The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rock Album Best 100

12-1-08 Rock Album Best 100

I laughed to myself when I picked up the “Rolling Stone Top 500” issue – I knew that revisionist history would confront. I remember picking up Melody Maker in the70’s, and they were discussing “The Best Albums Of all Time” and in the #2 spot was Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On” – yeah – What’s going on? Different places, different times – different records take on additional meaning / importance. At the end of the 60’s, nobody was writing about Love “Forever Changes” or the first Velvet Underground album or “Pet Sounds”. But now they’re on everybody’s “Best Of” lists!

So, last weekend, I found a book in a Japanese book store that appealed to me: “Record Collectors’ Magazine 25th Anniversary Special – Rock Album Best 100”. Their list covers only 1960’s – 1980’s – I can live with that! And their list isn’t terribly close to Rolling Stone (or anybody else, for that matter).

First they show their list, starting with the #1 pick: The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”, finishing with #100 The Jam “All Mod Cons” – after #100, they only list the title in katakana and show a few album covers. Then they have the lists of the people who voted for the “Top 200” – with some photos of album covers, but mostly it’s katakana lists. Then they list 1. Only the 60’s albums, 2. Only the 70’s albums. 3. Only the 80’s albums – all three sets, then ranked by number of votes cast for that LP (so those lists are different than the big list). And then the lists are re-ranked in yet some other configuration.

Lots of nuts & bolts – and they even tell us how many votes the individual albums got. Looks to be a really good way to make a huge list like this. And, boy, I’ve been all about ‘list-making’ for centuries now!

Their over-all Top 10:

1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

2. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

3. The Band – Music From Big Pink

4. King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King

5. The Beatles – Revolver

6. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks

7. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico

8. The Beatles – Rubber Soul

9. The Beatles – The Beatles (the double white album)

10. Neil Young – After The Goldrush

I am good with 7 of these 10 titles. 5 British entries. 3 U.S. entries. 2 Canadian entries. Let’s keep going!


Blogger Brian Ware said...

So which three? I'm quite certain you're not down with The Sex Pistols and Velvet Underground. I reckon the third is either The Band or Neil Young? Both are solid albums that have earned their place but no way are they top ten in my book. The rest are the usual suspects, but I'm pleased to see the King Crimson.

I was mailed a free issue of Rolling Stone last week. It had a 100 greatest singers list. Man, I find the overall tone of that magazine to be so annoying.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Very astute, Brian-san. I am actually very good with both The Band and Neil Young - these two albums in particular. The 3rd (you got the first two correct) is that I am fully no-go on The Beach Boys. I'm from L.A. - The Doors are as close as I get to 'local heroes'. And I grew up in a Beatles / Rolling Stones house. It's just interesting that the "Top 100" list seems to change over the years. It used to be Led Zeppelin-heavy, then people went on and on about Love "Forever Changes"...and if the British made this list (instead of the Japanese), it would have Marvin Gaye "What's Goin' On" in it.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

I'm with you on the Beach Boys. I enjoyed the singles in the mid-60s, but "Pet Sounds" as a life changing LP was not on my radar at all. All the revisionists shoveling praise for the last 40 years have not really changed my opinion.

9:07 PM  

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