Best Albums of All Time: Ranked

I collected over 30 lists of the “Best Albums of All Time”, “Greatest Albums…”, “Most Important Albums…” from books, magazines and the Internet and combined them into one meta-list by giving each album one point for each list on which it appears. The numbers in bold & underlined indicate the number of original source lists the album was found on. The list below includes every album that was on three or more of the original source lists. Albums with the same number of points are arranged chronologically.

NOTE 1: These are not my personal opinions.

NOTE 2: The “Best Albums” lists I found focus on pop, r&b, hip hop and the many permutations of rock, with occasional nods to other genres (jazz, folk, country). To make up for the many missing genres, I have created other music meta-lists for classical, jazz, blues, hip hop, country, and world music. If you’re looking for Best Songs meta-lists, I’ve created some of those, too: rock/pop, etc., country, and hip hop.

On 30 “Best Albums” Lists
The Beatles  Revolver  (1966)

On 28 Lists
The Beach Boys  Pet Sounds (1966)
The Beatles  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
The Beatles  The Beatles [White Album] (1968)
Led Zeppelin  [Led Zeppelin IV] (1971)
David Bowie  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)

27 Lists
Nirvana  Nevermind (1991)

26 Lists
The Beatles  Rubber Soul (1965)

25 Lists
Jimi Hendrix  Are You Experienced? (1967)
The Rolling Stones  Exile on Main St. (1972)
Sex Pistols  Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
The Clash  London Calling (1980)

24 Lists
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
The Beatles  Abbey Road (1969)
Marvin Gaye  What’s Going On (1971)
Fleetwood Mac  Rumours (1977)

23 Lists
Bruce Springsteen  Born to Run (1975)
Michael Jackson  Thriller (1982)

21 Lists
Bob Dylan  Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Jimi Hendrix  Electric Ladyland (1968)
Pink Floyd  The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Ramones  Ramones (1976)

20 Lists
Bob Dylan  Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Van Morrison  Astral Weeks (1968)
The Rolling Stones  Let It Bleed (1969)
The Who  Who’s Next (1971)
Bob Dylan  Blood on the Tracks (1975)

19 Lists
The Doors  The Doors (1967)
The Rolling Stones  Sticky Fingers (1971)
Radiohead  OK Computer (1997)

18 Lists
David Bowie  Hunky Dory (1971)
AC/DC  Back in Black (1980)
Prince  Purple Rain (1984)
The Smiths  The Queen Is Dead (1986)
U2  The Joshua Tree (1987)
U2  Achtung Baby (1991)
R.E.M.  Automatic for the People (1992)

17 Lists
Neil Young  After the Gold Rush (1970)
Patti Smith  Horses (1975)

16 Lists
Joni Mitchell  Blue (1971)
Paul Simon  Graceland (1986)
Public Enemy  It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

15 Lists
Bob Dylan  Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
The Band  The Band (1969)
Stevie Wonder  Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
Television  Marquee Moon (1977)
Prince  Sign o’ the Times (1987)

14 Lists
Miles Davis  Kind of Blue (1959)
Love  Forever Changes (1967)
Stevie Wonder  Innervisions (1973)
Led Zeppelin  Physical Graffiti (1975)
Guns n’ Roses  Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Pearl Jam  Ten (1991)

13 Lists
The Rolling Stones  Beggars Banquet (1968)
Led Zeppelin  Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Van Morrison  Moondance (1970)
Simon & Garfunkel  Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
Pink Floyd  Wish You Were Here (1975)
The Clash  The Clash (1979)
The Stone Roses  The Stone Roses (1989)
Jeff Buckley  Grace (1994)
Oasis  (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

12 Lists
The Band  Music From Big Pink (1968)
Captain Beefheart  Trout Mask Replica (1969)
Lou Reed  Transformer (1972)
Pink Floyd  The Wall (1979)
Michael Jackson  Off the Wall (1979)
Radiohead  The Bends (1995)
Beck  Odelay (1996)

