My Five-Star Albums

I’ve rated these albums/recordings five out of five stars.  They are presented in chronological order.  When there is a conflict between the recording date and the release date, I have used the recording date, or, in rare cases, both.

Artist                                                 Album
Bessie Smith                                     The Collection (1923-1933)
Louis Armstrong                              The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (1924-1929)
Lonnie Johnson                                Steppin’ on the Blues (1925-1932)
Jelly Roll Morton                               Birth of the Hot (1926-1927)
Blind Blake                                        Ragtime Guitar’s Foremost Fingerpicker (1926-1930)
Fats Waller                                        Piano Solos: Turn on the Heat (1927-1941)
Various Artists                                  An Anthology of Big Band Swing (1930-1955)
Art Tatum                                          Piano Starts Here (1933, 1949)
Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli   The Quintessential Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli: Le Quintette du Hot Club de France (1934-1940)
Robert Johnson                                 King of the Delta Blues (1936-1937)
Duke Ellington                                  The Blanton-Webster Band (1940-1942)
Charlie Parker                                  The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes (1944-1948)
Charlie Parker                                  Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Collection (1944-1953)
Hank Williams                                  The Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 (1946-1953)
John Lee Hooker                              The Very Best of John Lee Hooker (1948-1987)
Miles Davis                                       Birth of the Cool (1949-1950)
Bud Powell                                       The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1 (1949-1951)
T-Bone Walker                                 The Complete Imperial Recordings (1950-1954)
Elmore James                                   The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James
                                                            (1951-1961)
Art Tatum                                         The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces (1953-1956)
Jimmy Reed                                      Big Boss Blues (1953-1961)
Sarah Vaughan                                Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1954)
Elvis Presley                                     The Complete Sun Sessions (1954-1955; rel. 1976)
Various Artists                                 Atlantic & Atco Remasters Series: Sampler One (Ray
Charles; The Clovers; LaVern Baker; Clyde McPhatter) (1954-1958)
Ludwig van Beethoven/Johannes Brahms   Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D / Brahms:
Violin Concerto in D (Reiner; Heifetz) (1955)
Buddy Holly                                     Memorial Collection (1955-1959; rel. 2009)
Chuck Berry                                    The Great Twenty-Eight (1955-1965; rel. 1982)
Richard Strauss                              Der Rosenkavalier (Karajan; Schwarzkopf; Ludwig) (1956)
Frank Sinatra                                  Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956)
Sonny Rollins                                  Saxophone Colossus (1956)
Thelonious Monk                           Brilliant Corners (1956)
Nat “King” Cole                               After Midnight: The Complete Session (1956)
Otis Rush                                         The Essential Otis Rush: The Classic Cobra Recordings (1956-1958)
James Brown                                  20 All Time Greatest Hits! (1956-1976)
Various Artists                               West Side Story [Original Broadway Cast] (1957)
Thelonious Monk                          Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957)
The Everly Brothers                      Cadence Classics: Their 20 Greatest Hits (1957-1960)
Patsy Cline                                      12 Greatest Hits (1957-1963)
Cannonball Adderley                   Somethin’ Else (1958)
Champion Jack Dupree                Blues From the Gutter (1958)
Stan Getz & J.J. Johnson               Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson at The Opera House (1958)
The Dave Brubeck Quartet         Time Out (1959)
Miles Davis                                     Porgy and Bess (1959)
Miles Davis                                     Kind of Blue (1959)
Ornette Coleman                          The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles   The Ultimate Collection (1959-1972)
Art Farmer & Benny Golson       Meet the Jazztet (1960)
Wes Montgomery                          The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (1960)
Johann Sebastian Bach                Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (Grumiaux) (1960)
Hank Mobley                                Soul Station (1960)
Freddie King                                 Hide Away: The Best of Freddy King (1960-1966)
Etta James                                     The Sweetest Peaches: The Chess Years, Part 1 (1960-1966)
Bill Evans                                       Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby (1961)
John Coltrane                               My Favorite Things (1961)
Johann Sebastian Bach              St. Matthew Passion (Klemperer) (1961)
Dexter Gordon                              Go (1962)
Igor Stravinsky                             The Great Ballets: Firebird – Petroushka – Rite of Spring
(Haitink) (1973)/Apollon Musagete (Markevitch) (1963)
The Beatles                                 A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Lee Morgan                                The Sidewinder (1964)
Gustav Mahler                           Das Lied von der Erde (Ludwig/Klemperer) (1964-1966)
Joe Henderson                           Inner Urge (1965)
Wayne Shorter                           Speak No Evil (1965)
Sun Ra                                         The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra (1965)
John Coltrane                             A Love Supreme (1965)
Bob Dylan                                   Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
B.B. King                                     Live at the Regal (1965)
The Beatles                                Help! (1965)
The Beatles                                Rubber Soul (1965)
