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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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280. Folk Singer ”“ Muddy Waters
Worried that the folk-music fad was luring listeners away from the blues, Chess Records directed Waters to record with acoustic instruments. These sessions ”” by Waters, Willie Dixon and a young Buddy Guy ”” went astonishingly well, and this pioneering “unplugged” set is beloved by blues and folk fans alike.

279. My Life ”“ Mary J. Blige
Graced by soulful samples and revisions of classic R&B, this Puff Daddy-helmed second album is Blige’s most autobiographical. Upbeat jams such as “Be Happy” were created during her struggle with substance abuse and a tumultuous relationship. “There’s a real bad suicide spirit on there,” she admitted.

278. The Immaculate Collection ”“ Madonna
Like the 1987 remix album You Can Dance, this is a perfect Madonna CD: nothing but good songs. Here that means timeless pop such as “Holiday,” “Papa Don’t Preach” and the new Lenny Kravitz-produced fuck jam, “Justify My Love,” which samples Public Enemy.

277. Aladdin Sane ”“ David Bowie
“I think Aladdin was much more in the area of Ziggy goes to America, ” Bowie remarked of the Ziggy sequel written largely during his first extensive U.S. tour. “Time” bridges the two albums, but “The Jean Genie” and a raunchy cover of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” show a louder, harder, sexier Bowie.

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276. Anthology of American Folk Music – Harry Smith, ed.
This influential compilation inspired folk music, rekindled interest in the blues and shaped decades of pop. Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan covered and/or rewrote many of the tracks, and Jerry Garcia cut his turntable speed in half to master the solos.

275. Rhythm Nation 1814 ”“ Janet Jackson
Jackson bought a military suit and ruled the radio for two years with this album. Along with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, she fashions a grand pop statement with hip-hop funk (“Rhythm Nation”), slow jams (“Love Will Never Do [Without You]”), even hair metal (“Black Cat”).

274. Membership Connection ”“ Parliament
“Do not attempt to adjust your radio,” the DJ announces as George Clinton leads his Detroit crew of extraterrestrial brothers through a visionary album of science-fiction funk, doing it to you in your ear hole with jams such as “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (The Thump Bump).”

273. The Slim Shady LP ”“ Eminem
Here’s where Eminem introduced himself as a crazy white geek, the “class-clown freshman/ Dressed like Les Nessman.” Hip-hop had never heard anything like Em’s brain-damaged rhymes on this Dr. Dre-produced album, which earned Em respect, fortune, fame and a lawsuit from his mom.

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272. Nightbirds ”“ LaBelle
“Lady Marmalade” has one of funkiest chants in Seventies disco: “Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister!” Nobody did the disco girl-group thing quite like the ladies of LaBelle: They were Funkadelic meets the Supremes, complete with platform heels, silver-lamé spacesuits and songs about New Orleans prostitutes.

271. Going to a Go-Go ”“ Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Motown at its most debonair and sexy. Smokey Robinson works his sweeping soul falsetto over unbelievably sad ballads including “The Tracks of My Tears” and “Ooh Baby Baby” as the Miracles sob along. Even obscurities such as “Choosey Beggar” are top-notch.

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