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Monday, June 1, 2009

List of Top Albums by Year

List of Top Albums by Year

Although I am not a huge fan of subjectively constructed «best-of» lists, there probably has to be some sort of con­cise guide to the Only Solitaire system of judgements and values, so, as a quick first aid, here is an overall list of those records, reviewed on the blog, that I consider truly excellent. The list will be updated on a regular basis as I review more, moving past the A's and the B's.
All albums here are arranged in chronological rather than alphabetic order, so the list can be used as some sort of  historical in­tro­duction. Albums marked in bold fall into the category of «Great» — what I'd like to think of as major artistic statements with lotsa cultural value. The rest are «Very good» — not particularly original or influential, per­haps, but solid quality all the way through, and consistently enjoyable. Recommended compilations are listed at the bottom; those aren't specifically divided into «great» or «very good» subcategories, because, well, a compilation is a compilation.


B. B. King: Singin' The Blues


Bo Diddley: Bo Diddley
Big Joe Williams: Piney Woods Blues
Bill Haley: Rockin' The Joint
Billie Holiday: Lady In Satin
Buddy Holly: Buddy Holly

Bo Diddley: Go Bo Diddley

Brenda Lee: Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee: This Is... Brenda

Aretha Franklin: Aretha
Brenda Lee: All The Way

Bo Diddley: Bo Diddley
Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan
Bobby Bland: Here's The Man!!!
Booker T. & The M.G.'s: Green Onions

Beatles, The: Please Please Me
Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin'
Beach Boys, The: Surfer Girl
Beatles, The: With The Beatles

Animals, The: The Animals
Beatles, The: A Hard Day's Night
Beach Boys, The: All Summer Long
Beach Boys, The: Shut Down Vol. 2
Beach Boys, The: Concert
Beatles, The: Beatles For Sale

Beach Boys, The: Today!
Beatles, The: Help!
Beatles, The: Rubber Soul
Byrds, The: Mr. Tambourine Man
Animals, The: On Tour
Animals, The: Animal Tracks
B. B. King: Live At The Regal
Beau Brummels, The: Introducing The Beau Brummels
Butterfield Blues Band, The: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Byrds, The: Turn! Turn! Turn!

13th Floor Elevators: The Psychedelic Sounds Of...
Beach Boys, The: Pet Sounds
Beatles, The: Revolver
Bob Dylan: Blonde On Blonde
Byrds, The: Fifth Dimension
Animals, The: Animalisms
Association, The: And Then Along Comes...
Big Mama Thornton: In Europe
Blues Magoos: Psychedelic Lollipop
Blues Project, The: Projections
Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield
Butterfield Blues Band, The: East–West

Albert King: Born Under A Bad Sign
Beach Boys, The: The SMiLe Sessions [released 2011]
Beatles, The: Magical Mystery Tour
Bee Gees: 1st
Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield Again
13th Floor Elevators: Easter Everywhere
Al Stewart: Bedsitter Images
Aretha Franklin: Aretha Arrives
Association, The: Insight Out
Beach Boys, The: Wild Honey
Beau Brummels, The: Triangle
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The: Gorilla

Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul
Beach Boys, The: Friends
Beatles, The: The Beatles
Bee Gees: Horizontal
Blood, Sweat & Tears: Child Is Father To The Man
Al Kooper: I Stand Alone
Albert King: Live Wire/Blues Power
Animals, The: The Twain Shall Meet
Animals, The: Love Is
Aphrodite's Child: End Of The World
Aretha Franklin: Aretha Now
Association, The: Birthday
B. B. King: Lucille
Bee Gees: Idea
Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills: Super Session
Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum
Beau Brummels, The: Bradley's Barn
Bobby Womack: Fly Me To The Moon
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The: The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse

Allman Brothers Band, The: The Allman Brothers Band
B. B. King: Completely Well
Band, The: The Band
Beatles, The: Abbey Road
Bee Gees: Odessa
Aphrodite's Child: It's Five O'Clock
Argent: Argent
B. B. King: Live & Well
Beach Boys, The: 20/20
Blind Faith: Blind Faith
Blood, Sweat & Tears: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline
Bobby Bland: Spotlighting The Man
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The: Tadpoles
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The: Keynsham

