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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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240. Run-DMC – Run-DMC
“It’s good to be raw,” said Run, and the metallic guitar powering “Rock Box” proved it when the song became the first rap video on MTV. Run-DMC’s debut ditches party rhymes to codify B-boy style and make history, from the way they dress to their hard beats to the everyday subject matter of “It’s Like That.”

239. Let It Be ”“ The Replacements
Copping a beatles title was cheeky; attaching it to a post-punk masterpiece was a sign of maturity. Said Paul Westerberg, “This was the first time I had songs that we arranged, rather than just banging out riffs.” Mixing punk, pop and country with raw, wry lyrics, he wrote “Unsatisfied” for his lagging bandmates.

238. Can’t Buy a Thrill ”“ Steely Dan
Working as hired songwriters by day, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker rehearsed this debut in executives’ offices by night. “We play rock & roll, but we swing,” said Becker. For proof, check the cool lounge-jazz rhythms of “Do It Again” and the hot guitar of “Reelin’ in the Years.”

237. Like A Prayer ”“ Madonna
“I like the challenge of merging art and commerce,” Madonna told Rolling Stone. Artistic recognition was won with her most personal set of songs, including “Till Death Do Us Part” and “Oh Father”; commerce with “Express Yourself” and the title track, whose video had the Vatican talking about blasphemy.

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236. The Who Sings My Generation – The Who
The Who introduce themselves in maximum R&;B mode: power-chorded reductions of James Brown ballads. But when Pete Townshend was badgered by a manager into beefing up his laid-back demo of “My Generation,” the resulting explosion knocked a hole in the future.

235. Mr. Excitement! ”“ Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson was an electrifying performer who made R&B rock and also sang ballads with a voice, said arranger Dick Jacobs, “like honey on moonbeams.” This three-disc anthology compiles everything from his earliest Fifties singles to his final recordings in the Seventies.

234. The Ultimate Collection – Patsy Cline
Her career was cut short when she died in a plane crash at thirty, but Cline made her mark as one of country’s great singers. Country hits “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall to Pieces” also made it to the pop charts. Her version of “Crazy” was a godsend to struggling writer Willie Nelson.

233. Bookends ”“ Simon and Garfunkel
Paul Simon has said this is “the quintessential Simon and Garfunkel album.” It is certainly far-ranging, a mostly dark, beautifully written voyage that includes both the epic “America” and the Graduate theme “Mrs. Robinson,” still a pop-radio staple. The duo produced the record themselves, with brilliant restraint.

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232. Mr. Tambourine Man ”“ The Byrds
“Wow, man, you can even dance to that!” said Bob Dylan when he heard the Byrds’ heavily harmonized, electric twelve-string treatments of his material. The Byrds’ debut defined folk rock with Pete Seeger and Dylan songs, and punchy, ringing guitars.

231. The Kink Kroinkles ”“ The Kinks
Covering the years 1966 to 1970, this double-disc set anthologizes the second act in the Kinks’ venerable career. Observational narratives such as “Waterloo Sunset” reveal Ray Davies to be a master miniaturist. “That’s what I write about,” Davies remarked, “the immense smallness of life.”

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