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Best four album stretch

I got this idea from a discussion that started bubbling in the Rolling Stones thread: What four album stretch is the best? It started with schleuse pointing out the late 60's early 70's stretch of the Stones. John then threw out there the Beatles, Bowie, Radiohead, and Led Zep.

Let's expand this, shall we? Which is your favorite:

- Rolling Stones (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street)
- Beatles (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour or White Album (depending on how you count Magical Mystery Tour)
- David Bowie (Man who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane)
- Radiohead (The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac)
- Led Zeppelin (I, II, III, IV)

and here's some other suggestions, either because I love them, or there seems to be a critical consensus behind these albums:

- Stevie Wonder (Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale, Songs in the Key of Life)
- Sly and the Family Stone (Life, Stand!, There's a Riot Goin' On, Fresh)
- Talking Heads ('77, More Songs about Buildings and Food, Fear of Magic, Remain in Light)
- Bob Dylan (Bringing It All Back Home, Hughway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding)
- The Who (The Who Sell Out, Tommy, Who's Next, Quadrophenia)
- The Kinks (Face to Face, Something Else, Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur)
- OutKast (ATLiens, Aquemini, Stankonia, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below)
- Beck (Odelay, Mutations, Midnite Vultures, Sea Change)
- Bjork (Debut, Post, Homogenic, Vespertine (not counting Selmasongs))
- PJ Harvey (Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love, Is This Desire?, Songs from the City, Songs from the Sea)
- Pavement (Slanted and Enchanted, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Wowie Zowie, Brighten the Corners)
- White Stripes (White Stripes, De Stijl, White Blood Cells, Elephant)

Important bands/artists that I think just missed because of a dud or two in the middle (although I'd be willing to hear from someone who thinks otherwise): Prince, U2, Springsteen, Velvet Underground, Super Furry Animals (my top nominee for most underrated band), R.E.M., Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Clash, Neil Young.

Personally, I have to go with the Beatles, followed by Radiohead and Beck. What about you?

Re: Best four album stretch

Just saw schleuse's comprehensive (as always) reply on the Rolling Stones site, and you should all check it out. He actually did the "Acclaimed Music" math. This thread should be for personal picks, then.

Re: Best four album stretch

VU's first 4 has a dud in there? I thought that was considered a pretty solid run.

Admittedly, I hardly listen to White Light / White Heat, but it still fits in as a pretty strong album among the other 3. If Nico, Self-Titled, or Loaded are a problem we've got a (friendly) disagreement.

I also thing Flaming Lips from 93s Transmission from the Satellite Heart through 2002 Yoshimi is a solid 4 run (5 if you count Zaireeka)

Re: Best four album stretch

Magical Mystery Tour was not meant to be an album it was another way for Captitol Records to make money on the Beatles. Magical Mystery Tour was originally an EP the four albums should be Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers and the White Album. Of course you add the singles the Beatles released in that time period the Beatles win over the Stones.

Re: Best four album stretch

My vote goes to Dylan, for the stretch from Bringing It to John Wesley Harding. I love all four albums.

Beatles would be a close second (if Rubber Soul is included). And maybe Elvis Costello's first four comes in third.

One other nomine not mentioned yet: Bruce - Born To Run, Darkness, The River, and Nebraska (maybe the sticking point for some, but I like it).

Re: Best four album stretch

That's a pretty darn good list to start with, Schwah. I get excited just looking at the stretches by the T-Heads and Dylan. And, if I didn't disallow live albums, if you take out Quadrophenia and substitute Live at Leeds, the Who have an amazing run from Sell Out to Who's Next.

As for the artists you list who may have had a misfire in the middle of a string of great albums...

I don't think there's a dud in R.E.M.'s string Document-Green-Out of Time-Automatic for the People; despite the rankings, I actually think Out of Time is the weakest of that group.

Same thing with the Clash: s/t, Give Em Enough Rope, London Calling and Sandinista...that just gives me chills. Side 2 of Enough Rope is a little soft, and Sandinista has the White Album problem (it would have been twice as good if it were half as long), but that's an astonishingly strong group, especially since it's a relatively short time frame.

