Best Albums of the 60's

Tags: 
  1. 9.5/10
  2. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady-Charles Mingus (1963)
  3. Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  4. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  5. Unit Structures-Cecil Taylor (1966)

  6. 9/10
  7. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  8. Ascension-John Coltrane (1965)
  9. The Doors-The Doors (1967)
  10. Communications-The Jazz Composer's Orchestra (1968) [aka, "The Jazz Composer's Orchestra-Michael Mantler"]
  11. Parable of Arable Land-Red Crayola (1967)
  12. For Alto-Anthony Braxton (1968)
  13. Atlantis-Sun Ra (1967)
  14. Bitches Brew-Miles Davis (1969)
  15. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  16. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  17. Epitaph-Charles Mingus (1962)
  18. Free Jazz-Ornette Coleman (1960)
  19. White Light/White Heat-The Velvet Underground (1967)

  20. 8.5/10
  21. Kick Out The Jams-MC5 (1967)
  22. A Rainbow in Curved Air-Terry Riley (1968)
  23. Absolutely Free-Frank Zappa (1967)
  24. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn-Pink Floyd (1967)
  25. Karma-Pharoah Sanders (1969)
  26. Spiritual Unity-Albert Ayler (1964)
  27. Songs of Leonard Cohen-Leonard Cohen (1968)

  28. 8/10
  29. Electric Ladyland-Jimi Hendrix (1968)
  30. Safe As Milk-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1967)
  31. Happy Sad-Tim Buckley (1968)
  32. In the Court of the Crimson King-King Crimson (1969)
  33. Valentyne Suite-Colosseum (1969)
  34. The Magic City-Sun Ra (1965)
  35. Volunteers-The Jefferson Airplane (1969)
  36. Uncle Meat-Frank Zappa (1969)
  37. Mu - Don Cherry (1969)
  38. Are You Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix (1967)
  39. A Saucerful of Secrets-Pink Floyd (1968)
  40. New York Eye & Ear Control-Albert Ayler (1964)
  41. A Genuine Tong Funeral-Carla Bley/Gary Burton (1967)
  42. Out To Lunch-Eric Dolphy (1964)
  43. Freak Out!-Frank Zappa (1966)
  44. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  45. Dimensions & Extensions-Sam Rivers (1967)
  46. Da Capo-Love (1967)
  47. Strange Days-The Doors (1968)
  48. The Marble Index-Nico (1969)
  49. United States of America-United States of America (1968)
  50. The Stooges-The Stooges (1969)
  51. Sound-Roscoe Mitchell (1966)
  52. Alchemy-Third Ear Band (1969)
Author Comments: 

ALBUM RATINGS SCALE
0.0-4.5 NOT WORTH LISTENING TO AT ALL
5.0 MEDIOCRE
6.0 GOOD
7.0 VERY GOOD
7.5 AMAZING
8.0 EXTRAORDINARY
8.5 ASTONISHING
9.0 MASTERPIECE
9.5 SUPREME MASTERPIECE
10 ULTIMATE MASTERPIECE

Albums are rated and ranked based on how emotionally powerful I find them. The order I've given has been thoroughly considered and is very exact. The rankings here have evolved significantly over time and my current rankings have been concluded only after many, many listens of each and every album.

For me, the primary factors that make an album emotionally powerful are:

1. Emotional Conviction
2. Expansion of Ingenuity
3. Continuity

AMAZING: An amazing album is a very powerful emotional experience.

MASTERPIECE: A masterpiece is one of the most emotionally powerful albums in history. It is so overwhelming and singular an experience that it towers over virtually all albums ever made.

SUPREME MASTERPIECE: A supreme masterpiece is one of the most emotionally powerful works in the history of art. It is so miraculous and singular an experience that it towers over virtually all masterpieces in any and all forms and times.

ULTIMATE MASTERPIECE: To my knowledge an ultimate masterpiece has never been achieved. It would be a work of almost unfathomable emotional significance.

Let me see Revolver more influential and innovative than Blonde on Blonde. Abbey Road better to most people's ears than Trout Mask Replica. Magical Mystery Tour just as good as the Doors first album. Sgt Pepper is just as good as Pink Floyd's first album. A Hard Day's Night made the Byrd's go folk rock. Rubber Soul is much more listenable than Dylan Highway 61. The Beatles were the 60's not to have one of there albums is missing the point really.

Well, I must really be missing out then. My loss I guess...

I just wanted to chime in and say that, while I love the Beatles, it really is a damn shame so many people try to get you to modify your tastes to fit theirs. You and I don't always see eye-to-eye (though all the picks here I've heard are great), but it really sucks that people resort to that instead of, y'know, reasoned discussion.

