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Music is a-changin'
July 19, 2006 8:47 AM   Subscribe

50 Albums that changed music. Fifty years old this month, the album chart has tracked the history of pop. But only a select few records have actually altered the course of music.
posted by caddis (269 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
8 Bob Dylan
Bringing it All Back Home (1965)

The first folk-rock album? Maybe. Certainly the first augury of what was to come with the momentous 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Released in one of pop's pivotal years, Bringing it All Back Home fused hallucinatory lyricism and, on half of its tracks, a raw, ragged rock'n'roll thrust. On the opening song, 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', Dylan manages to pay homage to the Beats and Chuck Berry, while anticipating the surreal wordplay of rap.

Without this ... put simply, on this album and the follow-up, Highway 61 Revisited, Dylan invented modern rock music.

posted by caddis at 8:48 AM on July 19, 2006


Poor Radiohead, being blamed for Coldplay and James Blunt. And I would have gone with OK Computer rather than The Bends, but these lists/threads are always fun.
posted by persona non grata at 9:00 AM on July 19, 2006


These are the albums we like, and without them you kids wouldn't have anything.
There are some there that are numbered too high (VU), some that are wildly over-rated (What's Goin' On), some are wrong about origins (Kind Of Blue wasn't where most jazz musicians first heard modal jazz, or not realizing that "Respect" was a cover when Aretha did it), and some that are wildly over-stated (Mary J. Blige). Still, if you want a list of what boomers and yuppies hold important, or the Canon of the Starbucks and NPR Set, this is a good list. And I don't want to diminish the quality of most of the list (though there are some on there that I think are rather crappy).

But my #1 is "Mary Had a Little Lamb" performed by Edison.
posted by klangklangston at 9:00 AM on July 19, 2006


But my #1 is "Mary Had a Little Lamb" performed by Edison.

You're thinking of the 50 singles list, k.

That guy was such a one hit wonder.
posted by LinnTate at 9:04 AM on July 19, 2006


I'm wary of a Top 50 of Anything where the Anything is pretty much within the span of a couple decades. Recorded music has been around quite awhile longer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:05 AM on July 19, 2006


Hmmn, I don't think you can really argue with that list - those albums all did change music, to varying degrees.

Also, does having all but five of them (The Strokes, Radiohead, Youssou N'Dour, The Spice Girls and Mary J Blige) make me a boring old canonical sod?
posted by jack_mo at 9:05 AM on July 19, 2006


nirvana, but no pixies?
posted by timory at 9:06 AM on July 19, 2006


What's with all the "Without this..." crap? I'm sure everything would have turned out fine. It's like saying that without the Wright brothers, we never would have figured out flying.
posted by jon_kill at 9:06 AM on July 19, 2006


Focusing on the last twenty years or so, it seems a shame not to include "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." That said, there is probably already a near-term bias in most such amalgamations.
posted by sindark at 9:07 AM on July 19, 2006


21 The Spice Girls
Spice (1996)


Was this really the first mass market global bubblegum pop phenomenon? It'a amazing to think my little sisters and I were so cutting edge....
posted by matematichica at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2006


I would have a lot more respect for these exercises if they were titled "50 albums that we think are really, really good. There are a lot of other records that are also really, really good, but this article is about these 50". Enough with the hyperbole!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2006


Spice Girls? King Tubby over Lee Perry (OK, that one is arguable...), and the sine qua non on Songs in the Key of Life reads more like an indictment than an elevation.
By 30 they've kind of petered out because they over-rated so much in the first 15 or so... And the motherfucking Strokes? Gawd, Britain, catch a fucking clue. I guess I shouldn't expect different out of a magazine that still wants to lionize every band in Manchester during the '80s. The influence of Screamedelica has largelly fallen to the dustbin, at least over here, and I shudder to think that it's still having reverberations in Blighty.
posted by klangklangston at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2006


the spice girls? ... the spice girls? ... and no rolling stones ... yes, indeed, they were playing the same old rock and roll in 1964 that had gone on before ... but they were playing it with a different and louder feel than anyone had heard

i've never gotten the stone roses, except for fool's gold, which rocks ... and i don't hear anything there that others hadn't been doing before

the kinks, who practically invented the metal power chord riff should be on this list, too

marvin gaye's album and pet sounds are up too high on this list, although they should be on there somewhere
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on July 19, 2006


I own 2. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad one...
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:11 AM on July 19, 2006


the Canon of the Starbucks and NPR Set
4 NWA - Straight Outta Compton


It would be more interesting to discuss what you feel should/ shouldn't be there than to try to label it as a means of dismissing it.
posted by yerfatma at 9:11 AM on July 19, 2006


The opening three words (sic) of the article are sooooo Grauniad. You gotta love The Guardian.
posted by Sk4n at 9:13 AM on July 19, 2006


the spice girls? ... the spice girls?

Terrible, terrible music, obviously, but it'd be hard to compile a list like this without them on it (or you could plump for Take That, I suppose or, to a lesser extent, the Stock, Aitken & Waterman stable).
posted by jack_mo at 9:15 AM on July 19, 2006


Well, ok, The Observer then. But... well.... you know. (slinks off quietly)
posted by Sk4n at 9:16 AM on July 19, 2006


Was this really the first mass market global bubblegum pop phenomenon?

no ... and i think the metric was supposed to be "influencing music" not "influencing marketing"

the monkees, the archies, the partridge family and the jackson 5 all were similar in marketing approach ... and the spice girls had one hit in america, so that doesn't make them global by any means

i'm utterly amazed at their being on that list
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 AM on July 19, 2006


Come to think of it, they probably should've called it '50 albums that changed music and aspects of the music industry (in relatively recent times)'.
posted by jack_mo at 9:18 AM on July 19, 2006


A list of albums... you hardly ever see that.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:19 AM on July 19, 2006


Way off on hiphop.

Only NWA? It's not like hip hop hasn't influenced all popular music since it's inception. You hear it's influence in everything pop to country to jazz.

I mean come on. It's not like NWA pioneered hiphop in the same way Rakim or KRS-One or PE did. All they did was scare Tipper Gore.

no paid in full?
no criminal minded?
no it takes a nation of millions to hold us back ?
no illmatic?
posted by milarepa at 9:20 AM on July 19, 2006


Bring on the criticism...

Really good list. But one selection did have me scratching my head:

48 The Strokes

Is This It? (2001)

Five good-looking young men hauled the jangling sound of Television and the Velvet Underground into the new millennium, reinvigorating rock's obsession with having a good time.

Without this ... a fine brood of heirs would not have been spawned: among them, Franz Ferdinand and the Libertines.


Did this album really 'alter the course of music?' Seems to me bands like Franz Ferdinand put their own spin on the retro 80s sound (real drummers sounding mechanical instead of drum machines): a function of the band members being young enough to be nostalgic for 80s nostalgia without having had to actually come of age during that period of popular music. The 'new retro' 80s bands would've emerged with or without The Strokes, simply because their time had come.

That being said, The Strokes did do a a good job 'paying homage' to The Velvet Underground. (VU at #1-- Excellent Choice!)
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:20 AM on July 19, 2006


Top 50 Music Lists That Changed Music Lists Forever
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:21 AM on July 19, 2006


What I find perplexing about this is that their explanations suggest a real lack of understanding of how artists work (or possibly just a breezy and lazy writing style). Artists are not necessarily primarily influenced by those that appear to directly precede them down a given path, but rather tend to follow parallel lines of influence to similar points. So while most of the albums listed were certainly influential to arguable degrees, suggesting that without x there would be no y based solely on their similar styles is pretty lame. As for their actual list - whatever.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:21 AM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm equally amazed that The Strokes are included, and with the rationale that they were "reinvigorating rock's obsession with having a good time." That's some bizarre reasoning.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:22 AM on July 19, 2006


You know, I clicked on this link ready to argue because I, like most mefites, am an opininated bastard.

But, I acutally think this is a good list. Yes there's stuff on there that I don't like and/or despise. But I get why they're there.

Yeah, the spice girls was the Monkees for a pre-teen girl audience. But I really feel like the phenom they generated was a huge thing because the people behind it didn't care that it was obviously cynical and manipulated. Unlike, say, Britney who tried to keep the fact that she was a product of the machinery secret, the Spice Girls production team didn't care because they were the first to realize that their intended audience wouldn't care either.

Does that make me happy? No. Influential? Yes.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:23 AM on July 19, 2006


(oh, and it was great to see Headhunters on that list. Hancock should be remembered for more than cheezy 80's dance-synth)
posted by lumpenprole at 9:25 AM on July 19, 2006


gang of four: entertainment or solid gold. without those records we wouldn't have the likes of franz ferdinand, bloc party, red hot chili peppers. flea is quoted saying the first red hot chili pepper records are basically gang of four covers.
posted by andywolf at 9:27 AM on July 19, 2006


really good point milarepa
posted by andywolf at 9:30 AM on July 19, 2006


No 'Highway 61 revisited' -- only a mention in 'Bringing it all back home' ???

Tossers.
posted by docgonzo at 9:30 AM on July 19, 2006


No Zep?
posted by cccorlew at 9:32 AM on July 19, 2006


the Spice Girls production team didn't care because they were the first to realize that their intended audience wouldn't care either.

the people behind the archies didn't care, either ... nor did those behind the partridge family ... both pure bubblegum, both shamless exploitation of the pre-teen market without a shred of pretense they were doing anything else, and both very successful

the spice girls were following a well established formula that had been invented in america decades ago

fabian, anyone?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 AM on July 19, 2006


"Hmmn, I don't think you can really argue with that list - those albums all did change music, to varying degrees."

So did Metal Machine Music, but I don't see it listed. And Nurse With Wound's debut, along with the famous NWW list, did more to change listening patterns on the whole than claiming the Stone Roses are anything more than a middling band remembered fondly. No Happy Mondays?

Albums they missed:
Suicide— s/t
Lou Reed— Metal Machine Music
Christian Marclay— Record Without Grooves
Miles Davis— Bitches Brew
John Coltrane— A Love Supreme
La Monte Young— Well Tuned Piano
John Cage— 4'33"
Karlheinz Stockhausen— Kontakt
Edgard Varese— Poem Electronique
Raymond Scott— Powerstation
Charles Mingus— New Tijuana Moods
Thelonius Monk— s/t
The Raspberries— Fresh
Big Star— #1 Record (This album is probably the biggest omission. Without it, no REM, no Cheap Trick, no power pop as we know it.)
Minor Threat— Minor Threat
Rites of Spring— End on End
Fugazi— Repeater
Husker Du— Zen Arcade
Wire— Pink Flag
Wire— Chairs Missing
Wire— 154
Gang of Four— Entertainment
Joy Division— Unknown Pleasures
New Order— Power, Corruption and Lies
Can— Tago Mago
Einsturzende Neubauten— Kollaps
Van Halen— Diver Down
The Kinks— are the Village Green Preservation Society
The Cars— s/t
Descendents— Milo Goes To College
The New York Dolls— s/t
The Rolling Stones— Their Satanic... through Exile
Chuck Berry— Is on Top
Johnny Cash— at Folsem
Weezer— Blue Album
Weezer— Pinkertons
Pixies— Come On Pilgrem
Pixies— Doolittle
13th Floor Elevators— s/t
The Monks— Black Monk Time
Autechre— Tri Repetae ++
Aphex Twin— Analogue Bubblebath
Aphex Twin— Richard D. James

That's just off the top of my head, and excludes folks like Larry Levan and Juan Atkins, who didn't have proper albums that were influential.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on July 19, 2006 [8 favorites]


the spice girls was the Monkees for a pre-teen girl audience.

