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The 20th's Top 250

By BK

This would not be a Millennium issue without some sort of list. For the last year, the Vermont Review has been diligently leading up to the year 2000 with its Burpie Awards which is an impressive list of the top 69 musicians of the Millennium (Due tot the fact that rock and roll really did not come to fruition until after World War II, the list seems to b the Best of the Last Half-Century). At first, I thought I might be a gadfly to the Review's conscientious work and point out some of the artists that were left of the list, but I thought that in this day and age, we need to work together and not in contention. Instead, I opted to compile a list of the Millennium's Top 250 (why 250? I dunno, everybody else was doing 100) artists and their one defining album.

In making this list, I had to establish some criteria in order to wade through all the potential albums:

1) I had to own the album or given it a serious listen at some point in my life

2) Only one artist/band was allowed one entry on the list. This was particularly difficult when approaching the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street or Beggars Banquet?), Led Zeppelin (I, II, or II?), Steely Dan (Aja? Countdown to Ecstasy? Katy Lied?), U2 (Zooropa? War? Boy?)Miles Davis (Birth of the Cool? Kind of Blue? Bitches Brew? Nefertiti?) and the Beatles (Revolver? Rubber Soul? Sgt. Peppers?)

3) No greatest hits or compilations. This criterion unfortunately omitted classic greatest hits album such as Squeeze's 45 Singles and Under, ChangesOneBowie, Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits and The Best of the Doobie Brothers as well as jazz and blues compilations by the likes of Duke Ellington, Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong. Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith or Charlie Parker. That is the breaks

4) Although some live CDs like Simon and Garfunkel, Little Feat and Cheap Trick might as well be greatest hits albums, there are not treated as so for this list.

5) Soundtracks and Various Artists compilations were O.K.

In general, I find that these are albums that guided me in my own musical development and in some cases, reflect a stage in my life. The albums do not necessarily mean that they were the most influential or groundbreaking. They are simply appealing to the ear. There are some obvious, unfortunate, illogical, ridiculous (you pick the adjective), omissions:, Buddy Holly, Motley Crue, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Thorogood, Spencer Davis Group, Billy Idol, New York Dolls, Elvis Presley, Men at Work, Chuck Berry, the Troggs, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Graham Parsons, Bill Haley, Kiss, Black Flag, the Mamas and the Papas, the Outlaws, Little Richard, Steppenwolf, the Hollies, etc. The works of many of these artists are definitely worthy for this list and their work is very important and influential. It's just that I either don't own their stuff, I don't like them or they didn't make the cut. That's the breaks. Provided for you, in order of release, are the Top 250. Hopefully, it is just as much fun to read as it was to compile. Remember this is opinion and therefore a list relative to my own beliefs. Do not take any of this for gospel. Make your own list and compare.

1) Charles Mingus/Mingus Ah Um (1959) A fine representation of this gifted bandleader/bassist/composer. Contains the classic "Better Git It In Your Soul" and "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat."

2) David Brubeck Quartet/Time Out (1959) The catchy melodies of saxophonist Paul Desmond's title track and Brubeck's percussion laden piano on "Blue Rondo A La Turk" contribute to one of the finest, and most accessible, jazz albums of all time.

3) Ornette Coleman/Free Jazz (A Collective Improvisation)(1960) With his double quartet, non-stop improvisation and a tape recorder, Coleman revolutionized the way that jazz was to be heard for the next forty years.

4) Muddy Waters/At Newport (1960) Otis Spann and James Cotton support this the legendary bluesman who belts out "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "I've Got My Mojo Working."

5) Duke Ellington/ The First Time! The Count Meets the Duke (1961) A summit meeting of jazz royalty as Basie and Ellington work through "Take the A Train", "Battle Royal" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside."

6) John Coltrane/A Love Supreme (1964) The saxophonist's spiritual masterpiece.

7) Mose Allison/Wild Man on the Loose (1965) A man who defies all labels - is it jazz? Is it boogie-woogie? Is it blues? Give this pianist/vocalist a listen and find out for yourself.