11 Lists
James Brown  ‘Live’ at The Apollo (1963)
Otis Redding  Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)
Led Zeppelin  Led Zeppelin (1969)
John Lennon  John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Carole King  Tapestry (1971)
Elton John  Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
Talking Heads  Remain in Light (1980)
Primal Scream  Screamadelica (1991)
Massive Attack  Blue Lines (1991)
Oasis  Definitely Maybe (1994)

10 Lists
Dusty Springfield  Dusty in Memphis (1969)
The Who  Tommy (1969)
The Velvet Underground  The Velvet Underground (1969)
Derek and The Dominos  Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
Iggy & The Stooges  Raw Power (1973)
Bruce Springsteen  Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
Joy Division  Closer (1981)
Pixies  Doolittle (1989)
Red Hot Chili Peppers  Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

9 Lists
Miles Davis  Bitches Brew (1970)
The Stooges  Fun House (1970)
John Lennon Imagine (1971)
The Eagles  Hotel California (1976)
Roxy Music  For Your Pleasure (1976)
Elvis Costello  My Aim Is True (1977)
Joy Division  Unknown Pleasures (1980)
R.E.M.  Murmur (1983)
Beastie Boys  Paul’s Boutique (1989)
Metallica  Metallica (Black Album) (1991)
Portishead  Dummy (1994)
Radiohead  Kid A (2000)

8 Lists
Sly & the Family Stone  There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971)
Neil Young  Harvest (1972)
Joni Mitchell  Court and Spark (1974)
Queen  A Night at the Opera (1975)
Neil Young  Tonight’s the Night (1975)
Various Artists  Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Pretenders  Pretenders (1980)
Kate Bush  Hounds of Love (1985)
Dire Straits  Brothers in Arms (1985)
Metallica  Master of Puppets (1986)
N.W.A.  Straight Outta Compton (1988)
Sonic Youth  Daydream Nation (1988)
My Bloody Valentine  Loveless (1991)
The Smashing Pumpkins  Siamese Dream (1993)
Nirvana  In Utero (1993)
Blur  Parklife (1994)
Lauryn Hill  The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
The Strokes  Is This It (2001)

7 Lists
Elvis Presley  The Sun Sessions (1954-1955)
Cream  Disraeli Gears (1967)
Aretha Franklin  Lady Soul (1968)
The Byrds  The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
Stevie Wonder  Talking Book (1972)
Led Zeppelin  Houses of the Holy (1973)
Elvis Costello  This Year’s Model (1978)
The Police  Synchronicity (1983)
The Smiths  The Smiths (1984)
The Replacements  Let It Be (1984)
Bruce Springsteen  Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
Bob Marley  Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers (1984)
Public Enemy  Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
Soundgarden  Superunknown (1994)
The Verve  Urban Hymns (1997)

6 Lists
The Beatles  A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
John Coltrane  A Love Supreme (1965)
Aretha Franklin  I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
Johnny Cash  At Folsom Prison (1968)
Creedence Clearwater Revival  Green River (1969)
Sly & the Family Stone  Stand! (1969)
The Kinks  The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1969)
Black Sabbath  Paranoid (1970)
Led Zeppelin  Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Grateful Dead  American Beauty (1970)
The Allman Brothers Band  At Fillmore East (1971)
The Who  Quadrophenia (1973)
Gram Parsons  GP/Grievous Angel (1974)
Richard & Linda Thompson  I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
Bob Marley  Exodus (1977)
Kraftwerk  Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Blondie  Parallel Lines (1978)
The Rolling Stones  Some Girls (1978)
Tom Waits  Swordfishtrombones (1983)
Minutemen  Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
Tom Waits  Rain Dogs (1985)
Beastie Boys  Licensed to Ill (1986)
Peter Gabriel  So (1986)
R.E.M.  Out of Time (1991)
Pavement  Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
Rage Against the Machine  Rage Against the Machine (1992)
Alanis Morissette  Jagged Little Pill (1995)
The Smashing Pumpkins  Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)
DJ Shadow  Endtroducing….. (1996)
The Prodigy  The Fat of the Land (1997)

