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500 Greatest Albums of All Times, The Hardcover – November 16, 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a must have for the serious music collector, young and old."

-—Joe Levy, Deputy Managing Editor, Rolling Stone Magazine

About the Author

Joe Levy is a deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone Magazine where he has overseen the magazine's music coverage since 1997. A former editor at Details, Spin and the Village Voice, he is also a frequent on-air contributor to VH1 and MTV.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wenner; First Edition edition (November 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932958010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932958010
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 0.9 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Like the various "top 100" movie lists, this wonderfully illustrated list of the top 500 albums is a great source of discussion: what belonged, what didn't, what was too high, what was too low, and so on. Since much of this is a matter of taste (though some of the perspective on what is historically important in that it influenced what was to come is a bit more objective), I'll refrain from commenting on individual albums. However, there are two bigger problems that are worth commenting upon.

The first is that the editors seem to not like and not value what is sometimes called "art rock." I first noticed this when I thumbed through looking for the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed. I assumed it would be somewhere in the top 50, but it wasn't even in their top 500. Neither were any other Moody Blues albums, when I would have thought that at least three (Days of Future Passed, For Our Children's Children's Children, and Seventh Sojourn) belonged (and, for my tastes, I would have included more). But as I looked around, I noticed that the whole subgenre seemed to be missing. There was no Genesis, no Yes, no Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Even if, as a matter of taste, the editors didn't care much for this type of music, there should have been some representation of these artists. (I don't like Eminem, but I understand why he was included.)

The second problem is one of scope. The book includes a small number of jazz albums -- a few by Miles Davis and John Coltraine. This is either too many or way too few. The either should not have taken on jazz or should have given it it's rightful place. If this were the best albums of all time and jazz was included, where is Dave Brubeck's Take Five? There is some Miles Davis, but where is his very important rendition of Porgy and Bess?
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Format: Hardcover
I've read through Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums" guide and it has some real problems, all of which add up to it being extremely unhelpful for someone honestly looking for great albums. I considered giving this guide a higher rating simply because I agree that many of the albums included really are great, but the writing (or really, the lack thereof) is so bad that this book couldn't possibly be helpful to anyone who was not already familiar with the albums. This book gets off to a preposterous start when the editor claims that the Beatles' first album should be the number one album because it is the first one that HE bought, and getting all nostalgic about it makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Wha?! And this guy is the editor?! That's not a basis for an argument for an album's position on a list ranking greatest albums! That should have told me what I was getting myself into by continuing to read. If you were to ask yourself whether or not you know anything new about the music after reading the article for any given album in this book, most likely the answer will be no (especially for 11-500). You may know that the drummer spilled beer on his drum kit while recording the big hit single, or some other piece of at best marginally useful information, but that's about it. And they don't even put much effort into providing much in the way of that level of information beyond the first 10 albums, the rest only get a paragraph of completely obvious and/or useless information. For a while I was under the impression that "Rolling Stone" was a music magazine that was knowledgeable about and understood and appreciated music (well, rock music at least, in the most narrow definition of the term, and perhaps blues, the father of rock).Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm pretty much obsessed with music lists so I could talk about this book all day so to keep things fairly brief I'm just going to weigh the pros and cons of this thing.

Pros:
-There's a ton of really great albums on here. They cover a little bit of every genre. They got psychedelic rock, hardcore punk, disco, country, funk, indie rock, hip hop, reggae, blues, jazz, etc. This list will very likely introduce you to some albums you have never heard of before that you will really like.
-Like a lot of coffee table books it's fun just flip through this until you see something that catches your attention.
-The large size of the book is nice. The first ten albums on the list each get a whole page featuring the album cover of that album. That just by itself is pretty cool. There's also a lot of photos of musicians and bands that take up a whole 11" by 11" page.
-Aside from all of the info about the albums, there's some interesting little sections throughout the book that will focus on certain musicians, music studios, composers, and other little tidbits about the creation of some of the albums.

Cons:
-To create this list, the folks at Rolling Stone asked a lot of people in the music biz to contribute lists of their favorite albums. A list of contributors is printed in the back of the book, and I noticed that there's not a lot of people from the world of hip hop that contributed to the list. So that means there's really not that many hip hop and rap albums on here. And honestly, some of the rap albums they chose are ranked higher than they should be. Jay-Z ranked ahead of Nas? Three Eminem albums? The Marshall Mathers LP is the only one that really needs to be on here.
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