8) Paul Butterfield Blues Band/East-West (1966) With the tandem guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, Butterfield brought together Indian music, jazz and good old blues.

9) Beach Boys/Pet Sounds (1966) A wonderfully produced album that elevated America's band beyond just being a surf group.

10) Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery/The Dynamic Duo (1966) The master Hammond B-3 organist and electric guitarist sit down for a great jam session.

11) Arlo Guthrie/Alice's Restaurant (1967) Political commentary and humor thrown together by this New England songwriter.

12) Buffalo Springfield/Buffalo Springfield Again (1967) Neil Young's "Mr Soul" and Expecting to Fly" and Stephen Still's "Bluebird" and "Hung Upside Down" make this album a classic.

13) Donovan/Sunshine Superman (1967) "Fat Angel", "Season of the Witch" and the title track make this album the winner.

14) Grant Green /Iron City (1967) With organist John Patton and drummer Ben Dixon, this is a look at one of the greatest guitarist who unfortunately lived in obscurity.

15) Rolling Stones/Beggars Banquet (1968) From the classic tribal rhythms "Sympathy of the Devil" to the acoustic blues of "No Expectations", the Stones reached a pinnacle with this one.

16) Jimi Hendrix/Electric Ladyland (1968) A finely produced album that brings the blistering guitar solos of Hendrix through the blues, avant-garde jazz and psychedelic.

17) Electric Flag/A Long Time Comin' (1968) Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, and Buddy Miles join up for some great horn driven rock and roll.

18) Cream/Wheels of Fire (1968) The power rocking trio's fourth album combined the best of the band's studio and live efforts – "White Room" from the studio and "Crossroads" and "Toad" from the Fillmore West.

19) Van Morrison/Astral Weeks (1968) An amazing album from the former lead singer of Them that combines Irish folk with American jazz.

20) Big Brother and Holding Company/Cheap Thrills (1968) With Janis Joplin at the helm, this album is full of raunchy and raw San Francisco blues.

21) Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills/Super Session (1968) A meeting of three guitarists that results in some inspiring tunes such as Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" and Donovan's "Season of the Witch."

22) Moody Blues/In Search of the Lost Chord (1968) So many great albums to choose from, but the tune "Legend of Mind" sets this one above the rest.

23) King Crimson/In the Court of the Crimson King (1969) With their acid rock riffs and fantasy lyrics, the Robert Fripp led Crimson took the Flower Power and British Invasion sounds of the 1960s for a wild ride.

24) Blood, Sweat and Tears/Blood, Sweat and Tears (1969) Also known as "white horn rock", this jazz/R&B/rock outfit led by Al Kooper produced songs such as "Spinnin' Wheel" and "And When I Die" for this album.

25) Quicksilver Messenger Service/Happy Trails (1969) The highlight of this album is a 25 minute version of "Who Do You Love?" which shows why guitarist John Cipollina was the underground hero of San Francisco.

26) Beatles/Abbey Road (1969) In addition to songs such as "The End" and "Come Together", this album really stands out with the presence of George Harrison's "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun".

27) Tony Williams' Lifetime/Emergency! (1969) Take jazz musicians, drummer Tony Williams, guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, and throw in some psychedelic rock and roll and you have Emergency!

28) Blind Faith/Blind Faith (1969) With Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Rich Grech and Ginger Baker, on paper this lineup suggests a super group. Listen to the tracks and it will conform all suspicions.

29) Jefferson Airplane/Volunteers (1969) The album that launched the Airplane from hippie-dippies to socially aware revolutionaries.

30) Hot Tuna/Hot Tuna (1969) Recorded live in Berkeley, this album turned a whole lot of deadheads onto acoustic blues.

31) Captain Beefheart/Trout Mask Replica (1969) The blues, free jazz and zany lyrics come together for this "way before its time" album.

32) Grateful Dead/Live Dead (1969) There is a reason why these guys had difficulty making studio albums – their energy belonged in their live sets.