5 Lists
Pink Floyd  The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
Jimi Hendrix  Axis: Bold as Love (1968)
Blind Faith  Blind Faith (1969)
Santana  Abraxas (1970)
Al Green  Call Me (1973)
New York Dolls  New York Dolls (1973)
Aerosmith  Toys in the Attic (1975)
Van Halen  Van Halen (1978)
Big Star  Third/Sister Lovers (1978)
Neil Young  Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Prince  1999 (1982)
U2  The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
Hüsker Dü  Zen Arcade (1984)
Prefab Sprout  Steve McQueen (1985)
Bon Jovi  Slippery When Wet (1986)
The Jesus and Mary Chain  Psychocandy (1986)
Run-D.M.C.  Raising Hell (1986)
The Cure  Disintegration (1989)
De La Soul  3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Green Day  Dookie (1994)
Manic Street Preachers  Everything Must Go (1996)
Pulp  Different Class (1996)
PJ Harvey  Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)

4 Lists
Chuck Berry  The Great Twenty-Eight (rec. 1955-1965)
Elvis Presley  Elvis Presley (1956)
James Brown  Star Time (rec. 1956-1984)
John Coltrane  Giant Steps (1960)
The Byrds  Younger Than Yesterday (1967)
The Who  The Who Sell Out (1967)
The Zombies  Odyssey & Oracle (1968)
Scott Walker  Scott 4 (1969)
Nick Drake  Five Leaves Left (1969)
The Flying Burrito Brothers  The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)
King Crimson  In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)
Grateful Dead  Workingman’s Dead (1970)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young  Déjà vu (1970)
Rod Stewart  Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
The Doors  L.A. Woman (1971)
Jethro Tull  Aqualung (1971)
Janis Joplin  Pearl (1971)
T. Rex  Electric Warrior (1971)
Leonard Cohen  Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
Nick Drake  Pink Moon (1972)
Wings  Band on the Run (1973)
Steely Dan  Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
Big Star  Radio City (1974)
Brian Eno  Another Green World (1975)
Steely Dan  Aja (1977)
Meat Loaf  Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Wire  Pink Flag (1977)
David Bowie  Low (1977)
Pere Ubu  The Modern Dance (1978)
Gang of Four  Entertainment! (1979)
Bruce Springsteen  Nebraska (1982)
Hüsker Dü  New Day Rising (1985)
Madonna  Like a Prayer (1989)
A Tribe Called Quest  The Low End Theory (1991)
Dr. Dre  The Chronic (1992)
Wu-Tang Clan  Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
Hole  Live Through This (1994)
Nine Inch Nails  The Downward Spiral (1994)
Tricky  Maxinquaye (1995)
Bob Dylan  Time Out of Mind (1997)
Air  Moon Safari (1998)
Lucinda Williams  Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Coldplay  Parachutes (2000)
OutKast  Stankonia (2000)
Eminem  The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Arcade Fire  Funeral (2002)

