500 Greatest Albums
Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others
220. New Orleans Piano ”“ Professor Longhair
There may never have been a funnier, sunnier piano player. His rolling, rhumba-tinged piano style, yodeling vocals and whistling make tracks such as “Tipitina” swinging blasts of joy. New Orleans Piano collects Atlantic singles from 1949 to 1953, including “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”
219. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine
A shoegazer masterpiece, the second My Bloody Valentine album reportedly cost more than $500,000 and bankrupted the British band’s label. It was worth every penny: Loveless expanded the possibilities for noise as a form of melody, combining its dizzying guitar drone and Bilinda Butcher’s ethereal vocals.
218. Look-Ka Py Py – The Meters
The Meters were the house band for New Orleans’ genius pop producer Allen Toussaint and played on Seventies landmarks such as LaBelle’s Nightbirds. These instrumental jams ”” sampled by rappers including Nas and Salt-N-Pepa ”” are funk of the gods, with monster bass riffs and the off-the-beat drumming of Ziggy Modeliste.
217. Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys
Recorded when the three New York rappers were barely out of high school, Licensed to Ill remains a revolutionary combination of hip-hop beats, metal riffs and some of the most exuberant, unapologetic smart-aleck rhymes ever made. No wonder it went on to become the best-selling rap album of the Eighties.
216. The Queen is Dead – The Smiths
The original kings of British mope rock could have earned that title on the basis of this album alone. The Smiths’ third set is full of quiet rage (“The Queen Is Dead”), epic sadness (“There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”) and strummy social commentary (“Frankly Mr. Shankly”).
215. Two Steps From the Blues – Bobby Bland
This collection of the blues singer’s 1958-1961 singles was recorded after Bland had his tonsils removed and lost some of his upper register. The result ”” an even more stirring, guttural howl ”” is epitomized by “Little Boy Blue” and “Cry, Cry, Cry,” which erase any distinction between blues and soul.
214. Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
Diddley’s influence on rock & roll is inestimable, from the off-kilter rhythmic thump of “Pretty Thing” to his revved-up take on singing the blues. This album ”” a repackaging of his first two records ”” has nearly all of his important singles, including “I’m a Man” and “Who Do You Love?”
213. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
Glammed-out punkers the New York Dolls didn’t last long enough to top their debut. Produced by Todd Rundgren, songs such as “Personality Crisis” and “Bad Girl” drip with sleaze and style. The band snatches riffs from Chuck Berry and Fats Domino and fattens them with loads of attitude and reverb.
212. Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner – Ike and Tina Turner
Ike and Tina recorded so many singles for so many different labels, it would be tough to get them all on one CD. But Proud Mary has most of the soul duo’s best ones and documents the growing confidence of one of rock & roll’s greatest female singers.
211. Tattoo You – The Rolling Stones
Tattoo You spent nine weeks at Number One, on the strength of “Start Me Up” and “Waiting on a Friend.” Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins adds to the Stones’ bluesy swagger, and they remain in fine form on the reggae-tinged “Slave” and “Little T&A,” which finds Keith Richards barking like a mellower Johnny Rotten.