33) Herbie Mann/Memphis Underground (1969) Joined by guitarists Sonny Sharrock and Larry Coryell as well as vibist Roy Ayers, Mann and his flute fuses jazz with R&B and Country.

34) Les McCann/Eddie Harris Swiss Movement (1969) Pianist McCann and saxophonist Harris lit up the Montreaux Jazz Festival with this rousing set.

35) Sly and The Family Stone/Stand! (1969) The origins of funk-rock are found in "Everyday People" and the title track.

36) Pharoah Sanders/ Thembi (1969) This saxophonist's album may only contain two songs, but you will never find two songs filled with so much musical passion.

37) Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young/Deja Vu (1970) An amazing quartet whose sole studio album together is packed to the hilt with memorable songs.

38) Miles Davis/ A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1970) It may have only two songs, but with the help of John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham and Herbie Hancock, they sure are memorable.

39) Joni Mitchell/Ladies of the Canyon (1970) Through tunes like "Morning Morgantown", "Woodstock" and "Big Yellow Taxi", Mitchell's beautiful lyrics and vocals will leave you in awe.

40) Velvet Underground/Loaded (1970) Although the album acted as a catalyst for the breaking up of the band, Loaded may be one of VU's most rocking and accessible releases.

41) John Mayall/Turning Point (1970) The original Bluesbreaker's landmark stab at acoustic psychedelic jazz-blues.

42) Derek and the Dominoes/Layla and other assorted love songs (1970) With Duane Allman sitting in, this album is not only a collection of well crafted tunes but also a blues guitarist summit meeting.

43) Santana/Abraxas (1970) After blowing the Woodstock festival goers with his youthful guitar energy, Santana released this unique blend of pyschedelia, blues, jazz and Latin grooves which culminated with a version of Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman".

44) George Harrison/All Things Must Pass (1970) Featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Dave Mason, Alan White and Ring Starr, this ex-Beatle had a more than capable band for his debut triple album

45) Brewer and Shipley/Tarkio Road (1970) This folk-rock duo's groundbreaking album featuring the Jerry Garcia Band (Jerry Garcia, Bill Vitt and John Kahn) as backup.

46) Credence Clearwater Revival/Cosmo's Factory (1970) A hard choice for this band, but I love that version of "I Heard it through the Grapevine".

47) James Brown/Sex Machine (1970) A funkalicious live show featuring Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley.

48) Cat Stevens/Tea for the Tillerman (1970) Besides the hit "Wild World", this album also has "Where do the Children Play?", "Road to Nowhere" and "On the Road to Find Out."

49) Dave Mason/Alone Together (1970) Mason comes out Traffic firing with "Only You Know and I Know", "Just A Song" and "Sad and Deep As You."

50) Joe Cocker/Mad Dogs and Englishman (1970) A narrative of Joe Cocker's tour of America with Rita Coolidge, Don Preston, Carl Radle and Leon Russell.

51) Yes /The Yes Album (1971) With the symphonic structures yet hard rocking bite of "Yours is No Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper", this album combined pop appeal with instrumental virtuosity and launched the entire progressive music genre.

52) Carole King/Tapestry (1971) With James Taylor helping out, this album has "I Feel The Earth Move", "Its Too Late" and "You Make We Feel Like A Natural Born Woman."

53) James Taylor/Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971) A great follow up to Sweet Baby James that solidified Taylor's eminence as America's finest singer/songwriter.

54) Funkadelic/Maggot Brain (1971) Perhaps one of the best Parliament/Funkadelic albums from an instrumental point of view.

55) Can/Tago Mago (1971) Punk? Techno? Avant-garde? Progressive? These German pioneers were insanely ahead of their time.

56) Doors/L.A. Woman (1971) Morrison's final album with the Doors finds the band breaking away from psychedelic rock and getting down with the blues.