3 Lists
Elvis Presley  Sunrise (rec. 1953-1955)
Frank Sinatra  Songs for Swingin’ Lovers (1956)
Little Richard  Here’s Little Richard (1957)
John Coltrane  Giant Steps (1960)
Miles Davis  Sketches of Spain (1960)
Ray Charles  Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
The Beatles  With The Beatles (1963)
The Rolling Stones  Aftermath (1966)
The Monks  Black Monk Time (1966)
The Doors  Strange Days (1967)
Moby Grape  Moby Grape (1967)
The Moody Blues  Days of Future Passed (1967)
Leonard Cohen  Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
Jefferson Airplane  Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
Simon & Garfunkel  Bookends (1968)
Fairport Convention  Liege and Lief (1969)
Chicago  Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
The Stooges  The Stooges (1969)
Miles Davis  In a Silent Way (1969)
Nick Drake  Bryter Layter (1970)
Tim Buckley  Starsailor (1970)
The Beach Boys  Sunflower (1970)
George Harrison  All Things Must Pass (1970)
James Taylor  Sweet Baby James (1970)
The Rolling Stones  ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’: The Rolling Stones in Concert (1970)
Funkadelic  Maggot Brain (1971)
The Beach Boys  Surf’s Up (1971)
Serge Gainsbourg  Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971)
Roxy Music  Roxy Music (1972)
Various Artists  The Harder They Come Soundtrack (1972)
Captain Beefheart  Clear Spot (1972)
Todd Rundgren  Something/Anything? (1972)
Brian Eno  Here Come the Warm Jets (1973)
Bob Marley  Catch a Fire (1973)
Robert Wyatt  Rock Bottom (1974)
Neil Young  On the Beach (1974)
Van Morrison  It’s Too Late to Stop Now (1974)
Parliament  Mothership Connection (1975)
Joni Mitchell  The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
The Modern Lovers  The Modern Lovers (rec. 1971-1972, rel. 1976)
Bob Dylan  Desire (1976)
David Bowie  Station to Station (1976)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle  Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1976)
Suicide  Suicide (1977)
Ramones  Rocket to Russia (1977)
Iggy Pop  Lust for Life (1977)
The Jam  All the Mod Cons (1978)
The B-52s  The B-52s (1979)
Public Image Ltd.  Metal Box (1979)
Public Image Ltd.  Second Edition (1980)
The Clash  Sandanista! (1980)
The Rolling Stones  Tattoo You (1981)
Duran Duran  Rio (1982)
Donald Fagen  The Nightfly (1982)
Dexys Midnight Runners  Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1982)
Metallica  Kill ‘Em All (1983)
U2  War (1983)
The Smiths  Hatful of Hollow (1984)
R.E.M.  Life’s Rich Pageant (1986)
Pixies  Surfer Rosa (1988)
Jane’s Addiction  Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)
Jay-Z  The Blueprint (1991)
Alice in Chains  Dirt (1992)
Tori Amos  Little Earthquakes (1992)
Aphex Twin  Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)
Björk  Debut (1993)
Liz Phair  Exile in Guyville (1993)
Counting Crows  August and Everything After (1993)
Nirvana  MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)
Weezer  Weezer [Blue Album] (1994)
Nas  Illmatic (1994)
Björk  Post (1995)
Elliott Smith  Either/Or (1997)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds  The Boatman’s Call (1997)
Moby  Play (1999)
Red Hot Chili Peppers  Californication (1999)
The Flaming Lips  The Soft Bulletin (1999)
Coldplay  A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

8 thoughts on “Best Albums of All Time: Ranked

  1. aforhapsody

    I’ve made some list:

    Best Electronic Albums Of All Time – 14 Lists Combined

    Best R&B albums of All Time – 7 lists combined

    Best Krautrock Albums Of All Time – 15 Lists Combined

    Best Metal Albums Of All Time – 23 Lists Combined

  2. Gwen

    I’m so happy to see “Prince’s” album “1999” on your list! It often gets over look for “Purple Rain” and “Sign O’ The Time”. All three are great albums of his. I also love “Dirty Mind”,” Controvery” and the wonderful “The Gold Experience”! Thank you 🙂

    1. beckchris Post author

      I’m not sure what you mean. The Beatles’ Revolver was the album on the most lists (28 out of 30), while The Beach Boys Pet Sounds was on the second most number of lists (26 out of 30). No albums were on all 30 lists – no albums were on 29 lists. Remember these are not my personal opinions – all I do is collect Top Albums and Best Albums lists from all over the place (books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet) and combine them into a single meta-list. The “number one” album is the album that is on the most lists. The “number two” album is the album on the second most number of lists, etc. Does that make sense?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s