Rolling Stone's top 500 albums

Rolling Stone’s top 500 2020

Not sure whether I agree or not. I’ve got about 176 of these.

I was more comfortable with the positioning of the top 50 rather than the 500-300.

I thought Blur were under-represented and Oasis overstated… but I guess that may reflect on personal taste.

A little surprised/disappointed no Goldfrapp managed to creep in. Or Jethro Tull!

Surprised that ‘What’s Going On’ made it to number 1 rather than Sgt Pepper’s.

A thankless task though and I don’t think I could manage to consistently list my top 50 let alone 500.


These top 500 albums lists annoy me more and more as the years go by.

Kanye West in at number 17 (doesn’t matter what the album is) and Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” down at 471?

Maybe in an alternate universe, but…!!!


290 for me. I’m no fan of lists but this is broadly better than most and I love the extent to which it genuinely irks people who would otherwise claim to have an open mind. Kanye is such a fine example of that. Yes he’s bipolar. Yes he’s also a very odd person indeed but the idea that he hasn’t made at least e stupendous albums is plainly ludicrous. They may not to people’s tastes but that is not the same thing at all.

Never knew they had released so many albums! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:I’ll get me coat!


It was a difficult read. Did not enjoy the mix of different music styles in a top 500. It would be better to just list the top 500 selling albums for a period of time to be more accurate if you are throwing everything into one bin.

I don’t know if it was a thankless task, more of one that was not worth doing in the method it was conducted.



Someone had to say it! :rofl:

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Never realised the Stones were so prolific.

Exile has to be their best though.



It’s a tough gig to compare across genres, but I thought the list was excellent. Kanye is maybe a touch over-represented.

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Best of the bunch is Beggars Banquet, IMHO.


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Marvin Gaye’s album is #1? Is it a mis-print?

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Marvin Gaye at #1 is pretty much the only thing I agreed with. Rolling Stone hasn’t been a credible arbiter of taste for about 50 years – not even of American taste, and certainly not of anyone else’s.


@anon56221831 - Marvin Gaye’s album has just as strong a case for being at the top as anything else in the “canon” (Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Velvets etc).

Hats off to them for mixing things up a bit and not just choosing Sgt Pepper, Pet Sounds or Revolver, but Blue isn’t even Joni Mitchell’s best album, let alone the third best record ever!

There was no Throbbing Gristle! Or Bobbie Gentry. And where is PiL’s “Metal Box”? Or JM’s “Solid Air”? Or “Blues In Orbit” Or “Live at the Village Vanguard”?

Unlike many who’ve complained, I don’t think there’s too much rap/hip hop but there is too much Kanye/Beyonce/Jay Z. Several important artists (eg Eric B & Rakim, Kurtis Blow, Bambaata etc) are missing and Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Public Enemy are underrepresented. J Dilla’s Donuts is far, far better than its placing suggests.

Led Zep, the Floyd, Who, Kinks, Scott Walker, Bowie, Massive Attack, solo Beatles and the Dan are all undervalued/under-represented.

The thing is about these lists is that they are more of a reflection of the fashion and prejudices of the day, and the concerns/political correctnesses of the times. They always make for more interesting reading a decade later! A lot of people who helped compile this will be cringing in 2030. A bit like those wankers of the Observer Music Monthly who, in 2004, decided that the best British record of all time (better than the White Album, Led Zep 2, Low, Unknown Pleasures, Metal Box, Let It Bleed, Rubber Soul, Live at Leeds, Solid Air, Wish You Were Here, Village Green, etc etc) was… wait for it… the first Stone Roses album!


These lists are always divisive, and time-biased. An old friend sent us a list of his 100 best albums and challenged us to do likewise…

It was insanely hard, and the first draft had to be revised because it was so lop-sided. In the end I had to impose a rule of one album per artist and even then a week or so later. I wanted to revise it. Again.

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The problem is, the likes of the Stones, Led and the Beatles are on this list because they where in previous RS top xxx list, and the one before that. They’ll be in the next list because they’re in this list.

They each wrote no more than a handful of great tracks, the Beatles probably two handfuls, but in reality the majority of their albums are average.

Can’t believe, no Little Feat, no Deep Purple and NO SHAKATAK. :crying_cat_face:

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Careful, I was reprimanded a couple of months ago (by the forums grumpy old men brigade) for suggesting it was rubbish. :zipper_mouth_face:


I think you’re confusing important with best. You lost some great artists. All of who, to the best of my knowledge made some great songs; some good albums but none that would be truly great.

Some are confusing between the popularity vs the best. The Rolling Stone may be guilty of that?

Hardly. There are albums in there which even now sold bugger all. RS has long since ceased to be an arbiter of taste but if you had to pick 500 then this gets around 400+ right and I doubt any of us would do much better in achieving a consensus.

I reckon we need a top 100 list of top 500 lists. That should sort it.


I find it difficult to see any point to lists.
At the turn of this century you could not put the telly on without some talking heads putting down what’s what and in an order for everything - ranging from best childhood sweets to worst bathroom suites.

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