57) The Who/Who's Next (1971) "Won't Get Fooled Again"? "Behind Blue Eyes? "Baba O'Reilly"? "Going Mobile"? Hard rocking ear candy.

58) Black Sabbath /Paranoid (1971) "Iron Man", "Paranoid", and "War Pigs" - where would hard rock/heavy metal be today without these classics?

59) Aretha Franklin/Live at the Fillmore West (1971) With a guest appearance from Ray Charles, the gospel diva works through many of her own classics as well as versions of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

60) Rod Stewart/Every Picture Tells a Story (1971) Even when going up against albums with songs such as "Hot Legs" and "Young Turks", a good old "Maggie May" will do.

61) Stanley Turrentine/Salt Song (1971) With Hubert Laws, Eric Gale, Ron Carter, Airto Moreiro and Billy Cobham, Turrentine works through the blues, jazz-fusion and traditional jazz and creates a great sounding album.

62) BB King/Live in Cook County Jail (1971) There were a lot of happy inmates who witnessed smoking versions of "Thrill is Gone" and "Sweet Sixteen".

63) Jethro Tull/ Aqualung (1971) Hard rock and English folk come together as one.

64) Leo Kotke/6 and 12 String Guitar (1971) An spellbinding debut album that covers just about every style that one can play with an acoustic guitar.

65) Howlin' Wolf/The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions (1971) Although not Howlin' Wolf's best album, the teaming up with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr make it interesting enough.

66) David Crosby/If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971) Compared to his band mates, Crosby was the least prolific when it came to releasing solo albums; but when he did, they were gems. Joined by Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Mickey Hart, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Phil Lesh, Grace Slick, Bill Kreutzmann and many others, this was truly an all-star album.

67) Steely Dan/Can't Buy a Thrill (1972) A great debut album from the greatest conglomeration of musicians to sit in one room. "Do It Again", "Dirty Work", and "Reeling in the Years" - need I say more.

68) Tom Rush/Merrimack County(1972) A fine album from this singer/songwriter with a country-rock twinge to it.

69) The Mahavishnu Orchestra/Birds of Fire (1972) Guitarist John McLaughlin's absolutely amazing jazz-rock fusion - insane guitar playing.

70) Taj Mahal/The Real Thing (1972) This double live album features both Mahal's jazz and blues influences as well as a four piece tuba section.

71) Herbie Hancock/Sextant (1972) Forget Watermelon Man, this is the real funky stuff.

72) Jimmy Cliff/The Harder They Come (1972) A great soundtrack to a great movie – "You can get It If You Really Want", "Many Rivers to Cross" and the title track.

73) Neil Young/Harvest (1972) Long before he was the godfather of grunge, this Canadian was crooning from an acoustic guitar.

74) Emerson, Lake and Palmer/Trilogy (1972) This group turned millions of listeners onto the classically influenced sounds of progressive rock and this is the album that got me.

75) Dr. John/Gumbo (1972) The Night Tripper's shorn down tribute to New Orleans piano jazz and blues.

76) Allman Brothers Band/Eat a Peach (1972) Released after the death of guitarist Duane Allman, Eat a Peach features a 33-minute jamathon ("Mountain Jam") as well as acoustic ballads like "Melissa".

77) Lou Reed/Transformer (1972) Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson(guitarist for Bowie) and with songs like "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Satellite of Love", this was one of the best Glam efforts.

78) Sun Ra/Space is the Place (1972) Perhaps one of the most interesting musicians to not grace this earth, Sun Ra covered every style from be-bop to doo-wop to cosmic free jazz.

79) Roxy Music/Roxy Music (1972) Are you looking for a example of progressive-art-Glam rock in the early 1970s, here it is -an unbelievable debut of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno.

80) Manassas/Manassas (1972) Stephen Still's side band that covered bluegrass, country, blues and rock.

81) Stevie Wonder / Talkin' Book (1972) The youthful prodigy shows that he can funk out like an adult.

82) The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band/Will The Circle Be Unbroken (1972) A two album country/rock bluegrass all-star session featuring Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Vassar Clements and Norman Blake.

