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25 Greatest Albums Ever – Of All Time!

Yesterday Yahoo! released the 25 best Best Of Albums of all time.  It was a great list, but I wanted to put together a list of the 25 best albums.  Greatest hits albums are put out by record companies.  I wanted to put together studio albums, because they reflect a time and a theme, while a greatest hits album is just meant to sell copies. 

You may notice some glaring omissions in my list.  You may see some bands you never heard of or some albums that may seem obscure.  But, hey, it’s my list, so I chose what I like.  Feel free to add your own to the list.

I present them in no particular order.  They’re just my 25 favorites.

Read on after the break.

backinblack

1. AC/DC Back in Black 1980 – Australian rock band AC/DC lost their front man Bon Scott, who died tragically while drinking a wee bit too much. They considered disbanding, but then found a solution. Brian Johnson took over the lead singer duties, and released Back in Black, which has sold 42 million copies. The black cover is a tribute to Mr. Scott. I remember once, at the age of 15, cranking up the song Back in Black and belting it out at the top of my lungs in my room. After the song was over, I heard clapping behind me. I turned to see my dad laughing his ass off.

Whosnext

2. The Who Who’s Next 1971 – It really is only a Teenage Wasteland. What is it about teen angst that drives us to identify with music about rebellion? Now I listen to Barry Manilow. But back in the day, during AP US History, there was always someone cranking out Baba O’Reilly while I was trying to learn about the Constitution. My heart was definitely outdoors with the pot smoking rebels in their tanker jackets. Sorry mom.

zoso

3. Led Zeppelin 4 (Zoso) 1971 – Stairway to Heaven. Take that, Beatles. This group explored the limits of the fantastic, while destroying hotel rooms and creating heavy metal.

cure

4. The Cure The Head on the Door 1985 – The Cure had just reconfigured itself as a group. This album explored teen angst, despair, and featured unique rhythms and stylings. They made Goth cool, and pushed the bounds of androgyny, all the while creating incredible music.

joshua

5. U2 Joshua Tree 1986 – This album won them 2 grammies and put them on the cover of Time. I started listening to them in 1979 when they were an obscure band. Their first albums Boy, October and War, were outstanding. Joshua Tree put them over the top and gave them their platform to become evangelists of every cause they could get their hands on.

the doors

6. The Doors The Doors 1967 – Not many bands can have songs about killing your father and uh, getting to know your mom better (The End). But they didn’t seem to care what anyone thought. I don’t feel the need to say too much about this one. Just listen to Light My Fire, Break on Through and Moonlight Drive.

Moving_Pictures

7. Rush Moving Pictures 1981 – I’m going to see Rush on 6/27/08. Rush is the original power trio. The songs Red Barchetta, Tom Sawyer and Limelight illustrate the immense musical talent from this Canadian group. Take off, eh!

Blizzard of Ozz

8. Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz 1979 – You know the story. Ozzy gets kicked out of Black Sabbath because of outrageous drug use. Meets wife / manager Sharon, puts together another band featuring the late, great Randy Rhoads, bites the head off a bat, and went on to make two amazing albums before Rhoads was killed in a freak plane accident.

Paulsimon-graceland

9. Paul Simon Graceland 1986 – I remember driving through the cornfields at the U of Illinois, in Champagne, Urbana, with this album blaring on my Chevy Chevette’s factory radio. Paul Simon had traveled to South Africa to make this unique album. He incorporated ethereal rhythms, wonderful acapella and the incredible sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambazo to make a compilation of music never heard before. He captured lightning in a bottle.

StevieRay

10. Stevie Ray Vaughan Couldn’t Stand the Weather 1984 – The best guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. Died tragically in 1990 in a helicopter accident while leaving a concert he just performed.

layla

11. Eric Clapton Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs 1970 – Another great guitarist. He may not have the ability to make pop hits like In Sync, but he’s come up with a couple a two tree great hits.

the game

12. Queen The Game 1980 – What, am I stuck in the eighties? This album absolutely rocked. They may be known for their late flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury, but they had mega talent.

rem

13. REM Lifes Rich Pageant 1986 – They captured the college market with music about the environment, ecology and other causes, while their lyrics provided a mysterious edge, because nobody understood what lead singer Michael Stipe was actually saying. Nevertheless, this album propelled them into the consciousness of America and laid the foundation for a rich career.

PinkfloydThewallcover

14. Pink Floyd The Wall 1979 – My junior year in college I lived in a 5 bedroom apartment with four unique friends. Our apartment was on the fourth floor and there was no elevator. What were we thinking? The only good thing about our two story apartment being at the top was that I had one wall that went about 15 feet high in my bedroom. Since we listened to The Wall all the time, I got a black light. My walls were sort of cream colored, and one night we took out a yellow fluorescent marker and had our guests sign the wall. The next morning we couldn’t find where they had signed it, because the marker blended in perfectly with the paint. For that evening’s session I was inspired to write the entire lyrics to Comfortably Numb onto my wall. What a hoot. During the day nobody could see anything unusual on my wall. But at night, with the black light, a whole new world appeared, complete with signatures of many friend’s and acquaintances. Oh, yeah, the album was pretty good, too. So was the movie.

