Thursday, November 14, 2013

Top Ten Albums That Everyone Would Agree On.

Ignoring the fact that this list from NPR is all male (we can deal with that later) and is based on polls from their audience (probably a pretty old bunch of voters) what would you add to "albums everyone loves."

I would add Dave Brubeck's, TIME OUT and The Rolling Stones' EXILE ON MAIN STREET. 

And I am not sure listeners under 35 would include so many Beatle albums. I think the "ear" has changed. 

Top 10 Most-Loved (Ignoring Those Who Haven't Heard)
1. The Beatles: Revolver (92 percent love)
2. The Beatles: Abbey Road (91 percent)
3. Otis Redding: Otis Blue (90 percent)
4. Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue (89 percent)
5. Johnny Cash: Live At Folsom Prison (89 percent)
6. The Beatles: Rubber Soul (89 percent)
7. Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (88 percent)
8. Marvin Gaye: What's Going On (88 percent)
9. Sam Cooke: Portrait Of A Legend (88 percent)
10. The Beatles: The White Album (87 percent)

I can't help but think there won't be lists like this much longer. Not only has the vinyl record disappeared, but the idea of buying an entire CD is going away as we download a favorite tune or two. There was something magical about holding that album in your hand, reading the notes, and playing all of it--the good and the bad. So what if a couple of tunes were lesser works. It was the artist's statement at a particular time. Enough. 


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I go by songs rather than albums; I have absolutely no knowledge of the latter. Barring Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, I have listened to songs by all the rest. I like The Beatles' YESTERDAY and Lennon's solo IMAGINE though I wouldn't know which albums they belong to.

Anonymous said...

I haven't looked at Bill Crider's blog today, but if I were a betting woman, I'd guess this list is posted with the heading, "I'm sure you'll all agree..."


Anonymous said...

Anyway, it's not just that vinyl and even CDs have gone away, but the entire culture that developed around albums: the listening over and over again, the developing a taste for a new song or new sound, the obsessive reading of the lyric sheet ( or was that just me?)--that world doesn't exist anymore. My girls know the Beatles and other Baby Boomer faves because they grew up in my house (and I was older when I had my kids), but most young people today would not know these artists. It would have been like expecting my generation if teenagers (early to mid-1970s) to know who Helen Forrest was.

/Geezerette bus pass in hand.


Margot Kinberg said...

I miss albums, too, Patti. The artwork, the liner notes, the actual album... It was all a great experience.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't be my list, though about half of them might be on it.

I'd add:

Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell
Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
Neil Young, After the Gold Rush
Grateful Dead, American Beauty
Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark

These are just a few off the top of my head.

Jeff M. (even more of a geezer than Deb)

Bill Crider said...

Deb, I missed this one. As for me, I can't believe there's no love for The Kingston Trio or Warren Zevon.

Anonymous said...

Right, missed that one:

Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy

I've always preferred RUBBER SOUL and ABBEY ROAD to REVOLVER, by the way.

Jeff M.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I would have had:
Darkness On The end of Town by Bruce Springsteen.
London Calling by The Clash
Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison.
Velvet Underground with Nico.
Forever Changes by Love.
Something by Bob Marley
Hard to limit to 10 albums to make a top ten.
Jeff has a good list except for Meatloaf who would be on my worst list.
And Kingston Trio
And ten minutes from now I'll think of another 5 Albums I would list.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Meant to have it read Kingston Trio?

le0pard13 said...

Vinyl has not disappeared, Patti.

In fact, I and some friends have put turntables back in our lives. I've also been amazed that the 'record stores' I'm again haunting also have a number of young folk searching the vinyl racks. Great to see.

Of course, they're searching for new and old LPs while I'm searching out many of these classics on NPR's list.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Someone gave Megan a turntable down in Oxford and we were amazed at the quality of the records. How did they ever convince us the CDs had better sound.

le0pard13 said...

Oh, and I just picked up Dave Brubeck's TIME OUT and Marvin Gaye's WHAT'S GOING ON on vinyl ;-).

John said...

