Saturday, February 22, 2020

Dave's Music Database Hall of Fame: Album Inductees (Feb. 2020)

Originally posted 2/22/2020.

January 22, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the DMDB blog. To honor that, Dave’s Music Database announced its own Hall of Fame. This month marks the fifth batch of album inductees. As of August 4, 2020, there were only 56 albums to spend 250 or more weeks on the Billboard album chart (“The Longest-Charting Albums in U.S. Chart History”). Of those albums, only 19 spent four or more weeks at #1. Seven of those have already been inducted: Adele 21 (2011), Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977), Michael Jackson Thriller (1982), Carole King Tapestry (1971) , and the South Pacific cast album (1949). That leaves 13 albums to be inducted this month.

See the full list of album inductees here.

The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

While not their final release, this marked the last time the Fab Four worked together in the studio. The Beatles were “exhausted and angry with one another after the disastrous sessions for the aborted Get Back LP.” RS500 Even their producer, “the normallly unruffled” George Martin, said “I don’t want to be part of this anymore.” JI However, when Paul McCartney suggested they make a Beatles’ record “like we used to” JI “the group reconvened at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios” RS500 to create what would be their “most polished and crafted long player” TL and “the best sounding Beatles’ record.” JI Read more.

The Beatles 1 (compilation: 1962-70, released 2001)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

When this single-disc collection emerged over 30 years after the band’s finale, it proved there was still a market for their songs as the collection spent eight weeks atop the Billboard charts and sold more than 30 million copies. The set gathered the 27 songs which peaked atop the U.K. and/or U.S. charts, meaning fans could get a one-sitting overview of the Beatles from their beginnings from early hits like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” to mid-career hits like “Yesterday” and latter hits like “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be.” Read more.

Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (compilation: 1971-75, released 1976)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

This wasn’t just the “first album ever certified platinum;” WR1 but the best-selling album in the U.S. in the 20th century WK1 with sales now estimated over 40 million. This collection gathered nine singles and the album-cut “Desperado” from the band’s first four albums. By the time the band recorded their fifth album, they’d become more of a rock act, but this set showcases their more country-pop leanings like “Tequila Sunrise” and “Lyin’ Eyes” as well as #1 pop hits “Best of My Love” and “One of These Nights.” Band member Don Henley didn’t like the songs taken out of the context of their original albums, WK1 but this makes for “a collection consistent in mood and identity” WK that “works so much better than the band’s previous discs [that it] practically makes them redundant.” WR1 Read more.

Eminem The Eminem Show (2002)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

After exploring the deliberately-shocking alter ego Slim Shady and delving more into his past as Marshall Mathers, Eminem put his public persona front and center on this collection. He “spends much of the album commenting on the media circus that dominated…his life” STE and familiar topics such as “his troubled childhood; his hatred of his parents; his turbulent relationship with his ex-wife, Kim…; his love of his daughter, Hailie; and, of course, all the controversy he generated, notably the furor over his alleged homophobia.” STE Eminem proves “to be one of the all-time classic MCs, surprising as much with his delivery as with what he says.” STE Read more.

Eminem Recovery (2010)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

Critic Robert Christgau says this is Eminem at “his most confessional” WK although detractors argued “that being privy to the man’s therapy sessions just isn’t compelling anymore.” DJ Entertainment Weekly’s Simon Vozick-Levinson said, “Eminem’s lyrical craftsmanship is second to none…and there are flashes of new maturity.” WK This album made Eminem the first artist to have four albums debut atop the Billboard album chart with over 700,000 copies. “Not Afraid,” the album’s lead single, was only the second rap song to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed to the pinnacle by “Love the Way You Lie,” a duet with Rihanna. Read more.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (composers) My Fair Lady (cast, 1956)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

