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500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Rolling Stone’s definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The RS 500 was assembled by the editors of Rolling Stone, based on the results of two extensive polls. In 2003, Rolling Stone asked a panel of 271 artists, producers, industry executives and journalists to pick the greatest albums of all time. In 2009, we asked a similar group of 100 experts to pick the best albums of the 2000s. From those results, Rolling Stone created this new list of the greatest albums of all time.

373

Jefferson Airplane, ‘Volunteers’

RCA Victor, 1969

Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen called Paul Kantner's revolutionary cheerleading "naive," but that didn't prevent the band from delivering this album with sweeping fervor. Also here: the gorgeous "Wooden Ships" and "Eskimo Blue Day," where Grace Slick sings, "The human name doesn't mean shit to a tree."

372

The Police, ‘Reggatta de Blanc’

A&M, 1979

The Police may have been lumped in with U.K. punk, but Sting said the mission was always to "sell great music to masses of people." They did that with Reggatta, an album best known for "Message in a Bottle" but distinguished by the mutant reggae of "The Bed's Too Big Without You" and "Walking on the Moon."

371

Arctic Monkeys, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’

Domino USA, 2006

Scrappy, lager-fueled tunes about being young and bored in a bleak Northern England steel town. Even Yanks couldn't resist these raging Brit-pop-punk gems. 

370

Mott the Hoople, ‘Mott’

Columbia, 1973

David Bowie's "All The Young Dudes" had revived Mott's career, but Ian Hunter "wanted people to know that David didn't create this band." Producing themselves, they weathered skepticism and studio fistfights to record this examination of rock as "a loser's game." Mott became their greatest success.

369

The Smiths, ‘Louder Than Bombs’

Sire/Rough Trade, 1987

Designed to whet U.S. interest while the Smiths completed a new LP, this dazzling assortment of singles and album tracks became an unintended epitaph when the group dissolved. Its best songs are here, from "Sheila Take a Bow" to "Panic."