Yea...though I have to admit I've made the same mistake myself towards others so I can't be too hypocritical. It's easy to get caught up in these things. The world of art is very important to many people. Of the many areas of life, art communicates in such a way that really affects what people see, believe in, hear, think, etc, so it can be held very dear. A damning of someones views in art can be interpreted as a damning of themselves as well, so it's easy to see why it could be taken so personally and seriously. Especially with such a beloved group like The Beatles.

I think what many people don't realize is that I once dearly loved and relentlessly listened to most all of the Beatles albums. At one point back in the day, Revolver, Abbey Rd, The White Album, A Hard Days Night, Rubber Soul and Sgt Pepper were all in my top 30 or so rock albums, so I think what some of these guys who jump on here and wave a stick at me are missing is that I've been there too. I am not just some ignorant butcher of sacred cows. I just found albums I feel are far superior to The Beatles, so for me they no longer hold up. And the more of these I found the less impressive The Beatles became.

I've always wondered what would happen if a person grew up on Beefheart and then found the Beatles and then thought, Hey, The Beatles are better.

It's certainly possible... If someone was totally shut off from pop music for his whole life (as impossible as that would seem in this internet day and age) and then suddenly discovered it without being aware of the endless recycling of formulas, Britney Spears might sound pretty awesome.

I doubt about Spears. Most likely the Beatles or old great pop bands like those. Though initially, I think the person may be fascinated by Spears, because it will be a new sound to him.

Could go many ways: The Beatles, ABBA, whoever

1. Maybe.
2. To this Beatlemaniac's ears, it's TMR which is better.
3. Wrong. Magical Mystery Tour is not as good as The Doors, it's MUCH better.
4. No. It may come near, but Piper wins any day.
5. Hmm, I don't know.....never thought A Hard Day's Night had much to do with folk rock......is this true?
6. They're both equally listenable to me, but anyway, I don't think being more listenable has much to do with being better.
7. You're right there. Almost.

No, seriously, listing the best albums of the 60's without inluding the Beatles is mising the point. It's not your favorite albums, but the best. And the BEST albums of the 60's were Beatles albums. Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, Rubber Soul. Indeed, I do agree with most of your choices and quite a bit of your ratings too (though Blonde on Blonde is at least a 9.5)especially all the great jazz. But the list is clearly incomplete without the Beatles. A few more to add to your list include Zappa's "We're Only In It For the Money" Zeppelin I, "Buffalo Springfield" Neil Young's "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere" Hendrix' "Are You Experienced" AND "Axis, Bold as Love", "Tommy" and a few others....but I do like the list and own well more than 1/2 of them

We simply disagree on the Beatles, though about 2 years ago I would've agreed with you. I think they're a good band with some good songs and that's about it. To put it frankly, I don't feel they have a single album that comes anywhere close to those on this list. Abbey Rd would be their highest to me, and I'd place it at 7.25/10 tops.
For me they simply lack emotional depth, and thus don't make profound or awe-inspiring enough music to make this list--but obviously I am in the minority as they are probably the most loved and applauded artists of the last 50 years.

Thanks for mentioning Are You Exp? I honestly have no idea how I've had this list posted for a year and failed to realize it was missing.

Haven't heard "We're Only In It...". And it's been years since I listened to "Axis..." and "Tommy". I doubt I'd put "Axis..." on here, but "Tommy" may be good enough. I'd have to listen to it again. "Everybody Knows..." is a good possibility. Last time I played it, I had it at 7.75/10. Never heard a Buffalo Springfield album, just songs.

Again, thanks.

We're Only In It for the Money is excellent, you should definitely check it out some time.

Seconded.

I definitely plan to in the near future. Thanks for the suggestions.

Well my good man, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. However, while I may agree that the McCartney side of the Beatles tended towards the popish and migh have lacked some emotion, John Lennon's music is about as emotionally powerful as you can get. And even the McCartney songs are well crafted and, as pop, would be among the best pop music ever made. But, hey, this is music and opinions must necessarily not be the same. If I ever did my own Best 60's albums the Beatles would probably occupy three or four of the top 20 slots.

Glad to help add the Hendrix stuff. "Tommy", to my ears, is a masterpiece. And I bet you'd like We're Only In It For The Money, as it's Zappa mocking not only the Beatles but the entire Hippie generation. Also, Blind Faith's eponymous debut (and swan song) remains a classic.

Thanks. To better understand my position you may want to check out In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel, if you haven't already. I consider it the greatest pop album of all time, and it is an example of the minimum emotion required to be 8.0/10+ on my list.

