Listening to and Reviewing Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Albums: #1-#100

One of the first things I decided to look up on the internet when I started surfing it back500albums in ’06/’07 was what critics thought were the greatest artistic works of all time. I wanted to know what the best films were, the best albums, the best books, paintings, etc. I was determined from the get-go to make my diet the very best of what humanity had to offer rather than hoping I could randomly stumble on it. The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list was one of the earliest and most influential on me since I figured it would be a solid source. I also appreciated that they put my favorite album of all time at number one. I’ve since seen just how biased and befuddling many of the choices they make are, and the list is far from definitive. Apart from the nitpicking of what they put ahead of something else, if you view the list as a jumping off point for discovering music that is generally acclaimed and influential it can be seriously educational. I discovered many of my favorite albums of all time through the list. Without it I wouldn’t have discovered albums that shaped me like Pet Sounds, The Velvet Underground and NicoExile on Main Street, Dusty in Memphis, and many others. I felt like I had fallen into a treasure trove!

So while many forums deride the list as being rock-centrist and all (which is true), it doesn’t mean there aren’t great records in here that music fans ought to know. I’ve been meaning to listen to all 500 albums for a long time, and now that I’m working at a record store I’ve been feeling encouraged to finally fill the gaps in my knowledge by finishing this one up before moving onto the 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die list.

I just finished the last few records that I had on the top 100 list, so this is my concise (or trying to be concise) review of every single album on the list, which I will do for the next 100 soon. I’m listening on average of 2 records off of the list per day right now and I have 130 left so I should be done within roughly a couple months.

Without further ado: here’s my review of the top 100 albums according to Rolling Stone. Maybe you’ll find something that piques your interest! I rate them from 0-10

#1 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (1967)
This is my favorite record of all time. I consider it a masterpiece of sonic textures and imagery, lyrically delicious, and near perfect in its culmination of the greatest talents the rock world ever saw. The Beatles’s pinnacle. – 10
PetSoundsCover#2 Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys (1966)
This is never outside of my top 5 records ever made, and it only usually gets edged out of the top three by SMiLE. Brian Wilson’s genius was never more finely focused than on this piece of pop perfection. You’re not musically educated until you’ve heard it, so says Paul McCartney. A huge inspiration on my life and art, I would never want to be without it. -10
#3 Revolver – The Beatles (1966)
The only serious competitor out there that gets close to Pepper, but not quite there. Some of the best songs they ever wrote with some of the most hard hitting and delightful production ever laid to wax. Essential -10
#4 Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan (1965)
I’m one of those hardcore Bob Dylan fans that likes virtually anything he did, and this album was the first LP of his I ever checked out. It was just overwhelmingly good to me, and the more I hear it and listen to his other works the better it gets. This was during the height of his stream-of-consciousness mid-60’s era of writing, but it was more focused than Blonde on Blonde and more unified than Bringing it all Back Home. -10
#5 Rubber Soul – The Beatles (1965)
Many people’s favorite Beatles album since it has the mastery of their golden period without the more surreal elements, it’s not in my top 4 Beatles records but it’s still better than virtually any other band’s stuff. I especially enjoy the folk rock tracks like “I’m Looking Through You.” -10
#6 What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (1971)
This is the record in the top ten I’m the least familiar with, I listened to it a couple of times in my early high school days and wasn’t super drawn to it. Important for being a politically charged concept album when there weren’t many. I just went back to reevaluate it and still don’t find it too compelling. -4
#7 Exile on Main Street – The Rolling Stones (1972)
The album that turned me into a later Rolling Stones fan. Before I had only been familiar with radio hits like “Miss You” and “I Know It’s Only Rock and Roll” and didn’t really get the big deal other than their early singles. This album blew me away – the grittiness and swagger of the rock tracks with the ragged brilliance of the roots stuff set me on a whole new musical odyssey. I played it for my family after I heard it and turned them all into Stones fans too. Essential. -10
#8 London Calling – The Clash (1979)
