Friday, November 30, 2007

The Guardian – Top 100 Albums

First posted 11/30/2007; updated 8/5/2020.

The Guardian:

The Top 100 Albums

The Guardian is a UK newspaper which has published a few best-of lists over the years. Below are their top 100 albums, as determined by aggregating five album-focused lists published from 1997 to 2007. See links to those lists at bottom of page.

Also, check out annual picks for album of the year.

1. John Coltrane A Love Supreme (1965)
2. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses (1989)
3. Radiohead The Bends (1995)
4. Oasis Definitely Maybe (1994)
5. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
6. Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (1971)
7. Massive Attack Blue Lines (1991)
8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced? (1967)
9. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (1975)
10. Primal Scream Screamadelica (1991)

11. Jeff Buckley Grace (1994)
12. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
13. Patti Smith Horses (1975)
14. The Doors The Doors (1967)
15. Joy Division Closer (1980)
16. Pulp Different Class (1995)
17. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)
18. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
19. Dexy’s Midnight Runners Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
20. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)

21. The Beatles Revolver (1966)
22. The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
23. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
24. Oasis What’s the Story Morning Glory (1995)
25. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
26. The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
27. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
28. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
29. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
30. Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

31. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
32. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
33. The Clash London Calling (1979)
34. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (1972)
35. Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks (1975)
36. The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969)
37. Lou Reed Transformer (1972)
38. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)
39. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
40. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

41. The Pixies Doolittle (1989)
42. John Lennon Imagine (1971)
43. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)
44. Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
45. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
46. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959)
47. Portishead Dummy (1994)
48. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
49. Blur Parklife (1994)
50. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)

51. Nick Drake Five Leaves Left (1969)
52. Talking Heads Fear of Music (1979)
53. Björk Debut (1993)
54. U2 Achtung Baby (1991)
55. Love Forever Changes (1967)
56. Television Marquee Moon (1977)
57. Various artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
58. Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (1977)
59. Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
60. The Verve A Northern Soul (1995)

61. Tricky Maxinquaye (1995)
62. Kate Bush Hounds of Love (1985)
63. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
64. Prefab Sprout Steve McQueen (aka “Two Wheels Good”) (1985)
65. Radiohead OK Computer (1997)
66. Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968)
67. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
68. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
69. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
70. David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971)

71. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
72. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
73. The Band The Band (1969)
74. The Prodigy Fat of the Land (1997)
75. The Verve Urban Hymns (1997)
76. Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
77. Queen A Night at the Opera (1975)
78. The Clash The Clash (1977)
79. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Trout Mask Replica (1969)
80. Bob Marley & The Wailers Exodus (1977)

81. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
82. The Jam All Mod Cons (1978)
83. Bob Marley & the Wailers Legend (compilation: 1973-83, released 1984)
84. Dusty Springfield Dusty in Memphis (1969)
85. Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979)
86. Happy Mondays Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches (1990)
87. Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power (1973)
88. The Specials The Specials (1979)
89. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II (1969)
90. The Beach Boys Sunflower (1970)

91. Beck Odelay (1996)
92. The Smiths The Smiths (1984)
93. Velvet Underground Loaded (1970)
94. R.E.M. Out of Time (1991)
95. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
96. Madonna Like a Prayer (1989)
97. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
98. Todd Rundgren Something/Anything? (1972)
99. Big Star Radio City (1974)
100. My Bloody Valentine Isn’t Anything (1988)

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, November 23, 2007

“Great Balls of Fire” charted 50 years ago (11/23/1957)

Last updated 4/15/2020.

Great Balls of Fire

Jerry Lee Lewis

Writer(s): Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 23, 1957

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 2 HR, 12 CW, 3 RB, 12 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 0.51 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

Some of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest architects walked a fine line between their religious Southern upbringings and the shockingly sexual and aggressive style that defined early rock music. With a musical prowess birthed as much from the black honky-tonks as the Assembly of God Church, CL Lewis concocted an uncomfortable blend of music inspired by God and the devil. His “onstage terrorization of the piano” FR earned him the nickname “The Killer.” It also got him booted out of Bible college. CL

Nowhere was Lewis’ musical dichotomy more on display than with “Great Balls of Fire.” Jerry Lee’s signature song was “full of Southern Baptist hellfire turned into a near-blasphemous ode to pure lust.” RS500 Lewis realized the shock in 1957 of such sexual innuendo coming from a Southern music man SF and initially refused to sing the song. RS500 He and Sun Records’ founder Sam Phillips delved into a theological argument which was eventually swayed Sam’s way by the ever-flowing liquor during the session. RS500

Sam Phillips turned to Otis Blackwell to pen the song as a follow-up to Lewis’ first hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Blackwell had a proven track record, having written “the biggest record of the rock ‘n’ roll era” with Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” CL This poor kid from Brooklyn, New York, was the first black man to really tap into the Nashville sound, dominating the country and rock charts in the mid to late-‘50s. CL

As for Blackwell’s writing partner, Jack Hammer, there are contradictory stories. One account says his sole contribution is coming up with the title and selling it to Otis Blackwell, LW while another account says the name is a pseudonym for Blackwell. AMG

Resources and Related Links:

  • Jerry Lee Lewis’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Cub Koda
  • CL Ace Collins (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs. New York, NY; The Berkley Publishing Group. Pages 114-6.
  • FR Paul Friedlander (1996). Rock and Roll: A Social History. Boulder, Colorado; Westview Press, Inc. Page 50.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 118.
  • RS500 (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Leona Lewis debuted at #1 in the UK with “Bleeding Love”

Last updated 3/28/2020.

Bleeding Love

Leona Lewis

Writer(s): - Jesse McCartney, Ryan Tedder (see lyrics here)

Released: October 19, 2007

First Charted: November 3, 2007

Peak: 14 US, 110 RR, 14 AC, 110 A40, 74 RB, 17 UK, 11 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.7 US, 1.2 UK, 7.7 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 192.77 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

Leona Lewis rose to fame in the UK as the winner of the third TV season of The X Factor in 2006. She was awarded a recording contract with Sony BMG and released “A Moment Like This” as her debut single. The song also served as the first single for Kelly Clarkson in 2002 after she won the first TV season of American Idol.

In February 2007, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder teamed with singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney to write “Bleeding Love” for McCartney’s third album, Departure. He said he was “thinking about being in love so much that it hurts. I was away from my girlfriend for four months at the time and I really wanted to [quit] and fly home.” WK

One account suggested that McCartney’s record company rejected the song, but another story says record executive Clive Davis specifically wanted the song for Lewis. SF In any event, when Tedder heard Lewis, he said hers was “one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.” WK In her hands, the song transformed to a tale of a woman who is emotionally hurt by her lover, but accepts the pain and continues to love him. WK

She recorded the song and released it in October 2007 as the first single from her debut album, Spirit. It debuted at #1 in the UK WK selling 218,000 copies – more than any debut week since “A Moment Like This.” SF It went on to be the UK’s best-selling single of 2007 WK and iTunes’ most downloaded single of 2008. SF It also hit #1 in 35 countries, WK including the United States in April 2008. The song was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

BBC America thought it sounded like dated filler from a long-lost, late ‘90s Mariah Carey album, WK but praised Lewis for “her stunning voice that is equal parts Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and her own restrained gracefulness.” AB’00 Digital Spy called it a “brilliantly smart pop record.” WK Billboard’s Chuck Taylor called it “a colossal and timeless debut” WK and Metromix Atlanta called it “the most seductive diva anthem of the decade.” MX

Resources and Related Links: