Saturday, December 27, 2003

Virgin Records: Top 100 Albums

First posted 12/27/2003; updated 8/15/2020.

Virgin Records:

The Top 100 Albums

Through a variety of media outlets, including radio and publishing, Virgin Records has put out a variety of best-of album lists through the years. This exclusive DMDB list consolidates five Virgin lists (see sources at bottom of page) into one top 100.

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

1. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
2. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)
3. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (1972)
4. Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (1977)
5. Queen A Night at the Opera (1975)
6. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
7. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
8. The Beatles Revolver (1966)
9. The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
10. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)

11. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
12. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
13. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
14. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
15. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
16. David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971)
17. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
18. The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965)
19. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
20. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (1975)

21. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
22. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)
23. The Doors The Doors (1967)
24. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced? (1967)
25. U2 Achtung Baby (1991)
26. Pearl Jam Ten (1991)
27. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
28. The Who Who’s Next (1971)
29. Crowded House Woodface (1991)
30. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)

31. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
32. The Police Synchronicity (1983)
33. Elvis Costello My Aim Is True (1977)
34. Elvis Costello & The Attractions Imperial Bedroom (1982)
35. Derek and the Dominos Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
36. The Rolling Stones Aftermath (1966)
37. Oasis (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
38. Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968)
39. Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
40. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

41. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
42. Love Forever Changes (1967)
43. Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
44. Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks (1975)
45. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
46. The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969)
47. R.E.M. Out of Time (1991)
48. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
49. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
50. The Band The Band (1969)

51. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)
52. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
53. Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975)
54. Blur Parklife (1994)
55. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
56. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (soundtrack, 1984)
57. Lou Reed Transformer (1972)
58. Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)
59. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
60. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)

61. U2 The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
62. The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers (1971)
63. Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
64. Crosby, Stills & Nash Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)
65. Peter Gabriel So (1986)
66. Neil Young Harvest (1972)
67. Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go (1996)
68. John Lennon Imagine (1971)
69. The Verve Urban Hymns (1997)
70. Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

71. Van Morrison Moondance (1970)
72. Carole King Tapestry (1971)
73. David Bowie Low (1977)
74. Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells (1973)
75. The Byrds The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
76. Moby Grape Moby Grape (1967)
77. Metallica Master of Puppets (1986)
78. Elvis Costello & The Attractions This Year’s Model (1978)
79. T-Rex Electric Warrior (1971)
80. AC/DC Back in Black (1980)

81. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu (1970)
82. Kate Bush Hounds of Love (1985)
83. Cream Disraeli Gears (1967)
84. The Jam All Mod Cons (1978)
85. The Beatles Help! (1965)
86. The Byrds Younger Than Yesterday (1967)
87. The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (1968)
88. Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
89. Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
90. Michael Jackson Bad (1987)

91. Frank Zappa Hot Rats (1969)
92. Joni Mitchell Court and Spark (1974)
93. Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
94. R.E.M. Green (1988)
95. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)
96. U2 War (1983)
97. Simply Red Stars (1991)
98. ABC Lexicon of Love (1982)
99. Steely Dan Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972)
100. The Grateful Dead American Beauty (1970)

Resources and Related Links:

  • 1994: “Top 250 Rock and Pop Albums

    This is from the Colin Larkin book The All Time Top 1000 Albums, first published in 1994 by Guinness. It broke down albums into different genres; just the rock and pop list is included here. Subsequent books by Larkin were published by Virgin so this list is included here even.

  • 1998: The Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums

    This revised book from Colin Larkin is the result of more than 200,000 poll participants.

  • 2000: The Virgin All-Time Top 1000 Albums

    This is the third edition of Colin Larkin’s books, again produced by gathering more than 200,000 votes.

  • 2003: “Great Albums You Really Should Own”

    List was compiled by DJ Daryl Denham for Virgin Radio from more than 3500 votes.

  • 12/27/03: “Top 25 Rock Albums All Time”

    Presented on Virgin Radio on Russ Williams’ Rebel Yell show.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

“Mad World” hit #1 in the UK

Mad World

Tears for Fears

Writer(s): Roland Orzabal (see lyrics here)

Released: September 20, 1982

First Charted: October 2, 1982

Peak: 2 CO, 3 UK, 12 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.25 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 76.84 video, 80.21 streaming

Mad World

Michael Andrews with Gary Jules

Released: December 15, 2003

First Charted: December 21, 2003

Peak: 11 AA, 30 MR, 13 UK, 93 CN, 28 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.7 UK, 0.92 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 157.53 video, 206.69 streaming

Awards (Tears for Fears):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Andrews/Jules):

About the Song:

Tears for Fears broke through in the United States in 1985 with the #1 hits “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout” from their album Songs from the Big Chair. Their first album, 1983’s The Hurting, had little impact on U.S. soil, but was a chart-topper in the UK, propelled by three top-five hits, including “Mad World.”