During my initial punk phase I loved the sophisticated ferocity of the first Clash record and appreciated the singles off of this one, but it took further appreciation of a wide range of musical palates to see just how forward thinking and genius this double album was. Punk and alternative have arguably never been bettered. -10
#9 Blonde on Blonde – Bob Dylan (1966)Bob_Dylan_-_Blonde_on_Blonde
“Don’t tell anyone you don’t own Blonde on Blonde.” – Barry (Jack Black), High Fidelity
Blonde on Blonde is not just a masterwork of rock music, it’s a poetic milestone. Sprawling and free flowing – it’s like the rock equivalent of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. A genius poet at the height of his power bending and playing with his language in ways that will leave the world guessing for hundreds of years to come. I wouldn’t cut a track or a word. -10
#10 The Beatles (The White Album) – The Beatles (1968)
I’ve always had a ambivalent relationship with this album. About 3/4 of it is unparalleled brilliance while the other quarter is seriously questionable. We’re talking about an album that has tracks ranging from “Dear Prudence” to “Revolution #9.” As I’ve listened to more avant garde and double albums though I’ve come to appreciate the idea of a record having highs and lows as an artistic statement. As Paul says, the White Album wouldn’t be the White Album without those tracks. It would be something else. So even though I may not listen to it all the way through a lot it’s still one of the best records ever made on any scale. -10
#11 The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley (1954-1955)
Over the course of a year, Elvis recorded what we know to be the “rock” that a genre was founded upon. These recordings are not just historically vital, they are some of the best performances and songs in the canon. Elvis never sounded quite like this again, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but he never reproduced the early youthful rockabilly majesty of a song like “Mystery Train” like he could here. Essential for any music lover -10
#12 Kind of Blue – Miles Davis (1959)
The jazz Citizen Kane. I’m not full-on jazz expert, but there was without a doubt something special about Davis. He had several periods of experimentation that produced masterpieces and this is considered the pinnacle. I would call it his most immediately arresting, and typically “jazz” work. -9
#13 The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground (1967)
One of the most influential albums ever recorded on me and everybody else, I was absolutely floored the first time I heard this. It sounded like an 80’s alt record had accidentally been recorded in the 60’s. Reed’s streetwise poetry with Cale’s drone music and Nico’s sweetly accented singing was a mix that worked much better than one could have ever thought. Thanks, Andy Warhol. -10
#14 Abbey Road – The Beatles (1969)
The Beatles get bumped up to 16 track recording! The swan song of the greatest band of all time does not disappoint. Musically different than anything they did and just as thrillingly perfect. -10
#15 Are You Experienced? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
The guitar shot heard round the world, this is simply one of the best rock trio albums of all time. The songwriting was some of Hendrix’s best work. the drums and bass were powerful, and the guitar playing redefined what the instrument could do. My favorite Hendrix record by far -10
#16 Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan (1975)
“It’s his best album since Blood on the Tracks!” – so says every review of a new Dylan album. This is without a doubt one of his best, most impressive records. After hearing it I couldn’t help going back to it again and again. Beyond the most famous tracks like “Shelter from the Storm” and “Tangled Up In Blue” the album tells many stories of love gone wrong and heartache. Some of the strongest melodies and most searing lyrics Dylan ever wrote are all in here. -10
#17 Nevermind – Nirvana (1991)
As much as the first side of the record has some of Cobain’s most memorable, melodic songwriting I find side two to be underwhelming and forgettable in comparison. -7
#18 Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (1975)
The record that saved Springsteen’s career, this massive sounding album is easily the best record to combine earnest poetry with Spector-esque producing. The lyrical pattern that Springsteen followed through the best records of his career began here, and in some ways was never bested. -10
vanmorrison#19 Astral Weeks – Van Morrison (1968)
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this album just landed on Earth after being flung from some far celestial body. The primal power of this album that touches our innermost spiritual longings has never been replicated anywhere. It wasn’t ahead of its time, it’s out of time completely. -10
#20 Thriller – Michael Jackson (1982)
The album that haunted a decade of pop music, it’s a masterwork of the genre that is still impressive if you can get past the sheer familiarity of most of the songs. I’m not a huge fan of the more cheesy 80’s sounding ballads that are on it. -7
#21 The Great Twenty-Eight – Chuck Berry (1982)