Al Kooper: Easy Does It
Allman Brothers Band, The: Idlewild South
Amon Düül II: Yeti
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Jesus Christ Superstar [original cast]
Aretha Franklin: Spirit In The Dark
Badfinger: No Dice
Beach Boys, The: Sunflower
Black Sabbath: Paranoid
Bob Dylan: New Morning
Affinity: Affinity
Amazing Blondel: Evensong
Band, The: Stage Fright
Barclay James Harvest: Barclay James Harvest
Beatles, The: Let It Be
Bee Gees: 2 Years On
Billy Preston: Encouraging Words
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
Bloodrock: Bloodrock
Bo Diddley: The Black Gladiator
Bob Dylan: Self Portrait
Bob Marley: Soul Rebels

Alice Cooper: Love It To Death
Alice Cooper: Killer
Allman Brothers Band, The: At Fillmore East
Amon Düül II: Tanz Der Lemminge
Ash Ra Tempel: Ash Ra Tempel
Atomic Rooster: Death Walks Behind You
Beach Boys, The: Surf's Up
Bee Gees: Trafalgar
Bill Withers: Just As I Am
Black Sabbath: Master Of Reality
Al Green: Gets Next To You
Amazing Blondel: Fantasia Lindum
Aretha Franklin: Live At Fillmore West
Argent: Ring Of Hands
Badfinger: Straight Up
Barclay James Harvest: Once Again
Barclay James Harvest: ...And Other Short Stories
Bobby Womack: Communication
Bonnie Raitt: Bonnie Raitt

Allman Brothers Band, The: Eat A Peach
Amon Düül II: Wolf City
Aphrodite's Child: 666
Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted And Black
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: Darwin!
Big Star: #1 Record
Bill Withers: Still Bill
Blue Öyster Cult: Blue Öyster Cult
Al Stewart: Orange
Alan Stivell: A L'Olympia
Alex Harvey: Framed
Alice Cooper: School's Out
Amazing Blondel: England
Ash Ra Tempel: Schwingungen
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Band, The: Rock Of Ages
Bo Diddley: Where It All Began
Bobby Womack: Understanding

10cc: 10cc
Alex Harvey: Next
Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies
Allman Brothers Band, The: Brothers And Sisters
Betty Davis: Betty Davis
Bob Marley: Catch A Fire
Aerosmith: Aerosmith
Al Green: Call Me
Al Kooper: Naked Songs
Alan Stivell: Chemins De Terre
Amboy Dukes, The: Call Of The Wild
Amon Düül II: Utopia
Amon Düül II: Vive La Trance
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Jesus Christ Superstar [soundtrack]
Ash Ra Tempel: Join Inn
Ash Ra Tempel: Starring Rosi
Average White Band, The: Show Your Hand
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: Io Sono Nato Libero
Beach Boys, The: Holland
Bill Withers: Live At Carnegie Hall
Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Bob Marley: Burnin'
Bobby Bland: His California Album
Bonnie Raitt: Takin' My Time

Aerosmith: Get Your Wings
Bad Company: Bad Company
Badfinger: Wish You Were Here
Bob Marley: Natty Dread
Albert King: I Wanna Get Funky
Alex Harvey: The Impossible Dream
Alice Cooper: Muscle Of Love
Amboy Dukes, The: Tooth, Fang & Claw
Argent: Nexus
Average White Band, The: AWB
Baker Gurvitz Army: Baker Gurvitz Army
Barclay James Harvest: Everyone Is Everybody Else
Be-Bop Deluxe: Axe Victim
Bee Gees: Mr. Natural
Big Star: Radio City
Billy Preston: The Kids & Me
Blue Öyster Cult: Secret Treaties
Bobby Bland: Dreamer

Aerosmith: Toys In The Attic
Amon Düül II: Made In Germany
Black Sabbath: Sabotage
Al Stewart: Modern Times
Argent: Circus
Armageddon: Armageddon
Arthur Brown: Dance
Baker Gurvitz Army: Elysian Encounter
Bee Gees: Main Course
Betty Davis: Nasty Gal
Bobby Bland & B. B. King: Together For The First Time... Live

ABBA: Arrival
Aerosmith: Rocks
Al Stewart: Year Of The Cat
Alan Parsons Project: Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
Blondie: Blondie
Bob Dylan: Desire
Alex Harvey: SAHB Stories
Alice Cooper: Goes To Hell
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Evita
Barclay James Harvest: Octoberon
Be-Bop Deluxe: Sunburst Finish
Be-Bop Deluxe: Modern Music
Blue Öyster Cult: Agents Of Fortune
Boston: Boston

