Many publications and organizations have tried to determine the albums considered the best. Those listed below have all have been frequently cited as among the greatest albums of all time by several publications and notable surveys, be it a popular poll or critics' poll.
None of these citations should be viewed as scientific. Many of these sources focus on American albums or were polls of English-speaking listeners. Most of these implicitly consider only currently popular genres, with classical music, opera, jazz, and other categories given short shrift. In November 2003, 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.
Below is a summary of the rank of 17 albums on 14 published lists of the greatest albums of all time. The albums selected are those with the highest median rank. Albums which were released after a particular list was published are designated by an asterisk.
^Methodology: albums which are not ranked on a particular list are assigned a rank one higher than the highest-ranked album for that list (e.g., albums which are not ranked on a list of 100 albums are assigned a rank of 101). Lists which were published before an album was released are not included in averaging.
^NME = The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. NME, 2013.
^Median = Median rank. Albums which are not ranked on a particular list are assigned a rank one higher than the highest-ranked album for that list (e.g., albums which are not ranked on a list of 100 albums are assigned a rank of 101).
Ralf von Appen and André Doehring: Nevermind The Beatles, here's Exile 61 and Nico: 'The top 100 records of all time' - a canon of pop and rock albums from a sociological and an aesthetic perspective. In: Popular Music 25(1), pp. 21–39.