Sunday, November 30, 2003

Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of All Time

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This is not an official Rolling Stone magazine list; rather it is a consolidation of five major lists published by the magazine. (See the specific links at bottom of page). The best resource for reading more about these albums is Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time book, published in 2005 by Wenner Media, LLC. The list differs slightly from the original list in the magazine, but all of the albums below are in the book. Besides, this is a must-have for music list junkies.

Also, check out Rolling Stone’s annual picks for album of the year. They have made such picks since 1978. However, by looking at the consolidated lists described above, the DMDB has expanded the list back to 1965.

1. Exile on Main Street: The Rolling Stones (1972)
2. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Beatles (1967)
3. The Beatles (aka “The White Album”): The Beatles (1968)
4. Abbey Road: The Beatles (1969)
5. London Calling: The Clash (1979)
6. Are You Experienced?: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
7. Born to Run: Bruce Springsteen (1975)
8. Blood on the Tracks: Bob Dylan (1975)
9. What's Going On: Marvin Gaye (1971)
10. Astral Weeks: Van Morrison (1968)

11. Velvet Underground & Nico: Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
12. Let It Bleed: The Rolling Stones (1969)
13. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the…: Sex Pistols (1977)
14. Who’s Next: The Who (1971)
15. Sticky Fingers: The Rolling Stones (1971)
16. Led Zeppelin IV: Led Zeppelin (1971)
17. Electric Ladyland: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)
18. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: David Bowie (1972)
19. Pet Sounds: Beach Boys (1966)
20. Nevermind: Nirvana (1991)

21. Blonde on Blonde: Bob Dylan (1966)
22. Rubber Soul: The Beatles (1965)
23. Highway 61 Revisited: Bob Dylan (1965)
24. Horses: Patti Smith (1975)
25. Beggars Banquet: The Rolling Stones (1968)
26. The Band: The Band (1969)
27. Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd (1973)
28. Blue: Joni Mitchell (1971)
29. Plastic Ono Band: John Lennon (1970)
30. Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)

31. The Doors: The Doors (1967)
32. Thriller: Michael Jackson (1982)
33. Trout Mask Replica: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band (1969)
34. Rumours: Fleetwood Mac (1977)
35. The Clash: The Clash (1977)
36. Bringing It All Back Home: Bob Dylan (1965)
37. Ramones: Ramones (1976)
38. There's a Riot Goin' On: Sly and the Family Stone (1971)
39. Purple Rain: Prince & the Revolution (1984)
40. Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen (1984)

41. Moondance: Van Morrison (1970)
42. Led Zeppelin II: Led Zeppelin (1969)
43. Off the Wall: Michael Jackson (1979)
44. After the Gold Rush: Neil Young (1970)
45. Lady Soul: Aretha Franklin (1968)
46. My Aim Is True: Elvis Costello (1977)
47. Pretenders: Pretenders (1980)
48. Surrealistic Pillow: Jefferson Airplane (1967)
49. Tonight’s the Night: Neil Young (1975)
50. 12 Songs: Randy Newman (1970)

51. Revolver: The Beatles (1966)
52. Music from Big Pink: The Band (1968)
53. This Year’s Model: Elvis Costello (1978)
54. Marquee Moon: Television (1977)
55. Green River: Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)
56. The Joshua Tree: U2 (1987)
57. Innervisions: Stevie Wonder (1973)
58. Appetite for Destruction: Guns N' Roses (1987)
59. Achtung Baby: U2 (1991)
60. Raw Power: The Stooges (1973)

61. Tapestry: Carole King (1971)
62. The Queen Is Dead: The Smiths (1986)
63. Automatic for the People: R.E.M. (1992)
64. Hunky Dory: David Bowie (1971)
65. Imagine: John Lennon (1971)
66. Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs: Derek and the Dominos (1970)
67. Greatest Hits: Sly & The Family Stone (1970)
68. Loaded: Velvet Underground (1970)
69. Talking Book: Stevie Wonder (1972)
70. Tommy: The Who (1969)

71. Dusty in Memphis: Dusty Springfield (1969)
72. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You: Aretha Franklin (1967)
73. Remain in Light: Talking Heads (1980)
74. The Harder They Come (Soundtrack): Various Artists (1973)
75. Paranoid: Black Sabbath (1970)
76. Every Picture Tells a Story: Rod Stewart (1971)
77. Dirty Mind: Prince (1980)
78. Ten: Pearl Jam (1991)
79. Sail Away: Randy Newman (1972)
80. Murmur: R.E.M. (1983)