I thought the Monkees were the Monkees for a pre-teen girl audience.
posted by grubi at 9:37 AM on July 19, 2006


Aphex's Selected Ambient Works is probably much more influential than Richard D. James. Hell, Hangable Auto Bulb did more for drum n' bass than much of the rest of it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on July 19, 2006


They also should have included 'The Basement Tapes' -- the original bootlegged recordings of Dylan and The Band's Woodstock sessions, not the 1975 album of the same name. That bootleg is widely credited with starting the bootleg industry and phenomenon.
posted by docgonzo at 9:38 AM on July 19, 2006


Without reading the list (yet), I wonder where The Velvet Underground & Nico, Pet Sounds, and Fun House are located.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:38 AM on July 19, 2006


Without Aretha, girl power would not exist?
posted by arcticwoman at 9:40 AM on July 19, 2006


47 Nirvana Nevermind (1991)... Without this ... no Seattle scene, no Britpop, no Pete Doherty.

The Seattle scene was all but done by 1991. Nevermind marked the end of it, not the beginning.
posted by psmealey at 9:43 AM on July 19, 2006


something by parliament/funkadelic should have been on that list, too ... huge influence
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 AM on July 19, 2006


That bootleg [the Basement Tapes] is widely credited with starting the bootleg industry and phenomenon.

Not Brian Wilson's Smile? Or did the boots of that only start later, although it was recorded earlier? (Genuine question; I wasn't alive then.)
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:45 AM on July 19, 2006


OTOH:

17 The Stooges Raw Power (1973)...
Without this ... no punk, so no Sex Pistols


Yes, I agree. Though you could make a case for the MC5, this record is definitely a touchstone.
posted by psmealey at 9:46 AM on July 19, 2006


Ok, we debate some of these, but did anyone challenge the choice for #1? Is it that obvious?

When I clicked on the link, I thought, Velvet Underground and Nico is #1, followed by The Beatles, Dylan, some influental blues (so much to chose from), maybe Public Enemy (NWA, seriously? WTF?), and something punk. I was pleased that they chose Iggy and the Stooges with Raw Power over The Ramones though.

Is there anything significant that this list missed. I'd like to hear ideas for albums of overlooked influence.

on preview, damn.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:48 AM on July 19, 2006


More:
The Fall— This Nation's Saving Grace
Pavement— Slanted and Enchanted
Link Wray— s/t
Eric B and Rakim— Paid in Full
Kool Moe Dee— How You Like Me Now
Beastie Boys— License To Ill
Run DMC— Kings of Rock
Afrika Bambaataa— Planet Rock
BDP— Criminal Minded
EPMD— Strictly Business
Wu-Tang Clan— Enter the 36 Chambers
Slick Rick— The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Peter Brotzman— Machine Gun
John Zorn— Naked City
Merzbow— Rainbow Electronics
Merzbow— 1930
Public Enemy— It Takes a Nation of Millions...

And Yerfatma— NPR and Starbucks would definitely consider NWA part of the canon, the part that makes them feel diverse and inclusive, even if they never really listen to it (partly because most of it isn't all that great).
posted by klangklangston at 9:50 AM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the boots of Smile started later, 'tho I don't know; certainly Clitnton Heylin (who wrote Bootleg! The secret history of the other recording history) credits the basement tapes with starting it all, esp. as they were the subject of a Rolling Stone cover at the time about 'Bob Dylan's missing album.'"
posted by docgonzo at 9:50 AM on July 19, 2006


Lou Reed— Metal Machine Music

The only people on planet Earth who ever listened to this record did so specifically to tell complete strangers, "I listened to Metal Machine Music."
posted by Skot at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2006


Oh, yeah, and Funkadelic's Maggot Brain along with Parliament's Mothership Connection, along with Sly's Stand.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on July 19, 2006


Well, that's going on my reading list. Thanks!
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:52 AM on July 19, 2006


"The only people on planet Earth who ever listened to this record did so specifically to tell complete strangers, "I listened to Metal Machine Music.""

Bullshit. It's really pretty good, and totally worth picking up. And it presaged a lot of noise/cut-up experiments and has been pretty influential in terms of people who have listened to it and later put out things to greater acclaim.

Oh, and Meet the Beatles was more influential than VU or Sgt. Pepper's.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on July 19, 2006


What, no Ashlee Simpson?
posted by signal at 9:58 AM on July 19, 2006


Meet the Beatles was more influential than VU or Sgt. Pepper's

absolutely right
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 AM on July 19, 2006


I love me the Stooges, but no Kick Out The Jams from the MC5? That truly deserves the "First Punk Album Ever," crown, IMHO. Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies should have a place as the original shock-rock album.

I second klang's Funkadelic nomination of Funkadelic, and submit that Radiohead don't belong on the list. I admit that I'm not a fan, but that's not why. (I'm not a fan of the Human League either, but they belong there). I just think it's premature.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on July 19, 2006


the monkees, the archies, the partridge family and the jackson 5 all were similar in marketing approach ... and the spice girls had one hit in america, so that doesn't make them global by any means

and infinitely more listenable.

also Master Of Puppets should be there as the most influential second generation metal album ever, regardless of the band's current state of sell-out jerkoffism.
posted by jonmc at 10:00 AM on July 19, 2006


I'd gladly trade in the good that Radiohead is to have my mind wiped clear of Coldplay a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
posted by sequential at 10:00 AM on July 19, 2006


klangklangston and milarepa: you two just did an awesome job of laying down the crucial albums of rap and hip-hop since, you know, its creation.

i'd add a tribe called quest album like midnight marauders, though. but that's just cuz i think tribe and de la did more to "change" music than many of the other (awesome) acts listed. they are, however tragically, the canonical parents of the bullshit pop hip-hop that dominates the airwaves.
posted by 1-2punch at 10:00 AM on July 19, 2006


Agree with much that's been said, so far. However I just can't accept Sgt. Pepper as the Beatles choice. Along with klangklangston's selection, I would put A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver all above it. Sgt. Pepper represents the start of the decline of the once great and masterful band into the masturbatory lite-weight psychedelia hawkers they became as well as just a vehicle for McCartney's crap tin pan alley songcraft.
posted by psmealey at 10:01 AM on July 19, 2006


Some more:
Venom— Black Metal
Sepultura— Chaos AD
Motorhead— Overkill
Goldie— Timeless
Metallica— Kill 'em All
Judas Priest— British Steel
Slayer— Reign of Blood
Blue Cheer— Vincebus Eruptum
Led Zep— 1,2,3,4...
Cream— Disreali Gears
AC/DC— Back in Black
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on July 19, 2006


No Wiggles?
Where are the Christmas albums?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:04 AM on July 19, 2006


(I think Master of Puppets was a much better album, but I always thought of Kill 'em All as more influential).
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 AM on July 19, 2006


nirvana, but no pixies?

Beatles, but no Chuck Berry?

Come on... which is "better" is debatable, but which changed music the most is not.
posted by afx114 at 10:04 AM on July 19, 2006


There probably should be a Christmas album on there, but I don't have enough knowledge to look for one. Probably an Elvis album, if I had to guess on the most influential Christmas album.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 AM on July 19, 2006


We're arguing influence here, not quality, I believe. That said, I can't believe there's only one Beatles LP. Either of Sgt. Pepper's or Revolver is more influential than, oh, Blue, I'd say.
posted by docgonzo at 10:05 AM on July 19, 2006


So did Metal Machine Music, but I don't see it listed.

That was pretty much my point - the albums listed changed music, the Observer didn't claim that they are the only 50 albums to have changed music.

And Nurse With Wound's debut, along with the famous NWW list, did more to change listening patterns on the whole

Oh, come on, you're really reaching beyond the remit of the list there - the NWW list has had a huge influence in a certain niche (of whom I'm a member), but that niche probably only numbers in the tens of thousands of people worldwide, tops. You don't really hear the influence of those artists on popular music too often.

Also, I'm puzzled that you include Weezer in your list - am I mixing them up with someone else, or are they not that novelty band with a couple of good videos courtesy of Spike Jonze?
posted by jack_mo at 10:07 AM on July 19, 2006


How about the Mille Plateaux compilation "Clicks & Cuts?"

Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach?
posted by Foosnark at 10:07 AM on July 19, 2006


But noting the picks from the Guardian, I'm surprised that The Propellerheads and Moby didn't make it, since they've totally been in a lot of movies.
And fuck, Nevermind the Bullocks? Where's that at?
posted by klangklangston at 10:08 AM on July 19, 2006


(I'll chalk the omission of (pronounced
leh-nerd skin-nerd)
to the fact that it's a British list, but love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit that more than anyone (including the Allmans, love 'em though I do) to create the sound we know as Southern Rock.)
posted by jonmc at 10:08 AM on July 19, 2006


and what about Rocket 88?!!?
posted by 1-2punch at 10:09 AM on July 19, 2006


and don't even get me started on the omission of Born To Run...
posted by jonmc at 10:10 AM on July 19, 2006


klang. - Great additions, but do you think Nurse with Wound, Brotzmann, Zorn, or Merzbow had much influence on pop music (the domain of the list) ? Or at least enough to be in the top 50?

Also, they defend their omission of Public Enemy and the Stones in the introduction.
posted by drobot at 10:11 AM on July 19, 2006


I mean come on. It's not like NWA pioneered hiphop in the same way Rakim or KRS-One or PE did.

You're right, however, turn on any hip-hop station anywhere and you're far more likely to hear thugged out gangsta swagger than you are smart, intelligent, artistic hip-hop. The 50-Cents of the world get way more play than the Talib Kweli's of the world, and that is because NWA was more influential than Rakim, KRS-One, or PE. I don't even think that is debatable, just look at radio playlists.

People are confusing "best" with "influential" .. they aren't necessarily the same thing.
posted by afx114 at 10:12 AM on July 19, 2006


Second lynyrd skynyrd.

And what about Neil Young? Not only for midwifing at the birth of the singer/songwriter confessional (Harvest) but proto-grunge of Freedom or the original fuck-off-to-record-labels: Tonight's the night?
posted by docgonzo at 10:12 AM on July 19, 2006


but proto-grunge of Freedom

Freedom was a great record, but proto-grunge was midwifed on Live Rust, my friend.
posted by jonmc at 10:13 AM on July 19, 2006


"Also, I'm puzzled that you include Weezer in your list - am I mixing them up with someone else, or are they not that novelty band with a couple of good videos courtesy of Spike Jonze?"

Listen to the "emo" explosion of the last couple of years, bands like Fallout Boy and Jimmy Eat World, and they're all aping the first two Weezer albums. Weezer has kind of fallen off, but in terms of influence they're bigger than Nirvana.

And the NWW list was responsible for the revival of interest in krautrock, which has affected underground rock a lot. In addition to laying the groundwork for industrial, which gave us a huge subgenre.