Very old voters indeed! Marvin Gaye's album is the most recent from 1971! Four Beatles albums? Come on. The absence of female artists is pathetic. Where is Aretha Franklin? Dusty Springfield? The Supremes? Those are three I think "everyone" loves to listen to. Certainly in the style and era of the others. Not even Tapestry by Carole King shows up -- one of the biggest selling albums of all time. Sad.

What happened to the 70s and 80s? Tells you a lot about who's listening to NPR these days. No arena rock groups, no punk rock, no "new wave", no alternative groups, no ska, no reggae. Boo.

Music is so entirely subjective and I think very tied to personal memories. You can't do lists like this and use the words EVERYONE WOULD AGREE ON to label it. It isn't possible for *everyone* to agree on ten albums.

George said...

Patti, you're right about the concept of an "album" of songs going the way of the Dodo bird. We live in a fractured culture. Fragments of music, video, etc. abound. I know very few people who listen to a whole CD all the way through. Of course, I don't know that many people who buy CDs anymore. Downloads rule.

Anonymous said...

Well George, we geezers still buy CDs and listen to them all the way through! But you knew that.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

AS you might expect from a contrarian such as myself, I wouldn't put any of these albums on my list. I do like Johnny Cash but that's about it.

Dan_Luft said...

If everyone's so old, shouldn't the list be MORE varied. You don't stop listening to new music when you leave high school.

You could also name this 10 albums you were sick of before you were 20.

Richard said...

1. The gender of the artist should make no difference, to say otherwise is gender bias in one direction or the other.

2. I don't agree with the list, but I doubt there is ANY list that "everyone" could agree to.

3. Vinyl albums are not dead, but are few. CDs are not dead, are readily available, and are often a statement by the artist of an over-all theme or design. I disagree with George and others that full albums of songs are "dead". Plus that's only a pop/rock argument anyway. What about classical music and jazz? Full albums are the rule in those music genres.

4. I won't bother writing up my own list, it would change tomorrow and would be comprised of things I like, not "everyone" likes. I would have to include "Hotel California" by the Eagles.

le0pard13 said...

Richard: perhaps vinyl is few, but it's on the rise. I've read the figure is more than 60% every year for the last three years. Been on the upswing since 2005. Annecdotally, my visits to the record stores have seen enough customers at the racks and registers to support that. Hell, even Amazon has opened their own virtual record store section.

Kelly Robinson said...

Count me among the vinyl junkies. It helps that my sister works in an actual record (as in actual vinyl records) store.

Todd Mason said...

Well. This is indeed the aging hipster list. 1 (one) jazz album, and 1 country album. I like these ten, and they do represent some touchstones for aging hipsters (hepcats)...yes, the albums everyone of a certain age and inclination has heard (or at least its contents in the case of, say, the Sam Cooke) is closer to it.

It's not so much that CD sound better's that they don't get destroyed nearly as easily, they aren't actually worsened with every play. Surface noise is, by me, worse than the flattening of the digital effect. There is no lack of poorly-mastered analog And digital recording and poorly-produced reproduction in all formats. And brilliant.

The list of albums would go on one need miss albums...they are still with us, even as individual compositions of every sort, very much including classical and jazz records, can be picked up today even as back when. Even if 45s of most jazz were pretty rare and remain even moreso...but when 78s were the dominant format...

Ray Charles...the Weavers...the Byrds...the Modern Jazz Quartet...Billie Holiday...Chuck Berry...Loretta al. Not so much a Presley fan, but gosh wouldn't he sweep away a number of these in a larger voting pool? As might Lawrence Welk...

Todd Mason said...

And, of course, Patti, the Beatles were among those who started dumping liner notes...

Anders E said...

To be honest I find vinyl singles to be a lot more fascinating than albums.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You mean like 45s?
I know far less about music than nearly anything else. Like people say about art, I just know what i like without any real understanding of how it's achieved.

Anders E said...

