It’s my favorite holiday! A day when I’m allowed to nerd out and blow a lot of money on vinyl and other forms of music recordings. Unfortunately, finances leave me unable to do this in 2011, so instead, I have created a list of the Top 20 albums of all time. This list was compiled very scientifically: seeing what’s most listened to on my iTunes, asking my friends and of course, enlisting the help of my parents.
20. “Eat a Peach” — The Allman Brothers
The first album recorded after Duane Allman’s death, it’s named after his life philosophy. “There ain’t no revolution, it’s evolution, but every time I’m in Georgia I eat a peach for peace.”
19. “Dark Side of the Moon” — Pink Floyd
“Dark Side of the Moon” is the kind of album that perfectly reflects its societal surroundings. Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.
18. “Thriller” — Michael Jackson
This album made Michael the “King of Pop.” It also paved the way for the ’90s boy band explosion.
17. “Astral Weeks” — Van Morrison
Anyone who can artfully weave classical music into a rock album is a genius in my book.
16. “Born to Run” — Bruce Springsteen
The pride of America…or at least New Jersey.
15. “Honky Chateau” — Elton John
“Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” is such a simple song…yet packs so much meaning into a tiny amount of words. Actually, that’s what all the songs on this album do. They’re wonderfully meaningful without being artsy-douchy verbose.
14. “Nevermind” — Nirvana
’90s grunge changed popular music forever. I really wish Kurt Cobain was still around because I think their later albums would have been fascinating.
13. “Are You Experienced?” — The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The world of guitarists would be in a sad state without Jimi Hendrix…mostly because everyone is still trying to out-Jimi, Jimi.
12. “Abbey Road” — The Beatles
Aside from the iconic album cover, “Abbey Road” is one of those albums you can listen to on repeat for hours and not get a headache or want to stab yourself.
11. “Blonde on Blonde” — Bob Dylan
Poetry set to music.
10. “London Calling” — The Clash
Hello punk. Welcome to America.
9. “Exile on Main Street” — The Rolling Stones
The re-release in 2010 was kind of a bummer, it got rid of all the recording static which really makes this whole album…the album that solidified the Rolling Stones a place in rock history.
8. “Alice’s Restaurant” — Arlo Guthrie
This is just a fun album…and shouldn’t music be fun?
7. “Tommy” — The Who
You really can’t go wrong with a well-executed rock opera that’s marginally about pinball machines.
6. “The Beatles (The White Album)” — The Beatles
Arguable The Beatles’ best album based purely on the eclectic nature of the track list.
5. “Highway 61 Revisited” — Bob Dylan
“Like a Rollin’ Stone” is probably the most recognizable song on this planet.
4. “Physical Graffiti” — Led Zeppelin
Duh. Just listen to it.
3. “Blue” — Joni Mitchell
“Little Green” is a song about the daughter Joni Mitchell gave up for adoption when she was a struggling folk singer in Toronto. Pay attention to the chord progressions. They’re mind-blowing.
2. “Led Zeppelin II” — Led Zeppelin
Classic. This is what rock ‘n’ roll should be, but will probably never be again.
1. “Bookends” — Simon & Garfunkel
This is the most amazing and most underrated album of all time. It never makes any lists, but it’s beautiful in every single way and in every sense of the word. “America” is simultaneously heart warming and heart wrenching. Plus, if you’ve seen “Almost Famous” you can’t look at the album cover without thinking, “It’s the poetry of drugs and promiscuous sex! Honey, they’re on pot!”