Home Music Music Lists

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.

406

PJ Harvey, ‘Rid of Me’

Island, 1993

Like Patti Smith, she wanted to be Bob Dylan. Unlike Patti Smith, she played guitar very, very loud. Polly Jean Harvey's second album, recorded with Steve Albini, is charged with aggressive eroticism and rock fury (check the scalding title track). Rid of Me slams from blues to goth to grunge, often in the space of a single song.

405

Big Star, ‘Radio City’

Ardent, 1974

As with the Velvet Underground, Big Star's influence far outstripped their commercial success. On this lean, guitar-driven LP, they come up with a new, upside-down pop sound, filtering their love of the Beatles through their Memphis-soul roots. Towering achievement: the blissful, sad "September Gurls."

404

Dr John, ‘Dr. John’s Gumbo’

ATCO, 1972

After a series of eerie, voodoo-stoked records, pianist Mac Rebennack – a.k.a. Dr. John – returned to his New Orleans roots with spirited covers of classics such as "Iko Iko" and "Junko Partner." With his rolling piano figures and gritty vocals, he rekindled interest in the Crescent City sound.

403

Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘(Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd)’

MCA, 1973

From the git-go, these Southern rockers played hard, lived hard and shot from the hip (with three guitars!). Discovered and produced by Al Kooper, Skynyrd offered taut rockers including "Poison Whiskey" and the ultimate anthem, "Freebird."

402

Nas, ‘Illmatic’

Columbia, 1994

Other rappers were harder and better-armed, but nobody captured the creeping menace of life on the streets quite like this 20-year-old from New York's Queensbridge projects. With lines like "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death," Nas showed more poetic style than any MC since Rakim.

401

Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Californication’

Warner Bros., 1999

Turning their focus to songs instead of jams, the Chilis steered frontman Anthony Kiedis' voice into a radio-friendlier wail, and the reappearance of guitarist John Frusciante helped form beautifully composed songs such as "Scar Tissue."

Show Comments