My Top 100 Albums – today

Inspired by the NME Top 500 – see my earlier blog – I thought I’d have a crack at my Top 50. That’s what they asked all their contributors to put forward. After the top four or five, which are well-established in my mind, it gets so hard. There are hundreds, thousands, of albums that I love. And then, there’s so much music which has been central to my listening that doesn’t really lend itself to whole albums: dance, reggae, rap, electronica, world, even jazz and soul. And then, then, there’s the age bias – it’s impossible not to favour the albums you grow to know and love in that 16-25 period, those formative years.

So, with excuses in place, here’s my Top 50… except I just couldn’t resist expanding it to 100, because of the stuff I was having to leave out of the 50. And then there’s the stuff I had to leave out of the 100… no, that’s for another time. Maybe some decade selections, especially the most recent, which has been just as good and exciting as its predecessors, although it doesn’t show in this 100.

So here goes….


1. Darkness on the Edge of Town – Bruce Springsteen

2. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen

3. London Calling – The Clash

4. This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello

5. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan

6. In Rainbows – Radiohead

7. Station To Station – David Bowie

8. Remain In Light – Talking Heads

9. Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin

10. Pink Flag – Wire

11. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

12. The Joshua Tree – U2

13. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder

14. Mezzanine – Massive Attack

15. Natty Dread – Bob Marley

16. Sign O’ The Times – Prince

17. Another Music In A Different Kitchen – Buzzcocks

18. Down By The Jetty – Dr Feelgood

19. Astral Weeks  – Van Morrison

20. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars – David Bowie

21. Aja – Steely Dan

22. The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle – Bruce Springsteen

23. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy

24. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

25. The Clash – The Clash

26. Blonde On Blonde – Bob Dylan

27. Marquee Moon – Television

28. Kid A – Radiohead

29. 1969 – Velvet Underground

30. The River – Bruce Springsteen

31. Low – David Bowie

32. Achtung Baby – U2

33. Jailbreak – Thin Lizzy

34. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

35. Aladdin Sane – David Bowie

36. Blood On The Tracks – Bob Dylan

37. Revolver – The Beatles

38. OK Computer – Radiohead

39. Presence – Led Zeppelin

40. One World – John Martyn

41. For Your Pleasure – Roxy Music

42. Fear Of Music – Talking Heads

43. The Bends – Radiohead

44. The Unforgettable Fire – U2

45. Is This It – The Strokes

46. What’s The Story (Morning Glory) – Oasis

47. Blue – Joni Mitchell

48. Blue Valentines – Tom Waits

49. Road Music – Grand Drive

50. Now Look – Ronnie Wood

51. Get Happy! – Elvis Costello

52. Let England Shake – PJ Harvey

53. Talking Book – Stevie Wonder

54. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

55. In A Silent way – Miles Davis

56. Purple Rain – Prince

57. Grand Prix – Teenage Fanclub

58. Caravanserai – Santana

59. Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins

60. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

61. Sandinista – The Clash

62. Sound Affects – The Jam

63. The Royal Scam – Steely Dan

64. Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely – Frank Sinatra

65. Room On Fire – The Strokes

66. Bad Company – Bad Company

67. Definitely Maybe – Oasis

68. Never Mind The Bollocks – Sex Pistols

69. King Of Limbs – Radiohead

70. Screamadelica – Primal Scream

71. Youth and Young Manhood – Kings of Leon

72. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

73. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart

74. Trust – Elvis Costello

75. Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin

76. Bringing It All Back Home – Bob Dylan

77. The Ramones – The Ramones

78. Heat Treatment – Graham Parker and the Rumour

79. Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan

80. Desire – Bob Dylan

81. Exodus – Bob Marley

82. Moondance – Van Morrison

83. Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

84. Protection – Massive Attack

85. Abbey Road – The Beatles

86. New Adventures in Hi Fi – R.E.M

87. Giant Steps – John Coltrane

88. Stranded – Roxy Music

89. Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ – Bruce Springsteen

90. All Mod Cons – The Jam

91. Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite – Maxwell

92. Dead & Born & Grown – The Staves

93. Slayed – Slade

94. Garage Inc – Metallica

95. Countdown To Ecstasy – Steely Dan

96. Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin

97. Fire and Water – Free

98. Almanac – Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo

99. Cry Tough – Nils Lofgren

100. Rapture – Anita Baker

Pleas feel free to comment, disagree, offer alternatives! There is most certainly no right and wrong. Just memories, feelings, passion…

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
This entry was posted in Music - concerts, lists, reflections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to My Top 100 Albums – today

  1. Rick says:

    Interesting that you have the Beatles way down the list. Most people would put something by them near the top.

    • John S says:

      Love ’em, but love other things even more! If I’d put them higher it would have been because I thought I should. Tried to avoid that. Still acknowledge they are the greatest pop band of all time.

  2. Kev says:

    I’m glad The Boss is up top on your list. 😉

  3. Of course you would have a top 100!!! “LOL” Great choices, John. I agree with many.

  4. Oh yeah, I find the Joni Mitchell pick just awesome!

  5. dc says:

    not enough metal

  6. DyingNote says:

    I find a lot of lists pretentious and trying to be ‘the’ list. This is a great list John because it’s you. And I’m glad to see John Martyn in here – that doesn’t happen often enough

    • John S says:

      Thanks! Wouldn’t be much point doing it if it wasn’t genuine, though I know what you mean about pretentious lists. A classic example of this is the refusal of music pundits these days to give any credit to U2. (That of course is an assertion based on my personal preferences!) They have been deemed to be uncool. This appears to me to be mostly a resentment of Bono’s non-music activities and occasionally grandiose statements. If you hear musicians, the view is often very different. They are widely admired.

  7. Dood says:

    Hey, John:

    I’m sure you realised that I wasn’t going to lie dormant for ever. But things have been a little busy lately, and it’s taken me a while to compile a proper response. (And one a bit longer than “not enough metal” from dc, whoever the hey he is.)

    I can’t possibly write a reply in this box, which ,akes your writing go all weird after a few lines, so I’m mailing your hotmail. Suffice to say, though, that this was a fascinating, challenging, and only occasionally deluded selection (take a bow, Bad Company), and I had huge fun analysing it. And, for your eyes only, I do of course have an alternative list…..


  8. Pingback: Television at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm | Thoughtsfromwestfive

  9. Tangled Up In Music (by Ovidiu Boar) says:

    Great list, I should try doing this one day. Love the inclusion of Public Enemy, Oasis, Rod Stewart and Sandinista in particular.

    • John S says:

      The hardest thing is keeping it down to 100! And if I did it now, I’d have to find a place for Lindi Ortega, War on Drugs, Royal Blood, Parquet Courts, Chvrches, the Staves and Sharon van Etten.

  10. Vassilis says:

    What a nice list! 90% of the albums I also like. Not all of them in the top 100, but certainly in the top 1000. And what strikes me as strange, is the total lack among others, of Eric Clapton (and groups) and Dire straits. Oh, and choosing One world, over Solid air and Let England shake over To bring you my love. And where is Boss’s best: The Wild, the innocent and the E street Shuffle? 😉 Thank you for sharing and the time it took you to compile it!

    • John S says:

      Thanks for your comment, Vassilis. It’s two years since I compiled this list and I can guarantee that it would be a bit different now. But I can assure you there would be no Dire Straits! I find them very dull indeed. I admire Clapton as a guitarist, but I’m not a big fan of his albums. Except 461 Ocean Boulevard, which might make a 200. Bruce’s Wild and Innocent is in there, at No 22. To be honest it’s top ten really, but I didn’t want to have Bruce dominating the top of the list too much.

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