One that I've forgotten to mention that's absolutely huge in terms of influence is NIN's Pretty Hate Machine. Just a fucking monster in terms of people who listened to it and set out to make music like that.
posted by klangklangston at 10:14 AM on July 19, 2006


This about sums up what's wrong with the list:
"megastars such as Justin Timberlake or Madonna," I mean, why should anyone listen to an opinion from someone who could write that phrase? About half of their list is totally derivative.

pyramid's right - I kept looking for The Stones and The Kinks, too. I could add a lot more, but why bother?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:15 AM on July 19, 2006


Good points, jonmc, re: Born to run and Live Rust. I concur.
posted by docgonzo at 10:16 AM on July 19, 2006


(and Go Girl Crazy! by the Dictators, just because! actually you could make the argument that their goofy junk-culture obsessed proto-punk helped pave the way for my beloved Ramones, but I'll cop to bias, there)
posted by jonmc at 10:16 AM on July 19, 2006


About half of their list is totally derivative.

And a much higher percentage of popular music is derivative.
posted by docgonzo at 10:17 AM on July 19, 2006


The point is the top 50, not a comprehensive list. You can point out what was missed, but only if you take something else off.

For me, Spice Girls is a joke. It's the Monkees, I think, that set the stage for all of those type of acts to follow. Girls, boys, doesn't matter.

The only other album I can think of that hasn't been mentioned is Paul Simon's Graceland, which introduced World Music™ to the western masses.

But, in breaking my own rule, I'm too lazy to go back and decide what to take off the list.
posted by JWright at 10:18 AM on July 19, 2006


In defense of NWA, Straight Outta Compton was the beginning of something. However, if you were listening to rap prior to its release, it was not a major release for you. If you had never heard of NWA or Straight Outta Compton until after the release of Dr. Dre's The Chronic, than you can see the connection between the unknown and the pop culture phenomenon known as hip hop.

NWA produced some of the biggest names in the hip hop industry to young, white suburbanites, so its importance is overstated. RUN-DMC, The Beastie Boys, Africa Ambaataa, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim, Digital Underground (Tupac Shakur), Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, George Clinton, EPMD, BDP, and too many others to name, paved the way for this album and are, for the most part, unknown by the people who listen to the likes of Ja Rule or whatever modern pop hop flunky comes to mind.

Don't get me wrong, In '89, Straight Outta Compton good stuff, but it wasn't all that, unless you heard it for the first time trolling your local urban center for a dime bag at 4:00 am on Easter morning in 1998 or something.
posted by sequential at 10:18 AM on July 19, 2006


"Great additions, but do you think Nurse with Wound, Brotzmann, Zorn, or Merzbow had much influence on pop music (the domain of the list) ? Or at least enough to be in the top 50?"

Yeah, actually. Once you stop looking at the radio for "pop," which you pretty much have to do if you're going to be accurate, bands like Merzbow or Zorn's Naked City band are the first wave of experimentation and play with techniques that show up other places. And so long as Kind of Blue counts on the list, Zorn counts, because current jazz innovators are more likely to be listening to what Zorn's doing than going back and looking at canon stuff from the post-bop era.
Brotzman was influential on people like The X-Ray Specs and Skinyard, who in turn influenced many others.

Oh, and we're also missing the first five or so Sonic Youth albums, where again No Wave and avant jazz was translated into noisy punk, which became one of the corner stones for the "alternative" movement of the '90s.

Perhaps it's because I think that influencing someone who took those elements and influenced many more by being easier to listen to only amplifies the influence of the original, instead of dilluting it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 AM on July 19, 2006


I was just going to say "Pretty Hate Machine". Also, Operation Ivy's "Energy".

And for those who were amazed at the Strokes: I don't like 'em much either, but every time I turn on the radio these days, I hear all kinds of people who sound exactly like them. I think a bigger mystery is: why do people always say they sound like Television?
posted by equalpants at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2006


Oh, and I'd argue for the inclusion of Madonna's first three albums, especially Like a Virgin. Those were HUGELY important. Could probably make a case for The Cure too, if I liked the Cure more.
posted by klangklangston at 10:22 AM on July 19, 2006


"Rocket 88" is Top Ten on the influential singles list, i'd say, but this is albums.

"It Takes a Nation of Millions" is Top Ten on another list as well, but doesn't make it to this one - the first and last great political rap album, with a unique DJ and MCs. I can't think of any imitators. NWA had many, many more. "Paid in Full" might be missing from the list.

Did Chuck Berry and the Kinks not make it because there weren't good 'album' choices? Why did they stretch for the Who, then, who always had better singles than albums?
posted by Beefheart at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2006


And it's hard to imagine this without Ray Charles...
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 AM on July 19, 2006


This is definitely is more of an American thing than a British one, but the Replacements' "Tim" is the album that launched a million bar bands ("Sorry Ma... " could be just as influential, but it's only an EP).
posted by psmealey at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2006


Wait, wait, wait... where is "Trout Mask Replica"????

No Beefheart, no Sex Pistols ("Never Mind..." too!?)... Lydon's favorite band.
posted by Beefheart at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2006


Beefhart— Well, aside from the aside that I might make a case for your namesake, Public Enemy's influence is felt both in their politics, which did basically spawn a genre (calling it the last political rap album is a mistake). Further, I'd say that the real influence of PE is in their production— the incredibly dense production of the Bomb Squad changed East Coast rap forever. Much more than Straight Outta Compton did.
And that's leaving alone that Ice-T has a better claim on originating Gangsta than Ice Cube, and that if you wanted to really look at Dre, you'd pick The Chronic as his most influential album.
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 AM on July 19, 2006


Ha! Streams crossed.
posted by klangklangston at 10:28 AM on July 19, 2006


This list isn't bad at all. Of course no one will agree with everything about a list like this. Spice Girls have no place on this list, tho. And the "one album per group" thing is also not the greatest.

NWA is def. part of the cannon according to Starbucks. No doubt about it. Ice Cube and Dre are household names. As controversial as they were at the time, that has all softened over time. If Muhammad Ali can be the most beloved American, then NWA can be in the NPR cannon.

As to the underrepresentation of 80s Rap, it's criminal that they overlooked Devastatin' Dave's seminal Zip Zap Rap.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:30 AM on July 19, 2006


Klang - I agree, definitely influential, but the top 50? Does Brotzmann's influence on the X-Ray Specs count as a 'sea-change for pop music'? I think Kind of Blue is on the list because of its accessibility and influence on pop music, not on other jazz musicians.

I think you're putting together more of a top 150 list. Is there really room for 3 Wire albums (all great, sure) and 3 Madonna records in the top 50? I think you're maybe spreading a little thin.

Here's my outraged music-nerd contribution -- What, no Captain Beefheart??!
posted by drobot at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2006


the first and last great political rap album, with a unique DJ and MCs. I can't think of any imitators.
I think you're missing out on very political artists like KRS-One, Ice-T and albums like Daily Operation. In fact, Guru is one of my favorite MCs, but he can drone on and on like a modern Malcom X with a shinier tin foil hat and jazzier beats.

Rap and hip hop are deeply rooted in civil rights, a political movement, so it's hard to say there was only one great political album. Even The Chronic, largely a response to the LA riots, was heavily laden with political overtones.

On preview, klangklangston has it covered.
posted by sequential at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2006


And if comps are OK— The Smithsonian Folkways comp. HUGE. Sine qua non Dylan.

Ones that I would downgrade:

Patti Smith.
Beatles.
Marvin Gaye.
VU.
NWA.
Joni.
Aretha.
Stevie Wonder

Ones I would axe:
Blige
Stone Roses
Primal Scream
Fairport.
Nirvana.
Strokes.
Spice Girls

Then I'd start putting things back in and see how things stacked up, and probably axe more.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2006


Right on, klangklangston, Ice-T is always underrepresented in these sorts of things. He arguably created gangsta rap, and was still a huge star 10 yrs later. I don't get why his influence is sort of overlooked.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:36 AM on July 19, 2006


And fuck, Nevermind the Bullocks? Where's that at?

They've got Raw Power, The Ramones, and London Calling listed, making NMtB and McLaren's little boy band pretty much unnecessary, methinks.

List itself is too Brit-centric, but whaddaya gonna do?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 AM on July 19, 2006


I'm wary of a Top 50 of Anything where the Anything is pretty much within the span of a couple decades. Recorded music has been around quite awhile longer.

See, I think this is why the whole idea behind the list is sort of ridiculous. Because in 50 years no one will have ever heard of any but a handful of these bands, and their "influence" will be meaningless because the kind of music they make will be replaced by something else. The reason there's no old stuff on there is that the listmakers have no idea what people listened to in the early days of recorded music, because no one cares now. These artists are influential only in a very limited time and place. The whole "changed the course of music" thing is a bit of an overstatement, to say the least.

That said, the Kinks were robbed. And indeed, where are the Beastie Boys? Surely white people would never have learned to rap without them.

I think Radiohead is very much deserving of their place on the list, though, for all the shitty slowcore acts spawned in their wake.
posted by 912 Greens at 10:37 AM on July 19, 2006


Drobot— I'd take a look as things went through if I were compiling this. Room for all three Wire albums? Probably not. Room for at least one? Yeah, it's kinda necessary.

As for Brotzman, if you listen to Machine Gun and know that folks like Venom and The Minutemen both cited it as influential, yeah I can see it as a sea change. Listen to how he plays his saxophone and think that even guitars hadn't been attacked like that up until then. Machine Gun from Brotzman directly influenced the rise of speed metal.
posted by klangklangston at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2006


I think Radiohead is very much deserving of their place on the list, though, for all the shitty slowcore acts spawned in their wake.

again, it's too soon to tell how quickly that will fade out. In the wake of Vanilla Fudge, there were several acts that appeared doing sludgy R&B covers, but fun though they are, I doubt we'll see them on any list like this soon.
posted by jonmc at 10:42 AM on July 19, 2006


BROWNSVILLE STATION 4EVER!
posted by klangklangston at 10:45 AM on July 19, 2006


klangston - you mean this, right?
posted by docgonzo at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2006


An interesting list, although I question that you really need 50 cover the most influential aspects of the development of modern music. Especially since many of the "later" ones are so derivative of what came before.

And the "Without this.." part is silly and completely subjective.

My own personal opinion is that regardless of where their inspiration came from, the works of Bowie and Dylan, at different times and different albums, have been the most influential in the shaping of modern rock/pop. Everytime they changed, the music changed.
posted by elendil71 at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2006


Is it just me, or does this read like a murderous, music-appreciating time traveller's hit list?
posted by darksasami at 10:51 AM on July 19, 2006


the beatles were the first rock band to write their own material and were the direct inspiration for zillions of guys to pick up instruments and start bands ... (i think of buddy holly and the crickets as being more of a solo act) ... i don't think one can beat that for influence ... they're not overrated, they're underrated

frank sinatra was the first teen idol ... more importantly, he defined pop phrasing in a way that was permanent and once the 50s screamers and shouters of rock and roll were done, he proved to be an influence on rock phrasing, too

what's most interesting to me is that two of the top 10 ... the velvet underground and the beach boys, weren't really recognized as being that influential at the time ... the velvets were pretty obscure ... and the beach boys had a woefully uphip reputation in the 60s

likewise big star was obscure when they were recording

it kind of makes me wonder what groups that are around today that would be on a list like this 20 years from now

and no, brownsville station, good rock and roll band as they are, do not make this list
posted by pyramid termite at 10:53 AM on July 19, 2006


It's Raining Florence Henderson made an important point -- the idea that without one particular album, no other music that sounds influenced by it would have been made is totally ridiculous. History is not that linear, people!
posted by stemlot at 10:54 AM on July 19, 2006


docgonzo, yes ... harry smith's anthology was one of the most influential collections of all time
posted by pyramid termite at 10:54 AM on July 19, 2006


and no, brownsville station, good rock and roll band as they are, do not make this list

OK. Wanna go smoke in the boy's room?
posted by jonmc at 10:58 AM on July 19, 2006


Everytime they changed, the music changed.

