Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Top 100 Albums of All Time

Dave’s Music Database:

The Top 100 Albums of All Time

This book is also available here on the DMDB website.

Creating a list of the best albums of all time was really the bread and butter for the inspiration behind Dave’s Music Database more than a decade ago. This aggregate list was created by compiling more than 150 best-of lists from all manner of music publications and entities and crunching those figures into a database along with sales figures, chart results, critical ratings, and various awards. (Click links to see detailed sources).

Note: this list is also the basis of the Classic Albums Meetup group. Those albums which have been discussed (or are scheduled to be discussed as of 6/17/2024) by the group are highlighted.

Also – check out the sequel to this book, The Top 100 Albums of the 21st Century.

1. The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
2. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
3. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
4. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)
5. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
6. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
7. The Beatles Revolver (1966)
8. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
9. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
10. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)

11. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
12. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
13. The Clash London Calling (1979)
14. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (1972)
15. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced? (1967)
16. The Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
17. Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
18. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (1975)
19. The Doors The Doors (1967)
20. The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965)
21. Radiohead OK Computer (1997)
22. Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (1971)
23. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
24. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
25. The Who Who’s Next (1971)
26. Various Artists South Pacific (cast album: 1949, soundtrack: 1958)
27. Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)
28. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (1984)
29. AC/DC Back in Black (1980)
30. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
31. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
32. Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968)
33. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
34. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
35. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
36. Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks (1975)
37. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)
38. Carole King Tapestry (1971)
39. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II (1969)
40. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
41. The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969)
42. The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
43. The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers (1971)
44. Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975)
45. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
46. Bee Gees/Various Artists Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
47. U2 Achtung Baby (1991)
48. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
49. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959)
50. Pearl Jam Ten (1991)
51. Patti Smith Horses (1975)
52. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)
53. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
54. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)
55. Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
56. Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (1975)
57. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses (1989)
58. Oasis (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
59. Stevie Wonder Innervisions (1973)
60. The Who Tommy (1969)
61. The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (1968)
62.Ramones Ramones (1976)
63. Love Forever Changes (1967)
64. Television Marquee Moon (1977)
65. Metallica Metallica (aka ‘The Black Album’) (1991)
66. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
67. Neil Young Harvest (1972)
68. Derek and the Dominos Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
69. James Brown Live at the Apollo Volume 1 (live, 1962)
70. Jeff Buckley Grace (1994)
71. The Police Synchronicity (1983)
72. Radiohead The Bends (1995)
73. Various Artists West Side Story (cast album: 1957, soundtrack: 1961)
74. Various Artists The Sound of Music (cast album: 1959, soundtrack: 1965)
75. David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971)
76. Beck Odelay (1996)
77. Queen A Night at the Opera (1975)
78. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
79. Talking Heads Remain in Light (1980)
80. The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East (live, 1971)
81. Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (1977)
82. The Band The Band (1969)
83. Black Sabbath Paranoid (1970)
84. The Clash The Clash (1977)
85. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Déjà Vu (1970)
86. Massive Attack Blue Lines (1991)
87. Joy Division Closer (1980)
88. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin I (1969)
89. Van Morrison Moondance (1970)
90. John Lennon Imagine (1971)
91. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (live, 1968)
92. Van Halen Van Halen (1978)
93. Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
94. John Lennon Plastic Ono Band (1970)
95. Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
96. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Trout Mask Replica (1969)
97. John Coltrane A Love Supreme (1965)
98. Bob Marley & the Wailers Legend (compilation, 1984)
99. Various Artists (including Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta) Grease (soundtrack, 1978)
100. Elvis Presley The Sun Sessions (archives, 1955)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/16/2012; last updated 6/17/2024.


  1. This list should be updated, seeing as it is nearly 7 years old & plenty of influential albums have come out since the latest album on this list.

    1. While I'm not changing this list since it has been published as a book, I am working on a sequel which focuses on the top 100 albums of the 21st century.

  2. I get this page is supposed to reflect what's in the book, but there's no way the actual top 100 hasn't changed, right?

    1. It's a valid point. I've considered posting an updated version, but still keeping this one posted as well. I will tell you if this was updated the highest new entry would be Adele's '21.'

    2. While I'm not changing this list since it has been published as a book, I am working on a sequel which focuses on the top 100 albums of the 21st century.

  3. I am also a music enthusiast, and have similar tastes.
    My latest music project is a collection of Spotify playlists I call "Moondog Radio". It's a collection of 180 playlists (containing 12,800 songs) that's intended to provide an introduction to the history of music.

    It contains:
    55 Categorical Playlists - Samplers of a wide variety of music styles and time periods. When played in shuffle mode, they may serve as radio stations that can transport you to another era.
    125 Individual Artist Playlists - Personally selected "best of" collections for some of the most important artists in the history of music, plus a few of my own favorites who aren't so well known.

  4. Hope there is a 10th anniversary update for this book like there was for the Rock-Era

    1. Thanks! I'm working on a book focused on the top albums of the 21st century, but next year a revision of this book (as the top albums of the 20th century) definitely seems in order.

    2. Why not just update the All-Time? I'm sure there's few enough 21st century albums in the Top 100 of All-Time to still warrant a 21st Century only book as well

      Or alternatively you could have The 20th and 21st century books and then also have a non-book Top 100 All-Time Page like with the Songs

  5. Nirvana's Nevermind... No comments...

  6. Hopefully we can see this updated this year

    1. I'm actually working on a 10th anniversary edition of this book which would cover just albums of the 20th century and another book focused on albums of the 21st century.