Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005. The lists presented were compiled based on votes from selected rock musicians, critics, and industry figures, and predominantly feature American and British music from the 1960s and the 1970s. From 2007 onwards, the magazine published similarly titled lists in other countries around the world.
In 2012, Rolling Stone published a revised edition of the list drawing on the original and a later survey of albums in the 2000s. It was made available in "bookazine" format on newsstands in the US from April 27 to July 25. The new list contained 38 albums not present in the previous one, 16 of them released after 2003.
The first version of the list, published as a magazine in November 2003, was based on the votes of 273 rock musicians, critics, and industry figures, each of whom submitted a weighted list of 50 albums. The accounting firm Ernst & Young devised a point system to weigh votes for 1,600 submitted titles. The list includes a few compilations, and "greatest hits" collections.
The following authors contributed to the citations made of each album:
An amended list was released in book form in 2005, with an introduction written by Steven Van Zandt. As the editor's foreword explains, some compilation albums were removed, and Robert Johnson's The Complete Recordings was substituted for both of his King of the Delta Blues Singers volumes, making room for a total of eight new entries on the list. The Complete Recordings would be reinstated to the list in the 2012 edition.
- Artists with the most albums
- 10 The Beatles (four in the top 10 including the #10, #5, #3, and #1 spots; an additional four from their solo careers make the list beyond the 10 as a group)
- 10 Bob Dylan (ten solo albums and an additional album as Bob Dylan and The Band; two in the top 10 including the #9 and #4 spots)
- 10 The Rolling Stones (one in the top 10 including the #7 spot)
- 8 Bruce Springsteen
- 8 Eric Clapton (two solo albums, three with Cream, one with Derek and the Dominos, one with The Yardbirds and one with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers)
- 8 Neil Young (four solo albums, two with Crazy Horse, one with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and another with Buffalo Springfield)
- 7 The Who
- 6 Lou Reed (two solo albums, four with The Velvet Underground)
- 5 David Crosby (three albums with The Byrds, two with Crosby, Stills & Nash)
- 5 David Bowie
- 5 Elton John
- 5 Paul Simon (two solo albums, three with Simon and Garfunkel)
- 5 U2
- 5 Bob Marley and the Wailers
- 5 Led Zeppelin
- 5 Radiohead
- 4 Elvis Costello (two solo albums, two with the Attractions) 
- 4 Grateful Dead
- 4 Pink Floyd
- 4 Prince
- 4 Sly and the Family Stone
- 4 Stevie Wonder
- 4 Talking Heads
- 4 The Kinks
- 4 The Byrds
- 4 The Police
- 4 The Smiths
- 3 Madonna
- 3 The Doors
- 3 Tom Waits
- 3 R.E.M.
- 3 Michael Jackson
- 3 Kanye West
- 3 Steely Dan
- 3 Jay-Z
- 3 Black Sabbath
- 3 Nick Drake (2003) (1 on the 2012 list)
- 3 The Beach Boys (one in the top 10 including the #2 spot)
- 3 Nirvana
- 3 Stephen Stills (two with Crosby, Stills & Nash, one with Buffalo Springfield)
- 3 Elvis Presley
Writing in USA Today newspaper, Edna Gundersen described the list as predictable and "weighted toward testosterone-fueled vintage rock". The Rolling Stone 500 has also been criticised for being male-dominated, outmoded and almost entirely Anglo-American in focus.
Following the publicity surrounding the list, rock critic Jim DeRogatis, a former Rolling Stone editor, published Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics (ISBN 1-56980-276-9) in 2004. This featured a number of generally younger critics arguing against the high evaluation of various "great" albums, some of which had been included in the list, including DeRogatis taking on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which had been Rolling Stone's top choice.
- NME's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, a similar list
- All Time Top 1000 Albums, a similar list
- The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, also from Rolling Stone magazine
- 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, a similar list, ordered by time period
- Levy, Joe; Van Zandt, Steven, eds. (2006) . Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814.
Related news articles:
- Collett-White, Mike (April 27, 2012). "Kanye West gets 3 albums on Rolling Stone's revised 500 greatest list". msnbc.com. MSN. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
- "It's Certainly a Thrill: Sgt. Pepper Is Best Album", USA Today, November 17, 2003.
- "Journal de RadioKaKa – Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of all time (2012 Edition) – Last.fm". Lastfm.fr. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
- Biron, Dean. 2011. Towards a Popular Music Criticism of Replenishment. Popular Music & Society, 34/5: 661-682.
- Schmutz, Vaughan. 2005. Retrospective Critical Consecration in Popular Music: Rolling Stone's Greatest Albums of All Time. American Behavioral Scientist, 48/11: 1510-1523.
- 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Rolling Stone