Yes, but were they causing the change, or merely reflecting the shifting tastes of the time? No question that Dylan should be near the top of this list in terms of influence, with Bowie, I've always wondered why covers of his songs have always sounded better than his versions. /sacrilege

I think a more interesting experiment would be to put together a listing of the top 50 least influential artists of all time. Quality artists, but ones that who were so unique, quirky or at the extremes of their era or genre, that virtually nothing followed in their footsteps.

I'd probably put the Butthole Surfers, Rush, REM and Frank Zappa somewhere on that list.
posted by psmealey at 10:58 AM on July 19, 2006


I don't particularly care for country music, but being that it is as poplular in the states as it is. I have a hard time believeing that the 50 Albums that changed music does not contain a single country album.
posted by hexxed at 11:02 AM on July 19, 2006


(that's probably due to the Britishness of the list, hexxed)
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2006


Quality artists, but ones that who were so unique, quirky or at the extremes of their era or genre, that virtually nothing followed in their footsteps.
King's X.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:04 AM on July 19, 2006


pyramid -- I agree, i've just never heard it referred to as the Folkways comp ('tho it was), usually the Harry Smith or American Anthology.
posted by docgonzo at 11:05 AM on July 19, 2006


Is it just me, or does this read like a murderous, music-appreciating time traveller's hit list?

Certainly, when you read it this way, statements like "Without this ... no Destiny's Child" take on a darker meaning.
posted by 912 Greens at 11:07 AM on July 19, 2006


byrds, sweetheart of the rodeo is a country album ... at least according to what's considered country these days

which reminds me ... the eagles, who i rather dislike, belong on this list, not for their influence on rock, but for their influence on country

it's interesting that only one person has mentioned zeppelin ... it seems strange ... but not many bands followed their eclectic approach to hard rock ... bonham's drumming owed quite a bit to funk drumming, so they had a different feel than other rock bands
posted by pyramid termite at 11:07 AM on July 19, 2006


As stated above, No Pixies?

This list is also horribly absent of Gary Wilson.
posted by Peter H at 11:15 AM on July 19, 2006


and Napoleon XIV.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on July 19, 2006


Klang. - Yeah, I'm not saying he's not influential at all. He's one of my favorites. If it was my Personal List of Awesome Records, I'd have him on there, and one of the Last Exit records, for sure. But we'd still have speed metal without Brotzmann, and I'm not even sure I would count speed metal as 'pop music'. Especially when other genres, like country or even metal in general, aren't represented at all.
posted by drobot at 11:18 AM on July 19, 2006


And Gary Numan.
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 AM on July 19, 2006


And fuck, Nevermind the Bullocks? Where's that at?

Seriously? The Pistols may have had a societal impact but really their music just wasn't that good. Their musical impact was virtually nill. The Ramones three chord punk had way more impact on music than NTB.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:20 AM on July 19, 2006


"Sweetheart of the Rodeo" definitely deserves to be there, but I'm kind of offended that they blame Gram Parsons for not only "Hotel California" but also Shania Twain.
posted by 912 Greens at 11:20 AM on July 19, 2006


Speed metal IS pop music, once you get beyond needing "pop" to mean "popular." (Though "indie popular" does actually make sense).
To put it another way, I tend to think of Pop music the same way that the NY Times does. In their music coverage they have "classical" and "pop," where "pop" encompasses everything from Ralph Stanley to Run DMC.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on July 19, 2006


even metal in general, aren't represented at all

They have the first Sabbath record in there.
posted by jonmc at 11:22 AM on July 19, 2006


"Seriously? The Pistols may have had a societal impact but really their music just wasn't that good. Their musical impact was virtually nill. The Ramones three chord punk had way more impact on music than NTB."

Bullshit, man. Nevermind the Bullocks is one of those albums that it's become OK to slag, but the Sex Pistols are great beyond Malcolm's situationalism. "Never Mind..." is a great fucking rock album, and one that made a generation pick up guitars.
posted by klangklangston at 11:23 AM on July 19, 2006


klang, I love the Pistols, too, but I love the Ramones even more and as the band that inspired the Pistols, Clash, et al (NTM just about every US punk band) they get the nod as more influential.
posted by jonmc at 11:25 AM on July 19, 2006


And fuck, Nevermind the Bullocks? Where's that at?

Amen. I always look for NMTB on these lists and it's usually there. Not this time. That album gave music the kick in the teeth it so sorely deserved.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2006


Yeah, but the list is arguably talking about 'popular' music. It is fun to make lists of cool music, though, so here's to adding Albert Ayler, Tubeway Army, Big Black, and This Heat!

I think the Pistols brought punk rock to the masses in the same way that Green Day did later - not terrilbly original, but hugely popular, and thus, influential, but I think if you're sticking to the what the list is trying to do, jonmc is right.
posted by drobot at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2006


I looked at the list again and it seem to me to be compiled by a group of very like-minded individuals, which is all well and good, but if you were to put Quincy Jones on that list of reviewers I would love to see the outcome.
posted by hexxed at 11:35 AM on July 19, 2006


Seriously? The Pistols may have had a societal impact but really their music just wasn't that good....

I'm not sure how old you are but I certainly remember when the Sex Pistols came to America. I also distinctly remember how they scared the shit out of people, myself included. Without hearing a single note of theirs, I knew I had to hear them regardless of whether Steve Cook could play an arpeggio, sweep-pick or play a theramin. Musicality is obviously not the thrust of the list.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:37 AM on July 19, 2006


Hey, quibble about the details all you like—they're OK in my book as long as they have this, one of my favorite albums ever:

20 The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
posted by languagehat at 11:40 AM on July 19, 2006


The lack of Big Star on this list was its biggest fault.
posted by Falconetti at 11:48 AM on July 19, 2006


I love this thread (and those like it that spawn from FPPs like this) -- because I take from them a list of artists/albums to check out when I'm bored with my current musical selections. Thanks, guys!
posted by parilous at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2006


it's interesting that only one person has mentioned zeppelin ... it seems strange ... but not many bands followed their eclectic approach to hard rock

I had a similar thought. While Zeppelin was enormously popular, I'm not sure they were as influential. I think this was mainly because they straddled too many different genres (metal, blues rock, hard rock, psychedelic and even trad celtic music). Stripped down pre-grunge bands like GnR, I always put in the swaggering bad boy genre (Aerosmith, New York Dolls, etc.) that finds its main influence in the Stones.
posted by psmealey at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2006


"Yeah, but the list is arguably talking about 'popular' music. It is fun to make lists of cool music, though, so here's to adding Albert Ayler, Tubeway Army, Big Black, and This Heat!"

Kinda. Except they say "Changed Music" right at the top, and seem to conflate pop music with all music.
And I think you can make a fair argument for Tubeway Army as it stands— they're cited by Trent Reznor, among others, as hugely influential on his sound.
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2006


There's a fanboy part of me that would like to see Zappa's "Freak Out" on the list (since it pre-dated "Sgt. Pepper" and it's multi-tracking). In reality, Freak Out isn't all that great.

Did anyone else feel like KISS should be on the list somewhere? At least for me, growing up in the 70s, KISS was the shit.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2006


Kraftwerk should be #1. Guitar based music can all be lumped together with the Beatles.
posted by phrontist at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2006


klangklangston - Yeah, but that's my point - being a little tongue in cheak - that you can make an argument for thousands of bands having 'changed' music - just because Trent Reznor sites Tubeway Army, or Venom sites Brotzmann - it doesnt mean that without them, there would be no industrial music or speed metal. Same with the others on my list - its fun to site relatively obscure music that influenced a lot of people (Albert Ayler! This Heat!) but they don't consitute a sea change for popular music. Maybe a shift.
posted by drobot at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2006


Nirvana no. 47, Stone Roses no.31: They've done it in reverse order... interesting.

Although I love VU, I think the justification for the selection is pure indie:

Without this, there'd be no ... Bowie, Roxy Music, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Jesus and Mary Chain, among many others.


Yes... it is hard to imagine a world without William Reid and Budgie.
posted by brighton at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2006


Guitar based music can all be lumped together with the Beatles.

Ha, that's a complete troll; but if we're talking the Beatles I'd replace "guitar-based" with "showtunes".

Agreeing with KevinS - KISS' first few albums are as good as any great band's first albums. They deserve being on the list too, absolutely.
posted by Peter H at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2006


What, no Alvin Lucier?
posted by sveskemus at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2006


Hmmm. No Throbbing Gristle, who opened to door to tape samples. (Ok, so it could also be Cabaret Voltaire, but one should only choose one to represent a genre)
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2006


I think Milli Vanilli changed music more than The Strokes ever did/will.

No really.
posted by grateful at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2006


This list is so awful that I'm going to post 30 comments about it.

That said, VU is a pretty good choice. But the album they're looking for is White Light/White Heat. Duh.
posted by bardic at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2006


klangklangston I think you're forgetting that nobody said 'changed music for the better'. Just changed music. By that metric Spice Girls changed music a helluva lot more than Big Black.

God, I wish Big Black changed music more.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2006


Did anyone else feel like KISS should be on the list somewhere? At least for me, growing up in the 70s, KISS was the shit.

Kiss = the Harlem Globetrotters of rock music.
posted by interrobang at 12:25 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


God, I loved Kiss when I was in the fourth grade (1976), but I can't really think of how they changed music. On a related note, that reminds me of one of my favorite rock quotes of all time:

"If I had known that I was going to influence that many guitarists, I probably would have practiced more." -- Ace Frehley
posted by psmealey at 12:29 PM on July 19, 2006


Van Morrison's Astral Weeks certainly should be there. Lester Bangs provides the most compelling argument.
posted by Neiltupper at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2006


Kiss = the Harlem Globetrotters of rock music

Huh. I have no idea what that means.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2006


To be fair, interrobang, I (with tongue-in-cheek) threw Big Black in there with a quick list of 'cool groups that I like' to argue with klangklangston's suggestions of influential, but fairly obscure artists who don't, in my opinion, represent a sea chang in popular music. I'm with you.
posted by drobot at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2006


The Eagles = The Washington Generals of rock music.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2006 [3 favorites]


KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. Scooby Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters.

Hanna-Barbera should probably be on the list somewhere.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2006


Milli Vanilli = the Enron of pop music
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I know it's been mentioned already but no mention of the Stones is just silly, sure they would have had to pick AN album rather than the Stones as a whole but that is no excuse. Hugely influental in stage presence and attitude alone.

Also there is no line at all between Dizzee Rascal and NWA, none. Way more influential would be Run DMC, LL Cool J and Rakim, let alone PE, who stand alone in the way the Stones do (IMHO).
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2006


I always sort of resent lists like this, that always through in Kind of Blue and Headhunters, as if 2/50 is enough of a "tip of the hat" to jazz. Sure, they are fantastic albums - easily both in my top 10 - but I think that the music industry owes a lot more to jazz than it cares to realize.
posted by rossination at 12:46 PM on July 19, 2006


Shaggs.
posted by Peter H at 12:49 PM on July 19, 2006


Anal Cunt.
posted by bardic at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2006


as if 2/50 is enough of a "tip of the hat" to jazz

I agree, rossination. And the 3rd usual 'throw in' would be Miles' "Bitches Brew."

