THE CONCEPT

The list below is my favorite 100 albums of all time as of this writing (December, 2014). The inspiration for the list is the "Top 100 Games Of All Time" lists put together by the folks over at The Dice Tower. My lovely wife Noreen got me interested in their videos and decided I ought to do a similar list but using albums instead. I was hesitant at first, but it ended up being a lot of fun to pull together. Thanks sweetie!

Broadly speaking, I'm a rock fan. You won't find albums on here in other genres (no classical, no jazz, no blues, neither country nor western, and so on). There's definitely music in some of those genres I'm quite fond of, but none of 'em have an album that's one of my all-time favorites. And there are lots of other albums I really, really enjoy and would recommend very highly that did not make this list. I'm pulling this list from roughly 2,500 to 3,000 albums and getting down to that final 100 is tougher than you might think. The cut from 200 to 150 wasn't too hard, but as I got closer and closer to 100, the cuts got more and more difficult to make. In general, I tended to favor albums that I loved from top to bottom: I'd put an album of all "4-star" songs over one that was a mix of "5-star" songs and "2-star" songs. And as the Dice Tower folks mention about their lists, don't obsess over the ordering of two albums that are really close to each other in the rankings. There are a number of cases where I could see myself flipping two albums next to each other in the list.

Similar to my year-end Top Ten Lists, I'm generally focusing on albums of original material. For me, these kinds of lists are more interesting if you leave out "greatest hits" albums. There are a lot of them that I'm fond of, but it seemed to me that those were kind of a cheat for a list like this. Strictly speaking, one album on the list is technically a compilation - it's a collection of singles that served as the band's debut album. As it was their first album, I'm not considering it a "greatest hits". My list, my rules. I also tend not to include live albums because they can end up being just "greatest hits played live". There are two exceptions on the list. One is mostly made up of songs that never had studio versions (so it basically is an album of original material), and one other because, well, because I just couldn't leave it off.

Let me underscore that I'm not trying to create an impartial list of the "best" albums of all time. This list is highly biased - It's my personal favorites. These are all albums I've played to death over the years, and they still hold up for me today. There are albums like Blonde On Blonde, Exile On Main Street, Born To Run, and Nevermind that are not on my list. I totally get how important these albums are, and I know they're classics. They're just not big favorites of mine.

For each entry in the list, there's a track listing with my favorite song highlighted (thanks for the idea, sweetie), YouTube links to two songs so you can get a sample of the album, and links to my original Top Ten List reviews. And hey, if you find a bunch of your personal favorites on this list, then consider the other entries recommendations for albums you might want to check out.

Hope you enjoy the list.


CLOSE, BUT NOT QUITE

These albums were the last cut from the list.

  • Big Country - Steeltown (1984)
  • Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band - Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (1979)
  • Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love (1985)
  • Camper Van Beethoven - Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988)
  • The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)
  • Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - Element Of Light (1986)
  • King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)
  • John Lennon - Imagine (1971)
  • The Mothers Of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money (1968)
  • Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever (1989)
  • The Police - Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
  • The Police - Synchronicity (1983)
  • The Style Council - Our Favourite Shop (1985)
  • Supergrass - In It For The Money (1997)
  • Richard Thompson - Mock Tudor (1999)
  • Traveling Wilburys - Volume One (1988)
  • U2 - The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
  • Ultravox - Vienna (1980)
  • Roger Waters - Amused To Death (1992)
  • Paul Weller - Heavy Soul (1997)
  • Neil Young - Mirror Ball (1995)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Greendale (2003)
  • Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage, Acts I, II & III (1979)
  • Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers - Bongo Fury (1975)
  • Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (1978)

THE TOP 100

cover of The Last DJ
#100
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
The Last DJ

Released: 2002

Tracks: "The Last DJ", "Money Becomes King", "Dreamville", "Joe", "When A Kid Goes Bad", "Like A Diamond", "Lost Children", "Blue Sunday", "You And Me", "The Man Who Loves Women", "Have Love Will Travel", "Can't Stop The Sun"

Review: 2002

cover of Green Thoughts
#99
The Smithereens
Green Thoughts

Released: 1988

Tracks: "Only A Memory", "House We Used To Live In", "Something New", "The World We Know", "Especially For You", "Drown In My Own Tears", "Deep Black", "Elaine", "Spellbound", "If The Sun Doesn't Shine", "Green Thoughts"

Review: 1998

cover of Major General
#98
Franz Nicolay
Major General

Released: 2009

Tracks: "Jeff Penalty", "Hey Dad!", "World/Inferno vs. The End Of The Evening", "Dead Sailors", "Do We Not Live In Dreams?", "Confessions Of An Ineffective Casanova", "Quiet Where I Lie", "Note On A Subway Wall", "Nightratsong", "X-Games", "This World Is An Open Door", "Cease-Fire, Or, Mrs. Norman Maine", "I'm Done Singing"

Review: 2009 (Album Of The Year)

cover of The Queen Is Dead
#97
The Smiths
The Queen Is Dead

Released: 1986

Tracks: "The Queen Is Dead", "Frankly, Mr. Shankly", "I Know It's Over", "Never Had No One Ever", "Cemetry Gates", "Bigmouth Strikes Again", "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", "Vicar In A Tutu", "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"

cover of Opposites
#96
Biffy Clyro
Opposites

Released: 2013

Tracks: "Different People", "Black Chandelier", "Sounds Like Balloons", "Opposite", "The Joke's On Us", "Biblical", "A Girl And His Cat", "The Fog", "Little Hospitals", "The Thaw", "The Sand At The Core Of Our Bones", "Stingin' Belle", "Modern Magic Formula", "Spanish Radio", "Victory Over The Sun", "Pocket", "Trumpet Or Tap", "Skylight", "Accident Without Emergency", "Woo Woo", "Picture A Knife Fight", "The Land At The End Of Our Toes", "Pocket" [acoustic]

YouTube: "Pocket", "Biblical"

Review: 2013 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Adventure
#95
Television
Adventure

Released: 1978

Tracks: "Glory", "Days", "Foxhole", "Careful", "Carried Away", "The Fire", "Ain't That Nothin'", "The Dream's Dream"

YouTube: "Glory", "Days"

Review: 2003 (reissue)

cover of The Rutles
#94
The Rutles
The Rutles

Released: 1978

The cover art and the track listing are for the CD re-release of the album. I loved the original vinyl version and played the heck out of it. The CD added six extra songs, all of which were as good as the originals.