I'd also throw in Blur: Modern Life Is Rubbish-Parklife-Great Escape-s/t. Great Escape is the weak sister here, but it's underrated--if it wasn't for the terrible cover art, terrible lead single ("Country House"), and Oasis-feud backlash, I think it would be more highly regarded.

One more: Pixies. Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova, Trompe Le Monde.

Re: Best four album stretch

Those Pixies albums are all great. I think REM is dragged down by Green and I'd give it to their first four albums before those. Reckoning is one of the best albums ever.

Re: Best four album stretch

The Beatles: Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, White Album, Abbey Road
Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic, Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja
Led Zeppelin: III, IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti
Stevie Wonder: Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness First Finale, Songs In The Key of Life
Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, Another Green World, Low, Before & After Science
Todd Rundrgen: Runt.The Ballad, Something/Anything?, A Wizard A True Star, Todd
Scott Walker: Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, Scott 4
Joni Mitchell: For The Roses, Court & Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira
Mizell Brothers: Black Byrd, Street Lady, Blacks & Blues, Gambler's Life
Pink Floyd: Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals
Madlib: Madvillainy, Tribute to Brother Weldon, Further Adventures of Lord Quas, Funky Side of Life
Bob James: One, Two, Three, BJ4
Frank Zappa: Lumpy Gravy, We're Only In It For The Money, Hot Rats, Uncle Meat
Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Dots & Loops, Cobra & Phases..., Sound-Dust
The Kinks: Face to Face, Something Else, The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur
The Doors: The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting For The Sun, The Soft Parade
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, Band of Gypsys

Re: Best four album stretch

I'd give it to Dylan probably

Re: Best four album stretch

It's Dylan without A doubt. Nothing can even rival those 4 albums, they are head an shoulders above any other major artists work at the time, even stones and beatles.

Re: Best four album stretch

That Blur one is tough because of Great Escape. I'd really like to say Parklife - Blur - 13 - Think Tank, but then there's that sticky wicket of Great Escape in there which interrupts what would've been a great five album stretch.

The best stretch is definitely Springsteen: Born to Run - Darkness on the Edge of Town - The River - Nebraska - Born in the U.S.A., but that's five albums.

I'd have to say the most obvious answer, the Stones, is the best four album run: Beggar's Banquet - Let It Bleed - Sticky Fingers - Exile on Main Street

I think the best one of late would be Wilco: Being There - Summer Teeth - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - A Ghost is Born

Re: Best four album stretch

I'd have to say..

1) Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home, Hughway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, Live 1966, John Wesley Harding
2) Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street
3) Bruce Springsteen Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Nebraska, Born in the U.S.A.
4) The Who - The Who Sell Out, Tommy, Live at Leeds, Who's Next, Quadrophenia
5) The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, Loaded

Top 4 have 5, VU didn't get that far unfortunately. Can we count Transformer as their 5th album? If so, they might overtake The Who.

Re: Best four album stretch

it's very difficult for me to answer this question, because I'm in the process of listening to my entire "best of" collection to make my top 100 this winter
last time i did a top 100 was in 1997, and I realized my tastes have changed
For instance : i don't dig Led zep as luch as I used to

for what I know, I would say

The Beatles : Revolver - Sgt Pepper - Magical - White (too bad there's the f... Yellow Submarine, cause Icould have added Abbey Road)
Bruce : Greetings - the Wild..-Born To Run - Darkness
Led Zep (anyway) : I II III IV
Tom Waits : Swordfish-Rain Dogs-Frank's Wild Years-Bone Machine
But also
Creedence : from Bayou Country to Cosmos' Factory
Prince : from Purple Rain to Sign O the Times

Re: Best four album stretch

Great lists by Schwah an Jorgito!

But in my opinion the best studio-album stretch by Bowie is actually: Station To Station-Low-"Heroes"-Lodger.
I think these are quite solid as well:

Prince: Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain. Not a dud in sight in my opinion.
Talk Talk: It’s My Life, The Colour Of Spring, Spirit Of Eden, Laughing Stock (“It’s My Life” might be a lesser classic than the others, but still)
Gang Starr: Step In The Arena, Daily Operation, Hard To Earn, Moment Of Truth
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True, This Years Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!!!
Al Green: Next To You, Let's Stay Together, I'm Still In Love With You, Call Me
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Vol. 4
Metallica: Kill Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, And Justice For All
Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach

Hard to pick favorites, but the album stretches I'd most like to listen to at this moment are probably by Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Talk Talk

Re: Best four album stretch

1. The Velvet Underground
(TVU&N, WL/WH, TVU, Loaded)
2. The Beatles
(Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, The White Album)
3. David Bowie
(Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station To Station, Low)
4. Bob Dylan
(The Times They Are A-Changin', Another Side Of, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited)

Re: Best four album stretch

Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers and The White Album over Dylan easily. I guess starting classic rock does not count for some of you people. Led Zeppelin and the Stones are close though.