No mention yet of the Faces (same issue as with Kinks, Who - better singles than albums), Pere Ubu, Devo, or Sonic Youth.

And I think "Remain in Light" might be better choice than "Fear of Music."

I been thinking about this all day...
posted by Beefheart at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2006


rossination that's exactly what I was trying to say about hiphop.

It's ridiculous to pick NWA, and only NWA, for what is probably the most influential style of music from the last 20 years.

NWA didn't influence the music being made as much as influence main stream people's perception of the music.
posted by milarepa at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2006


rossination, excellent point. It's kind of like how Nevermind becomes synecdochical for all "alternative" music evar. It's a bad habit of music critics.

As for influential jazz albums, Take Five is probably a bigger deal than Kind of Blue, although nowhere nearly as good.
posted by bardic at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2006


And the 3rd usual 'throw in' would be Miles' "Bitches Brew." Coltrane's "Giant Steps"
posted by psmealey at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2006


MBV's Loveless.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Killing Joke - Killing Joke (1980) gets dissed again and by a UK mag no less. Can the origin of Industrial be traced to a more appropriate album than this?
posted by well_balanced at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2006


Kiss = the Harlem Globetrotters of rock music

Huh. I have no idea what that means.


I distinctly recall Gene Simmons pretending to throw a bucket of water on the fans in the front row, and then -- whoops!! It's full of confetti!! Bloody confetti!!
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2006


As much as I put Loveless in my all time top five desert album collection, what's influential about that album is not so much the music as it is the fingerprint of Alan Moulder (who was enormously influential in a few genres).

And amen, well_balanced. I can think of few bands that influenced more industrial, grunge, thrash, dance and goth bands alike than Killing Joke (but probably the first three records, hard to pick just one).
posted by psmealey at 1:09 PM on July 19, 2006


No Guns 'N' Roses? Like them or not, they did finally end hair metal for good. IMO, no G'N'R, no Nirvana.

I also second the shameful lapse in leaving Kick out the Jams off this list.
posted by rusty at 1:14 PM on July 19, 2006


And no Joy Division or Bauhaus? My inner goth is a little more depressed than usual.
posted by malocchio at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2006


I think the Velvet Underground was a great choice, same with the Spice Girls and Brian Eno.

I thought that Mary J Blige, De La Soul, and the Strokes were all wack choices because The Observer could have switched the names with Toni Braxton, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Hives and said the same things.

The weirdos, metal and rivetheads, country musicians, and black people never get represented right:

no john cage, ministry, frank zappa, chuck berry, bo diddley, metallica, caetano veloso, afrika bambattaa, alice cooper, johnny cash, hank williams, patsy cline, body count, parliament/funkadelic

and the exclusion of Madonna surprised the hell out of me

...and did a lot of you read this whole list, NWA wasn't the only hip hop. There was NWA, De La Soul, and Run DMC. These may not be the best choices from the "most influential form of music from the last twenty years" but there were more than one
posted by elr at 1:28 PM on July 19, 2006


No Green Day without London Calling? How about no Green Day if Bad Religion hadn't released anything for GD to recycle and pretend it's their own.
posted by bouncebounce at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2006


Is "Never Mind the Bullocks" a Mefi joke that I am unaware of? I also can't understand how the Strokes got on there but the MC5 were omitted.
posted by kar120c at 1:34 PM on July 19, 2006


Kiss = the Harlem Globetrotters of rock music.

The Eagles = The Washington Generals of rock music.

Milli Vanilli = the Enron of pop music


Oh please, continue this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:39 PM on July 19, 2006


In terms of Everything Being Different Afterwards, it's hard to imagine current popular music without the Pixies.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2006


well_balanced, I was under the impression that Killing Joke's material was due to be re-released soon; I can't remember which British rock mag I saw this in, but they spoke of it in somewhat reverential tones, which made me think their critical re-evaluation was soon to commence....
posted by kimota at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2006


No "Live at Fillmore East", Allman Brothers Band? Cream? Wes Montgomery?

Oh, to learn at this advanced age that I missed the splendor that was the Spice Girls...although my daughter's Spice Girl name was "Commie Spice", which she had etched across the back of her bookbag. Proud of her, I am!
posted by aiq at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2006


Missing and mentioned above - Husker Du, Pixies.
Missing and not mentioned yet (I don't think) - Jonathan Richman, Lonnie Donnegan.
posted by MrMustard at 1:52 PM on July 19, 2006


"[band] is the [basketball team] of rock music." = the Kiss^Eagles of rock band analogies.

I had to go to a Kiss concert once (chaperone) and laughed a lot at the band, the lyrics, the music, and the audience. At least one guy set his head on fire trying to be like the tedious bass player. Great fun.

But Kiss never changed anything musically. Sheesh. Even they have to know that.
posted by pracowity at 1:56 PM on July 19, 2006


A request for klangklangston.
posted by kimota at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2006


No Kinks? No Pixies?
posted by MarshallPoe at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2006


From a technical angle, some early Van Halen should be on there too. Because motherfuckers are still trying to play like Eddie 25 years later (unfortunately).
posted by bardic at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2006


MrMustard, I also thought the absence of Lonnie Donnegan was odd in that he too inspired a generation of guitar players, at least in the UK. I suspect he was a singles rather than albums guy, though.
posted by kimota at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2006


bardic: "From a technical angle, some early Van Halen should be on there too. Because motherfuckers are still trying to play like Eddie 25 years later (unfortunately)."

The saddest example being, of course, Eddie Van Halen.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:06 PM on July 19, 2006


I do not disagree It's Raining Florence Henderson.
posted by bardic at 2:08 PM on July 19, 2006


I suspect the Kinks are rather more remembered as a singles band, or else they get lumped into the whole "British Invasion" thing. In truth though really did have some fantastic albums ("Face to Face", "Something Else...", "Village Green Preservation Society") that I think were fairly obscure in their day.

As far as influence, though, my God. They inspired every power chord riffing teen over the last 40 years to Radiohead and Blur.
posted by psmealey at 2:09 PM on July 19, 2006


it's interesting that only one person has mentioned zeppelin ... it seems strange ... but not many bands followed their eclectic approach to hard rock

I had a similar thought. While Zeppelin was enormously popular, I'm not sure they were as influential. I think this was mainly because they straddled too many different genres (metal, blues rock, hard rock, psychedelic and even trad celtic music). Stripped down pre-grunge bands like GnR, I always put in the swaggering bad boy genre (Aerosmith, New York Dolls, etc.) that finds its main influence in the Stones.


I'll disagree. None of their imitators straddled genres like they did. But I've seen estimates that only the Beatles inspired more bands than LZ.

This list is just a little too precocious, a little too "oh look how smart and hip and indie we are". Mary J. Blige! The Strokes, the fucking Spice Girls, goddamn Stone Roses. I've seen better lists come out of Rolling Stone magazine, and that is a pretty low standard. No Kinks, Chuck Berry, U2, King Crimson, The Who, Grandmaster Flash, Allman Brothers, and any rock list that leaves off the Rolling Stones (and believe me, this was just to get attention and show how daring these tools were) deserves no consideration at all.
posted by Ber at 2:15 PM on July 19, 2006


Anal Cunt.

I couldn't agree more. I think few people realize the effect that "Everyone in Allston is a Fucking Fag" had on the industry as a whole. I know we could sit and argue that "Everyone in Allston should be Killed" is more influential, but I would have to disagree. By the time "Everyone in Allston Should be Killed" came out, anyone who's anyone already knew that the members of Toxic Narcotic should be murdered, so it was a bit repetitive.

One thing I think we can all agree that without 1988's "Foreplay With a Tree Shredder", modern music would be the sound of a few sticks slapping against a handful of rocks.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 2:18 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


As everyone knows music exist only in Europe and America, Om Kolsom and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are just poor jerks
posted by zouhair at 2:21 PM on July 19, 2006


Don't even get me started on Carcass then.
posted by bardic at 2:22 PM on July 19, 2006


Can someone point me to some educational torrents? Lonnie Donegan, for example. I know Lennon & McCartney and pals liked him, but I have no idea what he (or skiffle, for that matter) sounded like.

(And "Bullocks"? What the fuck is that? Did they censor the title in America?)
posted by pracowity at 2:22 PM on July 19, 2006


Nevermind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:23 PM on July 19, 2006


"Everyone in Allston Should Be Killed"

Definitely a sentiment that I can get behind. Getting real local now. Is it influential beyond our crappy town though?

Speaking of, Top 50 Most Influential EPs entry: "Signals, Calls, and Marches" by Mission of Burma.
posted by Beefheart at 2:25 PM on July 19, 2006


and any rock list that leaves off the Rolling Stones ... deserves no consideration at all.

Why? What influential LPs did they release? Nothing they did wasn't warmed over advances by other bands.
posted by docgonzo at 2:28 PM on July 19, 2006


"Bullshit, man. Nevermind the Bullocks is one of those albums that it's become OK to slag, but the Sex Pistols are great beyond Malcolm's situationalism. "Never Mind..." is a great fucking rock album, and one that made a generation pick up guitars."


No, it's really just a shitty album. Also, it's BOLLOCKS, FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by stenseng at 2:32 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


These are always a little amusing.

As mentioned above, no Jonathon Richman is baffling. His influence is obvious and frequently cited.

I'm a big VU fan and think they very much deserve to be on such a playful list, but I think claiming there'd be no Bowie without them is extremely rich. Bowie's influence on the VU is discarded as a result.
posted by juiceCake at 2:32 PM on July 19, 2006


Anthrax doing I'm the Man and Bring the Noise with Public Enemy. Anyone ever hear that whole rap metal thing? I hear it's kinda popular. Also Faith No More's Angel Dust.
posted by andywolf at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2006


No Fela Kuti?

No Entroducing (DJ Shadow)--or at least something to stand in for Entroducing?

These are my preliminary thoughts. I also most definitely would have subbed in The Chronic.

Also, for fucks sake...where is Bill Monroe?
posted by kosem at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2006


No Monks? No Sly and the Family Stone? No Kinks? No early VH? No Mingus? No Diz? No Trane?
posted by stenseng at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2006


Also, where the FUCK, is Johnny Cash?
posted by stenseng at 2:48 PM on July 19, 2006


I'm shocked to see no mention of Bell Biv DeVoe.

Without BBD, there'd be no Boyz II Men, no ABC... in fact, there wouldn't even be an East Coast Family!
posted by gigawhat? at 3:04 PM on July 19, 2006


Was anyone else perplexed by the bit about "the jangling sound of Television and the Velvet Underground"?.

I guess some of the twee-er moments of the Velvets' catalog (ie. most of their third album) had jangly guitars . . . but Television? Angular two-guitar interplay does not count as "jangly," no matter how freely rock critics throw around that adjective these days.
posted by Bizurke at 3:05 PM on July 19, 2006


Your favorite band sucks !!!!!
posted by Justin Case at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2006


Without BBD, there'd be no Boyz II Men, no ABC...

Sir, I will not take your cavalier dismissal of Michel'le and her seminal track "Nice-ty" sitting down. No, you will be called to account.
posted by furiousthought at 3:33 PM on July 19, 2006


the British press fetish for senseless "best evar" charts is at this point a grim cautionary tale on the media's desperate lack of ideas
posted by matteo at 3:34 PM on July 19, 2006


What, no Fanny Pack?
posted by bardic at 3:37 PM on July 19, 2006


No "Trout Mask Replica" makes this list pretty absurd.
posted by Decani at 3:46 PM on July 19, 2006


I think everything I was going to say has been said. Spice Girls, NWA vs. PE, where's Led Zep 2 or 4, etc. etc.

