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500 Greatest Albums

Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others

Rolling Stone India May 19, 2011
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410. Pink Flag ”“ Wire

This first-generation U.K. punk band made sparse tunes that erupted in combustible snippets on its twenty-one-track debut album. America never got it, but Pink Flag ”” as revolutionary discs tend to do ”” influenced some important bands, including the Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Elastica and R.E.M.

409. 461 Ocean Boulevard – Eric Clapton

Clapton emerged from heroin addiction with a mellower but still substantive musical outlook. Boulevard recast him as a survivor who had traded guitar histrionics for self-preservation. Songs such as “Motherless Children” flash his old chops, but here his fire is fueling, not consuming, him.

408. Time Out of Mind – Bob Dylan

The first of Dylan’s two late-career triumphs. Producer Daniel Lanois’ dark, atmospheric settings envelops Dylan in a sonic fog appropriate to the isolation and distance he sings of in a ravaged, weary voice. The songs ”” especially “Love Sick” and “Not Dark Yet” ”” are ghostly but forceful.

407. Strange Days ”“ The Doors

Though it lacks a song as captivating as “Light My Fire,” the Doors’ second album is nearly as strong as their debut, The Doors, released earlier the same year. A mood of alienation, evident on “Strange Days” and “People Are Strange,” carries through to the lengthy closer, “When the Music’s Over.”

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406. I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got – Sinead O’Connor

O’Connor’s second LP is most remembered for her dramatic reading of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” But I Do Not Want delivers true originality and range, from the maternal warmth of “Three Babies” to the fiddle and beatbox of “I Am Stretched on Your Grave.”

405. Rid of Me – PJ Harvey

Like Patti Smith, she wanted to be Bob Dylan. Unlike Patti Smith, she played guitar very, very loud. Polly Jean Harvey’s second album, recorded with Steve Albini, is charged with aggressive eroticism and rock fury. It careens from blues to goth to grunge, often in the space of a single song.

404. Sandinista! – The Clash

The Clash’s ballooning ambition peaked with Sandinista!, a three-album set named after the Nicaraguan revolutionary movement. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones reached beyond punk and reggae into dub, R&B, calypso, gospel and whatever else ”” say, a kids’ chorus on “Career Opportunities” ”” crossed their minds.

403. Radio City ”“ Big Star

Like the Velvet Underground, Big Star’s influence far outstripped their sales. On this lean, guitar-driven album they come up with a new, upside-down pop sound, filtering their love of the Beatles through their Memphis-soul roots. Towering achievement: the blissful, sad “September Gurls.”

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402. Dr. John’s Gumbo – Dr. John

After a series of eerie, voodoo-stoked records, pianist Mac Rebennack ”” a.k.a. Dr. John ”” returned to his New Orleans roots with spirited covers of classics such as “Iko Iko” and “Junko Partner.” With his rolling piano figures and gritty vocals, Dr. John rekindled interest in the New Orleans sound.

401. (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd) – Lynyrd Skynyrd

From the git-go, these mainstays of Southern rock played hard, lived hard and shot from the hip (with three guitars!). Discovered and produced by Al Kooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd offered taut rockers including “Poison Whiskey” and the ultimate anthem, “Freebird.”

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