ABBA: The Album
Aerosmith: Draw The Line
Beach Boys, The: Love You
Bob Marley: Exodus
Al Green: The Belle Album
Alan Parsons Project: I Robot
Alan Stivell: Raok Dilestra
Alice Cooper: Lace And Whiskey
Ashra: Blackouts
Billy Joel: The Stranger
Blondie: Plastic Letters

Blondie: Parallel Lines
Bruce Springsteen: Darkness On The Edge Of Town
AC/DC: Powerage
Alan Parsons Project: Pyramid
Albert Collins: Ice Pickin'
Alice Cooper: From The Inside
B. B. King: Midnight Believer
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: ...Di Terra
Billy Joel: 52nd Street
Boomtown Rats, The: A Tonic For The Troops

Alan Stivell: Symphonie Celtique
B-52's, The: The B-52's
Adam & The Ants: Dirk Wears White Sox
Adverts, The: Cast Of Thousands
Aerosmith: Night In The Ruts
Alan Parsons Project: Eve
Allman Brothers Band, The: Enlightened Rogues
Ashra: Correlations
Bad Brains: Black Dots [released 1996]
Badfinger: Airwaves
Blondie: Eat To The Beat
Bob Dylan: Slow Train Coming

Alan Parsons Project: The Turn Of A Friendly Card
B-52's, The: Wild Planet
Adam & The Ants: Kings Of The Wild Frontier
Albert Collins: Frostbite
Alice Cooper: Flush The Fashion
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Tell Me On A Sunday
Associates, The: The Affectionate Punch
Atomic Rooster: Atomic Rooster
Billy Joel: Glass Houses
Black Sabbath: Heaven And Hell
Blondie: Autoamerican

Adolescents: Adolescents
Black Flag: Damaged
Accept: Breaker
Agent Orange: Living In Darkness
Alice Cooper: Special Forces
Associates: Fourth Drawer Down
Birthday Party: Prayers On Fire
Bob Dylan: Shot Of Love
Brian Eno/David Byrne: My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

Alan Parsons Project: Eye In The Sky
Arthur Brown: Requiem
Birthday Party: Junkyard
Adam Ant: Friend Or Foe
Adrian Belew: Lone Rhino
Angry Samoans: Back From Samoa
Asia: Asia
B-52's, The: Mesopotamia

Alice Cooper: DaDa
Aztec Camera: High Land, Hard Rain
Asia: Alpha
Atomic Rooster: Headline News
B-52's, The: Whammy!
Bad Brains: Rock For Light

Alan Parsons Project: Ammonia Avenue
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Starlight Express
Bathory: Bathory
Black Flag: Slip It In
Bruce Springsteen: Born In The USA

Accept: Metal Heart
Adam Ant: Vive Le Rock
Amon Düül (UK): Meetings With Menmachines
Associates: Perhaps
Beat Happening: Beat Happening
Black Flag: Loose Nut

Big Black: The Hammer Party
Agent Orange: This Is The Voice
Art Of Noise, The: In Visible Silence
Bangles: Different Light
Big Black: Atomizer

10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe
Art Of Noise, The: In No Sense? Nonsense!
Bats, The: Daddy's Highway
Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician

808 State: Newbuild
Bad Religion: Suffer
Brian Wilson: Brian Wilson

Adrian Belew: Mr. Music Head
Alice Cooper: Trash
Art Of Noise, The: Below The Waste
B-52's, The: Cosmic Thing
Bad Religion: No Control
Bob Dylan: Oh Mercy

Alice In Chains: Facelift
Bathory: Hammerheart
Adrian Belew: Young Lions
Allman Brothers Band, The: Seven Turns
Ani DiFranco: Ani DiFranco
Aztec Camera: Stray
Babes In Toyland: Spanking Machine
Bad Religion: Against The Grain

Alice Cooper: Hey Stoopid
Allman Brothers Band, The: Shades Of Two Worlds
Bats, The: Fear Of God

Alice In Chains: Dirt
Barenaked Ladies: Gordon
10,000 Maniacs: Our Time In Eden
Adrian Belew: Inner Revolution
Allman Brothers Band, The: An Evening With The Allman Brothers Band
Änglagård: Hybris
Babes In Toyland: Fontanelle

