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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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480. Faith – George Michael

When Michael left Wham!, he signified his new maturity by not shaving; thankfully, his music was still tasty pop candy. “I Want Your Sex” is one of the decade’s best Prince imitations, and the best ballad is the spooky, soulful “Father Figure,” which underscores the incestuous implications of the word baby in most lyrics.

479. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight – Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard played guitar like a Sufi-mystic Neil Young; wife Linda had the voice of a Celtic Emmylou Harris. Bright Lights is their masterwork of folk-rock dread. To hear where Radiohead picked up some guitar tricks, check out “The Calvary Cross.”

478. Radio ”“ LL Cool J

LL Cool J was only sixteen when he released his first single, “I Need a Beat.” A year later, he had the first hit on the fledgling Def Jam label. The sound he and producer Rick Rubin found on hits such as “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” “That’s a Lie” and “Rock the Bells” was harder and leaner than hip-hop had ever been before.

477. The Score ”“ The Fugees

On their second album, the Fugees, led by Wyclef Jean, blend R&B and hip-hop influences into an eclectic, politically aware sound on joints such as “Fu-Gee-La.” But the track that grabbed everybody was the cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” showcasing the amazing pipes of Lauryn Hill.

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476. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

“Born in Chicago” is where the white youth of America got the notion they could play the blues. But this band had two killer guitarists ”” Michael Bloomfield, a rich kid from Chicago, and Elvin Bishop ”” and their blues knew no color boundaries.

475. Tunnel of Love – Bruce Springsteen

After the big-scale Born in the U.S.A., this came as a shock ”” Springsteen stripped down for an album of stark, intimate, mostly acoustic confessionals. The newly wed superstar gets personal on adult love songs such as “One Step Up” and “Walk Like a Man.” The marriage may not have lasted ”” but the music does.

474. Live in Europe – Otis Redding

The Memphis soul man was a brilliant, methodical craftsman in the studio. But he also really knew how to bring it onstage. On this live album, Redding lives up to his reputation as a crowd flattener, exuding the warmth, humor and high spirits that always made him much, much more than a mere virtuoso.

473. A Rush of Blood to the Head – Coldplay

Chris Martin’s ambition for his songwriting is simple: “Emotion that can make you feel sad while you’re moving your legs.” Coldplay churn out bighearted British guitar rock on their second album, with the romantic strains of “The Scientist,” “Clocks” and “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.”

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472. Hysteria ”“ Def Leppard

Def Leppard had a run of bad luck in the Eighties, especially when drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car crash on New Year’s Eve 1984. But the lads admirably decided to stick by their old mate, who learned to play drums using his feet. The band was vindicated when Hysteria and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” became a smash.

471. Heaven Up Here ”“ Echo and the Bunnymen

The Bunnymen refresh psychedelia for the New Wave era with an arena of foggy guitars and doomy drums, while Ian McCulloch updates the aura of Jim Morrison. Melody meets melodrama on the title track and on “A Promise,” where McCulloch sing-sobs a story of love gone wrong.

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