My father owned a copy of this album on CD that became one of my favorite albums to listen to over and over again in my formative years of musical discovery. Berry was the clear predecessor of all the 60’s bands that I loved, and his wit and virtuosity kept me delighted every time it came through the car stereo. -10
#22 The Complete Recordings – Robert Johnson (1990)
I would vote for this to be an album representative of human achievements. Otherworldly and yet firmly rooted in all the joys and lows of life, Johnson is the pinnacle of the blues. -10
#23 Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon (1970)
Free of what he felt were the shackles of The Beatles, John let loose on this first solo venture to air his dirty laundry out before the world. It’s startlingly personal and a difficult listen, but it contains some of the most passionate and therapeutic work he ever made. -8
#24 Innervisions – Stevie Wonder (1973)
A child of what What’s Going On started, Wonder took a look at a wide range of problems plaguing American society and black culture from drugs to inequality in this masterful soul record from his peak era. “Living in the City” is the highlight from what I remember. -8
#25 Live at the Apollo – James Brown (1963)
If you could start sweating just from listening to a record this would probably do the trick. Brown puts on the kind of performance that would define his live career, full of exuberance and lots of screamin’, children! Oww! -9
#26 Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (1977)
A record like Thriller that people know half of from the radio alone, Rumours is an undeniable pop masterpiece that will leave anyone impressed who hears it. Even the non-hits sound like hits. -10
#27 The Joshua Tree – U2 (1987) u2
The album that made U2 the biggest band in the world and the band of the 80’s. This paean to God and America made every other band look like they weren’t even trying. The poetic passion and distinctive musical landscape that painted a broken but beautiful America remains one of the finest pieces of art through rock. -10
#28 Who’s Next – The Who (1971)
I’ll frequently say that I lose interest in The Who after The Who Sell Out which is generally true, but I do think this is the best studio album they did after that. It’s not as pretentious and eye-roll inducing as most of their stuff in this period and does pack a healthy amount of their famous rock n’ roll oomph. Not a masterpiece, but a good rock record. -6
#29 Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin came out of the gates as one of the best bands in rock music with tracks like “Good Times Bad Times” and “Communication Breakdown.” Not as strong as their subsequent works but still an incredibly impressive debut that only meanders around a wee bit. -8
#30 Blue – Joni Mitchell (1971)
The album that got me into Joni, this bright and personal little record is one of the best ever made in my opinion. Her voice was never more captivating and the musical accompaniment is different than most singer-songwriter records of the era. -10
#31 Bringing it All Back Home – Bob Dylan (1965)
The Dylan record I have gone back to more than any other and would consider most days to be my favorite, his stream-of-consciousness period never got more witty or entertaining. Every track is one of my favorites of his. It never gets old. -10
#32 Let it Bleed – The Rolling Stones (1969)
The Stones continued in the new/old vain of roots music they started back on in Beggar’s Banquet. While some tracks are a bit overcooked to me (namely “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) there’s a lot of blues/country gems on here that are essential Stones at their best. -9
#33 Ramones – The Ramones (1976)
The Ramones opened up the world of punk for me and the greater music community with this masterpiece of goofy angst. Songs about beating kids with baseball bats, sniffing glue, Havana, scary basements, and dancing are all as fresh today as they were when long winded prog-rock dominated music. -10
#34 Music From Big Pink – The Band (1968)
One of the earliest and best records in the Americana/roots canon. The songs kind of run together for me every time I hear it, but boy are they played well. -8
#35 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie (1972) Bowie’s best glam record, this album defined the sci-fi glitz of the early 70’s by mixing 50’s rock n rollin with the buzzsaw guitars and obscure lyrics that glammers loved. A teenage opera from space. -8
#36 Tapestry – Carole King (1971)
One of pop music’s best songwriters releases one of pop music’s greatest albums. Another record that people know several songs off of, but the whole thing is incredibly good. Don’t pass over it for familiarity or prejudging the style. The woman could sing and write like nobody’s business. -10
#37 Hotel California – The Eagles (1976)
Yet another record that suffers from everybody knowing half of it instinctively. The rest of it is pretty good, but I don’t remember much of it at this point. Might have to reevaluate sometime soon. -6
#38 The Anthology – Muddy Waters (2001)