Bob Dylan                                   Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Various Artists                          Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era (1965-1968)
The Beatles                                 Past Masters: Vol. 2 (1965-1970)
Richard Wagner                        Tristan und Isolde (Böhm; Nilsson; Windgassen; Ludwig) (1966)
Bob Dylan                                  Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Bob Dylan                                  The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966 – The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (1966)
Larry Young                               Unity (1966)
Various Artists                          Chicago/The Blues/Today! (1966)
The Beatles                                Revolver (1966)
Albert King                                King of the Blues Guitar (1966-1968)
Jefferson Airplane                    The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (1966-1969)
Janis Joplin                                Greatest Hits (1966-1970)
The Velvet Underground        Peel Slowly and See [boxed set] (1966-1970)
The Velvet Underground        The Best of the Velvet Underground (Words and Music of Lou Reed) (1966-1970)
The Beatles                                Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Aretha Franklin                        The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The ’60s (1967-1970)
Van Morrison                            Astral Weeks (1968)
The Beatles                               The Beatles [White Album] (1968)
Claudio Monteverdi                 Orfeo (Ensemble Vocal et Instrumental de Lausanne/Corboz) (1968)
Various Artists                          Tropicália: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound (1968-1970)
Dusty Springfield                      Dusty in Memphis (1969)
The Who                                    Tommy (1969)
Crosby, Stills & Nash               Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)
The Band                                   The Band (1969)
The Beatles                               Abbey Road (1969)
Van Morrison                            Moondance (1970)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young  Déjà vu (1970)
Derek and The Dominos         Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
John Lennon                              John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Al Green                                     Compact Command Performances: 14 Greatest Hits             (1970-1974)
Hound Dog Taylor                   Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)
Carole King                               Tapestry (1971)
Joni Mitchell                              Blue (1971)
The Who                                    Who’s Next (1971)
T. Rex                                         Electric Warrior (1971)
Neil Young                                 Harvest (1972)
Randy Newman                        Sail Away (1972)
Yes                                              Close to the Edge (1972)
The Modern Lovers                 The Modern Lovers (rec. 1972, rel. 1976)
Bob Marley                                Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers (1972-1983)
Dave Holland                            Conference of the Birds (1973)
Pink Floyd                                  The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Yes                                              Yessongs (1973)
Paul Simon                                There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973)
The Who                                    Quadrophenia (1973)
Yes                                              Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)
Joe Pass                                      Virtuoso (1974)
Bob Dylan                                  Blood on the Tracks (1975)
Bruce Springsteen                    Born to Run (1975)
Pink Floyd                                   Wish You Were Here (1975)
Patti Smith                                 Horses (1975)
Various                                       Music of the Gothic Era (Munrow) (1976)
Renaissance                              Live at Carnegie Hall (1976)
Albert Collins                             Ice Pickin’ (1978)
Giuseppe Verdi                         Otello (Domingo; Scotto; Levine) (1978)
Elvis Costello                             This Year’s Model (1978)
The Roches                                The Roches (1979)
Talking Heads                            Fear of Music (1979)
Talking Heads                            Remain in Light (1980)
Dire Straits                                 Making Movies (1980)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart    Le Nozze di Figaro (Solti; Te Kanawa; Popp; von Stade; Ramey) (1982)
Elvis Costello                             Imperial Bedroom (1982)
The Roches                                Keep On Doing (1982)
Paul Simon                                Hearts and Bones (1982)
Orchestra Baobab                    Pirates Choice (1982)
Tom Waits                                 Rain Dogs (1985)
Domenico Scarlatti                  Best Sonatas (Ross) (rec. 1984-1985, rel. 1991)
Elvis Costello                             King of America (1986)
Peter Gabriel                             So (1986)
Paul Simon                                Graceland (1986)
U2                                               The Joshua Tree (1987)
Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir   Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares           (1975, rel. in US, 1987)
Alison Krauss                             Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection (1987-1994)
Béla Bartók                                 6 String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet) (1988)
k.d. lang                                       Shadowland (1988)
Johann Sebastian Bach             The Well-Tempered Piano, Part 1 (Jaccottet) (1989)
The Hilliard Ensemble               Perotin (1989)
Henry Purcell                              Dido and Aeneas (English Concert and Choir/Pinnock) (1989)
Franz Liszt                                   Sonata in B minor (Pollini) (1990)
Erik Satie                                     Erik Satie (Queffélec) (1990)
The Sundays                               Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (1990)
They Might Be Giants               Flood (1990)