83) David Bowie/Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973) One of the best thematic albums of all time that rocks out beyond belief with tunes like "Moonage Daydream" and "Ziggy Stardust" and also provides heartfelt ballads like "Rock and Roll Suicide".

84) Paul Kantner/Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun (1973) With fellow Jefferson Airplane members Grace Slick and David Freiberg as well as Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and Mickey Hart, this album is a present surprise of San Francisco sounds.

85) Tom Waits/Closing Time (1973) An impressive debut from this singer/songwriter who covers a range of an emotions and musical styles.

86) Billy Joel/Piano Man (1973) Long Island's greatest export.

87) Eric Clapton/Rainbow Concert (1973) In some sort of musical intervention, Pete Townsend pulls Clapton out of heroine addiction with this concert along with Steve Winwood, Ron Wood and Jim Capaldi.

88) Traffic/On the Road (1973) A live double album that shows the experimental, jazz side to this group.

89) Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Absolutely no need for explanation - a thematic masterpiece.

90) New Riders of the Purple Sage/Panama Red (1973) Before there was Blueground Undergrass, Leftover Salmon and String Cheese Incident, there was the psychedelic bluegrass of the NRPS.

91) Merle Saunders/Live at Keystone (1973) With Jerry Garcia on guitar, Merle can jam out, funk out, soul out or whatever you want.

92) Elton John/Goodbye Yellow Brick World (1973) An ambitious double album that covered a wide variety of styles - the most notable songs were the title track, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Bennie and the Jets".

93) Various Artists/Music from Free Creek (1973) An impromptu jam session featuring Dr. John, Keith Emerson, Delaney Bramlett and many others (many of who could not give real names due to contractual issues) who jam out tunes like "Cissy Strut", "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Lay Lady Lay".

94) Hawkwind/Space Ritual (1973) A two album live recording of these space rockers that proves that you need an intergalactic passport when listening to it.

95) Toots and the Maytals /Funky Kingston (1973) Led by vocalist Toots Hibberts, Toots and the Maytals combined American soul with Jamaican reggae.

96) The Byrds/Reunion Album(1973) A fine reunion album featuring Joni Mitchell's "For Free", Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand" and some fine originals.

97) Lynyrd Skynyrd/Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973) Country rocking classics like "Gimme Three Steps", "Simple Man" and "Freebird".

98) Robert Palmer/Sneaking Sally Through the Alley (1974) The opening melody of "Sailing Shoes", "Hey Julia" and the title track says it all.

99) Brian Eno/ Here Come The Warm Jets (1974) Eno's debut album masterfully combines pop with electronica – an album way before its time.

100) Elvin Bishop/Juke Joint Jump (1974) If country and funk were to join forces, they would have to consult with guitarist Bishop.

101) Bob Marley /Live (1975) An album that truly captures that spirituality the Bob Marley created and embodied.

102) Genesis/The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1975) Peter Gabriel's double album swan song takes a twist on progressive music's fascination with epic fantasy tales by adding a modern urban twist.

103) Led Zeppelin/Physical Graffiti (1975) Two albums worth of Zeppelin – "In My Time of Dying", "Kashmir", "In The Light", and "Houses of the Holy" - need I say more?

104) Bob Dylan/Blood On the Tracks (1975) An amazing collection of tunes – "Tangled Up in Blue", "Simple Twist of Fate and "Idiot Wind".

105) The Marshall Tucker Band / Searchin' for A Rainbow (1975) Through songs like "Can't You See", "Fire on the Mountain" and the title track, these guys prove that they are the best bar band around.

106) Old and In The Way/Old and In The Way (1975) A great introduction to bluegrass ( with a touch of psychedelic)

107) Bruce Springsteen/Born to Run (1975) The boss rocks!

108) Patti Smith/Horses (1975) Poetry, punk and new wave blended into a remarkable debut album.

109) Aerosmith/Toys in the Attic (1975) "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk This Way"? Rock on, Boston style.