Also, thanks for the suggestions. I have We're Only in It... ordered and am interested to hear it. I'll have it soon and am pretty confident I'll love it, as I am a huge fan of his masterpiece Uncle Meat--Zappa is possibly the greatest composer in rock history.

I removed A Rainbow in Curved Air simply because it doesn't qualify as jazz or rock.

couldn't you include it because it's experimental/ambient, and you include Irrlicht on your 70s one but how is that strictly rock?

Yea, I think you're right. I will re-include it. Thanks!

No Problem :)

I relistened to A Love Supreme today after having been left in jazzy mood from Miles Davis & Charles Mingus. It's definitely a great album, just below The Black Saint...

Which particular jazz album do you recommend my delving into now?

Probably Bitches Brew, unless I missed that you've already tackled it.

Or, I would go with something way different like Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill. It could open up all kinds of doors for you between jazz and rock. Truly one of the most astonishing experiences in music history.

And sometime soon I would tackle the holy trinity of free jazz: Shape of Jazz to Come, then Free Jazz, then Coltrane's Ascension.

Really late reply, but I absolutely adore Escalator Over The Hill, a possible 10/10, up there with Bach & Stravinsky's best works. It's intense, gigantic and amazing, better even than Mingus' amazing Black Saint. Know of any works with a similar sound?

Nope. As with most of these albums it's pretty much on it's own as far as masterpieces go...

Of course, there's always Sgt. Pepper...

Where is The United States of America (1968)? It's intense and manic psychedelia, pretty weird but awesome stuff. At least an 8+ in my opinion.

I don't doubt it. Just haven't heard it yet.

Ahh understood (once again I can only whole heartedly recommend soulseek! :P), I think you'll really enjoy it.

Astral Weeks is really beautiful, I can see why somewhere earlier on listology you said it was the first you connected to on such an emotive level. I've put it as a 9/10, an honour which very few albums still have in my opinion. Is Moondance anywhere near as good?

Astral Weeks is really beautiful, I can see why somewhere earlier on listology you said it was the first you connected to on such an emotive level. I've put it as a 9/10, an honour which very few albums still have in my opinion.

Yea. I picked it up 8 yrs ago. All I was listening to at the time was the typical Beatles, Led Zepp, etc. It floored me. It was the first album to really match the classical masterpieces I'd found previously. 6 years later I discovered Scaruffi's list and from there I found all the other albums that match or even better it.

Is Moondance anywhere near as good?

So far I don't think so. Scaruffi gives it an 8.5/10 while I think it's more like 7.25-7.75 (I go back and forth).

What was the first album off Scaruffi's list you picked up that you didn't already own?

I picked up Desertshore and Third at the same time. They completely blew me away (and still do, even more so now). The more albums from his list I picked up and 'got', the more most of the previous music I was listening to became less relevant.

The 9/10+ I already owned beforehand, most of which were in my top 15 or so, were Loveless, VU & Nico, The Doors, Blonde on Blonde, Spiderland, Astral Weeks, Black Saint & the Sinner Lady, A Love Supreme, Shape of Jazz to Come (not sure if he still ranks this a 9/10), and Double Nickels on the Dime.

Cool. Desertshore is just great, with only one track I'm not so keen on (Le Petit Chevalier). I'm going to get The Marble Index as soon as possible, and perhaps Chelsea Girl, though Scaruffi's ranking puts me off somewhat. Is it really that bad?

I've only heard small portions of Chelsea Girl and it was too long ago to remember. Marble Index is amazing though.

Oh yea, I also owned TMR long before getting into his list but I considered it perhaps the worst album of all time. Funny how things change ( :

did you get TMR because of Rolling Stone like me? if so, why did not they throw in the much more accessible Safe As Milk? and, you did not like it the first time around? wow, i did not think it was the greatest right away, though it actually was tied at 1 with VU & Nico before i started in on scaruffi's list (which is actually two of the reasons i got into his list which was the last "greatest" lists i got into online because i think i was ignorig it because i had never heard of Robert Wyatt, Faust, Red Krayola, Vampire Rodents, The Residents...and thought that it was just another stupid list with a few good albums on it). what is shocking to me is that TMR was at least #2 on my very short list with Dylan taking 5 of the top 10 probably at the time and yet i might not put TMR in the top 25 now...hmmm...???

I picked up TMR after seeing it rank high (#28 or something) on Mojo's all time greatest albums list. I thought it was a joke at the time, though the main stuff I was listening to was the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc., so that's not surprising. I did like VU & Nico quite a bit at the time but it wasn't enough for me to swallow the mighty TMR--though it did help a little; without that I would've been screwed. A Love Supreme and Black Saint were the points where avant-garde jazz started to appeal to me more and more, opening up the door for TMR and Scaruffi's list later on.

nah, chelsea girl is a wash, though it does a couple of singles, but the album is all covers :-(, and the strings are annoying. it's ok for a FAN of nico (i like it) but it is not worth anyone's hard earned money. get The End before you get Chelsea Girl.

