Rolling Stone's Best of 2011

From music's best newcomers to the worst of Hollywood, everything you need to know about the past year

December 7, 2011 8:00 AM ET
Rolling Stone's Best of 2011
Rolling Stone's Best of 2011

2011 may be drawing to a close, but Rolling Stone's editors have been hard at work taking measure of the year in music, movies and pop culture. Here are lists of all our favorites from the past year. Enjoy, and happy New Year!






The 50 Best Albums of 2011
Adele ruled the world; Jay and Kanye went king-sized; bearded folkies, country bros and art-pop ladies made hard times easier
See the full list.
The 50 Best Singles of 2011
Adele belted one for jilted lovers, Gaga went for arena-pop glory, and Foster the People sored with a megacatchy murder fantasy

See the full list.
The Best Movies of 2011
Most 2011 films went from meh to worse, but 10 stand out as the best by keeping their heads above formula

See the full list.
The Best Reissues of 2011
David Fricke picks the best reissues of the past year, from the Beach Boys' finally finished masterpiece to the Smashing Pumpkins' debut

See the full list.
The 20 Best TV Moments of 2011
Rob Sheffield looks back at the 20 best moments in TV this year, from Michael Scott's 'Office' farewell to the brilliant 'Breaking Bad' finale.

See the full list.
Readers' Poll: The Best Albums of 2011
Our readers ranked their top ten albums of 2011 – and were pretty much on the same page as us.

See the full list.
Readers' Poll: The Best Songs of 2011
While our readers agreed with us on the song of the year, they certainly were some surprises and deviations with the rest of their picks.

See the full list.
Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Songs of 2011
Rob Sheffield's top 25 songs of the year includes pop hits, some obscurities, and even Rebecca Black's "Friday".

See the full list.
Rob Sheffield's Top 10 Albums of 2011
Rob Sheffield's top 10 albums of the year list has Britney Spears, EMA, Yuck and more.

See the full list.
The Best Musical Discoveries of 2011
Our critics named their favorite musical obsessions from 2011 that didn't actually come out this year.

See the full list.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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