500 Greatest Albums
Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others
500. Touch ”“ Eurythmics
Annie Lennox looked like a gender-bending robot zombie, but she sang with soul; producer Dave Stewart hid behind his beard and masterminded the sound. Together they made divine synth-pop, especially “Who’s That Girl,” a tale of kinked-up sexual obsession, and their biggest hit, “Here Comes the Rain Again.”
499. Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King
King’s first album for the Stax label combines his hard, unflashy guitar playing with the sleek sound of the label’s house band, Booker T. and the MGs. Hits such as “Crosscut Saw” and “Laundromat Blues” influenced rockers from Clapton to the Stones and earned King a new rock & roll audience.
498. Tres Hombres – ZZ Top
A decade before the Texas blues trio became MTV stars, ZZ Top got their first taste of national fame with this disc, which features one of their biggest hits, the John Lee Hooker-style boogie “La Grange,” as well as the boozy rocker “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and the concert anthem “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.”
497. Yo! Bum Rush the Show – Public Enemy
On the debut by Long Island’s hip-hop revolutionaries, baritone rapper Chuck D and his production crew the Bomb Squad introduced an intense, booming new sound and an urgent social and political message to rap music, especially on “You’re Gonna Get Yours” and “Miuzi Weighs a Ton.”
496. Destroyer ”“ KISS
By the time their fifth album was released, KISS was the most popular band in America, with sold-out stadium tours and eventually its own pinball machines, makeup line and a TV movie. Built around the proto power ballad “Beth,” this is a ridiculously over-the-top party-rock album that just gets better with age.
495. New Day Rising ”“ HÃ¼sker DÃ¼
These three Minneapolis dudes played savagely emotional hardcore punk that became a key influence on Nirvana and other Nineties alt-rockers. Guitarist Bob Mould and band created a roar like garbage trucks trying to sing Beach Boys songs, especially on the anthems “Celebrated Summer” and “Perfect Example.”
494. She’s So Unusual – Cyndi Lauper
Lauper’s first band had broken up, she had filed for bankruptcy, and she was singing in a Japanese restaurant. Then this debut album of razor-sharp dance pop became the first by a female performer to score four Top Five hits, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time.”
493. That’s the Way of the World – Earth, Wind and Fire
Before he got into African thumb piano and otherworldly philosophizing, founder Maurice White was a session drummer at Chess studios (that’s him on Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me”). EWF’s seventh album is make-out music of the gods; its title track is one of funk’s most gorgeous ballads.
492. Vitalogy ”“ Pearl Jam
They were the most successful rock band in the world by the time of their second record, Vs. They celebrated by suing Ticketmaster and making Vitalogy, where their mastery of rock’s past and future became complete. Soulful ballads such as “Nothingman” are matched by hardcore-influenced rockers such as “Spin the Black Circle.”
491. All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople
Mott the Hoople were a hard-rock band with a Dylan fixation until David Bowie got ahold of them and turned them into glam rockers. He penned the androgyne title track and had Mott cover Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane.” Mott would sound more soulful but never more sexy or glittery.