Auteurs, The: New Wave
Björk: Debut
Afghan Whigs, The: Gentlemen
Aimee Mann: Whatever
Al Stewart: Famous Last Words
Alan Parsons: Try Anything Once
Angra: Angels Cry
Apoptygma Berzerk: Soli Deo Gloria
Aztec Camera: Dreamland
Bob Dylan: World Gone Wrong
Butthole Surfers: Independent Worm Saloon

Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation
Blur: Parklife
Adrian Belew: Here
Al Kooper: Rekooperation
Alice In Chains: Jar Of Flies
Auteurs, The: Now I'm A Cowboy

Alice In Chains: Alice In Chains
Autechre: Tri Repetae
Björk: Post
Adam Ant: Wonderful
Aimee Mann: I'm With Stupid
Al Stewart: Between The Wars
Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill
Amon Düül II: Nada Moonshine #
Archers Of Loaf, The: Vee Vee
Aztec Camera: Frestonia
Bats, The: Couchmaster
Ben Folds Five: Ben Folds Five

Angra: Holy Land
Bardo Pond: Amanita
Beck: Odelay
Alice In Chains: Unplugged
Amorphis: Elegy
Ani DiFranco: Dilate
Belle And Sebastian: Tigermilk
Belle And Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister
Boo Radleys, The: C'mon Kids

Björk: Homogenic
Bob Dylan: Time Out Of Mind
Apples In Stereo, The: Tone Soul Evolution
Blur: Blur

Archers Of Loaf, The: White Trash Heroes
Beta Band, The: The Three E.P.'s
Black Box Recorder: England Made Me
Afghan Whigs, The: 1965
Autechre: LP5
Barenaked Ladies: Stunt
Beck: Mutations
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue
Boo Radleys, The: Kingsize

Agalloch: Pale Folklore
Amorphis: Tuonela
Andrew Bird: Oh! The Grandeur
Arab Strap: Mad For Sadness
Arch Enemy: Burning Bridges
Beta Band, The: The Beta Band
Blur: 13

Aimee Mann: Bachelor No. 2
Black Box Recorder: The Facts Of Life
Alice Cooper: Brutal Planet
Amon Tobin: Supermodified
Antony & The Johnsons: Antony And The Johnsons
Arthur Brown: Tantric Lover
At The Drive-In: Relationship Of Command
Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
Barenaked Ladies: Maroon

Andrew Bird: The Swimming Hour
Björk: Vespertine
Alice Cooper: Dragontown
Arch Enemy: Wages Of Sin
Bardo Pond: Dilate
Bob Dylan: Love And Theft

Agalloch: The Mantle
Aimee Mann: Lost In Space
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes
Beck: Sea Change
Bruce Springsteen: The Rising
Alanis Morissette: Under Rug Swept
Badly Drawn Boy: About A Boy
Bees, The: Sunshine Hit Me
Black Keys, The: The Big Come Up

Andrew Bird: Weather Systems
Allman Brothers Band, The: Hittin' The Note
Amy Winehouse: Frank
Animal Collective: Here Comes The Indian
Aphex Twin: 26 Mixes For Cash
Arthur Brown: Vampire Suite
Belle And Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Black Box Recorder: Passionoia
Blitzen Trapper: Blitzen Trapper
Broadcast: HaHa Sound

Arcade Fire: Funeral
Animal Collective: Sung Tongs
Avett Brothers, The: Mignonette
Black Dice: Creature Comforts
Black Keys, The: Rubber Factory
Blitzen Trapper: Field Rexx

Broadcast: Tender Buttons
Adolescents: OC Confidential
Adrian Belew: Side One
A-ha: Analogue
Aimee Mann: The Forgotten Arm
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Worlds Apart
Animal Collective: Feels
Antony & The Johnsons: I Am A Bird Now
Apoptygma Berzerk: You And Me Against The World
Arab Strap: The Last Romance
Beck: Guero
Black Mountain: Black Mountain
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm

Avett Brothers, The: Four Thieves Gone
Band Of Horses: Everything All The Time
Bat For Lashes: Fur And Gold
Beach House: Beach House
Belle And Sebastian: The Life Pursuit
Burial: Burial

Amy Winehouse: Back To Black
Amon Tobin: Foley Room
Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
Apples In Stereo, The: New Magnetic Wonder
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
Avett Brothers, The: Emotionalism
Avril Lavigne: The Best Damn Thing
Band Of Horses: Cease To Begin
Baroness: Red Album
Battles: Mirrored
Blitzen Trapper: Wild Mountain Nation