Tracks: "Goose-Step Mama", "Number One", "Baby Let Me Be", "Hold My Hand", "Blue Suede Schubert", "I Must Be In Love", "With A Girl Like You", "Between Us", "Living In Hope", "Ouch!", "It's Looking Good", "Doubleback Alley", "Good Times Roll", "Nevertheless", "Love Life", "Piggy In The Middle", "Another Day", "Cheese And Onions", "Get Up And Go", "Let's Be Natural"

cover of Pretzel Logic
#93
Steely Dan
Pretzel Logic

Released: 1974

Tracks: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", "Night By Night", "Any Major Dude Will Tell You", "Barrytown", "East St. Louis Toodle-oo", "Parker's Band", "Through With Buzz", "Pretzel Logic", "With A Gun", "Charlie Freak", "Monkey In Your Soul"

cover of Forever Changes
#92
Love
Forever Changes

Released: 1968

Tracks: "Alone Again Or", "A House Is Not A Motel", "Andmoreagain", "The Daily Planet", "Old Man", "The Red Telephone", "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale", "Live And Let Live", "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This", "Bummer In The Summer", "You Set The Scene"

Review: 2001 (reissue)

cover of Aja
#91
Steely Dan
Aja

Released: 1977

Tracks: "Black Cow", "Aja", "Deacon Blues", "Peg", "Home At Last", "I Got The News", "Josie"

YouTube: "Peg", "Aja"

cover of Rain Dogs
#90
Tom Waits
Rain Dogs

Released: 1985

Tracks: "Singapore", "Clap Hands", "Cemetery Polka", "Jockey Full Of Bourbon", "Tango Till They're Sore", "Big Black Mariah", "Diamonds & Gold", "Hang Down Your Head", "Time", "Rain Dogs", "Midtown", "9th & Hennepin", "Gun Street Girl", "Union Square", "Blind Love", "Walking Spanish", "Downtown Train", "Bride Of Rain Dog", "Anywhere I Lay My Head"

cover of A Night At The Opera
#89
Queen
A Night At The Opera

Released: 1975

Tracks: "Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To ...", "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon", "I'm In Love With My Car", "You're My Best Friend", "'39", "Sweet Lady", "Seaside Rendezvous", "The Prophet's Song", "Love Of My Life", "Good Company", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "God Save The Queen"

cover of Once [Music From The Motion Picture]
#88
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Once [Music From The Motion Picture]

Released: 2007

Tracks: "Falling Slowly", "If You Want Me", "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy", "When Your Mind's Made Up", "Lies", "Gold", "The Hill", "Fallen From The Sky", "Leave", "Trying To Pull Myself Away", "All The Way Down", "Once", "Say It To Me Now", "And The Healing Has Begun", "Into The Mystic"

Review: 2011 (four years late)

cover of In Through The Out Door
#87
Led Zeppelin
In Through The Out Door

Released: 1979

Tracks: "In The Evening", "South Bound Saurez", "Fool In The Rain", "Hot Dog", "Carouselambra", "All My Love", "I'm Gonna Crawl"

cover of Sentimental Hygiene
#86
Warren Zevon
Sentimental Hygiene

Released: 1987

Tracks: "Sentimental Hygiene", "Boom Boom Mancini", "The Factory", "Trouble Waiting To Happen", "Reconsider Me", "Detox Mansion", "Bad Karma", "Even A Dog Can Shake Hands", "The Heartache", "Leave My Monkey Alone"

Reviews: 1987, 2003 (reissue)

cover of Together We're Heavy
#85
The Polyphonic Spree
Together We're Heavy

Released: 2004

Tracks: "Section 11 (A Long Day Continues / We Sound Amazed)", "Section 12 (Hold Me Now)", "Section 13 (Diamonds / Mild Devotion To Majesty)", "Section 14 (Two Thousand Places)", "Section 15 (Ensure Your Reservation)", "Section 16 (One Man Show)", "Section 17 (Suitcase Calling)", "Section 18 (Everything Starts At The Seam)", "Section 19 (When The Fool Becomes A King)", "Section 20 (Together We're Heavy)"

Review: 2004 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Boy
#84
U2
Boy

Released: 1980

Tracks: "I Will Follow", "Twilight", "An Cat Dubh / Into The Heart", "Out Of Control", "Stories For Boys", "The Ocean", "A Day Without Me", "Another Time, Another Place", "The Electric Co.", "Shadows And Tall Trees"

cover of Diesel And Dust
#83
Midnight Oil
Diesel And Dust

Released: 1988

Tracks: "Beds Are Burning", "Put Down That Weapon", "Dreamworld", "Arctic World", "Warakurna", "The Dead Heart", "Whoah", "Bullroarer", "Sell My Soul", "Sometimes"

Review: 1988

cover of Grace Under Pressure
#82
Rush
Grace Under Pressure

Released: 1984

Tracks: "Distant Early Warning", "Afterimage", "Red Sector A", "The Enemy Within", "The Body Electric", "Kid Gloves", "Red Lenses", "Between The Wheels"

cover of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
#81
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Released: 2011

Tracks: "Everybody's On The Run", "Dream On", "If I Had A Gun...", "The Death Of You And Me", "(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine", "AKA... What A Life!", "Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks", "AKA... Broken Arrow", "(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach", "Stop The Clocks", "Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me", "The Good Rebel"

cover of Good Old Boys
#80
Randy Newman
Good Old Boys

Released: 1974

Tracks: "Rednecks", "Birmingham", "Marie", "Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)", "Guilty", "Louisiana 1927", "Every Man A King", "Kingfish", "Naked Man", "A Wedding In Cherokee County", "Back On My Feet Again", "Rollin'"

Review: 2002 (reissue)

cover of This Is The Sea
#79
The Waterboys
This Is The Sea

Released: 1985

Tracks: "Don't Bang The Drum", "The Whole Of The Moon", "Spirit", "The Pan Within", "Medicine Bow", "Old England", "Be My Enemy", "Trumpets", "This Is The Sea"

Review: 2004 (reissue)

cover of Know Your Enemy
#78
Manic Street Preachers
Know Your Enemy

Released: 2001

Tracks: "Found That Soul", "Ocean Spray", "Intravenous Agnostic", "So Why So Sad", "Let Robeson Sing", "The Year Of Purification", "Wattsville Blues", "Miss Europa Disco Dancer", "Dead Martyrs", "His Last Painting", "My Guernica", "The Convalescent", "Royal Correspondent", "Epicentre", "Baby Elián", "Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children", "We Are All Bourgeois Now"

