Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Pop: Top 100 Albums

First posted 11/22/2020; updated 11/29/2020.

Pop:

The Top 100 Albums

There are no inarguable terms to define rock music – or R&B, or country, or dance, or any other genre. Perhaps the most baffling, though, is pop music. Why? Because it’s an amalgam of all other genres. Just take a glance at the top ten on this list. Michael Jackson shows up with a couple of R&B/dance-oriented albums. Fleetwood Mac makes an appearance with classic rock. The Bee Gees and others give us their spin on disco. Carole King shows why she reigned supreme at the forefront of the singer/songwriter movement of the ‘70s. Alanis Morissette serves up a slice the kind of alternative rock which became mainstream in the ‘90s while Adele gives us a dose of blue-eyed British soul.

About the only rules for the albums that make this top 100 pop list are that the album be big. Maybe it was a monster on the album chart, racking up weeks and weeks at #1, like Thriller or Adele’s 21. Maybe it never topped the chart, like Shania Twain’s Come on Over, but sold tens of millions of copies. Maybe it did like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and stayed on the charts for hundreds of weeks.

Some of these albums, like George Michael’s Faith or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, threw multiple songs to the top of the pop charts. Others never landed a #1 song, but put song after song in the top 10 (Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.. In some cases, an album didn’t chart any songs at all (The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s), but were still blockbusters.

It is worth noting that more than a third of these albums were released in the ‘80s and then another 41 since the ‘80s, leaving only 23 pre-‘80s albums (10 in the ‘60s and 13 in the ‘70s). Why so many in the ‘80s? Thriller. Michael Jackson showed the world that an album could be milked for hits for a year or more and dozens of artists followed in that trajectory before the trend slowed in the 21st century.

Welcome to the world of pop music. All the different ingredients described above have been factored in – as well as an aggregate of a handful of lists focused on the best pop albums of all time (see sources at bottom of page) – to create the list you have before you. Hopefully there’s something here to fit your tastes. After all, pop is the great equalizer. It can bring disparate groups together because of a shared love of a particular album. Without further ado, here’s the top 100 pop albums of all time, as determined by Dave’s Music Database.

Check out other best-of-genre/category lists here.

1. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
2. George Michael Faith (1987)
3. Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
4. Various artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack, 1977)
5. Whitney Houston Whitney Houston (1985)
6. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (1984)
7. Carole King Tapestry (1971)
8. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)
9. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)
10. Adele 21 (2011)

11. Shania Twain Come on Over (1997)
12. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
13. Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
14. Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
15. Various artists (Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta et al) Grease (1978)
16. Def Leppard Hysteria (1987)
17. Taylor Swift 1989 (2014)
18. Taylor Swift Fearless (2008)
19. Usher Confessions (2004)
20. Madonna Like a Virgin (1984)

21. Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
22. Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
23. Various artists (Whitney Houston et al) The Bodyguard (soundtrack, 1992)
24. Michael Jackson Bad (1987)
25. Various artists Dirty Dancing (soundtrack, 1987)
26. Michael Jackson Dangerous (1991)
27. Phil Collins No Jacket Required (1985)
28. Lady Gaga The Fame (2008)
29. Whitney Houston Whitney (1987)
30. Mariah Carey Mariah Carey (1990)

31. Boyz II Men II (1994)
32. Mariah Carey Daydream (1995)
33. Janet Jackson janet. (1993)
34. Janet Jackson Control (1986)
35. Lionel Richie Can’t Slow Down (1983)
36. Spice Girls Spice (1996)
37. Madonna Like a Prayer (1989)
38. Tina Turner Private Dancer (1984)
39. Madonna True Blue (1986)
40. Katy Perry Teenage Dream (2010)

41. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool (1994)
42. Paula Abdul Forever Your Girl (1988)
43. Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox (2012)
44. Rihanna Loud (2010)
45. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
46. Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
47. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
48. Santana Supernatural (1999)
49. Mariah Carey Music Box (1993)
50. Celine Dion Falling into You (1996)