My Fair Lady is “the crowning achievement” AZ for Lerner and Loewe. It has been called “the most perfect stage musical ever.” CL This was an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, a story about “the mythic Greek figure who falls in love with his sculpture.” TM Rex Harrison is “effortlessly charming” ZS as Professor Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews was a “twenty-year-old revelation” ZS as “Eliza Doolittle, who aspires to a better accent and the social advantages that will come with it.” R-S Its Broadway run of 2717 performances from 1956 to 1962 was the longest run in history for a major musical at that time. W-M Read more.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (composers) Camelot (cast album, 1960)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

Lerner & Loewe turned to the legend of King Arthur, specifically T.H. White’s novel The Once and Future King, for this 1960 musical. The show “has it all – a beautiful English princess swept off her feet by a shy, but passionate bachelor king; an ardent French knight, torn between devotion to his liege and an uncontrollable hunger, reciprocated, to be sure, for the king’s tempestuous wife.” WK-C “The advance sale for the show was the largest in Broadway history.” WK-C It starred Richard Burton (Arthur) and Julie Andrews (Guinevere) and introduced Robert Goulet as Lancelot in his first Broadway role and won four Tony Awards. Read more.

Johnny Mathis Heavenly (1959)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

This was the most successful studio album from Mathis, marking a return to ballads with orchestral accompaniment. All Music Guide’s William Ruhlmann called it “the epitome of Mathis’s approach to music.” WK The highlight of this collection of standards was “Misty,” a top ten R&B hit which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Read more.

Metallica Metallica (aka ‘The Black Album’) (1991)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

Prior to their eponymous 1991 release (nicknamed The Black Album for its monochromatic cover), Metallica “wrote scathing diatribes about such topics as our desensitized society and the horrors of drug addiction, signed with a major record label, and then watched millions of kids buy these spewings, all without the benefit of one hummable melody.” EW For this effort, the band tapped Bob Rock, who had produced Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe, to give them “crisp, professional production” AMG and add “a previously nonexistent warmth and depth to their sound.” GW The group “slowed down the tempos, streamlined the arrangements” GW and the band plays actual hooks.” EW Read more.

Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II (composers) Oklahoma! (soundtrack, 1955)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

Oklahoma! was the first collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein. They “turned out an exuberant, tuneful score in which all the songs grew out of the characters and the situations, an unusual approach in musical theater, where songs often had little relationship to the action.” RC The show’s five-year run made it the longest-running musical in Broadway history up to that time. More than a dozen years later, Rodgers & Hammerstein oversaw a film version, assuring “it would be more faithful than most Hollywood treatments.” RS Compared to the cast recording, the soundtrack has “a bigger, broader interpretation and has continued to sound impressive over the decades.” RS Read more.

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II (composers) South Pacific (soundtrack, 1958)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

The cast album for South Pacific was one of the first twelve DMDB Hall of Fame album inductees. It was the biggest album of the 1940s, spending 69 weeks at #1 and 400 weeks on the chart. That set the bar incredibly high for the soundtrack to the 1958 movie. However, it reached similar lofty status with 262 weeks on the chart, 31 at the pinnacle. The album is also the biggest #1 in the history of the UK charts with 115 weeks on top. Read more.

Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II (composers) The Sound of Music (cast album, 1959)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

The Sound of Music was the final work for the famous musical theater team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. “The ‘based on a true story’ plot concerned an aspiring nun who becomes a governess in pre-World War II Austria” WR-C for “a wealthy naval captain with seven children,” WR-S “only to marry the children’s father and flee with the family from the Nazis.” WR-C The cast album spent an astonishing 70 weeks atop the UK charts and 16 in the U.S. Read more.

Taylor Swift 1989 (2014)

Inducted February 2020 as “Album with 4+ weeks at #1 and 250+ chart weeks.”

This was Taylor Swift’s second Grammy-winner for Album of the Year, after 2010’s Fearless. Inspired by the synthpop of the late ‘80s, this completed her transition from country music. It was her third album to sell over a million copies in its first week, making her the first artist to do so. WK The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis said the album is full of “undeniable melodies and huge, perfectly turned choruses and nagging hooks.” WK The public agreed, sending three songs to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and “Bad Blood”) and two more into the top ten (“Style,” “Wildest Dreams”). Read more.

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