Even though listening to two and a half hours of Muddy Waters straight through starts to make it sound the same at a point, it’s so well played and sung that you start to not care anymore. This is the bedrock for so much music that it would be a tragedy to not know it and enjoy it. -9
#39 Please Please Me – The Beatles (1963)
Featuring the early exuberance of a band playing girl group/rnb covers and fabulous new originals like their life depended on it, the album is still arresting and fresh even in light of what they went on to achieve. -10
loveforever#40 Forever Changes – Love (1967)
A massively adored cult album that I didn’t really get until recently. Arthur Lee doesn’t add much psych to his folk sonically, but makes up for it in his strange titles and paranoid view of hippie culture. A beautiful record about darkness and confusion in a time everyone thought was full of hope and enlightenment. -9
#41 Nevermind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols (1977)
The seriously snot-infused punk debut and swan song for the band that provided a musical awakening for many of the best burgeoning bands that were being formed in the late 70’s. It is a punk masterpiece of course, but what I appreciate specifically about this record in comparison to other releases by major punk groups was how significant it was for post-punk bands. You can hear the sound of groups like Joy Division being formed more from this sound than others. -9
#42 The Doors – The Doors (1967)
I’m no Jim Morrison cult worshipper, but I have always enjoyed The Doors’s music from when I first got into rock. This debut features some of their best (and most iconic) songwriting and performances. -8
#43 Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd (1973)
One of my all time favorites and an album I know every note on. You probably know a good deal of it too. The music on the album conjures up so many images and memories for me. Some of these are from, yes, The Wizard of Oz. -10
#44 Horses – Patti Smith (1975)
I’m not really a fan of beat poetry type stuff so maybe I was destined to not like this, and Smith’s voice and worldview isn’t my cup of tea either. I’m willing to take another look at it someday though. -3
#45 The Band – The Band (1969)
This record did a better job of not sounding as samey as Music From Big Pink, but it doesn’t fail to have the same magic of old world America mixed with 60’s idealism. -8
#46 Legend – Bob Marley (1984)
For curious neophytes interested in hearing Marley’s best known singles, this is the best place to start. The songs tend to lean towards the more pop/romantic side of his catalog rather than the political/spiritual that took up much of his LP’s, but this will be better suited for the casual listener. -9
#47 A Love Supreme – John Coltrane (1965)
What can one say of A Love Supreme succinctly? It’s the ultimate jazz hymn, the masterpiece of a master. You have to be in the right mood, but when you are it’s powerful stuff. -10
#48 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy (1988)
Considered by many to be hip hop’s finest moment, Public Enemy’s distinctive chemistry mixed with their passion for social and political change made for a landmark record in the genre’s development. On a first listen I enjoyed it greatly, I’ll definitely be returning to it. -8
#49 At Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band (1971)
I’ve tried to get into this album a few times and I just can’t. I’m not fond of the endless noodling and jamming that define it despite however technically impressive it is. I’ll go back to it soon for another take since I’ve tolerating more jamming since then, I just don’t have much love for that kind of thing. -3
#50 Here’s Little Richard – Little Richard (1957)littlerichard
I’ll never forget when I first heard “Tutti Frutti” in the otherwise mostly freaky 80’s Disney film The Brave Little Toaster. His voice and enthusiasm captured me right from the start and I sought his other music out fairly early. The album plays like a greatest hits record, and is a touchstone of pure rock n’ roll that is still exhilarating. -10
#51 Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel (1970)
I was a fan of Simon and Garfunkel’s singles on Greatest Hits for a while before I discovered their LP’s, and this was my gateway to their greater work. I still think this is the finest single work they did. It has legendary classics like the title track and “The Boxer,” but I love the album cuts even more. If I listed out all my favorites it would basically be the whole record. I hold this album and S&G in high esteem in general. -10
#52 Greatest Hits – Al Green (1975)
Al Green, baby. Most artists would kill for a greatest hits like this. I actually didn’t like him or this album the first time I heard it. I like my soul artists to be a little more harder edged than Green is and it took me some getting used to his super-smooth style. I’m more down with his groove now. A masterful singer. -8
#53 Meet the Beatles! – The Beatles (1964)