81. What’s the Story Morning Glory?: Oasis (1995)
82. New York Dolls: New York Dolls (1973)
83. The Gilded Place of Sin: Flying Burrito Brothers (1969)
84. Nuggets: various artists (1968)
85. Like a Prayer: Madonna (1989)
86. The Basement Tapes: Bob Dylan & The Band (1967)
87. Between the Buttons: The Rolling Stones (1967)
88. Some Girls: The Rolling Stones (1978)
89. MTV Unplugged in New York: Nirvana (1993)
90. Siamese Dream: Smashing Pumpkins (1993)

91. Odelay: Beck (1996)
92. Rust Never Sleeps: Neil Young (1979)
93. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight: Richard & Linda Thompson (1974)
94. Piper at the Gates of Dawn: Pink Floyd (1967)
95. Willy and the Poor Boys: Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)
96. Siren: Roxy Music (1975)
97. The Smiths: The Smiths (1984)
98. Live at the Apollo: James Brown (1962)
99. Forever Changes: Love (1967)
100. Kind of Blue: Miles Davis (1959)

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Saturday, November 1, 2003

Johnny Cash charted posthumously with “Hurt”

First posted 11/18/2019.


Johnny Cash

Writer(s): Trent Reznor (see lyrics here)

Released: March 2003

First Charted: November 1, 2003

Peak: 56 CW, 33 MR, 39 UK, 66 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 2.75 US, 0.6 UK, 3.5 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 66.0

Streaming *: --

* in millions


In 1995, Nine Inch Nails released the song “Hurt” from their second album, The Downward Spiral. The top 10 modern rock hit references self-harm and heroin addiction, but the overall meaning of the song has been disputed. Some have said it is a suicide note written by the protagonist and others see it as a more uplifting song about finding a reason to live in spite of depression and pain. WK It has also been characterized as “about realizing consequences and regret.” SF Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor has said it is the most personal song he’s ever written. SF Little did he know it would become the quintessential eulogy for one of country music’s greatest legends.

Reznor was friends with Rick Rubin who, in the last decade, had served as “the svengali of [Johnny] Cash’s reinvention.” NME Rubin suggested the song to Cash, knowing its vulnerability and expression of pain would match his failing voice. The song didn’t catch Cash’s ear initially, but he eventually called it “the best anti-drug song I ever heard.” SF

“The stark, desolate sorrow of the original was translated into harrowing, minimal balladry by the Man In Black.” NME By whittling the song down “to little more than an acoustic guitar and the trembling voice of a dying man,” RS Cash was effectively “writing his own grim eulogy.” PD “His authoritative baritone has all but disappeared, and even his legendary dark humor has deserted him, replaced by painful honesty about life, death, and regret…It’s the crowning achievement of one of the great musical lives of our era; it’s the necessary reminder of age and mortality in the middle of youth and promise.” DS

“It’s hard to imagine anyone but Johnny Cash making it sound like a standard.” PD His take on the song captures “the fear and regret we rarely like to acknowledge until faced with our own mortality.” PD Kudos to “Rubin for recognizing that Cash’s genius would transform a ‘90s goth-rock dirge into a classic on par with his ‘50s murder ballads.” AM

Reznor was originally angry about the cover, saying it felt invasive, SF but after seeing the video he said, “That song isn’t mine anymore…It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote…about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning – different, but every bit as pure.” WK

The video was directed by Mark Romanek, who had previously collaborated with Nine Inch Nails WK and shot videos for U2, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. SF The video mixed archival footage of Cash with current shots of “one of America’s most iconic figures suddenly looking so vulnerable, so human, so utterly spent.” PD By showcasing “the stark and seemingly cruel reality of the present,” WK the video served as an obituary for Cash, who died seven months later on September 12, four months after his wife, June Carter Cash, who is also featured in the video. Cash’s management wasn’t sure it should be released because it was so intimate, but his daughter Rosanne convinced him. SF

It won Grammy and Country Music Assocation Awards for Video of the Year. In July 2011, New Musical Express magazine named it the best video of all time, as did Country Music Television (CMT) in 2004. WK The Country Music Association also awarded it Single of the Year in 2003. In a 2007 BBC poll, Cash’s take on the song was voted the best-ever cover of another artist’s song. SF

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