Review: 2001 (Album Of The Year)

cover of The Last Broadcast
#77
Doves
The Last Broadcast

Released: 2002

Tracks: "Intro", "Words", "There Goes The Fear", "M62 Song", "Where We're Calling From", "N.Y.", "Satellites", "Friday's Dust", "Pounding", "Last Broadcast", "The Sulphur Man", "Caught By The River"

YouTube: "Pounding", "Words"

Review: 2002

cover of Underwater Moonlight
#76
The Soft Boys
Underwater Moonlight

Released: 1980

Tracks: "I Wanna Destroy You", "Kingdom Of Love", "Positive Vibrations", "I Got The Hots", "Insanely Jealous", "Tonight", "You'll Have To Go Sideways", "Old Pervert", "Queen Of Eyes", "Underwater Moonlight"

Review: 2001 (reissue)

cover of Ragged Glory
#75
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Ragged Glory

Released: 1990

Tracks: "Country Home", "White Line", "F*!#in' Up", "Over And Over", "Love To Burn", "Farmer John", "Mansion On The Hill", "Days That Used To Be", "Love And Only Love", "Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)"

Review: 1990

cover of Misplaced Childhood
#74
Marillion
Misplaced Childhood

Released: 1985

Tracks: "Pseudo Silk Kimono", "Kayleigh", "Lavender", "Bitter Suite", "Heart Of Lothian", "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)", "Lords Of The Backstage", "Blind Curve", "Childhoods End?", "White Feather"

cover of New York
#73
Lou Reed
New York

Released: 1989

Tracks: "Romeo Had Juliette", "Halloween Parade", "Dirty Blvd.", "Endless Cycle", "There Is No Time", "Last Great American Whale", "Beginning Of A Great Adventure", "Busload Of Faith", "Sick Of You", "Hold On", "Good Evening Mr. Waldheim", "Xmas In February", "Strawman", "Dime Store Mystery"

Review: 1989

cover of Rumor And Sigh
#72
Richard Thompson
Rumor And Sigh

Released: 1991

Tracks: "Read About Love", "I Feel So Good", "I Misunderstood", "Grey Walls", "You Dream Too Much", "Why Must I Plead", "1952 Vincent Black Lightning", "Backlash Love Affair", "Mystery Wind", "Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands", "Keep Your Distance", "Mother Knows Best", "God Loves A Drunk", "Psycho Street"

Review: 1991 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Asia
#71
Asia
Asia

Released: 1982

Tracks: "Heat Of The Moment", "Only Time Will Tell", "Sole Survivor", "One Step Closer", "Time Again", "Wildest Dreams", "Without You", "Cutting It Fine", "Here Comes The Feeling"

cover of Grand Prix
#70
Teenage Fanclub
Grand Prix

Released: 1995

Tracks: "About You", "Sparky's Dream", "Mellow Doubt", "Don't Look Back", "Verisimilitude", "Neil Jung", "Tears", "Discolite", "Say No", "Going Places", "I'll Make It Clear", "I Gotta Know", "Hardcore/Ballad"

Review: 1995

cover of Abacab
#69
Genesis
Abacab

Released: 1981

Tracks: "Abacab", "No Reply At All", "Me And Sarah Jane", "Keep It Dark", "Dodo / Lurker", "Who Dunnit?", "Man On The Corner", "Like It Or Not", "Another Record"

cover of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
#68
Coldplay
Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends

Released: 2008

Tracks: "Life In Technicolor", "Cemeteries Of London", "Lost!", "42", "Lovers In Japan", "Reign Of Love", "Yes", "Chinese Sleep Chant", "Viva La Vida", "Violet Hill", "Strawberry Swing", "Death And All His Friends", "The Escapist"

Review: 2008 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Copper Blue
#67
Sugar
Copper Blue

Released: 1992

Tracks: "The Act We Act", "A Good Idea", "Changes", "Helpless", "Hoover Dam", "The Slim", "If I Can't Change Your Mind", "Fortune Teller", "Slick", "Man On The Moon"

Reviews: 1992, 2012 (reissue)

cover of The La's
#66
The La's
The La's

Released: 1990

Tracks: "Son Of A Gun", "I Can't Sleep", "Timeless Melody", "Liberty Ship", "There She Goes", "Doledrum", "Feelin'", "Way Out", "I.O.U.", "Freedom Song", "Failure", "Looking Glass"

Review: 1999 (reissue)

cover of London Calling
#65
The Clash
London Calling

Released: 1979

Tracks: "London Calling", "Brand New Cadillac", "Jimmy Jazz", "Hateful", "Rudie Can't Fail", "Spanish Bombs", "The Right Profile", "Lost In The Supermarket", "Clampdown", "The Guns Of Brixton", "Wrong 'Em Boyo", "Death Or Glory", "Koka Kola", "The Card Cheat", "Lover's Rock", "Four Horsemen", "I'm Not Down", "Revolution Rock", "Train In Vain"

Review: 2004 (reissue)

cover of The Dark Side Of The Moon
#64
Pink Floyd
The Dark Side Of The Moon

Released: 1973

Tracks: "Speak To Me", "Breathe", "On The Run", "Time", "The Great Gig In The Sky", "Money", "Us And Them", "Any Colour You Like", "Brain Damage", "Eclipse"

YouTube: "Money", "Time"

Review: 2010 (Immersion Edition)

cover of Led Zeppelin IV
#63
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

Released: 1971

Tracks: "Black Dog", "Rock And Roll", "The Battle Of Evermore", "Stairway To Heaven", "Misty Mountain Hop", "Four Sticks", "Going To California", "When The Levee Breaks"

cover of Murmur
#62
R.E.M.
Murmur

Released: 1983

Tracks: "Radio Free Europe", "Pilgrimage", "Laughing", "Talk About The Passion", "Moral Kiosk", "Perfect Circle", "Catapult", "Sitting Still", "9-9", "Shaking Through", "We Walk", "West Of The Fields"

cover of Eldorado
#61
Electric Light Orchestra
Eldorado

Released: 1974

Tracks: "Eldorado Overture", "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Boy Blue", "Laredo Tornado", "Poor Boy (The Greenwood)", "Mister Kingdom", "Nobody's Child", "Illusions In G Major", "Eldorado", "Eldorado Finale"

Review: 2001 (reissue)

cover of Electro-Shock Blues
#60
Eels
Electro-Shock Blues

Released: 1998

Tracks: "Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor", "Going To Your Funeral Part I", "Cancer For The Cure", "My Descent Into Madness", "3 Speed", "Hospital Food", "Electro-Shock Blues", "Efils' God", "Going To Your Funeral Part II", "Last Stop: This Town", "Baby Genius", "Climbing To The Moon", "Ant Farm", "Dead Of Winter", "The Medication Is Wearing Off", "P. S. You Rock My World"