The record that introduced many Americans to the newest sensations from England. I’m more familiar with its U.K. counterpart With The Beatles, which is a phenomenal record. The additions here are the U.S. singles and a track from Please Please Me. 26 minutes of brilliant early originals and covers for the new Beatlemania. -10
#54 The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings 1952-1959 – Ray Charles (1991)
I feel like I cheated myself on this one. I saw “Complete Atlantic Recordings” and just went straight to listen to the “Pure Genius” boxset of 155 songs that are truly the complete recordings Charles did for that label. This set on the list only has 53 songs as representative of his best work at that time, which is much more digestible and enjoyable I’m sure. So I’ve heard all the songs on this, but I’d like to back and hear this set for more of the r&b I was looking for and less jazz material. -8
#55 Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix (1968)
I don’t remember much about this record because it’s been a while, but I do remember how stunning the guitar work is on it in particular. What else do you want from Jimi? -8
#56 Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (1956)
1956, the year of Elvis’s breakout. By extension, it was rock’s breakout too. This was rock’s first great LP. A masterpiece despite RCA struggling to recreate Sam Phillips’s recording magic. Some Sun recordings are here, but this marks the beginning of Elvis’s RCA career with dynamite. -10
#57 Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder (1976)
Frequently called the soul equivalent of the White Album, Wonder’s career peak apexed in this impressive song cycle that covered diverse thematic and sonic ground. Essential -9
#58 Beggar’s Banquet – The Rolling Stones (1968)
The beginning of The Stones’s classic period starts with this record, where they threw off their psychedelic aspirations for what they did best: roots rock. Their performances here are some of the best of their career, but I find the songs a bit forgettable even right after you play it. “Stray Cat Blues” is memorable because it’s so revolting and uncomfortably perverse. “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man” were the great singles. Everything else is blues/country Stones finally being themselves again. -8
#59 Chronicle Vol. 1 – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1976)
CCR was one of the best bands that ever walked the earth and this 20 Greatest Hits comp is a real stunner because as stuffed full of classics as it is, you could have stuffed it further if you wanted. I grew up listening to it and it was a formative collection. -10
#60 Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band (1969)
“Fast and bulbous!” This amelodic and polyrhythmic work of dadaist art probably won’t have anybody scrambling for the repeat button on their ipod, but the story behind its creation, meticulously rehearsed polyrhythms, humor, and importance in experimental music warrant it attention for serious fans of the art (it’s a challenging experience, be warned). -4
#61 Greatest Hits – Sly and the Family Stone (1970)
Sly Stone and his band weren’t great at making consistent albums until Stand!, but these singles are absolutely essential for funk and soul fans as some of the best tracks the genre has produced. Psych fans should explore them too for their unique psych-funk concoctions. -10
#62 Appetite for Destruction – Guns N Roses (1987)
Guns N Roses helped steer the hard rock ship back on course after several years full of music that didn’t make heads bang as much as eyes roll. A rock household standard that still makes an impression. -9
#63 Achtung Baby – U2 (1991)
U2 decided to turn around from their American roots obsession to a European alternative one in this masterpiece. A favorite of mine, there’s not a weak track. Beyond the ones everyone knows, I really love “Until the End of the World” and “Ultraviolet (Light My Way).” -10
#64 Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones (1971)
My second-favorite Stones classic period album after Exile. In this album there are no ridiculous tracks like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It’s all hard edged music, even when they sing country music it mixes macabre imagery with heroin addiction and sex as coping mechanisms. This is their best blues playing ever paired with some of their most sophisticated songwriting. -10
spector#65 Back to Mono: 1958-1969 – Phil Spector (1991)
This boxset is at the foundations of one of my central musical obsessions. Girl group music, brill building pop, and especially Spector productions are a main interest of mine that led to many students of that sound (Brian Wilson especially). A desert island set for me. -10
#66 Moondance – Van Morrison (1970)
Morrison backed off from the minimalistic poetic mode of Astral Weeks for this more immediate soul masterwork. Gone are the 8 minute journeys into the ether and in are the 3 minutes songs that knock you out in a moment with their beauty and melodic strength. A record for a quiet night. -10
#67 Kid A – Radiohead (2000)
Radiohead? Still don’t get the hype. Don’t remember a note or anything from this album, like any of their records. -2
#68 Off the Wall – Michael Jackson (1979)