But I feel a stupid need to pick a fight with klangklangston.

Ones that I would downgrade:

Beatles.
Marvin Gaye.
Joni.
Aretha.
Stevie Wonder

I have to disagree with you on these five. You hear elements of all five albums cited here in about 65% of all recorded music produced today. Throw in the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, and the Stooges, you're up to 85%. That's what "changed music" looks like.

It even influences albums on this list. No What's Going On, no 3 Feet High And Rising. No I've Never Loved A Man, no What's the 411.

And for that matter, Robert Johnson is the ancestor of most of the music on this list.

Ones I would axe:
Blige

Maybe. But then who represents the female soul/rap diva strand of music that emerged in the mid-90s?

Stone Roses
Primal Scream

If this were American music, I'd agree with you. But this is a British list. And every Britpop band out there lifted their licks off these two albums.

Fairport.
Unless you're going to offer a Martin Carthy or a Richard and Linda album in its place, they stay.

Nirvana.
If Nirvana is informed by the Pixies, fine. But Nirvana was the first time Europe heard the Pixies. Ditto everyone in Flyover Country. This isn't about influences as much as it is about changing the direction of music. Did Surfer Rosa pop the hair metal bubble? No. Did Nevermind? Yup.

Strokes.
Spice Girls

I agree, they can go. I'm not sure what the point of including the Spice Girls is, other than they were a female Wet Wet Wet.
posted by dw at 4:06 PM on July 19, 2006


For what it's worth, my top 50 albums of all time.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:09 PM on July 19, 2006


Agree with Decani. And Purple Rain instead of Dirty Mind? Big mistake. Also, as matteo astutely notes, these 50-best-album lists seem to pop up every six months, over and over again, in all of the same places, NME, the Observer, Rolling Stone (the emperor of useless lists), etc., etc., as thgough their shouting in our ears enough times that SGT. PEPPERS' IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ALBUM EVAH will make it so.
posted by blucevalo at 4:10 PM on July 19, 2006


these 50-best-album lists seem to pop up every six months, over and over again

At this point, it would be a better exercise to create a Top 50 list of albums NOT on these lists.
posted by dw at 4:14 PM on July 19, 2006


But Nirvana was the first time Europe heard the Pixies.

What? They were on the 4AD label.
posted by malocchio at 4:15 PM on July 19, 2006


Way more influential would be Run DMC, LL Cool J and Rakim, let alone PE


None of whom had major police departments trying to shut them down. Again, this isn't about the music. That's why people asking about Trout Mask Replica are missing the point.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:27 PM on July 19, 2006


Your favorite band isn't highly influential.
posted by obvious at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2006


Mach3avelli, dude, your top 50 doesn't break 2000. Seems to blow the 'of all time' tag.

Or are you going to argue that 'Are You Experienced' is less important that Weezer?
posted by lumpenprole at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2006


Mach3avelli, dude, your top 50 doesn't break 2000. Seems to blow the 'of all time' tag.

Or are you going to argue that 'Are You Experienced' is less important that Weezer?


The piece you're missing is the my, as in my personal experience/opinion. I have a very narrow, fine-tuned love for synths and pedal-board-maxed guitars. Also, 90% of the music I've listened to came out after 2000. I try listening to older stuff, but eh, it does nothing for me (save the ocassional brilliance of works like Loveless).
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2006


Whoa, Mac3avelli, not one but two by the Music, following a Michael Jackson LP that ain't Thriller or Bad? Brave.
posted by docgonzo at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2006


I only like the Top 50 albums of the last five minutes. And my favorite bands don't compose under the influence, so this whole thing is moot. Why celebrate the originators of derivative music?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2006


Heh. I agree that many of the bands on your list are great Mach3avelli, but you're about two to three albums late with each of them. And you have DMB on it.

But I guess I'm an old fart. So as I tell you to get offa my lawn, I'd suggest you pick up some earlier Modest Mouse and Death Cab.
posted by bardic at 4:40 PM on July 19, 2006


The only solo Michael Jackson you ever need is Off the Wall.

If you think differently, you obviously hate the Jews.
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on July 19, 2006


I only hate the early Jews. After the lineup change, they put out some killer tracks. Of course that was four minutes ago...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:43 PM on July 19, 2006


"I guess some of the twee-er moments of the Velvets' catalog (ie. most of their third album) had jangly guitars . . . but Television? Angular two-guitar interplay does not count as "jangly," no matter how freely rock critics throw around that adjective these days."

Oh come on dude, most of Marquee Moon is pretty jangly...

"I'd suggest you pick up some earlier Modest Mouse and Death Cab."


Or just skip that shit completely, and get some good music.
posted by stenseng at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2006


ibmcginty, as much as Devastatin' Dave might be considered an outside contender for this list, IMO he doesn't hold a candle to Joyce. When she sings "I Get All Excited," I can't help but think that she could have been the mother to all music.

the British press fetish for senseless "best evar" charts is at this point a grim cautionary tale on the media's desperate lack of ideas

I really expected this comment a lot sooner.
posted by Brak at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2006


And my favorite bands don't compose under the influence, so this whole thing is moot. Why celebrate the originators of derivative music?

What in the holy hell does that mean?
posted by flaterik at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2006


I'm quite fond of early Jews.
posted by bardic at 4:55 PM on July 19, 2006


Actually, I've heard that Michael Jackson's private label Jesus Jews is very influental, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:57 PM on July 19, 2006


Does the list state who is responsible for all that woefully syrupy, dismally banal, so-called R'n'B shite that is now the staple of the pop charts?

I vote we all pitch in, design & build a time machine, and completely remove this abomination from history.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2006


The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2006


Does the list state who is responsible for all that woefully syrupy, dismally banal, so-called R'n'B shite that is now the staple of the pop charts?

I think they're touting #19, Mary J Blige, for that.
posted by Brak at 5:01 PM on July 19, 2006


C'mon man, T-Pain's "I'm in Love with a Stripper" is the greatest song of all time.

You fucking racist.
posted by bardic at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2006


I have a very narrow, fine-tuned love for synths and pedal-board-maxed guitars.

Cocteau Twins, The Chameleons, Lowlife, and countless other pre-2000 bands wish to make your acquaintance.

Otherwise, I like your top 50.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:09 PM on July 19, 2006


25 Biggest Wusses ... Ever.

From soft-rock mewlers to preachy vegans to just plain wedgie-deservers, Blender salutes the most awesomely wimpy musicians of all time.
posted by bwg at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2006


You've got to include the angry white brits: Elvis Costello / Graham Parker / Joe Jackson. I was listening to Jackson's 'Look Sharp!" today, and thinking that there's no way Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Ted Leo, or any of those post-punk throwbacks would ever have existed without the A.W.B.


Second Big Star, and by extension the Replacements.


What about Pavement? Every second indie singer today apes Malkmus.
posted by scarylarry at 5:20 PM on July 19, 2006


Or Eddie Vedder.
posted by bardic at 5:33 PM on July 19, 2006


Second Big Star, and by extension the Replacements.

I wholeheartedly agree with bardic.

(yes, I said that. Both those bands strike deep chords with me)
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on July 19, 2006


One of my very favorites failed to make the list: Jim Carroll. Perhaps appropriate as not too many people heard his eloquence. Nevertheless, " the cheetah walks almost as fine as" he does.
posted by caddis at 6:27 PM on July 19, 2006


OK, once I travel back in time, I will be faced with an ethical dilemma.

Should I kill this Mary J Blige quickly & painlessly, as she will not have caused R'n'B yet, and therefore will not really be morally culpable? Or should I torture her to death slowly & excruciatingly, to punish her for all the pain & suffering she has put us all through, even though the act of killing her will erase this thread of history, leaving me with no just cause for killing her?

This time-travel sure is confusing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:29 PM on July 19, 2006


Kimoto, they've started to release remasters of the early KJ albums although I think they only have the first three available thus far. Oddly enough, at the moment Amazon isn't shipping either the originals or the remasters although I swore I saw the remastered versions listed there a while ago. This is a bit odd.
posted by well_balanced at 6:43 PM on July 19, 2006


(And "Bullocks"? What the fuck is that? Did they censor the title in America?)

I think that most Americans have only ever encountered the word Bollock on the cover of that album and have no idea what it means. I didn't until 30 seconds ago when I looked it up on Wikipedia.
posted by octothorpe at 6:45 PM on July 19, 2006


"it doesnt mean that without them, there would be no industrial music or speed metal."

Sort of. But without the ideas that they brought, there wouldn't be. Great man theory or historical inevitability?

"As everyone knows music exist only in Europe and America, Om Kolsom and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are just poor jerks"

As are Fela Kuti and Acid Mothers Temple.

"And "Bullocks"? What the fuck is that?"

Hey, you try being drunk in the middle of the afternoon and see how your typing is!

"No Entroducing (DJ Shadow)--or at least something to stand in for Entroducing?"

In England, Blue Lines counts instead of Entroducing. Because British people have tiny ears and can't take in the awesome (though Entroducing is mighty dated by now).

"What, no Fanny Pack?"

They don't have any Gay Dad on the list either, which is a shame.

"Bill Monroe"

Did Bill Monroe have any influential albums? I don't know as much about his stuff, and all I've ever seen are comps. I just kinda assumed he was a singles artist (given the time). Carter Family also.

"I have to disagree with you on these five. You hear elements of all five albums cited here in about 65% of all recorded music produced today. Throw in the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, and the Stooges, you're up to 85%. That's what "changed music" looks like."

So long as you say 65% of popular rock, I'll agree. But I don't think that undermines the argument that most of those elements exist in other prior places and aren't exclusive to those albums, and that most of those albums are chosen more because they're self-reinforcingly "important" than they are actually good. "What's Goin' On" is one of the most over-rated albums ever even though it has a couple of the best songs ever on it. The middling eco-muck center of the album is terrible, and Gordy was right to reject it. If this were most influential songs, the album would contain some.
Same goes for the rest of the five. Beach Boys, Kraftwerk and Stooges were all about where they should be, and the latter two put out albums that were consistently great (though arguing who peaked higher is personal preference).

"Maybe. But then who represents the female soul/rap diva strand of music that emerged in the mid-90s?"

Mariah Motherfucking Carey, the Melismatics Queen. Not as rappy, but uses the same production and got into more homes. Or Luther Vandross. Or R. Kelly.

"If this were American music, I'd agree with you. But this is a British list. And every Britpop band out there lifted their licks off these two albums."

Yeah, but they're lifting licks that Stone Roses and Primal Scream stole from other places, not the shitty-ass "techno" backing that was supposedly innovative about them. They still get the axe, especially when compared to Funkadelic. Sorry, no question.

"Unless you're going to offer a Martin Carthy or a Richard and Linda album in its place, they stay. "

I'd rather put Nick Drake on there, if we have to have a folky Brit. Which we don't, because they generally suck and shouldn't be encouraged.

"If Nirvana is informed by the Pixies, fine. But Nirvana was the first time Europe heard the Pixies. Ditto everyone in Flyover Country. This isn't about influences as much as it is about changing the direction of music. Did Surfer Rosa pop the hair metal bubble? No. Did Nevermind? Yup."

