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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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470. Document ”“ R.E.M

R.E.M. were trying something new with each new album in the Eighties, but this straight-ahead rock move was the one that made them mainstream stars. “The One I Love” and “Finest Worksong” were hits, but the best-loved fan favorite is the manic “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine).”

469. Metal Box ”“ Public Image Ltd.

After the Sex Pistols exploded, Johnny Rotten reclaimed his real name ”” John Lydon ”” and started his bold new band. PIL played eerie, futuristic art punk with dub bass and slashing guitar. The U.K. release Metal Box (retitled Second Edition in the U.S.) originally came as three vinyl discs in a metal film canister.

468. Elton John ”“ Elton John

John doesn’t exactly look like a rock star on the cover of his U.S. debut album. But he does have the tunes, with Paul Buckmaster’s orchestrations and Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, on piano ballads such as “Your Song” and the enigmatic rocker “Take Me to the Pilot.” Elton John has been a rock star ever since.

467. Love and Theft ”“ Bob Dylan

Blood, desperation and wicked gallows humor are in the air as Dylan and his road band provide a raucous tour of twentieth-century musical America via jump blues, slow blues, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley ballads and country swing. “Summer Days” sounds like the exact moment when R↦B morphed into rock & roll.

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466. Live Through This ”“ Hole

On Hole’s breakthrough album, Courtney Love wants to be “the girl with the most cake,” and spends the whole album paying for it, in the punk-rock anguish of “Miss World,” “Softer, Softest” and “Doll Parts.” Sadly, Kurt Cobain’s body was found just days before the album was released.

465. Golden Hits ”“ The Drifters

By the early 1960s, the Drifters had evolved into the most suave soul group on the block. Even after Ben E. King went solo (scoring with “Stand by Me”), producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and the Drifters kept coming up with timeless odes to urban romance such as “Up on the Roof” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

464. The Blueprint ”“ Jay-Z

If Frank Sinatra had been born a Brooklyn rapper, The Blueprint is the album he would have made. It’s all flash and bravado, with Jay-Z dissing rivals, talking smack about his troubles with the cops and flossing hard with ladies all around the world, as he samples everyone from the Doors to the Jackson 5.

463. Tumbleweed Connection ”“ Elton John

John has always had a jones for the mythology of the American West. Along with lyricist Bernie Taupin, he indulges his cowboy fantasies in songs such as “Burn Down the Mission.” “Amoreena” plays unforgettably in the opening scene of the Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon.

462. Here, My Dear ”“ Marvin Gaye

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It’s one of the weirdest Motown records ever. Gaye’s divorce settlement required him to make two new albums and pay the royalties as alimony to his ex-wife ”” the sister of Motown boss Berry Gordy. So Gaye made this bitterly funny double LP of breakup songs, including “You Can Leave, but It’s Going to Cost You.”

461. How Will the Wolf Survive? ”“ Los Lobos

“We were kids with long hair and plaid shirts playing Mexican folk instruments,” said Los Lobos’ Louie Perez. But the band, lifelong friends from East L.A., became a surprise success, mixing traditional Mexican sounds with blues and rockabilly for tough, whomping roots rock.

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