I actually go for this record before Thriller for a Jackson fix because I think the music is just as good or better, and the music is less overly familiar. The funk is high on this album and everything that made Jackson a great popster is here in force. -9
#69 Led Zeppelin IV (Zoso) – Led Zeppelin (1971)
It’s the most famous Zeppelin album, but it has no real title. Almost every track is one of the band’s most iconic songs with good reason. They made more sprawling and musically diverse albums, but nothing this, well, Zeppelin. -10
#70 The Stranger – Billy Joel (1977)
The cool thing now is to rag on Billy Joel, but I see no reason to except for his massive popularity. This album has the kind of breezily effortless songwriting that characterizes Joel’s best material to me. It’s a fun and catchy listen with plenty of interesting characters, why complain? -9
#71 Graceland – Paul Simon (1986)
The first and only time I remember listening to this album I was mainly hearing it to try to understand the 80’s world music phenomena that I had trouble getting into, but since then I’ve gotten much more into both African music (mostly via Talking Heads) and Paul Simon. So I should probably revisit this album soon, I remembered enjoying it and I still sing along when all the singles come on. -7
#72 Superfly – Curtis Mayfield (1972)
Probably my favorite pop soundtrack composed for a film ever, this is just one of the best funk/soul records period. The album is littered with exceedingly memorable classics like “Freddie’s Dead,” “Pusherman,” and the title track. Mayfield’s songwriting genius and production skills hit their apex here. -10
#73 Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin (1975)
What a truly great rock band without a sprawling double LP that challenges the average listener? Zeppelin was one of the few bands that could do an album this long in this style and actually have the whole thing be breathtaking. -10
#74 After the Gold Rush – Neil Young (1969)
My favorite Neil Young record most days. This brief record has his strongest set of songs with his breeziest laid-back country rock sound ever. -10
#75 Star Time – James Brown (1991)
Ain’t it funky?? This box set will make you feel a massive compulsion to get your groove on, so do not turn on in situations where you need to be static. Brown was without a doubt one of music’s greatest figures, but he make a heck of a lot of music and his LP’s weren’t usually strong. The set cuts to the stuff that made Brown such a powerhouse and it’s still a massive amount of material. One of the best box sets ever. -10
#76 Purple Rain – Prince (1984)
The ultimate Prince album. When I first heard it I liked it but didn’t fully get it. It took diving in other areas of Prince’s catalog to realize what a brilliant achievement this record was. You probably know half the songs already, and the other half are great too. A masterpiece of commercial pop without artistic restraint. -10
#77 Back In Black – AC/DC (1980)
The second best selling album of all time behind Thriller, this album defined the hard rock genre for many. Stock-full with classics, the album has never disappointed. It makes every other AC/DC album sound like they’re trying to do this one but not quite as well. -9
#78 Otis Blue – Otis Redding (1965)
Otis Redding made several incredible Memphis soul classics before his untimely demise, but this one has ended up being the most legendary. For those only familiar with Dock of the Bay, this album defines perfectly what made Redding the ultimate king of soul before his untimely death. -10
#79 Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin (1969)
There have been many times that I’ve considered this my favorite Led Zeppelin record, and it does continue to hold a special place for me. There’s not a bad song on it and many of them are my favorites that the band ever did. -10
#80 Imagine – John Lennon (1971)
Terrible title track aside, this is my favorite Lennon solo album. Crippled Inside, Jealous Guy, Gimme Some Truth, and Oh Yoko are my favorites off of it. His best collection of songs before he seemed to drop off a bit. -8
#81 The Clash –  The Clash (1977) clash
My favorite punk album proper besides Ramones, The Clash came out of the gates with fury.  Every track on this is a classic of the genre. -10
#82 Harvest – Neil Young (1972)
Perhaps Young’s most famous album with his most defining song “Heart of Gold,” the material here that’s good is incredible and the stuff that isn’t is really disappointing. As much as I like Jack Nitzsche usually his string contributions on this sound overwrought and the songs in general aren’t as good as on his other records. -7
#83 Axis Bold as Love – Jimi Hendrix (1967)
A bit more mystical and less definable than his debut but just as virtuosic. -9
#84 I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You – Aretha Franklin (1967)
Featuring some of her defining songs, this collection doesn’t disappoint in excellent song choices or Franklin’s performances. -8
#85 Lady Soul – Aretha Franklin (1968)
My favorite Aretha record, it builds on the strengths of I Never Loved a Man and makes it all even more exciting. -8
