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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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430. At Budokan ”“ Cheap Trick

After three studio albums, Cheap Trick were bigger in Japan than in their native America. But this record of a live Tokyo gig became their first U.S. hit. The Japanese schoolgirls are practically the lead instrument here, screaming their lungs out to “Surrender” and “I Want You to Want Me.”

429. Grievious Angel ”“ Gram Parsons

Parsons helped invent country rock with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but he perfected it here. Emmylou Harris was his ideal singing partner, and their voices blend in the high lonesome wail of “Brass Buttons” and “$1,000 Wedding.” Weeks after finishing the album, Parsons was dead at twenty-six.

428. Kid A ”“ Radiohead

Just when they seemed destined to become the next U2, Radiohead made this fractured, twitchy record. Despite esoteric nods to glitchy electronica (“Idioteque”) and free jazz (an eight-horn pileup in “The National Anthem”), they morphed those sounds into a surprisingly accessible elegy to tenderness ”” and had a hit anyway.

427. Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes ”“ The Ronettes

More a spanish harlem street gang than a girl group, the Ronettes were pop goddesses dressed as Catholic schoolgirls gone to hell and back. Phil Spector builds his Wall of Sound as his teen protegee Ronnie Spector belts “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain.”

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426. The Battle of Los Angeles ”“ Rage Against The Machine

Some punk, lots of funk, plenty of metal and a mother lode of righteous political fury ”” it all added up to Rage’s loudest album, their last before the band fell apart in 2000. Tom Morello’s boombastic guitar effects sounded even more pissed off than Zack de la Rocha’s raps.

425. Changesone ”“ David Bowie

Bowie’s first greatest-hits collection sums up the finest disguises of his golden years. He plays the sex-crazed glitter rocker of “Rebel Rebel,” the sensitive poet of “Changes,” the lonely astro boy of “Space Oddity” and the utterly deranged soul crooner of “Young Americans.” And the man was just getting started.

424. King of the Delta Blues Singers Vol. 2 – Robert Johnson

Johnson died at twenty-seven ”” poisoned by a jealous husband. But he left behind these 1930s recordings, just a haunted man and his acoustic guitar. His moaning at the end of “Love in Vain” is still one of the saddest sounds ever heard.

423. Greatest Hits – The Mamas and the Papas

This wonderful hits collection confirms this folk-rock-harmony group’s wide range of gifts. Among them: the jaunty birth-of-a-band humor in “Creeque Alley,” the brassy pop of “I Saw Her Again” and the tenderness of the ode to teen runaways, “Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon).”

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422. The Best of the Girl Groups Volumes 1 and 2 – Various Artists

In the lean years between Elvis and the Beatles, the girl groups kept the spirit of rock & roll alive. This package has the classics: The Shirelles are the sleek ones, the Ronettes are the sexy ones, and the Shangri-Las are the scary biker chicks hanging on the corner.

421. The “Chirping” Crickets – Buddy Holly and the Crickets

Holly was only twenty-one when the Crickets cut these tracks, some on an Oklahoma Air Force base. With these standards ”” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Oh Boy,” “Maybe Baby,” “Not Fade Away” ”” Holly melded country, rockabilly and R&B into rock & roll for the ages.

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