Review: 1998 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Animals
#59
Pink Floyd
Animals

Released: 1977

Tracks: "Pigs On The Wing 1", "Dogs", "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", "Sheep", "Pigs On The Wing 2"

YouTube: "Dogs", "Sheep"

cover of Oranges & Lemons
#58
XTC
Oranges & Lemons

Released: 1989

Tracks: "Garden Of Earthly Delights", "The Mayor Of Simpleton", "King For A Day", "Here Comes President Kill Again", "The Loving", "Poor Skeleton Steps Out", "One Of The Millions", "Scarecrow People", "Merely A Man", "Cynical Days", "Across This Antheap", "Hold Me My Daddy", "Pink Thing", "Miniature Sun", "Chalkhills And Children"

Reviews: 1989, 2001 (reissue)

cover of Send Away The Tigers
#57
Manic Street Preachers
Send Away The Tigers

Released: 2007

Tracks: "Send Away The Tigers", "Underdogs", "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough", "Indian Summer", "The Second Great Depression", "Rendition", "Autumnsong", "I'm Just A Patsy", "Imperial Bodybags", "Winterlovers", "Working Class Hero"

Review: 2007 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Fegmania!
#56
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
Fegmania!

Released: 1985

Tracks: "Egyptian Cream", "Another Bubble", "I'm Only You", "My Wife And My Dead Wife", "Goodnight I Say", "The Man With The Lightbulb Head", "Insect Mother", "Strawberry Mind", "Glass", "The Fly", "Heaven", "(Untitled)"

Review: 1995 (reissue)

cover of Pretenders
#55
Pretenders
Pretenders

Released: 1980

Tracks: "Precious", "The Phone Call", "Up The Neck", "Tattooed Love Boys", "Space Invader", "The Wait", "Stop Your Sobbing", "Kid", "Private Life", "Brass In Pocket", "Lovers Of Today", "Mystery Achievement"

Review: 2006 (reissue)

cover of Sail Away
#54
Randy Newman
Sail Away

Released: 1972

Tracks: "Sail Away", "Lonely At The Top", "He Gives Us All His Love", "Last Night I Had A Dream", "Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear", "Old Man", "Political Science", "Burn On", "Memo To My Son", "Dayton, Ohio - 1903", "You Can Leave Your Hat On", "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)"

Review: 2002 (reissue)

cover of Damn The Torpedoes
#53
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Damn The Torpedoes

Released: 1979

Tracks: "Refugee", "Here Comes My Girl", "Even The Losers", "Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid)", "Century City", "Don't Do Me Like That", "You Tell Me", "What Are You Doin' In My Life?", "Louisiana Rain"

Review: 2010 (Deluxe Edition)

cover of Shoot Out The Lights
#52
Richard & Linda Thompson
Shoot Out The Lights

Released: 1982

Tracks: "Don't Renege On Our Love", "Walking On A Wire", "A Man In Need", "Just The Motion", "Shoot Out The Lights", "Back Street Slide", "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?", "Wall Of Death"

cover of Clutching At Straws
#51
Marillion
Clutching At Straws

Released: 1987

Tracks: "Hotel Hobbies", "Warm Wet Circles", "That Time Of The Night (The Short Straw)", "Going Under", "Just For The Record", "White Russian", "Incommunicado", "Torch Song", "Slainte Mhath", "Sugar Mice", "The Last Straw", "Happy Ending"

Review: 1987 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Volunteers
#50
Jefferson Airplane
Volunteers

Released: 1969

Tracks: "We Can Be Together", "Good Shepherd", "The Farm", "Hey Frederick", "Turn My Life Down", "Wooden Ships", "Eskimo Blue Day", "A Song For All Seasons", "Meadowlands", "Volunteers"

Review: 2003 (reissue)

cover of Duke
#49
Genesis
Duke

Released: 1980

Tracks: "Behind The Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Man Of Our Times", "Misunderstanding", "Heathaze", "Turn It On Again", "Alone Tonight", "Cul-De-Sac", "Please Don't Ask", "Duke's Travels", "Duke's End"

cover of Sound Affects
#48
The Jam
Sound Affects

Released: 1980

Tracks: "Pretty Green", "Monday", "But I'm Different Now", "Set The House Ablaze", "Start!", "That's Entertainment", "Dream Time", "Man In The Corner Shop", "Music For The Last Couple", "Boy About Town", "Scrape Away"

cover of Discipline
#47
King Crimson
Discipline

Released: 1981

Tracks: "Elephant Talk", "Frame By Frame", "Matte Kudasai", "Indiscipline", "Thela Hun Ginjeet", "The Sheltering Sky", "Discipline"

cover of Abbey Road
#46
The Beatles
Abbey Road

Released: 1969

Tracks: "Come Together", "Something", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Oh! Darling", "Octopus's Garden", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", "Here Comes The Sun", "Because", "You Never Give Me Your Money", "Sun King", "Mean Mr. Mustard", "Polythene Pam", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight", "The End", "Her Majesty"

cover of Live At Leeds
#45
The Who
Live At Leeds

Released: 1970

You knew this was one of the live albums, right? The track listing shows the original vinyl and CD, which is what I originally listened to. The whole concert has since been released, and it's amazing.

Tracks: "Young Man Blues", "Substitute", "Summertime Blues", "Shakin' All Over", "My Generation", "Magic Bus"

Reviews: 1995 (reissue), 2010 (Super-Deluxe Edition)

cover of Tommy
#44
The Who
Tommy

Released: 1969

Tracks: "Overture", "It's A Boy", "1921", "Amazing Journey", "Sparks", "Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)", "Christmas", "Cousin Kevin", "The Acid Queen", "Underture", "Do You Think It's Alright", "Fiddle About", "Pinball Wizard", "There's A Doctor I've Found", "Go To The Mirror Boy", "Tommy Can You Hear Me", "Smash The Mirror", "Sensation", "Miracle Cure", "Sally Simpson", "I'm Free", "Welcome", "Tommy's Holiday Camp", "We're Not Gonna Take It"

Reviews: 2003 (Deluxe Edition), 2013 (Super-Deluxe Edition)

cover of Peter Gabriel [aka Melt]
#43
Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel [aka Melt]

Released: 1980

Tracks: "Intruder", "No Self Control", "Start", "I Don't Remember", "Family Snapshot", "And Through The Wire", "Games Without Frontiers", "Not One Of Us", "Lead A Normal Life", "Biko"

cover of The Yes Album
#42
Yes
The Yes Album

Released: 1971

Tracks: "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Clap", "Starship Trooper", "I've Seen All Good People", "A Venture", "Perpetual Change"

cover of Bandwagonesque
#41
Teenage Fanclub
Bandwagonesque

Released: 1991

Tracks: "The Concept", "Satan", "December", "What You Do To Me", "I Don't Know", "Star Sign", "Metal Baby", "Pet Rock", "Sidewinder", "Alcoholiday", "Guiding Star", "Is This Music?"