In terms of changing music though? Nah, in terms of changing music, there were more bands that wanted to be Stone Temple Pilots than bands who understood what made Nirvana fun to listen to. There are 50 albums not by the Pixies that all deserve that spot more. Mudhoney, the Melvins, Soundgarden (who in terms of actual sound definitely did more musical damage than Nirvana).

"None of whom had major police departments trying to shut them down. Again, this isn't about the music."

"A sea change in music" isn't about the music? Maybe the list isn't, but this is one of those times where we should be question whether it should be.

And I'm not touching that top 50, as enough people already hate me.
posted by klangklangston at 6:46 PM on July 19, 2006


C'mon man, T-Pain's "I'm in Love with a Stripper" is the greatest song of all time.

You fucking racist.


If your in the club and a girl is grinding on you.... There is no song I'd rather hear
posted by Rubbstone at 6:50 PM on July 19, 2006


It's possible that hearing that song while getting a lap-dance might be too much of a good thing. Or at least a little too predictable. But I'd hit it.
posted by bardic at 7:03 PM on July 19, 2006


This whole list is crap, and a bore.
posted by swift at 7:13 PM on July 19, 2006


You wouldn't go for Girls Girls Girls for your lapdance?
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2006


But Nirvana was the first time Europe heard the Pixies.

Dude, WTF. The Pixies WERE HUGE in Europe before practically anyone in any numbers at all in the US had ever heard of them. Were you born in 1990 or something?
posted by psmealey at 7:40 PM on July 19, 2006


No, it's really just a shitty album.

Well, in truth, it's not really an album. The Sex Pistols never put out a proper album. It's a collection of demos, singles and b-sides recorded in various sessions over a one or two year period. That said, some of the tunes on it ("Liar", "Pretty Vacant", "New York", "EMI") are pretty fucking great.

And oh, your musical taste sucks.
posted by psmealey at 7:45 PM on July 19, 2006


i agree with swift. i've never read so much secondhand nonsense in my life. get 1 original thought, Guardian
posted by dydecker at 7:46 PM on July 19, 2006


And "Bullocks"? What the fuck is that?

Oh, cobblers to you.

There, all caught up now. What's next? Best second albums by bands that only lasted for five years. Go!
posted by psmealey at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2006


though the whole article is about what is "influential", a subject which requires you to telepathically grok the thoughts of thousands of musicians all through back in time through 1000s of moments of creation of music. impossible, but hey they've got a deadline so why not just regurgitate the journalist music canon as a list. ok then, much easier.

boring.
posted by dydecker at 7:54 PM on July 19, 2006


No! That's the second album I ever bought!
Some of these are limited...
Ah! What was that?
- Blue Monday.
- That was an original pressing.
For fuck's sake.
- Erm... Purple Rain?
- No.
- Sign O' The Times?
- Definitely not.
- The Batman soundtrack?
- Throw it.
- Dire Straits?
- Throw it..
- Er... Ooh, Stone Roses?
- No.
- Second Coming?
- I like it.
Ah! Sade?
- That's Liz's.
- She dumped you.
- I'm going to the shed.
- You said it was locked.
posted by bardic at 7:54 PM on July 19, 2006


Also, if you want to be edgy with regard to expounding upon your musical width and breadth, and you absolutely feel like you need to suggest Weezer, the Blue Album is the wrong one to name. The correct answer is "Pinkerton".

Also, I'm dumbfounded that no one has mentioned Neutral Milk Hotel, now that we have all slapped our indie dicks on the table and are having a collective measure. As I understand it, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was the most enormously influential, paradigm shifting and earth shattering album of all time... to my aging 30 something slacker/hipster friends in Chicago. My younger, less drunken, but almost as hip friends from Vancouver, BC give the nod to OK, Computer. And if you give a shit, the record that most was most influential to me personally, as a musician and a consumer of music was Zen Arcade.
posted by psmealey at 8:00 PM on July 19, 2006


50 albums that caused a revolution

I disagree that The Velvet Underground and Nico
is " the most influential rock album of all time". Oh pulease. Like what, heroin decadent, nihilist chic is the "revolution"? Not! That was some vapid, whiny, asexual, self-indulgent, addicted-to-skag, NYC downtown cool but it wasn't a statement of vitality, of guts, political change, brave honesty, good sex that rock and roll included in its truth.

Leadbelly

Woody Guthrie

Buffalo Springfield

Supremes

The Animals

Donovan

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Jefferson Airplane

Janis Joplin

Jeff Beck

Moody Blues

Madonna

Manu Dibango's 1972, Soul Makossa (start of disco)
posted by nickyskye at 9:10 PM on July 19, 2006


I am reminded of Orrrg and Arrrg, our two kooky but loveable Neanderthal friends, sitting in front of their cave, digesting a hard earned meal of mastodon meat and some strange mushrooms Arrrg found on the hunting trip. All of a sudden Orrg picks up a mastodon bone and starts beating it against the base of a gigantic fern. Orrrg takes interest and begins to writhe on the ground, screaming rhythmically in an orgiastic frenzy of reckless abandon. The two cavemen cease to be individuals and become one with the sound and fury. They continue until dawn when fatigue finally overcomes them and they fall into a blissfull sleep, not unlike newborns or junkies coming down. Without Orrrg and Arrg... no music, period.
posted by tighttrousers at 10:14 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Jerry Lewis.
posted by Peter H at 11:07 PM on July 19, 2006


Uncle Fucking Tupelo.
posted by geekhorde at 11:15 PM on July 19, 2006


God if I didn't know what band you were referring to, I'd have read that as a news report.
posted by Peter H at 11:24 PM on July 19, 2006


(though Entroducing is mighty dated by now).

Oh, no, you didn't. I might be biased, but I've listened to it a couple of times recently, and I still haven't found an instrumental hip-hop album - anything since by Shadow included - that can hold a candle to it, which I attribute to him using up a lifetime of his favourite samples on his debut.

It doesn't sound dated to me, at all - if anything, it sounds timeless. I really think it's one of very few electronic/sampled albums which will really stand the test of time. '
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:28 PM on July 19, 2006


I'll second Jon Mitchell's comment.

However,

which I attribute to him using up a lifetime of his favourite samples on his debut.

- says to me that you haven't heard his Brainfreeze album with Cut Chemist.
posted by Peter H at 11:42 PM on July 19, 2006


I clicked on the list expecting to see Nevermind at the top, as it always seems to be with these types of lists. I was pleasantly surprised to see it down at #47. However, they say that without Nevermind there would have been no Britpop? I don't see it. And then they put The Strokes right after it, and my head exploded. I'm actually kinda surprised that the Stone Roses are as low as they are as well... I've always felt they were way overrated.
posted by antifuse at 1:26 AM on July 20, 2006


Super UK-centric.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:27 AM on July 20, 2006


a statement of vitality, of guts, political change, brave honesty, good sex that rock and roll included in its truth.

That statement is just a thing of poetry nickyskye, I couldn't agree more that that is what rock 'n' roll should be... though, I only think that a couple of the artists you listed embody it :-).
posted by psmealey at 5:33 AM on July 20, 2006


Most significant omission AFAICS:

The Last Poets [eponymous]

Without which we would not have:

Rap as we know it.
posted by lodurr at 12:13 PM on July 20, 2006


... and while I'm at it, how about a little nod to Buddy Holly? The father of what an old buddy of mine used to call "that midwestern pop sound", which would later spawn "that LA sound". "Without whom"....: Alex Chilton, Tom Petty, Dwight Twilley, the commercial success of Roy Orbison, that whole "Athens / Tobacco Town Axis" thing back in the 80s (dBs, Individuals, Bongos, B52s, REM), a lot of Bruce Springsteen....

And yeah, sure he was derivative. News flash: Musical styles are derivative.
posted by lodurr at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2006


psmealey, Thanks. To amicably disagree, here are sound samples, which speak for themselves...

Songs by Leadbelly. 1945. The only film appearance of him.(Youtube) His music has those qualities. Nirvana playing a Leadbelly song.

Woody Guthrie, Bound For Glory. It’s hard to have good sex while crying but his music makes my heart full and tender.

Early Buffalo Springfield. For What It's Worth. Neil Young and Stephen Stills when they were young hotties. Rush-worthy.

Mid-Sixties, Supremes, Baby Love, Stop in the Name of Love. The ultimate Motown girl group.

Bad boys, The Animals, House of the Rising Sun, It's My Life. (darkly funny female trophy head on the wall).

Donovan's Season of the Witch sizzles quietly. And his earlier Colours, when I first fell in love with his music, age 12. Sunshine Superman. Speaking eloquently about his role as a Glasgow boy in the 60's.

Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit.

Janis Joplin, Piece of my Heart. Fierce, brave and raw. Truth inspiring.

Paul Butterfield, Train. If that doesn't make you want peace, love, truth, rebel freedom and steamy sex I don't know what would, it's how it makes me feel, lol.

Jeff Beck Group, Shape of Things. That hard rock edge with Rod Stewart's romantic hoarseness.

Moody blues, Nights in White Satin. Oh man, the flashbacks! Woo hoo! You haven't had revolutionary sex until you've spent an afternoon getting stoned on bliss to this album.

Madonna's, Dress you Up In My Love. That album celebrated women having fun, being playfully naughty and permission to be overtly sexual. That seems revolutionary to me even though that pop permission came as late as 1984.

I always thought disco was anti-revolutionary but it was a major turning point in music. Manu Dibango's primal beat, Soul Markosa with that special guitar sound that made history.

And then there are the odd musicians whose narrative songs wove themselves into the rock music scene and had a powerful political impact: Randy Newman, Political Science, Loudon Wainwright III, Phil Ochs, Arlo Guthrie.
posted by nickyskye at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


That was some vapid, whiny, asexual, self-indulgent, addicted-to-skag, NYC downtown cool but it wasn't a statement of vitality, of guts, political change, brave honesty, good sex that rock and roll included in its truth.

Heh. I always love when people accuse artists of being 'self-indulgent'. I'm sorry, did you not get indulged enough? Perhaps we should have some sort of comittee that polls the people who want music the most and asks them what they would like. That way we know the artist is indulging the most fans in the best way.

Welcome to Britney.

Anyway, lets go through your list:

vitality:

well, if you've never felt like jumping off a cliff just so you could see what flying is like, you probably won't like the moments of VU where the sound just explodes. But hey, that's vitality to me.

guts:

Yeh, well they were doing what noone else does. No offense to the many fine artists on your list, but it's awfully blues-centric. Blues-based rock was a great thing in the 60's but I still don't think it was exactly gutsy to do what had been done before but with better equipment and white people.

Political Change:

Well, you got me there. But I somehow think that 'all music should have politics' would kind of blow a lot of the music you like too. I'm not sure VU was less political than oh, Janis Joplin. They were both making music about their respective, and very different, fucked up lives.

brave honesty:

Well, they were certainly lying when they were singing about their speed addicted cross-dressing friends fucking in the bathroom. Wait, no they weren't.

good sex:

I guess you don't count weird sex as good? Oh well, more for me.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2006


Oh yes, Marianne Faithfull's enraged, incendiary album, Broken English was revolutionary.

The lyrics to her astonishing song about sexual jealousy, Why D'Ya Do It? scorched my ears and soul when I first heard it. What anger she was capable of feeling! Never heard a song remotely as honest about the agony of jealousy.

lumpenprole, Apparently, you are one of the majority, who put Lou Reed's album at the top of that list.