51. Taylor Swift Red (2012)
52. Beyoncé Dangerously in Love (2003)
53. Backstreet Boys Millennium (1999)
54. Ace of Base The Sign (1993)
55. Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) (2009)
56. Kelly Clarkson Breakaway (2004)
57. Lady Gaga Born This Way (2011)
58. INXS Kick (1987)
59. Destiny’s Child Survivor (2001)
60. Milli Vanilli Girl You Know It’s True (aka All or Nothing) (1989)

61. New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough (1988)
62. Wham! Make It Big (1984)
63. Fergie The Dutchess (2006)
64. Wilson Phillips Wilson Phillips (1990)
65. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
66. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
67. The Beatles The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
68. U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
69. Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)
70. The Police Synchronicity (1983)

71. Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet (1986)
72. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
73. Billy Joel The Stranger (1977)
74. Britney Spears …Baby One More Time (1999)
75. Phil Collins …But Seriously (1989)
76. Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual (1983)
77. Foreigner 4 (1981)
78. Bobby Brown Don’t Be Cruel (1988)
79. Huey Lewis & the News Sports (1983)
80. Bon Jovi New Jersey (1988)

81. Christina Aguilera Christina Aguilera (1999)
82. Huey Lewis & the News Fore! (1986)
83. T.I. Paper Trail (2008)
84. Ke$ha Animal (2010)
85. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
86. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
87. The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965)
88. Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)
89. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
90. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)

91. The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
92. Adele 25 (2015)
93. M.C. Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)
94. Madonna Ray of Light (1998)
95. The Beatles Please Please Me (1963)
96. Drake Views (2016)
97. Tears for Fears Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
98. Michael Jackson HIStory: Past, Present & Future – Book I (1995)
99. Bee Gees Spirits Having Flown (1979)
100. Various Artists (Whitney Houston et al) Waiting to Exhale (soundtrack, 1995)


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Sunday, November 22, 2020

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

Originally posted 11/22/2020.

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 eighth group of album inductees. These are the top albums of material recorded prior to 1950. Albums previously inducted which would have been on this list include Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas, Robert Johnson’s The Complete Recordings, Al Jolson’s Songs He Made Famous, and South Pacific cast album.

See the full list of album inductees here.

Louis Armstrong The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (box set: 1925-28)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

“Jazz starts here.” BL “Between 1925 and 1929, Armstrong invented scat singing, defined swing and introduced the jazz solo.” BL “This 4-CD set represents the ‘Rosetta Stone of Jazz’,” JM featuring more than 80 songs, including “West End Blues,” a song which rates in the top 1%, and 10 more top-20 hits. The album is in the National Recording Registry. Read more.

Henry Burr Anthology: The Original King of Pop (compilation: 1903-28)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

Burr was “the most popular ballad singer” AR in the “acoustical, pre-[Bing] Crosby, pre-crooner era.” AMG This collection follows “Burr’s career from one of his earliest recordings, made in 1903” AZ “when disc technology was still in its primitive stages, and ends in 1928, during the early electrical recording era.” AR He was “a major influence on Al Jolson, Rudy Vallée, and other pre-Crosby favorites.” AMG This set includes “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree,” “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now,” “M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me),” “Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight,” and “My Buddy,” which were all #1 songs that also rank in the the top 1%. Read more.

Duke Ellington The Blanton-Webster Band (box set: 1939-42)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

Ellington is “perhaps the single most important creative talent in American popular music history.” JW This set “contains the master takes of all 66 selections recorded by…[his band] during what many historians consider its peak period.” SY It may be “the greatest creative period by any single artist in jazz history.” MG It features more than a dozen top-10 R&B hits from the 1940s, including five consecutive #1 songs and the Grammy Hall of Fame inductee “Take the ‘A’ Train,” which is also featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era. The album is in the National Recording Registry. Read more.