I know their is a certain bracnch of people who are in denial when it comes to the Beatles. I am just curious why are their no Beatles albums? I don't rate Scaruffi in high regard. I don't thinks he is qualified to review music. His article on the Beatles is so flawed that anyone knowing music theory would trounce him in a minute.

Do any of you know the Beatles Lennon/McCartney songs/records, what really seals the deal on them is the changes, and it usually involves some minor chord being used in an "unexpected" place and/or function. Jazz, the better Tin Pan Alley types, and of course, classical composers had all gotten to this before, this opening up of the playing field. But it was Lennon/McCartney who brought it to rock (with maybe a spirit in the dark nudge from Bacharach, maybe).

Not this makes music better but not to acknowledge one Beatles is not knowing the history of rock music or music in General. The Beatles along with Dylan made the album and art-form and basically made it more important than the 45.

Read my "author comments" section to better understand what I look for. Their albums just aren't emotionally powerful to me, especially compared to those listed here. That's not the kind of music they usually strived to make (Beethoven being an ideal example). And so, except for a small handful of songs, they didn't accomplish what I want in the music I listen to.
They didn't do anything wrong. They're just not my taste. That's all. Their history or how many chord changes or Scaruffi has nothing to do with it.

I can relate to the emotional aspect when listening to music. Then there is the other side the actual music that influences musicians and how it impacts music. The Beatles albums had a great influence on Pop Music and Rock Music. The actual experimentation on Revolver and later albums had a great influence on many musicians. You want to ignore it that's really your issue. I am just stating a point.

The Beatles music flows it's very melodic and it's experimental in many cases. A song like "Eleanor Rigby" might sound very pop but it's subject matter is very serious. Music is what you make out of it. People are looking for different things.

I agree that the Beatles have inspired thousands (millions?) of pop/rock artists and I also agree that people are individuals and are looking for different things in music, including both you and I. That's why we've drawn different conclusions, something of which I have no qualms whatsover with. I am glad you're an individual and believe strongly in the music you like. I do too. My only recommendation is to change your approach from trying to make others opinions seem wrong to something more communicative and understanding. I know that the former doesn't work to well from firsthand experience.

I used to believe that Light My Fire was the best on the Door's self titled debut album, but it's not, The End is, having so much depth, that for some reason wasn't fully apparent to me previously.

Nico to see Rainbow in Curved Air take that 9/10 spot, I listened again to check what I thought of it now, and it really is a masterpiece, with track two being the highlight.

Both tracks are masterpieces but when I recently fully 'got' it, Track 1 is what really did it for me. The amount of emotion in it is astounding, not being wholly apparent for me until recently.

Both Light My Fire and The End are 2 of the greatest masterpieces in rock. I used to think The End was greater but there is no question (to me) that LMF is the more emotional of the 2. Can't go wrong with either though.

For me, it's gotta be Break On Through To The Other Side that's the masterpiece from The Doors. The End and Light My Fire are awesome too, but Break On Through is so powerful, it blows me away every time, which is very rare.

Yea, that is a great song. Very few bands can put so much emotional vigor into under 3 min.

I'd actually change my position on what I said above. Neptune was right imo: of all their songs, The End is their masterpiece.

If I were to update my greatest songs/tracks list today there would be lots of changes, such as Light My Fire being an 8/10 (maybe 8.5) instead of a 9 with several other 9s dropping down, as well as most of the 8/10's dropping down to 7.5s and 7s. The End would possibly be a 9, or maybe 8.5.

There are a few moments in music and songs that never fail to impress me, like:

The moment when Morrison says "Tried to run, tried to hide" and then suddenly bursts out with "BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE, BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE".
The moment in "A Day in the Life" immediately after Paul's part suddenly ends......just beautiful....
The whole album Metal Machine Music
The whole song "Mr Tambourine Man" by Dylan
The opening of "Everything in its Right Place" by Radiohead, or maybe the whole song
The whole song "Tomorrow Never Knows"
"Ashtray Heart", "Moonlight on Vermont", etc, in which the Magic Band's playing and Beefheart's singing are pretty powerful and cool

These are just a few, though.

Yea, moments like those are what its all about! :)

Yup, truly amazing moments in music are what listeners look for.....and when it happens, it's magic....
Anyway, do you remember any particular recordings that made you want to listen to more music and contributed to your becoming a music fan eventually?