110) David Bromberg/How Late'll Ya Play til? (1976) A live album that shows Bromberg's mastery of the blues, bluegrass and telling a good story.

111) Don Pullen/Tomorrow's Promises (1976) The best avant-garde funk you never heard before.

112) Boz Scaggs/Silk Degrees (1976) Sly and slinky R&B tunes like "Lido Shuffle", "Lowdown" and "The Way That I Feel".

113) Chick Corea & Return to Forever/Romantic Warrior (1976) A jazz rock supergroup consisting of Corea, drummer Lenny White, guitarist Al Di Meola and bassist Stanley Clarke is all you need to know about this album.

114) Eagles/Hotel California (1976) Between the Title track and "Life in the Fast Lane", you have the seventies captured perfectly.

115) Peter Frampton/ Frampton Comes Alive (1976) A must for any aspiring air guitarist.

116) Iggy Pop/Lust for Life (1977) The ex-Stooges frontman teams up with David Bowie for some aggressive yet pop oriented tunes.

117) The David Grisman Quintet/ The David Grisman Quintet (1977) Mandolinist Grisman's debut album that introduced the world to a style of music known as "Dawg".

118) Sex Pistols/Never Mind the Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols (1977) Tunes like "Bodies" and "Holidays of the Sun" make this debut punk album set the music world on fire.

119) Jeff Beck/Live with Jan Hammer Group (1977) All of the guitar wizardry from Blow by Blow and Wired, but live and with Jan Hammer on the keys.

120) Peter Tosh/Equal Rights (1977) Goes to show that Marley wasn't the only guy in the Wailers who had talent.

121) Jimmy Buffett/Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977) This guy was born in Mississippi, not some beach hut as this album may allude you to thinking.

122) Fleetwood Mac/Rumours (1977) It would be cool to say that their earlier blues stuff was the best, but you can't go wrong with this one.

123) Warren Zevon/Excitable Boy (1978) An interesting collection of songs from this off beat rock and roller consisting of "Werewolves of London", "Lawyers Guns and Money" and the title track.

124) The Police/Outlandos D'Amour (1978) Through songs like "Next To You", "Roxanne" and "So Lonely", the Police combined punk and reggae and became the kings of New Wave.

125) Little Feat/Waiting for Columbus (1978) With the way that Lowell George and crew sound in concert, this might as well been a Greatest Hits album.

126) The Band/The Last Waltz (1978) The band's swan song featuring guest appearances by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and many, many more.

127) Steel Pulse/Handsworth Revolution (1978) A band from the British islands playing the sounds of the Caribbean Islands.

128) Van Halen/Van Halen (1978) From the opening "Running with the Devil" to the closing "On Fire", Van Halen keeps the adrenaline at a high level for this debut album

129) The Cars/The Cars (1978) With classic tunes like "Good Times Roll", "Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girl" and "You're All I've Got Tonight", It is hard to tell that this was a debut album.

130) Elvis Costello and the Attractions/This Year's Model (1978) With his new band, the Attractions, and seventeen hard rocking tunes such as "Radio, Radio" and "Pump It Up" revealed the attitude-laden side to Costello.

131) Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings/Waylon and Willie (1978) A great meeting of country's two greatest men.

132) Dire Straits/Dire Straits (1978) A great first album containing "Down to the Waterline", "Water of Love" and "Sultans of Swing".

133) Blondie/Parallel Lines (1978) The blonde bombshell takes the band from new wave and into pop with "One Way or Another" and "Heart of Glass."

134) Devo/ Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) Amidst the proto-punk new wave movement came the quirky avant-garde sounds of this Ohio group.

135) Joe Jackson/Look Sharp! (1979) A punk like attitude with a refined sound make Joe Jackson's debut album hit the front pages of all the "Sunday Papers."

136) Frank Zappa/Sheik Yerbouti (1979) For a man who had so many different styles, skill and stages, this live album provides a good look at Zappa the satirist, composer, producer, bandleader and guitarist in one fell swoop.

