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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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460. Love It to Death ”“ Alice Cooper

Onstage, Cooper was the shock-rock king who decapitated baby dolls, but his early studio albums are smart, razor-sharp attacks of Detroit rock. On Love It to Death, producer Bob Ezrin joins him for the twisted kicks of “Hallowed Be My Name” and the teen-spirit anthem “I’m Eighteen.”

459. Strictly Business ”“ EPMD

At the height of hip-hop’s golden age, the summer of 1988, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, a.k.a. EPMD (Erick and Parrish Making Dollars), rolled out of Long Island with a new style of slow-grooving hip-hop funk. The title smash even samples “I Shot the Sheriff.”

458. John Prine ”“ John Prine

Prine was a former mailman turned folk singer, and his debut is a vision of America that is unique in its generosity, tolerance and wit. Prine sang about smoking dope, but his empathy for old folks (“Hello in There”) and a junkie Vietnam vet (“Sam Stone”) makes most hippie songwriters sound smug.

457. For Everyman ”“ Jackson Browne

Browne emerged as the J.D. Salinger of the California singer-songwriter scene with his second album, capturing the transition from the idealistic Sixties to the disillusioned Seventies. He sings a moving update of “These Days,” a song he originally wrote as a teenager for Velvet Underground singer Nico.

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456. Third/Sister Lovers – Big Star

Big Star recorded their third and final album in 1974, but it didn’t get released until 1978, in part because singer Alex Chilton sounds like he’s having a nervous breakdown. It’s a record of gorgeous, disjointed heartbreak ballads such as “Take Care,” “Nighttime” and “Blue Moon.”

455. Synchronicity – The Police

“I do my best work when I’m in pain and turmoil,” Sting told Rolling Stone. And indeed, the dissolution of his first marriage produced some of his best work yet, including “King of Pain” and the stalker’s anthem “Every Breath You Take.” There was pain and turmoil in the band, too ”” it would be the Police’s last album.

454. Getz/Gilberto – Stan Getz

The menthol-cool brazilian style of bossa nova met American jazz here, as saxman Getz teamed up with two Brazilian legends, guitarist-singer Joao Gilberto and pianist-songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim. Gilberto’s wife, Astrud, became a star herself with a sensual guest vocal on “The Girl From Ipanema.”

453. Ritual de lo Habitual – Jane’s Addiction

Perry Farrell began the Lollapalooza tour and helped shape Nineties rock. But his proudest moment? “Been Caught Stealing,” his insanely catchy ode to shoplifting. His band’s third album became the sound of the Lollapalooza Nation: Led Zeppelin bravado with goth eyeliner.

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452. Music – Madonna

Madonna aimed for “naked emotion” with this album, declaring, “This time, I’ve removed all the layers.” But she also looked hot in her cowboy hat. French producer Mirwais brought the glitch-techno grooves, as Madonna sang with soul and fire in “I Deserve It” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl.”

451. Back in the USA – MC5

In the sixties, the Motor City Five were the house band for the White Panther Party, devoted to “dope, guns and fucking in the streets.” But here the Detroit revolutionaries channel their ferocious sound and politics into the concise, Chuck Berry-style riffs of “The American Ruse,” “Looking at You” and “Shakin’ Street.”

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