What is Sound? Also, cool choice on the 9/10 for Kick Out The Jams.

Yes, Kick Out The Jams is an assaulting series of nuclear, volcanic eruptions towards some delusional, psychotic freedom, one of the most frighteningly impactful and visceral experiences in music history, worthy of its' spot.

Sound is one of the strangest, most unique jazz albums ever, very influential on avant-garde jazz, particularly Anthony Braxton (For Alto, Saxophone Improvisations Series F). Instead of being an all-out flourish of freed-up jazz instruments (such as Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz or Coltrane's Ascension) it is instead a gradual deployment from spastic, blistering fits into mesmerizing abstraction, twisted, enigmatic and improvised, but centered by it's thoughtful timing and spatial dynamics; coming across in the end like a great scientific experiment instead of a particularly personal statement. It employs a plethora of different instruments, each used in unorthodox, fascinating ways.

How can the Beatles the most influential and important band of the 60's and most likely in Rock and Pop Music the last 50 years don't have one album on any list?

WITHOUT THE BEATLES NOTHING THAT CAME AFTER WOULD EXIST. Phil Spector would still be trotting out wall-of-sound girl groups, the Beach Boys would still be in love with their cars and surfing, The Who would still be doing James Brown covers, the Rolling Stones would still be an obscure R&B wanna-be and the Byrds would be a folk act.

How about Bob Dylan who insiped quite a few folk and rocks acts.

Or how about Frank Zappa who is one of the most influential rock artists and actually influenced The Beatles.

The sheer arrogance and ignorance of your statement is pretty funny really. It's much like fundamentalist religion.

Did I say Bob Dylan or Frank Zappa were not influential? This has nothing to do with both of the them. It's neither arrogant nor ignorant that I state the Beatles were the most influential rock and pop act of the 60 it's pretty much a well known opinion. Please we know Zappa influenced the Beatles but he is not even in the same league influence was as the Beatles. Zappa influenced people like Captain Beefhart not really that influential. The Beatles influenced the following.

Frank Zappa acknowledged this, that if the Beatles never happened, everyone would still be listening to stuff like Bobby Vee.

Robert Fripp on hearing the Beatles Sgt Pepper

Robert Fripp- Then I put on the radio (Radio Luxemburg) and I heard this music. It was terrifying. I had no idea what it was. Then it kept going. Then there was this enormous whine note of strings. Then there was this colossal piano chord. I discovered later that I'd come in half-way through Sgt. Pepper, played continuously. My life was never the same again.

"John and the Beatles were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. Everybody else thought they were for the teeny boppers, that they were gonna pass right away. But it was obvious to me that they had staying power: I knew they were pointing in the direction where music had to go." Bob Dylan on the Beatles

Mick Jagger on inducting the Beatles in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The reason I started writing my songs were the Beatles.

The Beatles triggered the Byrds to go the folk rock route and using the 12 string jangle sound. Not Dylan

Please we all know the Beach Boys were influenced by the Beatles Rubber Soul in which Brian Wilson says signaled a new seriousness in Pop Music.

To exclude the Beatles is pretty sad.

The Beatles are a great band. The Beatles are a great band. The Beatles are a great band. The Beatles are a great band.

How much more do you need to feel acknowledged of this? There's proof of their greatness everywhere! 5 stars! 5 stars! 5 stars! Greatest albums ever! Best artists of all time! Bigger than Jesus! There are countless lists and blogs and websites, all much much more significant and prominent than my lists that toot the Beatles horn. My list is worthless tripe. It is one opinion and a crap opinion at that. I know nothing about music and I've obviously missed the point entirely. The 60's were nothing without the Beatles, who were by actual consensus the greatest artists in music history.

I am seriously considering making a list titled "If I wasn't me and instead Kahutz here are my choices for the best albums of all time," just to appease you.

Are we done now? Can you just move on to something else already? For good, not just for a month or two. For good. Is it so hard to believe that I don't find the Beatles music to be intensely profound and catastrophically emotional? They would probably be the first to tell you that they weren't trying to make life-shattering works of art. So, if that's the goal that my lists are based upon (read my author comments sections for once), why do you continually come up dumbfounded and questioning the choices?

If I made a list of the most influential pop artists then of course The Beatles would place highly. But these are lists where I (meaning me and nobody else) assess their greatness according to my criteria (not your criteria, which is far different).

Please read and understand what I am saying and don't forget it...again.