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward (composers) Porgy and Bess (show: 1935)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

This “American folk opera” WK started as a novel and then became a play. The story focuses on “African American life…in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.” WK It “is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.” WK Billie Holiday’s recording of the show’s song “Summertime” is in the DMDB Hall of Fame. Read more.

Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (live: 1938)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

Goodman, known as “The King of Swing,” was “the first real jazz musician to capture a mass bourgeois white audience in America” AZ and the first to stage a full jazz concert at Carnegie Hall. The result is “one of the greatest concerts ever captured on record.” AMG The show featured performances of “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Don’t Be That Way,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing),” all ranked in the top 1% of songs. The latter is also in the DMDB Hall of Fame. Read more.

Glenn Miller Glenn Miller (compilation: 1939-42)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

This collection was released just months after Miller’s airplane went down in the English Channel. It logged sixteen weeks atop the album chart over the next three years. It includes “In the Mood,” which is featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era. That song, as well as “Tuxedo Junction” and “Moonlight Serenade,” also rank in the DMDB’s list of top 100 big band songs and are in the top 1% of all songs. Read more.

Billy Murray Anthology: The Denver Nightingale (compilation: 1903-40)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

He was “the best-selling recording artist of the first quarter of the 20th century, but his name and work had fallen into obscurity before his death in 1954.” AMG This compilation is every bit as crucial to understanding music of the 20th century as the Beatles’ One and Elvis Presley’s 30 #1 Hits. 17 of the songs on this set reached #1. That includes the classics Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis,” “In My Merry Oldsmobile,” “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You're a Grand Old Flag,” and “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” all of which are featured in the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era. Read more.

Charley Patton Founder of the Delta Blues (compilation: 1929-34)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

Patton “was the key figure in the transition between traditional folk and what came to be known as the Mississippi Delta blues.” FH The genre “had an enormous impact…influencing everyone from The Rolling Stones to Cassandra Wilson.” NM “The title of founder might not be exactly accurate” LG but “he was one of the first to be recorded.” NM He sang “in a rough voice that stormed with turmoil. His guitar picking was…skillfully nuanced in expression and, above all, rhythmically imperative.” FH This collection, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, features “Pony Blues,” which is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the National Recording Registry. Read more.

Bessie Smith The Essential (compilation: 1923-33)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

This collection works its way through Smith’s entire career, from her very first recording session on February 15, 1923 through her final session on November 24, 1933. DA The Empress of the Blues “could sing it all, from the lowdown moan of ‘St. Louis Blues’ and ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’ to her torch treatment of the jazz standard ‘After You’ve Gone.’” CK She was “one of the first true crossover aritsts.” LG Read more.

Various Artists (edited by Harry Smith) Anthology of American Folk Music (box set: 1923-32)

Inducted November 2020 as “Top Albums of Material Recorded Before 1950.”

This three-disc set was compiled by musicologist Harry Smith. It is comprised of 84 songs which reintroduce “near-forgotten popular styles of rural American music…to new listeners.” WK It could well be “the most influential document” JB of “the folk & blues revival of the ‘50s and ‘60s” WK by bringing attention to the works of the Carter Family, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, and others. Read more.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Box Sets: Top 100

First posted 11/16/2020; updated 11/20/2020.

Box Sets:

Top 100

This list was created by first aggregating best-of lists focused on box sets (see sources at bottom of page). Those figures were combined with the box sets’ overall status in Dave’s Music Database, which factors in sales, chart peaks, critic ratings, appearances on other best-of lists, and DMDB points of songs on the collection. The DMDB defines a box set as a compilation of three or more compact discs, or the equivalent, which would be at least 240 minutes, or four hours, of music.

Box sets are most typically associated with efforts to compile a mix of hits and rarities from veteran artists. However, this list also includes compilations from various artists, classical works, larger-than-usual live collections, repackagings of multiple studio albums gathered together, deluxe editions of studio albums, and even one triple-length studio album.

Note: The first date(s) listed in parentheses after the album title indicates the years covered by the box. The second date indicates when the box was released (hence the r.).