Review: 1991

cover of Skylarking
#40
XTC
Skylarking

Released: 1986

Tracks: "Summer's Cauldron", "Grass", "The Meeting Place", "That's Really Super, Supergirl", "Ballet For A Rainy Day", "1000 Umbrellas", "Season Cycle", "Earn Enough For Us", "Big Day", "Another Satellite", "Mermaid Smiled", "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul", "Dying", "Sacrificial Bonfire"

Review: 2001 (reissue)

cover of Radio City
#39
Big Star
Radio City

Released: 1974

Tracks: "O My Soul", "Life Is White", "Way Out West", "What's Going Ahn", "You Get What You Deserve", "Mod Lang", "Back Of A Car", "Daisy Glaze", "She's A Mover", "September Gurls", "Morpha Too", "I'm In Love With A Girl"

Review: 1992 (two-fer reissue of #1 Record and Radio City)

cover of A New World Record
#38
Electric Light Orchestra
A New World Record

Released: 1976

Tracks: "Tightrope", "Telephone Line", "Rockaria!", "Mission (A World Record)", "So Fine", "Livin' Thing", "Above The Clouds", "Do Ya", "Shangri-La"

Review: 2006 (reissue)

cover of Separation Sunday
#37
The Hold Steady
Separation Sunday

Released: 2005

Tracks: "Hornets! Hornets!", "Cattle And The Creeping Things", "Your Little Hoodrat Friend", "Banging Camp", "Charlemagne In Sweatpants", "Stevie Nix", "Multitude Of Casualties", "Don't Let Me Explode", "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night", "Crucifxion Cruise", "How A Resurrection Really Feels"

cover of Broadway The Hard Way
#36
Frank Zappa
Broadway The Hard Way

Released: 1988

This is the other live album. Only "Outside Now" and "Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel" were on other albums. "Why Don't You Like Me?" and "What Kind Of Girl?" are also older songs, but with brand new lyrics. "Dickie's Such An Asshole" was played live during the Nixon administration, but makes it release debut here. Everything else debuted on Zappa's 1988 tour.

Tracks: "Elvis Has Just Left The Building", "Planet Of The Baritone Women", "Any Kind Of Pain", "Dickie's Such An Asshole", "When The Lie's So Big", "Rhymin' Man", "Promiscuous", "The Untouchables", "Why Don't You Like Me?", "Bacon Fat", "Stolen Moments", "Murder By Numbers", "Jezebel Boy", "Outside Now", "Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel", "What Kind Of Girl?", "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk"

Review: 1988

cover of The Who By Numbers
#35
The Who
The Who By Numbers

Released: 1975

Tracks: "Slip Kid", "However Much I Booze", "Squeeze Box", "Dreaming From The Waist", "Imagine A Man", "Success Story", "They Are All In Love", "Blue Red And Grey", "How Many Friends", "In A Hand Or A Face"

Review: 1996 (reissue)

cover of Boston
#34
Boston
Boston

Released: 1976

Tracks: "More Than A Feeling", "Peace Of Mind", "Foreplay / Long Time", "Rock & Roll Band", "Smokin'", "Hitch A Ride", "Something About You", "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"

cover of Wild Wood
#33
Paul Weller
Wild Wood

Released: 1994

The cover art and the track listing are for the US version of the album. The closing track, "Hung Up", was a UK single added to the US version. Even though it's an add-on, it's how I'm used to hearing the album and it ends up being a terrific closer.

Tracks: "Sunflower", "Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)", "Wild Wood", "Instrumental One (Part 1)", "All The Pictures On The Wall", "Has My Fire Really Gone Out?", "Country", "Instrumental Two", "5th Season", "The Weaver", "Instrumental One (Part 2)", "Foot Of The Mountain", "Shadow Of The Sun", "Holy Man (Reprise)", "Moon On Your Pyjamas", "Hung Up"

Reviews: 1994 (Album Of The Year), 2007 (Deluxe Edition)

cover of Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham
#32
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet
Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham

Released: 1991

Until making this list, I would have said this was my favorite Shadowy Men album. Still love it, but on re-listening, there's one I like better.

Tracks: "Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham", "Reid's Situation", "I Know A Guy Named Larry", "Exit From Vince Lombardi High School", "Aunt's Invasion", "Running Meredith", "Bang Bang", "Hot Box Car", "In My Room", "Dewy Drops Of Spring", "5 American 6 Canadian", "Who Painted Whistler's Mother", "Case Of The Missing Lady Fingers", "Jackpot", "D. Tour", "Hunter S. Thompson's Younger Brother", "Misogomy & The Object", "Ben Hur Picked Off In A Gazebo", "Who's Afraid Of Alison Hymer / Wow Flutter Hiss", "You Spin Me Round '86", "Babakganoosh", "Siesta Cinema", "Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham (Reprise)", "Thanks For Buying The CD", "Shakin' All Over"

Review: 1991 (Extra interesting because I was just getting to like the album at this point.)

cover of Automatic For The People
#31
R.E.M.
Automatic For The People

Released: 1992

This album is a great example of how I chose favorites for a band. There's another R.E.M. album higher in the list and Automatic For The People has songs that I like better than all the songs on the other album. However, I like the other album better overall.