You're right, that album was bravely honest. It has a dark humor that was fresh at that time. Also a permission to be different. Important that.

In 1967 I was 13 and got invited to Andy Warhol's Gymnasium. Lou Reed and Nico were playing. People stood around wanly and joylessly. It was then I formed my initial opinion of them which endured. It seems the band was valued more highly in retrospect, in the abstract, than at the time or in person.

I can imagine that album somewhere on the list but definitely not at the top. I don't think "art rock" of that heroin-focused variety is such a big deal in the history of rock music. I'm not a big fan of Warhol and his decadent, speed addicted scene. It's okay. Bowie rocks, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side was marvelous, sensual and witty. I just don't think that album deserves such high praise. Frank Zappa's avant garde music, which came out about that time was more innovative in terms of "art rock".

Yes, my preferences are blues influenced but I like the passion and vigor of rock and roll. Rock had its roots in black American music, in blues and jazz. Reed may not have used rhythm and blues riffs but the lyrics on that album were mostly about what was worst in the blues scene, the hard-core city heroin and addiction lifestyle. He was a heroin addict, Nico was a heroin addict. She ended her relationship with Lou Reed with a nasty snarl, "I cannot make love to Jews anymore."

I'm not partial to lyrics that extol addiction-and-misery as a way of life. That is one aspect about some rock or motown that has always bothered me. Just my personal preference. I wish there were more joyful rock that was positive without being saccharine. That's one of the wonderful things about world music. I remember when Graceland came out, blew my socks off.

"...perversity desperation and death." (Lou Reed press release) [for that album, The Velvet Underground & Nico].

As for the romance of Nico's S&M, the roots of it were:

Her father was conscripted into the German army and, after suffering brain damage resulting from a head wound, was killed in a concentration camp by the Nazis in 1943. At the age of 15 Nico was raped by a US Air Force sergeant who was tried and shot for his crime. Her tour manager in the later period of her career commented:

"Not only does she have to carry the horror of the rape but the secret guilt of somehow being complicit, by her testimony, in his execution. Sex, for Nico is irrevocably associated with punishment."


Not exactly sure what you mean by "weird sex". It would seem that Nico didn't particularly like sex and that skag claimed both Reed's and Nico's sex drives. Rock and roll embodies a passion for life, including sex. The very name rock and roll came from what happened when people were in bed together having sex.

I do like sex, straight up and fun. That's not everybody's cup of tea I know. :)

Killing myself to feel vital, nope, you're right, that's not vitality to me. To me that's some kind of risk-junkie death wish. I can fly a small plane though, been paragliding, mountain climbed. But nothing like a good rock and roll song to give me a rush of lifeforce.

The Velvet Underground & Nico...the album was an astonishing mix of Cale's avant garde temperament ("We hated everybody," he said. "Our aim was to upset people, make them vomit.") and Reed's harsh street poetry on tracks like the druggy celebration of Heroin and Waiting For The Man.

No, I really don't like the heroin culture, it's adoration of death. Self-indulgence in this case is my thoughts about Reed's heroin addiction.

Reed instead chose to make a statement about reality and give his audience what he described as, '... a shot of the street'.... Consequently, drug hustlers and sado-masochism were things that Reed wrote about because for him, they were a far truer representation of society's decline and impending doom than songs about peace and love which he felt idealised our society and gave people false hope.

But it seems his hype for that album was to be reversed, that heroin, lovelessness and despair are fine for others, just not him...Like others, sooner or later, he needed love, hope, sobriety, political peace..."He married Sylvia Morales in 1980; divorced more than a decade later. In the interim, Morales inspired some of Reed's greatest love songs, some of which appeared on The Blue Mask in 1982. After Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984) faired adequately on the charts, Reed was sufficiently rehabilitated as a public figure to become spokesman for Honda scooters. Reed showed political concerns in 1986 when he joined the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope Tour. Reed then fired a salvo at his hometown's political problems on the hit 1989 album New York, denouncing crime, high rents, Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldheim, and even Pope John Paul II; the album's "Dirty Blvd." gained fresh radio airplay."

But when Lou Reed did play the blues it made him not only smile but laugh, caught on film too by Wim Wenders.
posted by nickyskye at 7:59 PM on July 20, 2006


Not exactly sure what you mean by "weird sex". It would seem that Nico didn't particularly like sex and that skag claimed both Reed's and Nico's sex drives.

Well, it's more what he was singing about rather than living, and I think technically, L Reed was more into speed at the time than Heroin. He once wrote about trying to quit speed and his dealer dumping an entire bag on the pool table of the factory and walking away saying he knew Lou would be back.

I really don't know that 'Heroin' is a celebration of Heroin. More of a chronicle of the life LR and Co. saw most of their freinds living. I mean, the lyrics aren't exactly happy.

Pity about that show you saw, I'll say that many artists aren't always appreciated in their time. My mom saw Janis Joplin and said she didn't think it was that hot (my mom has great taste, btw). My jaw hit the ground.

Anyway, the point about VU (and not Lou Reed solo, here) was that it gave music permission to be really, really noisy. I generally think that Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, and all that came after them are direct results of VU's willingness to let noise come first some times. That came from VU.

So everytime a guitarists lets his melody disintigrate for a moment and pull you screaming to the edge of madness, thank the Velvets, IMHO.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:13 AM on July 21, 2006


I always thought disco was anti-revolutionary...

Just because I can't see my beloved disco maligned, even slightly: much disco, whether in it's earliest incarnation or later as it began to morph into garage and house, was undoubtedly revolutionary, and consciously so. Places like The Loft (still going, started in 1966!), the Gallery and the Paradise Garage were the only places where black, white, straight and gay people danced alongside each other at the time. The music, too, was revolutionary: Larry Levan's mixes bordered on live studio sessions, with effects, tape loops and god knows what else in the DJ booth - here's a late one (big MP3 file). David Mancuso took the art of playing records to friends to a previously unimagined level - read my interview with him here, he's a sweetheart. Nicky Siano invented the segue, completely altering the course of dance music, and introduced Ginsberg-collaborator and avant-garde cellist Arthur Russel to dance music, sparking some of the greatest records ever made in the disco genre or any other, that still sound alien today (Go Bang, Is It All Over My Face, Wax The Van...).

(If I had a time machine, the Garage is the first place I'd go...)
posted by jack_mo at 1:35 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh yes, I think Joan Armatrading's music is revolutionary.

lumpenprole, You're right, Lou Reed was a serious speed addict and he was also a heroin addict.

Heroin, the song, isn't a happy happy joy joy kind of a celebration, obviously, but its rhythm and lyrics are very much a getting into the high of it. I've known several recovering junkies who can't listen to that song because it takes them immediately to that place, that deadly groove.

Ah, pity the jam your mom saw of the great Janis wasn't decent. When I heard her perform I rippled with endorphins for days. It was some dinky auditorium kind of a disco in NYC and the audience could dance too. It was good to be able to move to that powerful blast.

When Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side came out in 1973 I sat bolt upright, listening to my boyfriend's pea green transistor radio, while taking a bath. It was one of those unforgettable moments. It's an incredible song and I think that song skyrocketed Reed out of obscurity, shone a light on his previous work because it was as if he wrote a memoir of that intensely transitional time.

Walk on the Wild Side and Bowie's music/performance seemed to help pave the way for a new cultural acceptance of different sexual lifestyles than had rigidly been the rule before that.

You think VU gave permission to be really noisy? Huh.
The music I saw at that time, Jimi Hendrix just returned from England and the Cream played NYC too in '67, dang that was noisy and included noise-as-music. The Who too with major screeching, guitar slamming etc. And what about Frank Zappa's use of noise at that time?

So everytime a guitarists lets his melody disintigrate for a moment and pull you screaming to the edge of madness, thank the Velvets, IMHO.

OK, will do. :) Next time I groove on fractal proximity to musical entropy I will think of the Velvets.

jack_mo, So you're a disco man. Whoda thunk? Revolutionary? You know the EFFECT of disco was revolutionary, black, white, straight and gay DO mingle to disco, more than any other music I think. Steamy sex and thumping beat the common denominator.

Disco was a momentous innovation, that's true. Fantastic for dancing. It energises the body and yes, a huge pop culture phenom. But it's about as authentic as a glossy mag. A lot of playful sexual energy, vitality but it's so emotionally flat and plastic! Guess I need emotions with my sex and I think some emotional depth, some expression about the nature of life needs to be in music. Doesn't mean I don't love disco and love dancing to it, I do. Life needs some disco.
posted by nickyskye at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2006


mach3avelli: some nice stuff in there. But top 50 of all time?

You're quite young, right? ;-)
posted by Decani at 6:23 PM on July 21, 2006


Thank you nickyskye for that little slice of music history.
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on July 21, 2006


nickyskye, interestng thoughts. But I'm curious about your case for Joan Armatrading. Care to extrapolate?

(I like a lot of her stuff, but I never thought of it as revolutionary or influential.)
posted by lodurr at 6:35 AM on July 22, 2006


caddis, A tiny-mini slice. I'm sure any of the folks my age, 52, on Metafilter, have better slices. But thank you. It's pretty much always great to go to live concerts, any kind, any time.

Lodurr, Huh, wow, how nice to be asked an opinion. First, a confession. I misread the list, I thought it was 50 top albums in the history of rock, not pop. Oops. So my preferences were based on that misassumption.

That said, I think Joan Armatrading was/is revolutionary in that she seems, in my opinion, to have the passion and some of the qualities of a female Jimi Hendrix without the tragic streak of self-destruction. A solo jazz-rock, black lesbian rock singer-guitarist.

When her "Joan Armatrading" album came out in 1976, in a musically complex decade, her songs expressed a lot of intense emotion with intelligence. Not hokey emotions, no cutsie-pootsie but core feelings. One of my all time favs is Tall In the Saddle, which is deeply sarcastic and expresses ambivalence about an emotionally abusive lover. Her guitar riffs are amazing. There is something powerful and meaningful in expressing authentic emotions, personal ones, which I think is revolutionary politically and socially. Truth sharing. An aside, she seems also to walk it like she talks it, not to be narcissistic but a decent human being.

Her lyrics. I highly recommend her "Joan Armatrading" album.
posted by nickyskye at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2006


nickyskye, fair enough; I'm not sure I'd go for 'revoutionary', though. By those tokens, I could say as much about, say, Tom Robinson.

I will say taht I haven't heard a lot of artists that remind me of Joan Armatrading. Tanita Tikaram, a little, musicaly -- not lyrically.

She's probably influential. There are a lot of artists tha most people have never heard of who are quite influential, and the influence is often subtle. For example, a lot of female artists will cite Happy Rhodes as an influence. None of them who do, sound much like her, to me. I think Maggie Roche has been very influential on female vocal styles.
posted by lodurr at 3:34 PM on July 22, 2006


lodurr, OMG I love Tom Robinson!!! Found a YouTube with 2 great songs of his. Never heard of him before your post. What a lovely discovery! Love his music! Please advise me what is/are his best album/s?

Glad you mentioned Maggie Roche, the Roches are very innovative, witty, intelligent.

Yes, love Tanita Tikaram too. Never heard of Happy Rhodes before. Nice, interesting voice, more of her music here.

Thanks lodurr, you rock!
posted by nickyskye at 6:48 PM on July 22, 2006


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