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.
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.
Number of albums from each of the decades
|Decade||Number of albums||Percentage|
Artists with the most albums
- Paul McCartney (one with Wings and ten with The Beatles)
- George Harrison (one solo album and ten with The Beatles)
- 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)
- The Beatles (four in the top 10 including the #10, #5, #3, and #1 spots; an additional four from their solo careers, two from John Lennon, one from George Harrison, and one from Wings, give a total of 14 for the group)
- The Rolling Stones (one in the top 10 at the #7 spot)
- 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)
- Bruce Springsteen
- The Who
- Neil Young (three solo albums, two with Crazy Horse, one with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and another with Buffalo Springfield)
- Chris Hillman (four albums with the Byrds, one with the Flying Burrito Brothers)
- David Crosby (three albums with the Byrds, two with Crosby, Stills & Nash)
- Led Zeppelin
- Bob Marley and the Wailers
- Paul Simon (two solo albums, three with Simon and Garfunkel)
- Jerry Harrison (four albums with Talking Heads, one with Modern Lovers)
- The Byrds
- Elvis Costello (one solo album, three with the Attractions)
- Grateful Dead
- James Brown
- Pink Floyd
- The Police
- Roxy Music
- Sly and the Family Stone
- The Smiths
- Stevie Wonder
- Talking Heads
- The Velvet Underground (one album with Nico)
- The Beach Boys (one in the top 10 at the #2 spot)
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Big Star
- Black Sabbath
- The Clash
- John Coltrane (two solo albums, one with Miles Davis)
- Marvin Gaye
- Nick Drake (in 2003 edition)
- Michael Jackson
- The Kinks
- Elvis Presley
- Miles Davis
- Simon and Garfunkel
- Steely Dan
- Jay Z
- Stephen Stills (two with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, one with Buffalo Springfield)
- The Stooges
- Al Green
- The Doors
- Tom Waits
- Kanye West
- PJ Harvey
- Eminem (in 2003 edition)
- Randy Newman
- Public Enemy (in 2003 edition)
- Gram Parsons (one with The Byrds, one with The Flying Burrito Brothers, one solo album)
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 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time, also from Rolling Stone magazine
- The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, also from Rolling Stone magazine
- The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, also from Rolling Stone magazine
- 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, a similar list, ordered by time period
- The 100 Greatest Slovak Albums of All Time
- The 150 Greatest Indonesian Albums of All Time
- List of greatest hits albums
- 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:
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
- "It's Certainly a Thrill: Sgt. Pepper Is Best Album", USA Today, November 17, 2003.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- 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.
- 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