Tracks: "Drive", "Try Not To Breathe", "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite", "Everybody Hurts", "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1", "Sweetness Follows", "Monty Got A Raw Deal", "Ignoreland", "Star Me Kitten", "Man On The Moon", "Nightswimming", "Find The River"

Review: 1992

cover of You Are What You Is
#30
Frank Zappa
You Are What You Is

Released: 1981

Tracks: "Teen-age Wind", "Harder Than Your Husband", "Doreen", "Goblin Girl", "Theme From The 3rd Movement Of Sinister Footwear", "Society Pages", "I'm A Beautiful Guy", "Beauty Knows No Pain", "Charlie's Enormous Mouth", "Any Downers?", "Conehead", "You Are What You Is", "Mudd Club", "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing", "Dumb All Over", "Heavenly Bank Account", "Suicide Chump", "Jumbo Go Away", "If Only She Woulda", "Drafted Again"

cover of Songs From Northern Britain
#29
Teenage Fanclub
Songs From Northern Britain

Released: 1997

Tracks: "Start Again", "Ain't That Enough", "Can't Feel My Soul", "I Don't Want Control Of You", "Planets", "It's A Bad World", "Take The Long Way Round", "Winter", "I Don't Care", "Mount Everest", "Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From", "Speed Of Light"

Review: 1997

cover of English Settlement
#28
XTC
English Settlement

Released: 1981

Tracks: "Runaways", "Ball And Chain", "Senses Working Overtime", "Jason and the Argonauts", "No Thugs In Our House", "Yacht Dance", "All Of A Sudden (It's Too Late)", "Melt The Guns", "Leisure", "It's Nearly Africa", "Knuckle Down", "Fly On The Wall", "Down In The Cockpit", "English Roundabout", "Snowman"

Review: 2001 (reissue)

cover of Wish You Were Here
#27
Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here

Released: 1975

Tracks: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-II-III-IV-V)", "Welcome To The Machine", "Have A Cigar", "Wish You Were Here", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-VII-VII-IX)"

Review: 2010 (Immersion Edition)

cover of Out Of The Blue
#26
Electric Light Orchestra
Out Of The Blue

Released: 1977

Tracks: "Turn To Stone", "It's Over", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Across The Border", "Night In The City", "Starlight", "Jungle", "Believe Me Now", "Steppin' Out", "Standin' In The Rain", "Big Wheels", "Summer And Lightning", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Sweet Is The Night", "The Whale", "Birmingham Blues", "Wild West Hero"

Review: 2007 (reissue)

cover of Who Are You
#25
The Who
Who Are You

Released: 1978

Tracks: "New Song", "Had Enough", "905", "Sister Disco", "Music Must Change", "Trick Of The Light", "Guitar And Pen", "Love Is Coming Down", "Who Are You"

Review: 1996 (reissue)

cover of (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
#24
Oasis
(What's The Story) Morning Glory?

Released: 1995

Tracks: "Hello", "Roll With It", "Wonderwall", "Don't Look Back In Anger", "Hey Now!", "The Swamp Song" [excerpt #1], "Some Might Say", "Cast No Shadow", "She's Electric", "Morning Glory", "The Swamp Song" [excerpt #2], "Champagne Supernova"

Review: 1995 (Album Of The Year)

cover of Savvy Show Stoppers
#23
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet
Savvy Show Stoppers

Released: 1988

This is the "compilation". I don't think of it as a "greatest hits" because it gathered up almost all of the songs from the band's singles released to that point, and because it's the band's debut. You can't have your first album be a "greatest hits", can you?

Tracks: "Good Cop Bad Cop", "Musical Interlude", "Theme From T.V.", "Zombie Compromise", "Malfunction", "Shake Some Evil", "You Spin Me Round '86", "Run Chicken Run", "Bennett Cerf", "Egypt Texas", "Customized", "Our Weapons Are Useless", "Shadowy Countdown", "Harlem By The Sea", "Having An Average Weekend"

Review: 2012 (reissue)

cover of The Wall
#22
Pink Floyd
The Wall

Released: 1979

Tracks: "In The Flesh?", "The Thin Ice", "Another Brick In The Wall - Part 1", "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives", "Another Brick In The Wall - Part 2", "Mother", "Goodbye Blue Sky", "Empty Spaces", "Young Lust", "One Of My Turns", "Don't Leave Me Now", "Another Brick In The Wall - Part 3", "Goodbye Cruel World", "Hey You", "Is There Anybody Out There?", "Nobody Home", "Vera", "Bring The Boys Back Home", "Comfortably Numb", "The Show Must Go On", "In The Flesh", "Run Like Hell", "Waiting For The Worms", "Stop", "The Trial", "Outside The Wall"

Review: 2012 (Immersion Edition)

cover of Workbook
#21
Bob Mould
Workbook

Released: 1989

Tracks: "Sunspots", "Wishing Well", "Heartbreak A Stranger", "See A Little Light", "Poison Years", "Sinners And Their Repentances", "Brasilia Crossed With Trenton", "Compositions For The Young And Old", "Lonely Afternoon", "Dreaming, I Am", "Whichever Way The Wind Blows"

Reviews: 1989 (Album Of The Year), 2014 (Workbook 25)

cover of Setting Sons
#20
The Jam
Setting Sons

Released: 1979

Tracks: "Girl On The Phone", "Thick As Thieves", "Private Hell", "Little Boy Soldiers", "Wasteland", "Burning Sky", "Smithers-Jones", "Saturday's Kids", "The Eton Rifles", "Heat Wave"

cover of Fables Of The Reconstruction
#19
R.E.M.
Fables Of The Reconstruction

Released: 1985

Tracks: "Feeling Gravitys Pull", "Maps And Legends", "Driver 8", "Life And How To Live It", "Old Man Kensey", "Can't Get There From Here", "Green Grow The Rushes", "Kohoutek", "Auctioneer (Another Engine)", "Good Advices", "Wendell Gee"

cover of The Who Sell Out
#18
The Who
The Who Sell Out

Released: 1967

Tracks: "Armenia City In The Sky", "Heinz Baked Beans", "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand", "Odorono", "Tattoo", "Our Love Was", "I Can See For Miles", "I Can't Reach You", "Medac (Spotted Henry)", "Relax", "Silas Stingy", "Sunrise", "Rael (1 & 2)"

Reviews: 1995 (reissue), 2009 (Deluxe Edition)

cover of Marquee Moon
#17
Television
Marquee Moon

Released: 1977

Tracks: "See No Evil", "Venus", "Friction", "Marquee Moon", "Elevation", "Guiding Light", "Prove It", "Torn Curtain"

Review: 2003 (reissue)

cover of Revolver
#16
The Beatles
Revolver

Released: 1966

Tracks: "Taxman", "Eleanor Rigby", "I'm Only Sleeping", "Love You To", "Here, There And Everywhere", "Yellow Submarine", "She Said She Said", "Good Day Sunshine", "And Your Bird Can Sing", "For No One", "Dr. Robert", "I Want To Tell You", "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Tomorrow Never Knows"

cover of #1 Record
#15
Big Star
#1 Record

Released: 1972

Tracks: "Feel", "The Ballad Of El Goodo", "In The Street", "Thirteen", "Don't Lie To Me", "The India Song", "When My Baby's Beside Me", "My Life Is Right", "Give Me Another Chance", "Try Again", "Watch The Sunrise", "ST 100/6"

