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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.

357

The Rolling Stones, ‘Between the Buttons’

London, 1967

Andrew Loog Oldham called it their "most English" album. Music-hall piano abuts the psych-soul of "Ruby Tuesday"; the lovely "She Smiled Sweetly" offsets the great Chuck Berry rip, "Miss Amanda Jones."

356

Randy Newman, ’12 Songs’

Reprise, 1970

Newman's second disc was his artistic breakout, with Ry Cooder and a few of the Byrds contributing to the loose, confident sound. It's prime caustic, funny Newman – especially the piano rockers "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" and "Have You Seen My Baby?" and the tormented "Suzanne."

355

The Yardbirds, ‘Having a Rave Up With the Yardbirds’

Epic, 1965

Freed from Eric Clapton's blues purism and spurred by Jeff Beck's reckless exhibitionism, the Yardbirds launched a noisy rock & roll avant-garde. This is the bridge between beat groups and psychedelia.

354

Billy Joel, ’52nd Street’

Columbia, 1978

The heavy roadwork dictated by the success of The Stranger produced a leaner, rock-oriented follow-up. Like Elton John, Joel assimilated whatever styles (jazz, Latin rhythms) suited his purpose. "I don't want to limit my diet," he said, "sampling only one vegetable in the garden."

353

Kanye West, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella, 2010

Epic hip-hop as messily inspired as Kanye's life, with Elton John pianos, vocoder freakouts, Bon Iver cameos and hilarious insights on Kanye's self-torpedoing genius. 

352

Dire Straits, ‘Brothers in Arms’

Warner Bros., 1985

Mark Knopfler started writing "Money for Nothing" when he overheard a New York appliance salesman's anti-rock-star, anti-MTV rant. The song, of course, became a huge MTV hit, and this album shows off Knopfler's incisive songwriting and lush guitar riffs on "Walk of Life" and "So Far Away."

351

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, ‘Rust Never Sleeps’

Reprise, 1979

This live Rust is essential Young, full of delicate acoustic songs and ragged Crazy Horse rampages. Highlights: "My My, Hey Hey" (a tribute to Johnny Rotten) and "Powderfinger," where Young's guitar hits the sky like never before.

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