Yes, 45s. It is (or was) an art form in itself. Not only back in the day (before ca 1968), but it had a renaissance in the mid/late 1970s with punk (on 7") and disco (on 12"). And there's more to that art form than just choosing some album track - there were things like the non-album single, and some acts never even released an album. And some famous acts who never made a truly great album made a long string of brilliant singles. Prime example: Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Note: 78s are of course also singles, but in the days of the 78 albums were not really an issue.

le0pard13 said...

I think you could start a whole wide-ranging discussion on the great B-side 45 singles of all-time, for that matter.

Todd Mason said...

Actually, Anders, 78s were issued as singles as well as in the original multi-disc bound "albums" (hence the origin of the term in records).

There were 45rpm albums for a while, as well, while RCA was trying get their format (vs. CBS's 33 1/3) to be the dominant one. Happily, both formats turned out to have their uses...

Todd Mason said...

And I think GREEN RIVER is a fine Creedence album.

Anders E said...

Todd, GREEN RIVER is probably a pretty good album (though it seems COSMO'S FACTORY is generally considered even better). But look at those singles... In particular, consider Down on the Corner b/w Fortunate Son. Now, that is what I call the 45 as an art form.
Other great singles acts without great albums: T. Rex, Slade, Madness, Siouxsie & The Banshees. By contrast, Roxy Music was NOT a great singles act.

Todd Mason said...

GREEN RIVER is my favorite, and holds together well (the closest thing to a horror concept album anyone put out for a while), and I'd favor WILLIE AND THE POORBOYS ahead of COSMO'S FACTORY, too.

And don't forget about the art of the EP, as well...the four or six-song record (I have some fine Holiday and Kinks items thus), or the all-original first 5-song release by the former Bangs as the Bangles...

Todd Mason said...

(Well, originals and covers, but their first release as the Bangles, and of material they hadn't previously released...)

Todd Mason said...


Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Green River" 2:36
2. "Commotion" 2:44
3. "Tombstone Shadow" 3:39
4. "Wrote a Song for Everyone" 4:57
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Bad Moon Rising" 2:21
2. "Lodi" 3:13
3. "Cross-Tie Walker" 3:20
4. "Sinister Purpose" 3:23
5. "The Night Time Is the Right Time" (Napoleon "Nappy" Brown, Ozzie Cadena, Lew Herman)

Todd Mason said...

"It was the artist's statement at a particular time."

Except, sadly, when it wasn' of the more egregious non-British examples which bolster Anders's view of the singles band, or at least the single sometimes/too often shoe-horned into a bad or indifferent album, is NIGHTBIRDS by the band Labelle, where "Lady Marmalade" is joined by an album's-worth of comparably forgettable songs, whether composed by Nona Hendryx (Labelle's primary songwriter among the singing trio, with Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle) or Allen Toussaint. Of course, not Too many songs are up to "Lady Marmalade," but one would've hoped something else there was in the same ballpark.

Writing of forgettable writing, I'm at work on my forgettable writing about unjustly "forgotten"...

Barry Ergang said...

What? No Sinatra? Only the Lonely, with arrangements by Nelson Riddle, is the greatest torch song album ever!

For jazz I'd include Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth as one that's as essential as Kind of Blue. The first cut, "Stolen Moments," is my all-time-favorite jazz tune.

Vinyl rules! Using "Stolen Moments," in fact, I once did a switching comparison between the LP and CD versions of it for a guy who was sure CD sound had to be superior. After several minutes of listening, with me switching between the the two formats, he suddenly said, "That one! It's"

"Do you mean there's more air around the instruments?" I asked.


"It's the LP."

pattinase (abbott) said...

I agree. We took Megan a Sinatra album to Oxford and when we played it on her turntable I realized it sounded more like he was in the same room with us than the CD we had at home. Air around it is as good a term as any to describe it.

Todd Mason said...

Again...also bad mastering of the CDs.

THE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH is a better album than KIND OF BLUE. But KIND OF BLUE is well on it's way to becoming the most overrated album so far, of any kind, as good as it is.

If not quite to the same degree that Miles Davis is the most overrated musician in jazz history, with no other contender within shouting distance.