Review: 1992 (two-fer reissue of #1 Record and Radio City)

cover of Empty Glass
#14
Pete Townshend
Empty Glass

Released: 1980

Tracks: "Rough Boys", "I Am An Animal", "And I Moved", "Let My Love Open The Door", "Jools And Jim", "Keep On Working", "Cat's In The Cupboard", "A Little Is Enough", "Empty Glass", "Gonna Get Ya"

Review: 2006 (reissue)

cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
#13
The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Released: 1967

Tracks: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", "Getting Better", "Fixing A Hole", "She's Leaving Home", "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!", "Within You Without You", "When I'm Sixty-Four", "Lovely Rita", "Good Morning Good Morning", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)", "A Day In The Life"

cover of The Soft Bulletin
#12
The Flaming Lips
The Soft Bulletin

Released: 1999

Tracks: "Race For The Prize" [Mokran Mix], "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton", "The Spark That Bled", "The Spiderbite Song", "Buggin'" [Mokran Mix], "What Is The Light?", "The Observer", "Waitin' For A Superman", "Suddenly Everything Has Changed", "The Gash", "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate", "Sleeping On The Roof", "Race For The Prize", "Waitin' For A Superman" [Mokran Mix]

Reviews: 1999 (Album Of The Year), 2006 (The Soft Bulletin 5.1)

cover of The Joshua Tree
#11
U2
The Joshua Tree

Released: 1987

Tracks: "Where The Streets Have No Name", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", "With Or Without You", "Bullet The Blue Sky", "Running To Stand Still", "Red Hill Mining Town", "In God's Country", "Trip Through Your Wires", "One Tree Hill", "Exit", "Mothers Of The Disappeared"

Review: 1987


cover of Boys And Girls In America
#10
The Hold Steady
Boys And Girls In America

Released: 2006

I came to hear this album by accident. I read a review of Separation Sunday that really interested me, so I went to the library to look for a copy to check out. It was gone, but they had Boys And Girls In America instead. I still remember the first time I listened. I was playing it while doing some yard work and when "Stuck Between Stations" finished, I immediately played it again. I was totally floored. I figured the rest of the album couldn't measure up, but "Chips Ahoy!" was basically just as good. It continued on until the amazing closing cut, "Southtown Girls". I knew this would rate high on the list, but I didn't think it would make the top ten. Once I worked on the final order, it became obvious it had to be there. An absolutely stunning album.

Tracks: "Stuck Between Stations", "Chips Ahoy!", "Hot Soft Light", "Same Kooks", "First Night", "Party Pit", "You Can Make Him Like You", "Massive Nights", "Citrus", "Chillout Tent", "Southtown Girls"

Review: 1997 (one year late)

cover of One Size Fits All
#9
Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
One Size Fits All

Released: 1975

One Size Fits All is Zappa at his most accessible (although it's still Frank). It doesn't have the social commentary of his early albums and it doesn't have the vulgar humor of his others. What it does have is my favorite overall set of Zappa's songs. It's got rockers like "San Ber'dino", "Andy", and "Florentine Pogen", a very pretty waltz in "Sofa", and a little one-minute silliness with "Evelyn, A Modified Dog". Zappa's giant discography can be daunting for a newcomer, but One Size Fits All is where I'd recommend a newbie start.

Tracks: "Inca Roads", "Can't Afford No Shoes", "Sofa No. 1", "Po-Jama People", "Florentine Pogen", "Evelyn, A Modified Dog", "San Ber'dino", "Andy", "Sofa No. 2"

cover of All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
#8
Pete Townshend
All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes

Released: 1982

For some reason, All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes gets a bad rap. Yes, "Stop Hurting People" (with a Townshend monologue over music) is an odd way to start an album, but the songs are too good to ignore. "The Sea Refuses No River" and "Slit Skirts" are two of my favorite Townshend songs. "Prelude" is a gorgeous little piano piece. "Stardom In Acton" is classic Townshend rocker that should have been a hit. OK, so this is definitely Pete Townshend's most unusual album, but it's easily my favorite. Empty Glass is the usual pick for Pete's best (and I love that album too), but the songs on Chinese Eyes just always stuck with me more.

Tracks: "Stop Hurting People", "The Sea Refuses No River", "Prelude", "Face Dances Part Two", "Exquisitely Bored", "Communication", "Stardom In Acton", "Uniforms (Corp D'Esprit)", "North Country Girl", "Somebody Saved Me", "Slit Skirts"

Review: 2006 (reissue)

cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
#7
Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Released: 1973

As a kid, I bought 45's, and Elton John was my favorite artist. I played Elton John's Greatest Hits to death, and eventually did the same with Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II. However, I'd heard "Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" on the radio and it's on neither of the hits albums. That led me to pick up Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and it's been a big favorite ever since. Apart from "Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" (still my favorite Elton song), you get the title track, "Bennie And The Jets", "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting" and a slew of terrific "deep cuts" like "Grey Seal", "I've Seen That Movie Too", "This Song Has No Title" and "Harmony". By now, I've listened to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road more than the two hits albums - for me, it kinda is Elton's greatest hits.

Tracks: "Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding", "Candle In The Wind", "Bennie And The Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "This Song Has No Title", "Grey Seal", "Jamaica Jerk-Off", "I've Seen That Movie Too", "Sweet Painted Lady", "The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-34)", "Dirty Little Girl", "All The Girls Love Alice", "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock'n' Roll)", "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting", "Roy Rogers", "Social Disease", "Harmony"

Reviews: 2003 (Thirtieth Anniversary Edition), 2014 (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)

cover of Peter Gabriel [aka Security]
#6
Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel [aka Security]

Released: 1982

When Security was just released, my best friend and I were both really curious about Peter Gabriel's albums. I liked "Games Without Frontiers" a lot, so I bought Melt. He really liked "Shock The Monkey", so he bought Security. After a week or so, we swapped albums. At the time, I still liked Melt better, and Roy still liked Security better. I still love Melt (which is why it's on this list), but over time I ended up liking Security even more. "Shock The Monkey" is a terrific song (and it's the one you know if you've never heard the album before), but "Wallflower" (Gabriel's second song about Stephen Biko) is easily my favorite of Gabriel's whole catalog. The song still gives me chills.