#86 Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen (1984)
Much like Prince’s Purple Rain, Springsteen’s poppiest album yet dominated the airwaves in 1984. The synth-heavy 80’s production may be a turn off for a lot of fans of the Boss’s other work, but it was massively popular for a good reason. The songs spoke to people in a way that most pop music never meet people at and the melodies were his most memorable yet. A juggernaut that deserves its sales. -9
#87 The Wall  – Pink Floyd (1979)
For many years I would have placed this in my top 5 or so albums ever made, and I still think it would have to be in the top ten. Roger Waters’s personality crisis led to the best rock opera ever made, and it never stops being relevant. -10
#88 At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash (1968)
The live record that captured everything that made Cash great and revived his career. It features the mournful country songs that seem to have swept in from a wild mountainside, humorous songs that are actually funny, violent songs that are still kind of shocking, and the voice that no one could hate. -10
#89 Dusty In Memphis – Dusty Springfield (1969)
This album was one of the real surprises for me of the top 100. I had never really listened to any of Springfield’s music but this album blew me away. The allure of her voice singing these magnificent pop songs from the best of the 60’s writers like Goffin/King, Bacharach/David, Mann/Weil, and Randy Newman is perfection. I haven’t felt an intense urge to revisit some of the records I’ve listened to on this list quite like this one drew me back. -10
#90 Talking Book – Stevie Wonder (1972)
A breezier pop album than Wonder’s more socially conscious work during his peak, this hit album has some of his best songs and is a touchstone of 70’s soul pop. -7
#91 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John (1973)
Are you noticing the trend of big albums that everyone knows all the songs off of yet? That’s this record for Elton John, a double album extravaganza with some of his best songwriting with Bernie Taupin. -8
#92 20 Golden Greats – Buddy Holly (1978)
Buddy Holly’s catalog is one of the central foundations of my musical journey and heart. I know all of his songs deeply and I take more pleasure and joy from them than most any other music ever recorded. -10
#93 Sign O’ The Times – Prince (1987)
Prince’s masterpiece album in my opinion. It takes everything he had done up until that point and does it more and better. -10
#94 40 Greatest Hits – Hank Williams (1978)
Country music’s most important and influential singer/songwriter’s greatest songs. Need I say more? -10
#95 Bitches Brew – Miles Davis (1970)
Fusion isn’t exactly my bag, and while there are tracks I really enjoy on this out of context, hearing it all together is just too much of a chore for me. -6
#96 Tommy – The Who (1969)
Here’s a controversial opinion, I really don’t like Tommy much. There are some tracks I like but most of the albums songs are seriously irritating and juvenile lyrically to my ears. I prefer The Who Sell Out by far. -3
bobdylan#97 The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan (1963)
Dylan’s strongest album before his electric period is one of the finest written albums of all time. His first record that featured his material blew everyone away at the time and is still chilling. -10
#98 This Year’s Mode– Elvis Costello (1978)
Costello’s second album builds on what made his debut so exciting and makes it even more stupendous. A perfect album in the new wave/power pop canon. -10

#99 There’s a Riot Goin’ on – Sly and the Family Stone (1971)
Perhaps the greatest funk record ever. Stone’s magnum opus is no easy listen, however. The production is muddy and the songs are menacing in their cocaine haze. It’s worth making it through though, the last song’s bass line might be my favorite ever. -9
#100 Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies (1968)
One of my top 10 albums of all time, The Zombies made a respectable musical mark with their excellent singles before this LP, but Odessey and Oracle showed them to be musical geniuses of the highest caliber. Every single song is beautiful, wistful, perfectly produced, and epic. It’s a crime that this was shelved until “Time of the Season” became a sleeper hit, and by then the band had broken up. The members worked together on records over the years, but none matched the striking autumnal beauty of this quintessential album. -10

There you have it, a review of all the top 100 albums on Rolling Stones’s list! The task turned out to be greater than I anticipated, and my memory was fuzzier on more records than I thought, but I did it and will continue to review the rest of the list over four more parts! I only have 3 albums left to hear of the next two hundred so you should be seeing that list in a couple of weeks too (with a lot more albums I was unfamiliar with in that) I hope you discovered something new from this like I did and that we can continue spreading great music!

Love and mercy to you all!

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