Seriously man. I love the Beatles' music but these people just make me want to forsake John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

I don't remember where I found this, but somewhere on Scaruffi's site (not on the main Beatles page) he vents about his frustrations at how much Beatles fans put the band up on a pedestal that is too sacred for critics to even touch. It is clear that a lot of his venom regarding the Beatles' music comes from years of hearing endless prattling on about the Beatles' accomplishments. And God help me if this endless argument on Listology isn't making me bitterly resent the Beatles as well. I still love their music in spite of people constantly informing me how influential they are, not because of them.

Incidentally, I am much more put off by Scaruffists' dismissal of other artists and albums than by your dismissal of the Beatles. When is it my turn to talk about how much you all underrate REM? David Bowie? Blood on the Tracks? Achtung Baby? Darkness on the Edge of Town? Parklife? The Velvet Underground's self-titled album? Hell, I could go on all night...

The thing about Bowie is that he usually comes across as being a phony provocateur: His music is provocative, but seemingly only to draw attention and publicity to himself. And his provocations seem calculated to be the kind that people would like anyway. The man was/is a marketing genius. And if 'intent' behind his provocations doesn't really matter to you...what might matter to some here is just that other artists had already carried on the same provocations at a deeper and more innovative level. But yeah, he's a great melodicist and a great combiner of pop/avant garde (One of the best in the whole family tree of Velvet Underground-influenced styles).

"His music is provocative, but seemingly only to draw attention and publicity to himself."

Interesting. I might say that about his looks and his personal life, but I've never found his music itself to be attempting to be particularly provocative, at least not in the albums I've heard. Certainly nothing I've heard from Bowie is trying to be anywhere near as provocative as, say, Exile on Main Street.

Still, I can understand that Bowie's super-cool, super-stylish brand of glam rock is so far off course from the sort of music Scaruffists like that the general dismissal of Bowie makes sense. I find everything else I mentioned both wonderfully melodic and generally more powerful on an emotional level.

Yea, I agree. I am glad you're bringing up other artists to discuss.

REM is one of the most influential bands of the last couple decades. I like Murmur and Monster. I'd give both 7+. I also enjoy Automatic For the People a bit more than Scaruffi seems to (6ish). And they have a slew of random songs I like. They're a case of where they just don't have anything on an 8+ level, but they have plenty that's worth checking out--more than most artists actually.

Bowie often seems a fake to me. He tends to do better the less he does which is why I like Low the most (I've never heard all of Heroes which is supposed to be his best, according to Scaruffi). Station to Station is quite good. Ziggy Stardust is solid and Hunky Dory is solid, and what I remember from Aladdin Sane is pretty good as well. He just never really moves me much. I prefer his counterpart, Brian Eno, by quite a margin, simply because he is a little bit more emotional vocally and also put more conviction and compositional brilliance and/or texture into each of his major genre jumps. Bowie's compositions usually seem too pared down to overcome his style over substance. Eno corrected this, except with his minimal excursions such as Music for Airports of course, which is a whole other sort of emotional miracle.

Blood On the Tracks is a fine album, as is VU's 3rd album. To me they just pale in comparison to other folk masterworks like Astral Weeks and Lorca, both of which employ much more stunning and emotional vocal performances, seemingly torn from lifetimes of heartbreak instead of months. It's just a different level.

It's been too long since I listened to the other three to really comment but they're all solid albums so it usually just comes down to the level of emotion. To rank here even as an 8/10 the album has to be quite significant in the regard.

Even emotional albums like OK Computer and Abbey Rd "only" rate a 7/10 on my scale (which is much higher than most think). I think people are so used to seeing a great album get 5 stars that they don't realize that on my scale a 7 is also a great album.

That's cool. Again, you and I might respond differently to methods of emoting, but I'm not trying to sell you on frivolous pop, as for me all these albums are on a higher or at least similar emotional level as some of the more melodic albums on your lists (e.g., The Doors, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Zen Arcade, and The River). I think I've said this to you before, but I really don't know what Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited have that Blood on the Tracks doesn't have from an emotional standpoint, and find them both to be superlative albums.

Then, I've heard you praise some Beatles songs in the past, but I think pretty much every song on Automatic for the People (except "Sidewinder" and maybe "Man on the Moon") is easily more emotionally profound than, say, "Strawberry Fields Forever."

It's interesting to hear you just talk about these albums just in terms of their lesser impact for you, because Scaruffi certainly has some harsher words for a lot of them. His review of The Velvet Underground sticks out in my mind, and his review of the Smiths' brilliant The Queen Is Dead, which he seems to find pretty soporific, does too (I would've mentioned that earlier, but I figured he gives it a 7/10 anyway so I'd let it slide... :-) )

There are some much less emotionally profound albums I love, but I'll save them for another time. Scaruffi does give a 7/10 to One Nation Under a Groove, though, putting it well ahead of every album I mentioned earlier. I'll never understand that guy...

