profanities at my slack co-workers as Superchunk would have me do. But I cannot become these people anymore. I have a family, a career. I have more important things to worry about. But classical music is another matter. It is important enough. I did not know what beauty was until I first listened. I mean, really listened. Like in my mid-thirties. It took some effort and time, and then all I could wonder was how I could have lived so long without it. When Tom Lehrer referred to rock and roll as “children’s music”, it was funny, and somewhat true. Much of the time rock does speak to the maladjusted, underachieving teenager in all of us. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it is something that classical music never does. Instead, classical music requires an adult perspective above all else. This is why I believe we should expose our children to classical music as much as possible. Sure, they can still be kids. But someone who has that adult perspective as a kid will turn into one heck of an adult. One who is already whole and spared the dirty job of having to become whole while in their prime. Instead they could be doing great things.