Adele: 19
Aliens: Luna
Asia: Phoenix
B-52's, The: Funplex
Barenaked Ladies: Snacktime!
Black Mountain: In The Future

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: The Century Of Self
Antlers, The: Hospice
Avett Brothers, The: I And Love And You

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Allo Darlin': Allo Darlin'
Antony & The Johnsons: Swanlights
Apples In Stereo, The: Travellers In Space And Time
Autechre: Oversteps
Band Of Horses: Infinite Arms
Beach House: Teen Dream
Black Keys, The: Brothers

Adele: 21
Black Keys, The: El Camino
Antlers, The: Burst Apart

Aimee Mann: Charmer
Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Lost Songs
Andrew Bird: Break It Yourself
Baroness: Yellow & Green
Bat For Lashes: The Haunted Man
Beach House: Bloom

Bettie Serveert: Oh, Mayhem!



Action: The Ultimate Action (1965-1968)
Albert Collins: The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins (1958-1965)
Amos Milburn: Blues, Barrelhouse & Boogie Woogie (1946-1955)
Arthur Alexander: The Greatest (1961-1965)
Beatles, The: Past Masters Vol. 1 (1962-1965)
Beatles, The: Past Masters Vol. 2 (1965-1970)
Bessie Smith: Complete Vol. 1 (1923-1924)
Bessie Smith: Complete Vol. 2 (1924-1925)
Big Joe Turner: Shout, Rattle & Roll (1938-1954)
Big Mama Thornton: They Called Me Big Mama (1950-1954)
Billie Holiday: Lady Day — The Master Takes And Singles (1933-1944)
Billie Holiday: The Commodore Master Takes (1939-1944)
Billie Holiday: The Complete Decca Recordings (1944-1950)
Blind Blake: Complete Vol. 1 (1926-1927)
Blind Lemon Jefferson: Complete Vol. 1 (1925-1926)
Blind Lemon Jefferson: Complete Vol. 2 (1927)
Blind Willie Johnson: The Complete Blind Willie Johnson (1927-1931)
Blind Willie McTell: Complete Vol. 1 (1927-1931)
Bobby Bland: The "3B" Blues Boy — The Early Years (1952-1959)
Bukka White: Aberdeen Mississippi Blues (1930-1940)
Carl Perkins: The Essential Sun Collection (1955-1958)

Archival releases:

Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966 (1966/1998)
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Live 1975 (1975/2002)
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1: Rare & Unreleased (1961-1963; 1991)
Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Live 1964 (1964/2004)


  1. Good and useful list. Thank you George

  2. Shouldn't "The World of Arthur Russell" be counted as a compilation? The man wasn't recording much in 2004.

  3. Didn't you miss Aimee Mann's 'Magnolia'?

  4. If there's one thing I'm missing, it's probably The Association's self-titled from 1969. You got their first 3, and this is the one with "Look at Me, Look at You", "Dubuque Blues", "What Were the Words" etc. Remember?

  5. Oh yeah, "The Last Waltz"? Surely it's at least, um, notable. You know, important and famous and all that. Not saying that I'd like to put it on my list, just surprised you didn't put it on yours.

  6. I think you should be more picky here, otherwise this list will end up being way too long in the near future. I mean, 'The Best Damned Thing' and 'Shut Down Vol II' are "truly excellent"? The latter didn't even get a thumbs up...

    Perhaps an even better list would be just the bold-marked albums. All my opinion, you understand.

  7. There's should be a "Worst of" list too. Tell us what to avoid at all costs (or listen to at least once to know what we're despising).

    1. The problem with that is it's much easier to make a really bad album than a really good album due to no talent being required. Both good and bad artists are capable of recording such albums, so there's no taking into account all the worst albums that exist.

    2. Thumbs down is enough for this purpose

  8. this list could use an update

  9. Is Arcade Fire's Suburbs a "Very Good" album or a "Great" album? Your review sounds more like a "Very Good", yet you have it in bold. If it's a "Great" album, though, why didn't you increase the font size as well? I'm confused. :/

    The font style of that Bobby Bland compilation is different, by the way.

  10. Where is AM by the Arctic Monkeys, which you admitted was their best album yet? And even though you sing the praises of Bauhaus, you only included In The Flat Field as just a "very good" album.