Check out other best-of-genre/category lists here.

  1. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live 1975/1985 (live box: 1975-85, r. 1986)
  2. Various Artists Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971 (1959-71, r. 1992)
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonatas (32) (1795-1822)
  4. Various Artists compiled by Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music (1926-32, r. 1952)
  5. Louis Armstrong The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (1925-28, r. 2000)
  6. Richard Wagner Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) (opera, 1848-1874)
  7. James Brown Star Time (1956-84, r. 1991)
  8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni (opera, 1787)
  9. Various Artists Atlantic Rhythm & Blues (1947-74, r. 10/15/91)
  10. The Rolling Stones The Singles Collection: The London Years (1963-71, r. 1989)

  11. Richard Wagner Tristan Und Isolde (opera, 1857-59)
  12. Various Artists produced by Phil Spector Back to Mono (1958-69, r. 1991)
  13. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) (1786)
  14. Led Zeppelin How the West Was Won (live: recorded 1972, r. 2003)
  15. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Concertos (27) (1767-1791)
  16. Johann Sebastian Bach St. Matthew Passion (1736)
  17. Prince The Hits/The B Sides (1978-93, r. 1993)
  18. Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartets (16) (1798-1826)
  19. The Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs (1999)
  20. Duke Ellington The Blanton-Webster Band (box set, recorded 1939-42, r. 1990)

  21. Elvis Presley The King of Rock and Roll: The Complete ‘50s Masters (1953-58, r. 1992)
  22. Eric Clapton Crossroads (1963-87, r. 1988)
  23. Bob Dylan Biograph (1962-81, r. 1985)
  24. Elton John Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (1970-2002, r. 2002)
  25. Various Artists The First Rock and Roll Record (1916-56, r. 2011)
  26. Béla Bartók The String Quartets (1908-39)
  27. Various Artists The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song (1926-91, r. 1992)
  28. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin (Box Set) (1969-79, r. 1990)
  29. Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (1944-48, r. 2000)
  30. Velvet Underground Peel Slowly and See (1955-70, r. 1995)

  31. The Police Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings (1978-86, r. 1993)
  32. Elvis Presley Artist of the Century (1954-77, r. 1999)
  33. Bruce Springsteen The Essential: Limited Edition (1973-2002, r. 2003)
  34. Bob Marley & the Wailers Songs of Freedom (1961-83, r. 1992)
  35. Johnny Cash The Essential (1955-83, r. 1992)
  36. Various Artists Doo Wop Box: 101 Vocal Group Gems (1948-87, r. 1994)
  37. Chuck Berry The Chess Box (1955-73, r. 1988)
  38. Queen The Platinum Collection (1973-99, r. 2001)
  39. Ludwig van Beethoven (composer) The Symphonies (9) (classical, composed 1800-1824)
  40. Ray Charles The Birth of Soul – The Complete Atlantic Rhythm & Blues Recordings (1952-59, r. 1991)

  41. Elton John Diamonds (1969-2016, r. 2017)
  42. Bing Crosby Bing! His Legendary Years (1931-57, r. 1993)
  43. Various Artists Loud, Fast & Out of Control: The Wild Sounds of ’50s Rock (1948-61, r. 1999)
  44. Howlin’ Wolf The Chess Box (1951-73, r. 1991)
  45. Bing Crosby Bing: A Musical Autobiography (1938-54, r. 1954)
  46. Aretha Franklin Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings (1967-77, r. 1992)
  47. The Beach Boys Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys (1961-88, r. 1993)
  48. Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (archives: 1961-89, r. 1991)
  49. Cream Those Were the Days (1966-69, r. 1997)
  50. Journey Time 3 (1975-86, r. 1992)