Aside from a slew of amazing songs, including the epic masterwork Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (in my opinion it is by far Dylan's greatest song) the following is mainly what separates Blonde On Blonde for me. I left the most important part UN-BOLDED:

"The richness of the compositions, in which Dylan's harmonica wails and careens with wild spewing abandon, colorful organs flourish, drum rolls spin and dance about, and prancing guitar rhythms hiccup while frantic lead guitars spit and scatter, creates a colorful, spritely and blossoming wonderland for Dylan's sandpaper drawl to lament, depress and wither inside. These facets combine to produce a bright, wide-eyed, awestruck world in which the protagonist in each song seems to be blowing his mind. Poetic ideas and fairytale visions are exploding from his head as he sings of his wild observations. Like a real-time, live storybook, they are painting themselves (sometimes violently, sometimes softly) upon the physical universe surrounding him."

The sound he has concocted is totally unique, and completely outside of his own songwriting, very emotional on its own, much more so (to me) than the simple, basic compositional textures of Hwy 61 and Blood On The Tracks. Simple would work better for me if a more amazing vocal performance was rising out of it (Lorca, Astral Weeks, Desertshore, Geek the Girl, Starsailor, The Good Son, From Her to Eternity).

Then, I've heard you praise some Beatles songs in the past, but I think pretty much every song on Automatic for the People (except "Sidewinder" and maybe "Man on the Moon") is easily more emotionally profound than, say, "Strawberry Fields Forever."

It's in the arrangements. Strawberry Fields Forever's arrangements are amazing. The tripped out, psychedelic, slow motion feeling it evokes is one of the Beatles (or Lennon's) greatest accomplishments. It's one of the strangest pop songs of its' time (predating, I believe, Syd Barret's Piper at the Gates of Dawn oddities).

It's interesting to hear you just talk about these albums just in terms of their lesser impact for you, because Scaruffi certainly has some harsher words for a lot of them. His review of The Velvet Underground sticks out in my mind, and his review of the Smiths' brilliant The Queen Is Dead, which he seems to find pretty soporific, does too (I would've mentioned that earlier, but I figured he gives it a 7/10 anyway so I'd let it slide..

You'll notice that he usually only puts down 7's that he feels have been largely overrated (Sgt Pepper, OK Computer, Queen is Dead), when, based on his rating, he actually recommends them.

For me, a sparser arrangement can often be just as powerful as a more complex one, if not more so. I think you do like some more minimal arrangements where the vocals aren't on the level of Tim Buckley (such as Suicide, Husker Du). What do you feel saves those albums?

With Suicide the arrangements create a void that is blank and soulless (not emotionless). It is too stunningly real to be emotionless. It is oppressive, depleted and ghastly, a virtual reality (not so much a surreality), but rather a "minus" reality, meaning there is much less being perceived than what is really there (instead of a slew of extra-perceptions upon what is really there, as in surrealism). In this case it serves to greatly magnify the emotions of terror, despair and paranoia when they occur because it is so void that it feels like the arrangements are not necessarily low in content, but negative, below low, so that what is presented is a subtraction or depletion of life instead of merely lifeless due to lacking in energy or content. The "energy" or "life" is very much there, though is actively depleting with every metallic clang, with every thumping heartbeat of the keyboard. These act as suspenseful, alarming countdowns to hell. We're not talking about rambling acoustic guitars or flirty harmonica that does little to elevate the song except serving to move it along at a nice pace from start to finish. In Blood On the Tracks, for the most part the arrangements are just fill-in. If you removed the vocals (which are quite good) the album would be very boring. If you replaced the vocals with an Astral Weeks-ian type performance I think it would be enough to overcome that.

Husker Du features an extremely intense series of vocal performances. The arrangements, while not very spectacular are played with an incredible intensity and recorded with an ugliness and lo-fi unprofessionalism that, in this case, only makes them feel more immediate and real.

With Suicide the arrangements create a void that is blank and soulless (not emotionless). It is depleted and ghastly, a virtual reality (not so much a surreality), but rather a "minus" reality, meaning there is much less being perceived than what is really there (instead of a slew of extra-perceptions upon what is really there, as in surrealism). In this case it serves to greatly magnify the emotions of terror, despair and paranoia when they occur because it is so void that it feels like the arrangements are not necessarily low in content, but negative, below low, so that what is presented is a subtraction or depletion of life instead of merely lifeless due to lacking in energy or content. The "energy" or "life" is very much there, though is actively depleting with every metallic clang, with every thumping heartbeat of the keyboard. These act as suspenseful, alarming countdowns to hell. We're not talking about rambling acoustic guitars or flirty harmonica that does little to elevate the song except serving to move it along at a nice pace from start to finish. In Blood On the Tracks, for the most part the arrangements are just fill-in. If you removed the vocals (which are quite good) the album would be very boring. If you replaced the vocals with an Astral Weeks-ian type performance I think it would be enough to overcome that.