Tracks: "The Rhythm Of The Heat", "San Jacinto", "I Have The Touch", "The Family And The Fishing Net", "Shock The Monkey", "Lay Your Hands On Me", "Wallflower", "Kiss Of Life"

cover of Rumours
#5
Fleetwood Mac
Rumours

Released: 1977

Rumours was an album I bought because of the singles ("Dreams", "Don't Stop", "Go Your Own Way", "You Make Loving Fun"), but I remember being amazed that the rest of the album was just as good. "Second Hand News", "Never Going Back Again", "The Chain", "I Don't Want To Know" and especially "Songbird" ended up being favorites as well. This was an album I was just played over and over when it came out. As I read more, I learned the painful backstory about the album, and it amazes me that an album this good came out of that much stress.

Tracks: "Second Hand News", "Dreams", "Never Going Back Again", "Don't Stop", "Go Your Own Way", "Songbird", "The Chain", "You Make Loving Fun", "I Don't Want To Know", "Oh Daddy", "Gold Dust Woman"

Review: 2004 (reissue)

cover of Moving Pictures
#4
Rush
Moving Pictures

Released: 1981

Moving Pictures was my introduction to Rush, and it's still an easy pick for my favorite of their albums. "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight" are the best known songs (and playing them in Rock Band over and over just cemented how fond I am of both). "The Camera Eye" is my favorite of Rush's longer songs, and "Red Barchetta" and "YYZ" are amazing as well. And yeah, I know, I was put off by Geddy Lee's voice at the beginning too. It definitely takes some getting used to, although the shriek from the early days is gone and that helps. Rush's playing is always impressive, but Moving Pictures has the songs I keep going back to hear again and again.

Tracks: "Tom Sawyer", "Red Barchetta", "YYZ", "Limelight", "The Camera Eye", "Witch Hunt", "Vital Signs"

cover of The Final Cut
#3
Pink Floyd
The Final Cut

Released: 1983

This is another one where I can vividly remember the first listen. I'd bought The Final Cut earlier in the day. I'd become a Pink Floyd fan with The Wall, so this was my first new Floyd album. I remember opening up the cover and following along with the lyrics as I listened. I'd recommend that to anyone who hasn't heard the album before. The music is terrific, but the lyrics really make the whole thing work. For some reason, The Final Cut is really downplayed in Pink Floyd's catalog. I know a lot of people see it as more of a Roger Waters solo album (and I understand that thinking). Doesn't really matter though. For my money, The Final Cut is Pink Floyd's masterpiece.

Tracks: "The Post War Dream", "Your Possible Pasts", "One Of The Few", "The Hero's Return", "The Gunner's Dream", "Paranoid Eyes", "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert", "The Fletcher Memorial Home", "Southampton Dock", "The Final Cut", "Not Now John", "Two Suns In The Sunset"

Reviews: 1997 (reissue), 2004 (reissue)

cover of Who's Next
#2
The Who
Who's Next

Released: 1971

Who's Next was, I think, the second Who album I bought (after Who Are You). Even though it's not in the #1 slot, it does have my two favorite Who songs ("Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again") and "Song Is Over" is damn close. What I also find fascinating is the idea of what could have been if Lifehouse had worked out. You'd have most of the stuff on here, plus you'd add "Pure And Easy", "Join Together", "Relay", "Let's See Action" and a number of others. When someone who's not a fan asks me which album they should listen to first, Who's Next is always the one I'd recommend.

Tracks: "Baba O'Riley", "Bargain", "Love Ain't For Keeping", "My Wife", "Song Is Over", "Getting In Tune", "Going Mobile", "Behind Blue Eyes", "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Reviews: 1995 (reissue), 2003 (Deluxe Edition)

cover of Quadrophenia
#1
The Who
Quadrophenia

Released: 1973

The choice of Quadrophenia is probably not a surprise to a lot of you. To be honest, when I first heard it, I would never have guessed it would end up my favorite album of all time. On first listen, I really didn't "get" it. The weird part is, I can't for the life of me imagine why any more. When I listen now, "The Real Me" blows me away and the album just has one killer song after the next after the next. To some degree, the band must agree with this rating since they've launched two separate tours focused on playing Quadrophenia from start to finish. Quadrophenia has been my favorite album for years now, and while others on this list could change over time, I really figure this one will always stay on the top of the list.

Tracks: "I Am The Sea", "The Real Me", "Quadrophenia", "Cut My Hair", "The Punk And The Godfather", "I'm One", "The Dirty Jobs", "Helpless Dancer", "Is It In My Head", "I've Had Enough", "5:15", "Sea And Sand", "Drowned", "Bell Boy", "Doctor Jimmy", "The Rock", "Love, Reign O'er Me"

Reviews: 1996 (reissue), 2010 (Director's Cut edition), 2014 (Quadrophenia: Live In London)


STATS

Apparently, "all time" covers 1966 to 2013, or 48 years. I've been doing my Top Ten Lists since 1987 (27 years as of this writing) and if everything was balanced out evenly, 56 albums would be from 1987 or later. However, only 35 albums show up from 1987 on. That doesn't surprise me though. The albums that I consider "all-time favorites" are albums I've generally had for a long time and played over and over again. And while 29 of those 35 were on my Top Ten Lists, only 14 of the 27 "Number 1" albums made the list.

Decades were represented as follows:

  • 1960's: 7
  • 1970's: 32
  • 1980's: 36
  • 1990's: 13
  • 2000's: 10
  • 2010's: 2

The most common year was 1980 with 7 entries. 1977, 1979, 1981, and 1985 each had 5.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I was surprised - there are albums that I was positive would show up in the top 100 (especially my Album Of The Year picks). In my Top Ten FAQ, I mention that I never go back and revise the old lists (apart from maybe fixing a typo or two). I guess this really shows how favorites change over time. Along those lines, there are several albums that I would have always said were my favorite by a particular artist. When I started doing this list, I made the same assumptions, but relistened to a bunch of albums and realized that even though I still love those particular ones, I couldn't say they were still my favorites.

Additionally, there are some artists that are big favorites of mine but didn't land an album in the top 100. This really surprised me. As I went back and listened, I realized that while I may really, really like the artist in question, they didn't have that one album that I couldn't leave off the list.

Pulling this list together was an interesting and challenging exercise, plus it was cool to pull these albums out again and give 'em a fresh listen. If you're an album geek like me, I'd really suggest you try to make your own list.

Thoughts? Comments? Mocking? Applause? Feel free to drop me a note.

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