  51. Led Zeppelin The Complete Studio Recordings (1969-79, r. 1993)
  52. The Who 30 Years of Maximum R&B (1964-91, r. 1994)
  53. Louis Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Sevens (1925-26, r. 1999)
  54. Various Artists No Thanks! The ‘70s Punk Rebellion (1973-81, r. 2003)
  55. The Jimi Hendrix Experience The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1966-70, r. 2000)
  56. Burt Bacharach (composer) The Look of Love: The Collection (1957-96, r. 1998)
  57. Charlie Christian with Benny Goodman The Genius of Electric Guitar (1939-41, r. 2001)
  58. Muddy Waters The Chess Box (1947-72, r. 1989)
  59. Stevie Wonder At the Close of a Century (1962-97, r. 1999)
  60. Elvis Presley From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential ‘60s Masters (1960-69, r. 1993)

  61. Fats Domino They Call Me the Fat Man: The Legendary Imperial Recordings 1949-62, r. 1991)
  62. Elton John To Be Continued (1965-90, r. 1990)
  63. Rod Stewart Storyteller (1964-89, r. 1989)
  64. Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy Sessions (1944-48, r. 2000)
  65. The Rolling Stones Grrr! (1963-2012, r. 2012)
  66. Ray Charles Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection (1949-93, r. 1997)
  67. David Bowie Nothing Has Changed (1969-2014, r. 2014)
  68. Elvis Presley Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential ‘70s (1970-77, r. 1995)
  69. David Bowie Sound + Vision (1969-80, r. 1989)
  70. Fleetwood Mac 25 Years: The Chain (1967-92, r. 1992)

  71. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Playback (1973-93, r. 1995)
  72. Fletcher Henderson A Study in Frustration: Thesaurus of Classic Jazz (1923-38, r. 1994)
  73. Marvin Gaye The Master (1961-84, r. 1995)
  74. Billie Holiday Quintessential (1933-42, r. 1998)
  75. The Beatles The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2 (1962-65, r. 2006)
  76. Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd (1970-77, r. 1991)
  77. Aerosmith Pandora’s Box (1966-82, r. 1991)
  78. Patsy Cline The Collection (1955-63, r. 1991)
  79. Nirvana With the Lights Out (1987-94, r. 2004)
  80. Kenny Rogers Through the Years: A Retrospective (1956-97, r. 1999)

  81. Paul Simon 1964/1993 (1957-91, r. 2006)
  82. The Byrds The Byrds (1965-90, r. 1990)
  83. The Beatles In Mono (1962-70, r. 2009)
  84. Michael Jackson The Ultimate Collection (1969-2004, r. 2004)
  85. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times: Super Deluxe Edition (1981-87, r. 2020)
  86. The Cure Join the Dots: B-sides & Rarities (The Fiction Years) (1978-2001, r. 2004)
  87. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers The Live Anthology (1978-2007, r. 2009)
  88. The Allman Brothers Band Dreams (1966-88, r. 1989)
  89. Lou Reed Between Thought and Expression (1972-88, r. 1992)
  90. The Beatles The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 (1963-64, r. 2004)

  91. The Smiths Complete (1983-87, r. 2011)
  92. Various Artists Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the ‘80s Underground (1979-89, r. 2004)
  93. Simon & Garfunkel Old Friends (1965-75, r. 1997)
  94. B.B. King King of the Blues (1949-91, r. 1992)
  95. Crosby, Stills & Nash CSN (1968-90, r. 1991)
  96. Various Artists Now That’s What I Call Disney (1937-2011, r. 2011)
  97. Simon & Garfunkel The Collection (1965-70, r. 2007)
  98. Various Artists Country Music (1928-2002, r. 2019)
  99. Steve Winwood The Finer Things (1964-90, r. 1995)
  100. Bruce Springsteen Tracks (1972-95, r. 1998)

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Mojo: Albums of the Year

First posted 12/31/2020.

Mojo:

Albums of the Year, 1950-2020

Mojo is a British music magazine. The “End of Year Lists” link at the bottom of this page shows the year-end album lists from Mojo from 1994 on. However, the magazine has also produced multiple best-of-all-time lists over the years so those have been used to determine albums of the year prior to 1994. The 2020 list was published November 9, 2020.

Check out other album of the year awards here.


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