Re: Best four album stretch

Starting it doesn't mean that much to me, I only look at how much I enjoy certain records.

Re: Best four album stretch

Of course, Neil Young from everybody knows to On The Beach, if you elude Time Fades Away (a live that I don't know)

Re: Best four album stretch

John, I considered R.E.M.'s first four albums, but in that case I think Fables of the Reconstruction is pretty weak.

I will argue my corner that Green is at least comparable to Out of Time, if not better:

Great songs: Pop Song 89, World Leader Pretend, Orange Crush.
Good songs: Get Up, You Are the Everything, Stand, Turn You Inside Out.
Mediocre songs: Hairshirt, I Remember California, ghost track.
Awful song: The Wrong Child.

Great songs: Losing My Religion, Country Feedback.
Good songs: Low, Near Wild Heaven, Texarkana, Me in Honey.
Mediocre songs: Radio Song, Endgame, Belong, Half a World Away.
Special category: Shiny Happy People (decent song later repudiated by the band).

Re: Best four album stretch

5. The Smiths
(The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead, Strangeways Here We Come)

Re: Best four album stretch

I agree with you about Green.
It's the first REM album I owned (in tape, I lost it since) and I liked it very much, probably more than Out of time, from what I remember.

Re: Best four album stretch

Impressive suites, all of them.

Actually I'd say Dylan is capable of a *second* one, although not one likely to win the contest (Blood On The Tracks - Desire - Street Legal - Slow Train Coming).

Re: Best four album stretch

Oh yeah - I think I might actually like that Smiths one better,don't know why I didn't think of it - but yeah,they were damn consistent. Can't understand people drooling over that Beatles run though. Rubber Soul has some weak,glib type songs - Sgt. Peppers and The White Album have loads of filler - they've been way more solid albums than those Beatles ones...

Re: Best four album stretch

I think I was being overly harsh to state that some fo the artists I didn't list (VU, Prince, Clash, etc., Springsteen) had duds in the middle. They just had albums I didn't care for in the middle. Many would say the same for the albums I did name. Lots don't care for Is This Desire?, Midnite Vultures, Wowie Zowie, Village Green.

And Snusmumrik - Bob Dylan seems to be currently one album away from his 3d great four-album run.

Re: Best four album stretch

Alright I'll take a stab at this. These are just my favorites. I couldn't do Pavement because Wowee Zowee is not good at all. I also wanted to get the Dandy Warhols on the list but they fall one short. I was able to come up with 18 artists that had four really good albums in a row.

1. Beatles: Beatles For Sale, Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver
2. Elliott Smith: ST, Either/Or, XO, Figure 8
3. Kinks: Face To Face, Something Else, Village Green, Arthur
4. David Bowie: Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane
5. Radiohead: OK Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail To the Thief
6. Beck: Mellow Gold, Odelay, Mutations, Midnite Vultures
7. Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, Remain in the Light, Speaking in Tongues
8. Replacements: Hootenanny, Let It Be, Tim, Pleased To Meet Me
9. Velvet Underground: VU and Nico, White Light/White Heat, Velvet Underground, Loaded
10. Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu Tang, Forever, The W, Iron Flag
11. Pixies: Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova, Trompe le Monde
12. REM: Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant, Document
13. Bob Dylan: Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding
14. Pink Floyd: Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, Animals, the Wall
15. Destroyer: Streethawk, This Night, Your Blues, Rubies
16. Guided By Voices: Mag Earwhig, Do the Collapse, Isolation Drills, Universal Truths and Cycles
17. Jonathan Richman: ST, Goes Country, Having a Party, I Jonathan
18. Madonna: ST, Like a Virgin, True Blue, Like a Prayer

Re: Best four album stretch

radiohead ok comp, kid a, amnesiac, httt, in rainbows?

