Albums considered the greatest ever
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- For albums that had the highest sales, see List of best-selling albums worldwide.
Many publications and organizations have tried to determine the album considered the greatest ever. Those listed in this article have all been cited in a notable survey — be it a popular poll or critics' poll.
None of these citations should be viewed as scientific. By default, surveys are a scientific study of statistical probability and prediction. All the surveys are biased in one way or another. Many of these sources focus on American albums or were polls of English-speaking listeners. Most implicitly consider only currently popular genres, with classical music, opera, jazz, and other categories given short shrift. USA Today noted that Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time "is weighted toward testosterone-fueled vintage rock", with only a "smattering of country (Johnny Cash), jazz (Miles Davis) and seminal blues (Howlin' Wolf)." There are often problems with vote stacking or skewed demographics; Internet-based surveys have a self-selecting audience. The methodology of some surveys may be questionable. Sometimes voters were asked to select albums from a limited list of entries.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles is the canonical example of what is typically cited as the best album of all time. It was ranked number one by Rolling Stone, The Definitive 200 by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, and others.
Rolling Stone's List of the Top 10 albums
|Pos.||Album Name||Artist||Release date||Genres|
|1||Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band||The Beatles||June 1967||Rock, psychedelic rock|
|2||Pet Sounds||The Beach Boys||May 1966||Psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, baroque rock|
|3||Revolver||The Beatles||August 1966||Rock, psychedelic rock|
|4||Highway 61 Revisited||Bob Dylan||August 1965||Folk rock, Blues-rock|
|5||Rubber Soul||The Beatles||December 1965||Folk rock, Psychedelic rock, Baroque rock|
|6||What's Going On||Marvin Gaye||May 1971||R&B|
|7||Exile on Main St.||The Rolling Stones||May 1972||Rock, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Roots rock, Country rock, Calypso, Soul, Gospel|
|8||London Calling||The Clash||December 1979||Punk rock, ska punk, reggae fusion, rock and roll|
|9||Blonde on Blonde||Bob Dylan||May 1966||Folk rock, Blues-rock|
|10||The White Album||The Beatles||November 1968||Rock, Psychedelic rock, Experimental rock, Hard rock|
Rate Your Music's List of the Top Twenty Greatest Albums
|Album||Performer||Year||Rolling Stone 500 (2003)||The Guardian 100 (1997)|
|Pet Sounds||The Beach Boys||1966||2||6|
|What's Going On||Marvin Gaye||1971||6||1|
|The Beatles (aka The White Album)||The Beatles||1968||10||9|
All albums listed above were also included in Time magazine's 2006 list of All-TIME 100 Albums, though they were split up by decade and it is unclear if they were ranked.
- Pitchfork Media chose David Bowie's Low (1977) as the best album of the 1970s.
- BestEverAlbums.com chose Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) as the best album of the 1970s.
- Pitchfork Media chose Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation (1987) as the best album of the 1980s.
- BestEverAlbums.com chose U2's The Joshua Tree (1987) as the best album of the 1980s.
- Pitchfork Media chose My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991) as the best album of the 1990s. (Although in their 2003 revision, it was swapped with Radiohead's OK Computer).
- Spin magazine chose OK Computer as the best album of 1985–2005.
- BestEverAlbums.com chose OK Computer as the best album of the 1990s (it is also their choice as the best album of all time).
- According to Metacritic, Kid A by Radiohead and Funeral by Arcade Fire appeared on more best albums of the 2000s lists than any other album from that decade.
- Metacritic's compilations of rankings from critical reviews, which date back to 2000, give the highest ranking of 100 out of 100 to three albums: Pinkerton by Weezer, London Calling by The Clash and Exile On Main Street by The Rolling Stones. However, only past albums that have been re-released since 2000 are included.
- Pitchfork Media and BestEverAlbums.com chose Radiohead's Kid A (2000) as the best album of the 2000s.
- The Guardian chose The Streets' Original Pirate Material as the best album released from 2000 to 2009.
Below is a summary of the rank of 15 albums on 14 published lists of the greatest albums of all time. The albums selected are those with the highest average rank. Albums which were released after a particular list was published are designated by an asterisk.
|Rank||Album||Mo 1995 ! Grd 1997||Virg 2000||MM 2000||VH1 2001||NME 2003||RS 2005||Ch4 2005||ABC 2006||Gui 2006||Q 2006||HF 2007||SV 2008||CS 2010||Avg|
|5||Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band||51||19||3||10||1||7||5||2||19||1||6||8||23.9|
|7||Exile on Main St.||4||25||35||23||12||52||7||42||42||34||6||15||46||31.7|
|8||What's Going On||6||1||39||24||4||27||6||78||57||32||38||36||19||33.4|
|9||The Dark Side of the Moon||37||9||51||43||5||1||8||15||2||14||7||35.4|
|10||The Velvet Underground & Nico||9||8||13||12||19||9||13||46||100||55||42||10||5||38.7|
|11||Born to Run||41||44||20||27||18||37||54||84||15||15||18||6||41.5|
|12||Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols||22||3||29||10||17||10||41||31||43||16||109||41.7|
|13||Led Zeppelin IV||99||89||42||45||69||17||7||17||4||4||9||13||44.1|
|15||The Joshua Tree||57||25||15||27||2||10||11||5||38||34||44.9|