Husker Du features an extremely intense series of vocal performances. The arrangements, while not very spectacular are played with an incredible intensity and recorded with an ugliness and lo-fi unprofessionalism that, in this case, only makes them feel more immediate and real.

My long lost twin!!!

We simply view things differently. The interesting thing is that this entire list would still exist whether the Beatles existed or not...though Zappa would've had to find a different band to make fun of.

I actually don't agree with you at all again when it comes to the Rock Based Artists.

You know the Beatles are part of the reason why Dylan went electric

John and the Beatles were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. Everybody else thought they were for the teeny boppers, that they were gonna pass right away. But it was obvious to me that they had staying power: I knew they were pointing in the direction where music had to go." Bob Dylan on the Beatles

Frank Zappa acknowledged this, that if the Beatles never happened, everyone would still be listening to stuff like Bobby Vee.

Robert Fripp on hearing the Beatles Sgt Pepper

Robert Fripp- Then I put on the radio (Radio Luxemburg) and I heard this music. It was terrifying. I had no idea what it was. Then it kept going. Then there was this enormous whine note of strings. Then there was this colossal piano chord. I discovered later that I'd come in half-way through Sgt. Pepper, played continuously. My life was never the same again.

I highly doubt that if the Beatles Revolver with “Tomorrow Never Knows” being an early example of Art-Rock and one of the first Psychedelic Albums was not a smash we never know if the Doors debut album or Hendrix would have been popular.

The Beatles in mixing pop and classical techniques, and cross-fertilizing them with Indian and electronic music, the Beatles refreshed and revitalized western harmony. They also transformed the recording studio from a dull box where you recaptured your live sound, into a musical laboratory, of exciting and completely new sounds. Sorry Afterhours like most people who don’t like the Beatles they don’t understand the history of Popular Music.

Okay man, you keep on keepin on...

you know its funny how they always persuade us to embrace the beatles as the best band ever... its like they're afraid that the beatles will lose that place in the media or in the heads of around 99% (bad estimation, but wtvr) of humans on Earth.

I think there's certainly some truth in what you're saying, but I don't want to discuss it because it's bound to ignite yet another Beatles vs. Scaruffi rant-for-all.

Piero Scaruffi is my idol and I worship him, anyone who likes the Beatles is an idiot...

*Runs away to watch the fireworks*

LOL

perhaps if you tried understanding the WHOLE of music (19th - 20th century classical music is probably the focus here), what music is (read stuff about the philosophy of music and so on, especially Adorno), then perhaps, you might understand what everyone here, including me, mean when we talk about "the greatest albums are Captain Beefheart, VU & Nico, and so on. Try putting down your ideas about the beatles being absolutely great, the ideas about melody and harmony (even schoenberg and boulez are heralded as "great composers" and they didn't write great melodies, harmonies and chords) and perhaps, you'll understand what we are talking about.

hey any george russell's 60s works? especially electronic sonata for souls loved by nature. i think you should really check it out if you haven't

Thanks, never heard it.

oh and also, is the epitaph you listen to the original one from the complete town hall recordings or the 1989 reconstructed version?

The 1989 reconstructed version. As far as I've heard/read the Town Hall recording was incomplete and a disorganized mess (but I've never heard it).

have you checked out zappa's "dadistic" works? they're kind of interesting imo.

Aside from the albums I've heard by him, I've checked out bits and pieces of various others. Which works are you referring to?

Where would you rank Zappa's Absolutely Free? I think I prefer it to We're Only In It For the Money.

How about Family's albums?

Haven't heard all of Absolutely Free yet, but I'm estimating it will at least be 7.5 if not 8.

Haven't heard any of Family's albums that I know of.

I find Absolutely Free to be the most consistent of Zappa's first three albums and, in some ways, the most brazen in its satire and commentary. Even the two bonus songs added later are stellar and really match the flow. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" is likely the best composition of his early career as well.

I'd highly recommend Family's Music in a Doll's House. It wavers around 7.75/8.0 for me. It's great fun. Roger Chapman's vocals are quite unique, one of the best of all time.

Family Entertainment is also quite good, though probably only a 7.0

RE: Communications...

HOLY SHIT.

I understand...I understand...

Great songs..i think this songs never die for the people they live that time!

Lollos M

directory2009