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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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270. The Beach Boys Today! ”“ The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys were still into cars, girls and surfboards, but Brian Wilson was already a genius. He writes sweet California tunes here, from “When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)” to “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister.” And the haunting “She Knows Me Too Well” hits as deep as anything on Pet Sounds.

269. Some Girls ”“ The Rolling Stones
“Christ, Keith fuckin’ gets busted every year,” Mick Jagger fumed. Keith Richards was lost in drug hell, and the Stones were on the verge of destruction, but they bounced back with “Miss You,” the sleazy “Shattered” and “When the Whip Comes Down.” And Richards does his best song, “Before They Make Me Run.”

268. Psycho Candy ”“ The Jesus and Mary Chain
Pretty Scottish boys surfing a wave of doom and gloom and enjoying every moment of it. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s debut is a decadent alt-rock masterpiece of bubblegum pop ”” such as “Just Like Honey,” “My Little Underground” and “Never Understand” ”” drowned in feedback.

267. There Goes Rhymin’ Simon ”“ Paul Simon
After his great 1972 solo debut, Simon could stop proving he could go it alone without Art Garfunkel. So he made the sunniest music of his career, lifted by the R&B and doo-wop rhythms he grew up loving. The hit: “Kodachrome,” about “all the crap I learned in high school.”

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266. Quadrophenia – The Who
The album that brought back Vespa scooters, parkas and uppers: Pete Townshend took a look at the Who’s roots in the London mod scene of the early Sixties and composed this expansive, messy rock opera about a lonely teenage boy looking for love in the city. It gets even better when you check out the movie.

265. Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The third classic album that Creedence cranked out in less than a year, after Green River and Willie and the Poor Boys. Highlights: the eleven-minute guitar party “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and the front-porch reverie “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

264. Child is Father to the Man – Blood, Sweat and Tears
Blood, Sweat and Tears are usually remembered as middle-of-the-road oldies-radio faves. But this album shows the original outfit, headed by organist Al Kooper, to be an eclectic blues-rock collective that recorded hard-bitten gems such as “I Can’t Quit Her.”

263. The Genius of Ray Charles – Ray Charles
Charles spent the fifties working hard to pioneer his own sound, fusing jazz, gospel and the blues into a new soul style that changed American music. But here he relaxes: Genius is easy ”” swinging pop, featuring big-band accompaniment. When he sings “Am I Blue?” the only answer is “Hell, yeah!”

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262. Workingman’s Dead ”“ Grateful Dead
“We weren’t feeling so much like an experimental music group,” Jerry Garcia said. “More like a good old band.” On Workingman’s Dead, the Dead strip down for eight spooky country and folk tunes that rival the best of Bob Dylan, especially on the morbid “Black Peter” and “Dire Wolf.”

261. Tracy Chapman ”“ Tracy Chapman
Somehow, this young folk singer came out of nowhere to catch everyone’s ear during the hair-metal late Eighties. Chapman had already spent time strumming her acoustic guitar for spare change on the streets around Boston, but her gritty voice and storytelling made “Fast Car” hit home.

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