Sunday, November 23, 2003

Top 500 Albums

Rolling Stone has come out with a list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
I love lists like this even though it is in many ways a pointless exercise meant only to sell more magazines. When I was in college Rolling Stone put out a list of the top 100 rock albums that greatly influenced by music buying habits at the time. I discovered lots of music I might not have discovered for some time as a result. That list, like this one, was heavily biased in favor of alternative and “punk” music. For example, they inexplicably ranked “Never Mind the Bollocks” by the Sex Pistols at No. 3. This time the Sex Pistols are down in the 40s somewhere, but really shouldn’t be on the list at all.

All in all, I count about 65 artists on the list that unquestionably belong there in my opinion. Another 25 I’m sure belong as well, though I am not as familiar with their work. And then there are about 40 artists whose inclusion I could go either way on.
But there are more than 100 artists on the list that I would jettison to make room for some glaring omissions.

I was surprised that they could find no room on their list for anything by Boston, Rush, Heart, John Mellencamp or Stevie Ray Vaughn. I would think most classic rock stations would have difficulty filling out an hours worth of music without these artists. They also left off Frampton Comes Alive.

Some other glaring omissions that would certainly appear on my own list include:
The Black Crowes; Hall & Oates; Jim Croce; Steppenwolf; The Doobie Brothers; J. Geils Band; Foreigner; Electric Light Orchestra; Bachman Turner Overdrive; Deep Purple; Loverboy; Genesis; Asia; Billy Squire; Rick Springfield; INXS; REO Speedwagon; The Bee Gees; The Wall Flowers and Stone Temple Pilots.

The list of 500 also presumes to include other genres such as country and jazz, but in so doing it falls far short of being comprehensive. For example, while they include works by Hank Williams; Johnny Cash; Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, they have nothing from George Strait; Alabama; Garth Brooks; Dwight Yoakum or John Denver. And I would add in The Dixie Chicks; Alison Krauss and Union Station; and Nickel Creek.

The omissions are even worse on the jazz side where they include works by Miles Davis; John Coltrane; Stan Getz and Ornette Coleman, but have nothing from Louie Armstrong; Bennie Goodman, Count Basie, Dizzie Gillespie or Duke Ellington.

And then probably the thing that ticks me off the most is that they include music by Frank Sinatra, but have nothing whatsoever by Bing Crosby! Outrageous!!

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