Roland Orzabal wrote the song “about a depressed young person who feels out of place in this world.” SF Orzabal wanted to write a new wave song like Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film.” It was inspired by Arthur Janov, who wrote The Primal Scream, and his theories. The line “the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had” comes from the notion that dreams of intense experiences are best at releasing tension. WK Bandmate Curt Smith ended up handling lead vocals because, as he said, “It worked better with my voice because it’s more melancholic, darker.” SF

The song was revived in 2001 for the soundtrack to the film Donnie Darko. The director, Richard Kelly, commissioned television and film composer Michael Andrews to develop the score. Because of the project’s low budget, Andrews recorded all the instruments himself, but wanted vocals on at least one song. He tapped Gary Jules, a childhood friend with whom he’d worked in the Origin and the Greyboy Allstars. WK Tears for Fears was one of their favorite bands so they opted to record a stripped-down version of “Mad World.” Jules said, “I think it’s a really beautiful example of a person struggling with the fact that life is mad.” WK

The “slower and more melodic” SF version was more fitting to the somber lyrics, although some considered the original “upbeat dance tune by Tears for Fears” SF to be deliberately ironic. Jules said, “Every so often a song with just vocals, piano, and cello creeps up on you and says something about who you are, where you’re going which stops you in your tracks.” WK

Donnie Darko was well received by critics, but didn’t do well commercially. However, after its DVD release, it gained a cult following and demand grew for a single release of “Mad World.” It was released in late 2003 and it topped the UK charts. Orzabal said the cover reaching #1 was the proudest moment of his career. SF

The song had yet another comeback in 2020 during the coronavirus epidemic when people found themselves quarantined worldwide. Many musicians turned to in-home, intimate performances to reach out to fans and offer some entertainment and comfort. Curt Smith and his daughter Diva performed “Mad World” in a style more like the Andrews/Jules version and it went viral.


Related Links:

First posted 5/7/2020; last updated 12/27/2022.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

“The First Noel” charted for the first time

The First Noel

Davies Gilbert

Writer(s): Davies Gilbert (see lyrics here)

Published: 1823

First Charted: December 13, 2003 (Clay Aiken)

Peak (all versions): 78 BB, 9 AC, 19 CW, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions – all versions): -- radio, 83.4 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“The First Noel” is a traditional English carol of Cornish origins which dates back at least to the 16th or 17th century and possibly as early as the 13th century. CFM It refers to the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, starting with the angels appearing to the shepherds and concluding with the arrival of the three wise men. CFM

The song was first known as “The First Nowell” in early modern English, an adaptation of “Noël,” a synonym of “Christmas” in French. WK It was first published in 1823 in the revised edition of Some Ancient Christmas Carols. Davies Gilbert edited and arranged it and also added some additional lyrics, hence him being credited with the song. WK

The original version had nine stanzas, but generally only five of them are sung today. CFM It is generally performed as a four-part hymn as arranged by John Stainer, an English composer who published “The First Noel” in 1871 in Carols, New and Old. CFM

The song has been recorded more than 1300 times SHS although surprisingly it didn’t chart until 2003 when Clay Aiken took it to #9 on the adult contemporary chart. Other versions to chart include those by Josh Groban & Faith Hill (2007, #20 AC), Mary J. Blige & the Clark Sisters (2007, #20 AC), and Gabby Barrett (2020, #78 BB, 19 CW). The highest-ranked version in the DMDB is by Nelson Eddy (1942). He had four top ten hits in 1935 and ’36, including the million-selling “Indian Love Call” with Jeanette MacDonald. PM

The first recorded version was by Tally-Ho! in 1902. SHS It has since been recorded by Frankie Avalon, Pat Boone, Mariah Carey, Johnny Cash, Nat “King” Cole, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Neil Diamond, the Everly Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, Connie Francis, the Glee Cast, Al Green, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Emmylou Harris, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Mario Lanza, Loretta Lynn, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Mitch Miller, the Miracles, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John, the Osmond Brothers, Patti Page, Elvis Presley, REO Speedwagon, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Frank Sinatra, the Spinners, Carrie Underwood, Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, Lawrence Welk, Jackie Wilson, and Andy Williams. SHS


First posted 12/22/2023.

OutKast hit #1 with the Song of the Decade, “Hey Ya!”

Hey Ya!


Writer(s): André 3000 (see lyrics here)

Released: September 9, 2003

First Charted: September 19, 2003

Peak: 19 US, 17 RR, 19 BA, 13 A40, 9 RB, 16 MR, 3 UK, 15 CN, 12 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.8 UK, 6.37 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 685.6 video, 995.10 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Although obsolete, the Polaroid camera will maintain a place in pop music history, thanks to singer André 3000’s call to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” That catchphrase and others like the response to “What’s cooler than cool?” with “Ice cold,” made the song iconic. However, it is the song’s rallying call for every demographic to flood the dance floor that makes it, as quoted on Consequence of Sound, “the decade’s ‘Teen Spirit,’ man.” CS As said, “you could see yourself partying to in college just as easily as you could watch your parents sweat to it in spin class.” PE

Like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Hey Ya!” was the moment when a masterful artist “made a record that sounded like everything on the radio and nothing anyone had heard before.” PE “Married to the sound of some mid-’60s dance craze that never was, ‘Hey Ya’ exemplified something very few tunes of the time had; a sense of fun.” PE Its merge of genres suggested “the walls between rock and R&B and hip-hop were about to topple.” PE

The song “featured rap lines fed through a vocoder and re-recorded up to 30 times” NME and engineer Rabeka Tuinei was the lone voice behind the “ladies” cheering halfway through the song. RS500 On top of that, Dre told Rolling Stone that its guitar chords, the first he ever learned, were inspired by the Ramones, the Buzzcocks, the Smiths. RS500

There was also an “equally brilliant paradigm-smashing video” PE aping the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show Add a clever viral video with A Charlie Brown Christmas footage spliced to match the song, and you’ve got the decade’s signature hit.


Related Links:

Last updated 6/26/2023.