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The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

This was just in sunday's Review section (16th July) :

'50 years ago this month, the album chart has tracked the history of pop. But only a select few records actually altered the course of music. To mark the anniversary, Kitty Empire pays tribute to a sublime art form, and our panel of critics (7 in total) argues for 50 albums that caused a revolution.'

1. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
2. The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers... (1967)
3. Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express (1977)
4. NWA - Straight Outta Compton (1989)
5. Robert Johnson - King Of The Delta Blues Singers (1961)
6. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971)
7. Patti Smith - Horses (1975)
8. Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
9. Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (1956)
10. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
11. David Bowie - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust... (1972)
12. Miles Davies - Kind Of Blue (1959)
13. Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swingin' Lovers (1956)
14. Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)
15. Brian Eno - Discreet Music (1975)
16. Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You (1967)
17. The Stooges - Raw Power (1973)
18. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
19. Mary J Blige - What's The 411? (1992)
20. The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968)
21. The Spice Girls - Spice (1996)
22. Kate Bush - The Hounds Of Love (1985)
23. Angustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (1976)
24. Youssou N'Dour - Immigres (1984)
25. James Brown - Live At The Appolo (1963)
26. Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life (1976)
27. Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced (1967)
28. Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
29. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
30. The Wailers - Catch A Fire (1973)
31. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (1989)
32. Otis Redding - Otis Blue (1965)
33. Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters (1973)
34. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970)
35. The Ramones - The Ramones (1976)
36. The Who - My Generation (1965)
37. Massive Attack - Blue Lines (1991)
38. Radiohead - The Bends (1995)
39. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
40. Run DMC - Run DMC (1984)
41. Chic - Chic (1977)
42. The Smiths - The Smiths (1984)
43. Primal Scream - Screamadelica (1991)
44. Talking Heads - Fear Of Music (1979)
45. Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)
46. The Human League - Dare (1981)
47. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
48. The Strokes - Is This It? (2001)
49. De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising (1989)
50. LFO - Frequencies (1991)

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

It seems odd to me to have SGT. PEPPER above PET SOUNDS on this list when PET SOUNDS directly led to SGT. PEPPER.

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

The Spice Girls have changed the music : Humm... NO

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

Here was Entertainment Weekly's reaction to the list:
What are the most influential albums of the rock era?
USA Today's Pop Candy points us to the U.K. Observer's list of the 50 Albums that Changed Music. No. 1 is The Velvet Underground and Nico; No. 2 is the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (pictured). Hard to argue with those two 1967 discs: the Velvets' debut expanded rock's sonic and lyrical palette, made possible every punk/alt-rock movement that followed, and influenced everybody from David Bowie to Ashley Olsen, while Pepper turned the studio into an instrument and introduced the idea of a rock album as a cohesive work of art (an idea now on its way out, thanks to MP3s). But still, there are plenty of glaring absences. The Spice Girls are here, but where are the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., George Clinton, Mariah Carey, Gram Parsons, the Replacements, James Taylor, Public Enemy, etc.? Yes, there's a difference between being great and being influential, but really, how myopic do you have to be not to recognize the above artists as both?

Anyway, the inclusion of the Spice Girls is odd (they lasted like 2 years and didn't spawn much), and even more odd is the exclusion of Barbra/Aretha/Whitney/Mariah. Surely at least one album should hold down the diva mantle?

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

How did The Strokes change music?


A Rolling Stones or Aretha Franklin album should be on there. But Whitney, Mimi or even Barbra are hardly the critical darlings, so no surprise they wouldn't show up here.

Now, Madge, that's a surprising omission. Even if it weren't her best album, Like a Virgin often is cited in similar categories (or, the debut).

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

There is an Aretha Franklin album on the list, it's No. 16. So I'm not sure what Entertainment Weekly was talking about in that respect. But I do pretty much agree with them about the list otherwise.

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

Bullfinch asks "How did the Strokes change music"

Compare the album charts of 1999 and today in the UK. You have an answer there.

Their reasoning ...

for excluding the Stones was...

'Because, brilliant though they are, they picked up on an established musical idiom and ran with it rather than inventing something entirely new.'

also NWA over Public Enemy...

'Probably because their influence was more pervasive.'

Why they included The Spice Girls though - i just don't know. Seems crazy!

well actually,

their explanation for the inclusion of the Spice Girls seems to be due to them having been such a huge marketing phenomenom :

'The music business has been cynically creating and marketing acts since the days of the wax cylinder, but on nothing like the scale of the Spice phenomenon, which was applied to crisps, soft drinks, you name it. Musically, the Spice's Motown-lite was unoriginal, but 'Girl Power', despite being a male invention, touched a nerve and defined a generation of tweenies who took it to heart.

Without this ... five-year-olds would not have become a prime target for pop marketeers. Most of all, there'd be no Posh'n'Becks.'

& the Strokes'?...

'Five good-looking young men hauled the jangling sound of Television and the Velvet Underground into the new millennium, reinvigorating rock's obsession with having a good time.

Without this ... a fine brood of heirs would not have been spawned: among them, Franz Ferdinand and the Libertines.'


There Aretha is on the list, indeed. What was that EW writer smokin' when he wrote that?

The Spice Girls album is a bit out-there. It helped bring pop back for a time, but that's about it.

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

The EW writer didn't mention Aretha; in fact, Mariah was the only female he mentioned.

I Guess...

that second paragraph was an adlib, then?

Still, I wouldn't expect to see Mimi on such a list. Whitney, MAYBE, as her debut set a sort of template for others to follow.

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

Thanks Charlie!

Re: The Observer - 50 Albums That Changed Music

I guess the Spice girls album is there because it signified the death of grunge and arrival of bubblegum pop. Remember, because of the Spice girls we got the backstreet boys, NSync, and all those other pop groups that ruined the late nineties.

For the same matter the Strokes (along with the White Stripes, Hives and other "the" bands of the early millenium) are what ended the reign of pop groups and brought some sorely lacking authenticity to mainstream music.

I'm kinda glad the Rolling Stones were kept off the list too. They were about as innovative as "Little Man". Still, I'm kinda wondering where Sly and the Family Stone or Funkadelic were when that list was drawn up. And what about Neil Young? Neil "godfather of grunge" YOUNG?!

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