Wave Magazine's 20 Most Important Albums Of All Time (Unranked)


Great article...

Wave Magazine apparantly is a Bay area publication.

Nothing but the Blues: Cross Road Blues (1936) - Robert Johnson
The very first assembled recordings of the legendary blues guitarist who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to be able to play the blues. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and the likes all credit Johnson as the best there ever was.

Strange Fruit (1939) – Billie Holiday
After her record label wouldn’t touch the controversial anti-lynching song, “Strange Fruit,” Holiday released the track on an independent label. Her signature song is also credited as the first jazz recording to use horns to back up the singer’s voice, instead of the other way around.

Elvis Presley (1956) – Elvis Presley
“Blue Suede Shoes,” “Tutti Frutti,” “Blue Moon” – this is where it all began for an artist who would inspire an entire generation of white boys to find soul.

Kind of Blue (1959) – Miles Davis
Often referred to as the definitive jazz album from the definitive jazz musician, Kind of Blue is a multi-faceted masterpiece. It is at once extraordinarily complex, yet instantly digestible. It is as relaxed as it is furious. It is genius.

Where Did Our Love Go? (1964) – The Supremes
Motown’s most successful LP, ever.

Highway 61 Revisited (1965) – Bob Dylan
The first album to prove that rock ‘n’ roll was a poe-tic force to be reckoned with.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (1967) – The Beatles
This was the Big Bang of experimental rock.

Are You Experienced? (1967) – Jimi Hendrix
It’s mind-boggling to realize this was Hendrix’s debut record. “Foxy Lady,” “Manic Depression,” “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe” and “Red House” raised the bar for guitarists into the stratosphere.

At Folsom Prison (1968) – Johnny Cash
A music legend plays a concert for society’s forgotten sons. The most compassionate live performance ever recorded.

Led Zeppelin IV (1971) – Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin crystallized their fusion of folk, blues and rock influences on this record. “Stairway to Heaven” single-handedly inspired two generations of youth to buy their first bong.

Paranoid (1971) – Black Sabbath
The world’s first bona fide metal band. To this day, “Iron Man” still has the best metal riff ever written.

Pearl (1971) – Janis Joplin
If Billie Holliday opened the door for heartbroken female vocalists, this was the album that blew that door off its hinges.

Autobahn (1974) – Kraftwerk
With its droning digital beat and looped synth rhythms, the 22-minute title track became an international underground phenomenon and pretty much birthed what we now call “electronic music.”

Never Mind the Bollocks – Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977) - The Sex Pistols
Just as contemporary rock began to lose its edge in the late ‘70s, along came the Sex Pistols to remind us that rebellion, blood, booze, anger and total chaos still had a place in music.

Off the Wall (1979) – Michael Jackson
MJ’s breakthrough solo album. If it hadn’t been for “Rock With You,” “She’s Out of My Life” and “Working Day and Night” to pave the way, you can forget about Thriller.

Rapper's Delight (1980) - Sugarhill Gang
Though not the first rap album ever recorded, the title track was rap's first-ever Top 40 hit. This was the first crack in the floodgates

Disintegration (1989) – The Cure
The Holy Grail of goth.

Doolittle (1989) – Pixies
If the Pixies hadn’t introduced the stop-start (or heavy-soft) guitar dynamic, then you would have never had Jane’s Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins or…

Paul's Boutique (1989) - Beastie Boys
Boutique basically gave the record industry's copyright lawyers the middle finger. This album opened the floodgates for sample-based recording. But let's not blame Paul's Boutique for Puff Diddy.

Nevermind (1991) – Nirvana
Grunge, alternative rock – whatever you want to call it – this was the album that introduced it to the world at large.

My personal additions would have to be:

Pet Sounds - Beach Boys
OK Computer - Radiohead
London Calling - The Clash
Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
(Maybe) Is This It? - The Strokes

This is a really cool article with some great choices. I question At Folsom Prison though - while a fantastic album, I wonder how important it really is (importance is limited to the music world, right?). I mean, I guess it could be influential on future live albums in prisons, but I can't think of any others...

And I think a Stooges CD should be on here. They were a huge influence on the Sex Pistols and the Pixies. I'd pick Daydream Nation over Doolittle too, if only because it came beforehand. Doolittle is still awesome though.

But definitely great calls with Highway 61 Revisited, Sgt. Pepper's, IV, Nevermind, etc.