THE 100 GREATEST ALBUMS
- ABBA - Arrival (1976)
ABBA arrive by helicopter on this album cover and see their career reach new heights with hits like Dancing Queen, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Money, Money, Money.
- Air - Moon Safari (1998)
Air's innovative style of retro-futuristic electro-pop is displayed perfectly in this release from the French duo. Moon Safari rocketed to the top of the UK charts and went on to take the US by storm, thanks to the success of its single, Sexy Boy.
- Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Morissette's transformation from teenybopper to angst queen made this one of the biggest-selling albums by a female solo artist. Notable too for the vicious attack on her ex-boyfriend in You Oughta Know.
- Alicia Keys - Songs in a Minor (2001)
Alicia was only 19 years old when she recorded this album but it won five Grammys and made the singer/pianist a superstar. Its biggest hit was Fallin.
- Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
Rolling Stone Magazine called it the "best Soul album ever recorded". The smash hit Respect crossed all cultural, racial, gender and age barriers, urging you to be confident with your self-assertion.
- Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of Bewilderbeast (2000)
The man with the beard and the woolly hat doing what he does best - making beautiful music. Hits include Disillusion and Once Around the Block.
- The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
Inspired by The Beatles' Rubber Soul, head Beach Boy Brian Wilson turned his back on summery hit singles and created a masterpiece with depth and real sophistication.
- The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)
Derided as white rap punk-ass kids by their critics, the Beasties
came of age with an album that was funky, philosophical and intelligent. In an era of gangster rap and gun, the Beasties were sampling the Beatles and rapping about Newton and Galileo.
- The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
This was the moment The Beatles finally shook off their mop top image. No longer content with love songs it testifies to their interest in world music, drugs and politics. It also captures the feelgood vibe of 1966 - the year England won the World Cup.
- The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
One of the most influential albums of all time. The Beatles finally decided to stop playing live and devote themselves to the studio. Famous songs from the album include When I'm 64, With a Little Help From My Friends and A Day in the Life.
- The Beatles - The White Album (1968)
The album had no title (it was just called 'The Beatles') but it soon became dubbed 'The White Album' for obvious reasons. Contains classic songs like Back in the USSR and Ob la di, Ob la da, and also Revolution 9 - an avant-garde sound collage. Eric Clapton played lead guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
- Beck - Odelay (1996)
Beck doesn't write songs prior to studio recording, rather the studio is used as an ongoing tool for creating the album, blending folk/hip-hop/blues/rock. Music for the Slacker's Generation.
- Billie Holiday - Lady Sings the Blues (1954)
Billie Holiday's last great recording including all of her signature songs. The album contains Strange Fruit (perhaps the first protest song), God Bless the Child, and Ain't Misbehavin'.
- Bjork - Debut (1993)
Bjork's debut, inspiringly titled - Debut, was her first after leaving The Sugarcubes. Produced by Nellee Hooper, Debut established Bjork's audience outside of Iceland and won her a cult following worldwide.
- Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
Originally titled War Pigs, the record company changed Black Sabbath's second album title to Paranoid because of sensitivity about the Vietnam War. The cover image of a soldier brandishing a sword and shield then no longer made sense, but Paranoid topped the British music charts regardless.
- Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978)
This album brought Blondie into the mainstream. The black and white striped cover was almost as famous as the hit singles from the album including Heart of Glass, Sunday Girl and Hanging on the Telephone.
- Blur - Parklife (1994)
This album, along with Oasis' Definitely Maybe, launched the Britpop revolution in music in the UK and elsewhere. This is the epitome of 1990s lad culture.
- Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
The album where Dylan 'went electric'. Generally believed to be rock and roll's first double album, Blonde on Blonde was a critical success overall, though folk music purists continued to protest Dylan's musical faux pas in blending folk with rock and roll.
- Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks (1975)
One of the best "break up" albums of all time, Blood on the Tracks is inspired by the gradual collapse of Dylan's marriage to Sara Lownds. The writing is extremely strong, the lyrics intensely personal.
- Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (1977)
Marley survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica and fled to London to record this album. It made him a global superstar and brought 'third world' music to the world at large.
- Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (1975)
Springsteen's make-or-break album shows the kid from Asbury Park as the all-American hero - a poster boy for the working class layabout done good.
- Carole King - Tapestry (1971)
Tapestry was initially intended as a set of demos to offer to other artists. King wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, several of which had already been hits for other artists such as Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman and The Shirelles' Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
- The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole (1997)
The superstar DJs created the classic album of the big beat dance era, featuring Noel Gallagher on the hit track Setting Sun.
- The Clash - London Calling (1979)
The iconic sleeve photograph was taken by Joe Strummer's then girlfriend Pennie Smith, who was an NME photographer. It shows Paul Simonon smashing his bass at a gig. Biggest hit was title track London Calling.
- Coldplay - Parachutes (2000)
Coldplay's debut record took Chris Martin from gawky singer to rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood A-List. The globe on the cover cost �9.99 from WH Smith.