Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era

This summer, we are featuring the Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*.  We began May 1, and are featuring one album per day.  Click on any of the albums below to read its story.  Here is the complete list:

#100--Tusk, by Fleetwood Mac
#99--Millennium, by the Backstreet Boys
#98--Physical Graffiti, by Led Zeppelin
#97--Learning to Crawl, by the Pretenders
#96--Brothers in Arms, by Dire Straits
#95--II, by Boyz II Men
#94--A Song For You, by the Carpenters
#93--Spice, by the Spice Girls
#92--The End of the Innocence, by Don Henley
#91--Rhythm Nation 1814, by Janet Jackson
#90--Back in the High Life, by Steve Winwood
#89--Whitney, by Whitney Houston
#88--Rubber Soul, by the Beatles
#87--Double Vision, by Foreigner
#86--Heart in Motion, by Amy Grant
#85--Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, by Elton John
#84--Silk Degrees, by Boz Scaggs
#83--Guilty, by Barbra Streisand
#82--Cracked Rear View, by Hootie and the Blowfish
#81--Different Light, by the Bangles
#80--Tracy Chapman, by Tracy Chapman
#79--Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, by Elton John
#78--Graceland, by Paul Simon
#77--Metallica, by Metallica
#76--Bat out of Hell, by Meat Loaf
#75--The Cars, by the Cars
#74--In Pieces, by Garth Brooks
#73--Abraxas, by Santana
#72--52nd Street, by Billy Joel


  1. Love the site! I do a similar thing with - lots of best-of lists and "on this day in music history" kind of stuff. Question on this list in particular - how was list compiled? A personal list? Panel? The focus is very much on commercially-successful albums (no problem with that).

    BTW - you left out #9!

  2. Thanks Dave! (fixed)

    I devised a formula to rank them, to keep my own subjective feelings to a minimum. It considers album chart statistics, to give creedence to the album's performance at the time it was out, but also looks at all-time sales, which generally weed out "flashes in the pan". In that statistics, the cream essentially rises to the top. I also factored in awards; there are some albums (Bonnie Raitt's 'Nick of Time' comes to mind)that may not be huge sellers, but nonetheless are highly regarded by most people.

    But there is a key component in the album formula, much like the consideration of 'competition' is to The Top 5000 Songs of the Rock Era. In this case, it is an album's 'Track Rating'. Unfortunately, that is the one part that is exclusively subjective. I used my experience as a Music Director to honestly evaluate each album considered (over 500 albums that could potentially make the list), thoroughly listening to each track on those albums, and assessing a scale of 1-10 for each track, judging the value of the track to the album, whether I liked it personally or not. Again, subjective to be sure, but as professionally and as nonjudgmental as possible.

    So in answer to your comment, I certainly considered the albums that you see on other lists (such as Rolling Stone), but by and large they did not measure up enough in the Track Rating* component to offset their failure to attract attention (reflected in chart and sales performance).

    Thanks again for the comments!


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