reo

15. REO Speedwagon High in Fidelity 1980 – In 1980 my best friend’s family took me on vacation to Myrtle Beach. We were 15, in great shape, and swimming in the ocean every day. We met a couple nice southern ladies and struck up fast relationships. REO was the background to a great vacation.

eltonjohn

16. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973 – To this day I don’t understand most of the lyrics to his songs, but the music is so amazing. Elton also played Pinball Wizard in the movie Tommy.

van halen

17. Van Halen Self Titled 1978 – I love both the Sammy and Dave years, but nothing beats the original. To this day Eddie still turns his back to the audience when playing special riffs that he doesn’t want his competition to see. Some may call Eddie a not-so-nice-person for how he treats his bandmates, but the man and the band is genius. Sure, he may have kicked out his bass player so his 15 year old son Wolfgang could tour with the band, he may have kicked Dave out when his ego couldn’t stand him anymore, and maybe he drove his hot wife Valerie Bertinelli out the door, but his legacy will live on.

Eatapeach

18. Allman Brothers Band Eat a Peach 1972 – This Southern rock band also featured a member who was tragically killed. Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident while recording this album. What is it with death and rock? That’s why I now listen exclusively to Brittney Spears. Wait, nevermind that.

AreyouexpUS

19. Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced 1967 – The album name became one of the most asked job interview questions of all time. And rumor has it Jimi could play the ax. Whatever happened to him? Sad. Another rock death. But more than 30 years later he’s still regarded as one of the very best guitaristas.

genesis

20. Genesis Selling England By the Pound 1973 – “When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench,
I can always hear them talk. Me, I’m just a lawnmower – you can tell me by the way I walk.” I love them with and without Peter Gabriel. This particular album was made far before they reached the pinnacle of their mainstream success, and really showed off their musical talent and song creativity. They were no 98 Degrees.

bruce

21. Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA 1984 – I was torn between this and Born to Run. I chose this one because then President Reagan, while running for reelection, upon hearing the title song, said, “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey’s Bruce Springsteen.” What an idiot. This song was about the Vietnam War’s effect on Americans. It was not meant to be patriotic at all. Then Chrysler President Lee Iachocca asked to use this song for Chrysler ads, and the Boss turned him down. They just didn’t get it.

tattoo you

22. The Rolling Stones Tattoo You 1981 – There may have been better Stones albums, but not for me. In December of that year my family went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where my parents were born. I was dating a girl who loved the Stones and I brought the cassette tape with me to play on the 13 hour flight on my Sony Walkman. When we got off the plane onto the tarmac, and walked into the airport, somewhere near the baggage claim my dad handed me the 8 mm movie camera and told me to film the plane for a sec for our family vacation movie. I was a small 16 year old; hardly imposing. As I approached the double doors, two tall men in sunglasses, suits and large rifles manned the way. I walked right between them like I didn’t even see them and when my hand touched the door, I felt myself rising, then slowly moving backward in the air. They set me down gently and in Spanish asked me what I thought I was doing. I replied I was filming the plane for our family vaca. Apparantly in a military run government that’s just not a good enough excuse. I was told to join my family and be careful what I was filming. Welcome to Argentina. “Don’t wanna be your slave!”

legend

23. Bob Marley Legend 1984 – Ok, I broke the rules with this one. It’s a greatest hits album. And it’s great. Here’s another tragedy. In 1977 Marley was diagnosed with cancer on his big toe. He refused to amputate because of the Rastafari belief that one should be whole. Coulda been avoided.

heads

24. Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues 1983 – This album featured Burning Down the House. The Heads featured a unique perspective combined with very large suit coats, to produce a sort of punk rock, new wave, art rock funky sound.

Aja_album_cover

25. Steely Dan Asia – It was rumored that they were too timid to tour, so they only put out studio albums. Other rumors said they once freaked out on stage and could no longer tour. The truth was, they were such perfectionists, and they had so many guest musicians on their albums, that they couldn’t reproduce the incredible sounds on tour. Just give a listen to Steve Gadd on the drums along with the other 20 or so musicians who compiled this hunk of incredibleness.

What!  No Beatles?  That’s correct.  I like them.  I like John Lennon and the other guys, but their music was pop.  They were the original boy band.  In Sync should send them a thank you card.  “I want to hold your hand.”  Wow, deep.  “Love, love me do.”  “It’s been a hard days’ night.  I should be sleeping like a log.”  That makes you think, doesn’t it?  “All you need is love.”  Ok, my sophomore year in college this girl breaks up with me and says, “Sometimes love just isn’t enough.”  So which is it?

I would love to hear your comments.  Add some of your favorites.

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June 17, 2008 - Posted by | Mp3, Opinions

2 Comments »

  1. I appreciate putting the Wall on the list but I was surprised that I didn’t see Dark Side of the Moon. I was also pleased to see Bruce Springsteen but I thought that Born to Run would be a better choice. Everyone has a different taste, but that’s not a bad thing.

    Comment by Dustin | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. Dustin, thanks for your input. I, too, like Born to Run better than Born in the USA, but I associate better memories with the latter. I love Dark Side as well, but whenever I hear anything from The Wall it takes me back to that college apartment and all the memories we made. Maybe next time I’ll make a top 50!

    Comment by Steve Laser | August 1, 2008 | Reply


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