Sinéad O’Connor                       I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990)
World Party                                Goodbye Jumbo (1990)
Rosanne Cash                            Interiors (1990)
Elliott Carter                              The Four String Quartets (Juilliard Quartet) (1991)
Michael Tippett                         A Child of Our Time (Tippett; Robinson; Walker; Garrison; Cheek) (1991)
Throwing Muses                       The Real Ramona (1991)
R.E.M.                                         Out of Time (1991)
U2                                               Achtung Baby (1991)
My Bloody Valentine               Loveless (1991)
Johann Sebastian Bach           Cello Suites (Rostropovich) (1991)
R.E.M.                                         Automatic for the People (1992)
Master Musicians of Jajouka  Apocalypse Across the Sky (1992)
Josquin Des Prés                      Missa “Ave maris stella”; Motets & Chansons (Taverner Consort & Choir/Parrott) (1992)
Anonymous                              Adorate Deum: Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass (Nova Schola Gregoriana/Turco) (1993)
Liz Phair                                    Exile in Guyville (1993)
Aimee Mann                             Whatever (1993)
Johnny Cash                             American Recordings (1994)
Letters to Cleo                         Aurora Gory Alice (1994)
John Dowland                          Complete Lute Works, Vol. 1 (O’Dette) (1995)
Arnold Schoenberg                 Verklärte Nacht/Piano & Orchestral Pieces (Barenboim) (1995)
PJ Harvey                                  To Bring You My Love (1994)
Alban Berg                               Wozzeck (Barenboim; Grundheber; Meier; Baker; Clark) (1994)
Tomás Luis de Victoria           Requiem: Officium Defunctorum (1605) (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh) (1995)
Alanis Morissette                    Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Various Artists                         Party Girl (1995)
Garbage                                    Garbage (1995)
Emmylou Harris                       Wrecking Ball (1995)
Aimee Mann                             I’m With Stupid (1995)
Beck                                           Odelay (1996)
Radiohead                                 OK Computer (1997)
Coro Allegro                              In the Clearing (Hodgkins) (1997)
Yo La Tengo                              I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997)
Sarah McLachlan                     Surfacing (1997)
The Sundays                             Static & Silence (1997)
Bob Dylan                                 Time Out of Mind (1997)
Steve Reich                               Music for 18 Musicians (1998)
John Scofield                             A Go Go (1998)
Garbage                                    Version 2.0 (1998)
Lucinda Williams                     Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Dmitri Shostakovich               String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet) (1994-1999)
Jim Hall & Pat Metheny          Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (1999)
Wilco                                         Summerteeth (1999)
Tom Waits                                Mule Variations (1999)
The Magnetic Fields                69 Love Songs (1999)
Greg Osby                                Invisible Hand (2000)
Johann Sebastian Bach          Mass in B Minor (Rilling; Rubens; Banse; Danz; Taylor) (2000)
Shelby Lynne                           I Am Shelby Lynne (2000)
Mariza                                       Fado em Mim (2000)
PJ Harvey                                  Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)
U2                                              All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
Buddy Guy                                Sweet Tea (2001)
Macy Gray                                 The Id (2001)
Jason Moran                             Black Stars (2001)
Wilco                                          Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Beck                                           Sea Change (2002)
Sleater-Kinney                          One Beat (2002)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs                      Fever to Tell (2003)
The New Pornographers         Electric Version (2003)
Convivium Musicum                 Song of Songs: Music of Renaissance Spain and the New World (2004)
Arcade Fire                                 Funeral (2004)
Petra Haden                               Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005)
Sufjan Stevens                           Illinois (2005)
My Morning Jacket                     Z (2005)
John Adams                                The Dharma at Big Sur (BBC Symphony Orch./Adams; Silverman) (2006)
The Hold Steady                        Boys and Girls in America (2006)
Camera Obscura                       Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006)
Arcade Fire                                 Neon Bible (2007)
The New Pornographers         Challengers (2007)
The Swell Season                      Once: Music From the Motion Picture (2007)
PJ Harvey                                    White Chalk (2007)
Los Campesinos!                       Hold On Now, Youngster… (2008)
Dietrich Buxtehude                   Opera Omnia X: Organ Works 5 (Koopman) (2008)
Tune-Yards                                 Bird-Brains (2009)
Leonard Bernstein                    Mass (Baltimore Symphony Orch./Alsop; Sykes) (2009)
Arcade Fire                                The Suburbs (2010)
Superchunk                               Majesty Shredding (2010)
Dengue Fever                            Cannibal Courtship (2011)
Tom Waits                                  Bad As Me (2011)
Yuck                                            Yuck (2011)
The Decemberists                    The King Is Dead (2011)
PJ Harvey                                    Let England Shake (2011)
Charles Ives                               Four Sonatas (Hahn; Lisitsa) (2012)
Grimes                                        Visions (2012)
Frightened Rabbit                     Pedestrian Verse (2013)
Angel Olsen                                Sleepwalker (2013)
Alvvays                                        Alvvays (2014)
Magdalena Kožená                   Monteverdi (2016)
Angel Olsen                               My Woman (2016)

2 thoughts on “My Five-Star Albums

  1. Pingback: A New Way of Making Lists | Make Lists, Not War

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