Re: Best four album stretch

Can't judge an album before it's released imbo.

Re: Best four album stretch

Wot about best 6 album stretch ? STEELY DAN of course;
Cant Buy A Thrill, Countdown To Ecstasy, Pretzel Logic,Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja !! Genius.

Re: Best four album stretch

my top pick would have to be nirvana from bleach to unplugged. incesticide not included.

Re: Best four album stretch

Prince- Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign o' the Times, Lovesexy

Björk- Debut, Post, Homogenic, Selmasongs, Vespertine, Medulla

The Cure- Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography, Japanese Whispers, The Top, The Head on the Door, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Disintegration, Wish

Eurythmics- In the Garden, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Touch, 1984: For the Love of Big Brother

David Bowie- Station to Station, Low, "Heroes", Lodger, Scary Monsters

Kylie Minogue- Impossible Princess, Light Years, Fever, Body Language

New Order- Power, Corruption & Lies, Low Life, Brotherhood, Technique

Depeche Mode- Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Music for the Masses, Violator

Stevie Wonder- Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale, Songs in the Key of Life

Re: Best four album stretch

Not taking Magical Mystery Tour into consideration, my pick would be:

The Beatles - Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, White Album

As early R.E.M. fan, my favorite 8 album stretch would be:
R.E.M. - Murmur, Reckoning, Fables, Pageant, Document, Green, Out Of Time, Automatic

Re: Best four album stretch

Hell, Dre, I'd make it a TEN-album stretch and extend it to Monster and New Adventures. Monster is no masterpiece, but it gets a lot more crap than it deserves (mostly because it's such a departure from Automatic), and New Adventures is their last great album.

Re: Best four album stretch

I wonder how Monster would sound, if Joplin would sing here and Hendrix playing the guitar

But serious, you're right, Monster is okay and after New Adventures they might as well have stopped. There are still some nice songs on their latest albums, but the albums are mediocre.

Re: Best four album stretch

This is all I can think of at the moment:

The Beatles - Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album

The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, Sticky Fingers

The Velvet Underground - The VU & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The VU, Loaded

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding

The Kinks - Face to Face, Something Else, The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur

The Who - The Who Sell Out, Tommy, Live at Leeds, Who's Next

The Byrds - Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, Sweetheart at the Rodeo

T. Rex - A Beard of Stars, T. Rex, Electric Warrior, The Slider

David Bowie - The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane

Led Zeppelin - I, II, III, IV

Todd Rundgren - Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything?, A Wizard A True Star, Todd

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, Friends

Re: Best four album stretch

Agree with you Pierrot le fou about Todd Rundgren !

Re: Best four album stretch

Hehe first post, I agree with Radiohead, Dylan, Bjork, Pavement & The White Stripes. However my favourite stretch of 4 albums is:

Sonic Youth-Sister, Daydream Nation, Goo, Dirty

Re: Best four album stretch

So Dylan isn't classic rock?

Take your hand off it

His sixties output was as good, if not better than the Beatles. And since then, he's put out another 10 good albums at least. New Morning, Desire, Blood On The Tracks, Slow Train Coming, Street Legal, Infidels Oh, Mercy, Time Out of Mind, Love And Theft, Modern Times, not to mention masterpieces that pop up on his lesser albums, e.g Every Grain Of Sand.

Re: Best four album stretch

You hardly hear Dylan in classic rock radio. I would class him as classic rock starting with Like A Rolling Stone. Dylan though was never a huge chart presence so his radio airplay will never be great. I don't want to start another major arguement but his stuff is nowhere as innovative as A Day in the Life or Tomorrow Never Knows. That might be the biggest reason why you don't hear him in classic rock radio his music sounds dated.

Re: Best four album stretch

Stereolab-Peng,Space-age Bachelor Pad Music,Transient Random Noise Bursts,Mars Audiac Quintet.
Mercury Rev-Yerself Is Steam,Boces,See You On The Other Side,Deserters Songs.
Guided By Voices-Vampire On Titus,Bee Thousand,Alien Lanes,Under The Bushes.
Husker Du-Zen Arcade,New Day Rising,Flip Your Wig,Candy Apple Grey.
Swell-Swell,Well?,41,Too Many Days Without Thinking.