137) Weather Report/8:30 (1979) A live album by the jazz supergroup of Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine and Jaco Pastorius.

138) Cheap Trick/Live at Budokon (1979) Another album dangerously close to a greatest hits package, but these guys were meant to be heard live.

139) Bruce Cockburn/Dancing in the Dragon's Jaw (1979) In addition to Joni, Gordon and Neil, Bruce Cockburn may be one of Canada's finest singer/songwriters and this album show she can also play the guitar pretty damn good.

140) Loudon Wainwright III/A Live One (1979) Yes, Frank Zappa was right - humor does belong in music.

141) Kinks/Low Budget (1979) A late effort from one of the leaders of the British invasion that features the title track, "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" and "(I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman."

142) Rickie Lee Jones /Rickie Lee Jones (1979) An incredible collection of songs by this beret toting hipster.

143) Supertramp/Breakfast in America (1979) Take "Goodbye Stranger," "Logical Song," and "Take the Long Way Home" and you have one stellar album.

144) Professor Longhair/Crawfish Fiesta (1980) New Orleans funky boogie-woogie piano with Dr. John accompanying on guitar.

145) Gong/New York Gong (1980) A combination of European space rock and New York City new wave make this a very unique album.

146) AC-DC/Back in Black (1980) One of the first albums to arrive in my collection and I still appreciate the acid rock riffs of Angus Young on the title track and "You Shook Me All Night" Long guided me through elementary school.

147) The Clash/Sandinista! (1980) The revolutionary punk/reggae/dub of tunes like "Charlie Don't Surf", "Washington Bullets" and "Magnificent Seven" make this a great album . And two albums worth to boot.

148) The Cure/Boys Don't Cry (1980) With tunes like "Fire in Cairo", "Killing the Arab" and the title track, this was one of the finest New Wave albums to rise out of the punk era.

149) Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco DeLucia/Friday Night in San Francisco (1980) Absolutely amazing Mediterranean influenced acoustic guitar from three virtuosos in a live setting.

150) Peter Gabriel/Peter Gabriel (1980) Gabriel's third installment after leaving Genesis – "Games Without Frontiers", "And Through the Wire" and "Biko".

151) Talking Heads/Remain in Light (1980) For a band that was considered to be the flag bearers of the New York City new wave scene, this album sounds like it should belong in Africa.

152) The Pretenders/The Pretenders (1980) Chrissy Hynde's sultry voice and James Honeymoon Scott's sonic riffs come together perfectly for this debut.

153) Stevie Nicks/Bella Donna (1981) An impressive debut for this Fleetwood Mac diva that features duets with both Don Henley and Tom Petty.

154) Rush/Moving Pictures (1981) Canada's hardest rocking trio get it going with "Limelight" and "Tom Sawyer."

155) Queen/Flash Gordon (1981) First came the movie and then came the album and they both rock!

156) The Tubes / The Completion Backward Principle (1981) Not quite their 1970s material, but with songs like "Talk To You Later" and "She's a Beauty", this album is a winner.

157) Judas Priest/Screaming for Vengeance(1982) Rob Halford taking the lead vocals on "You Got Another Thing Coming" is absolutely the highlight of this album.

158) The Pat Metheny Group / Travels (1982) Recorded live in 1982, guitarist Metheny and pianist Lyle Mays display their unique fusion style.

159) Various Artists/The Secret Policeman's Other Ball: The Music (1982) Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Donovan and Sting all captured one roof for an evening's performance.

 

160) U2/The Unforgettable Fire (1983) The album that launched these boys from Irish revolutionaries to MTV demi-gods.

161) James "Blood" Ulmer/ Odyssey (1983) This ex-guitarist for Ornette Coleman blends punk, reggae, funk and free jazz into one very interesting soup of music.

162) Various Artists/The Countryman Soundtrack (1983) Great remixes of tunes by Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley and Steel Pulse make this one irie soundtrack.

163) Violent Femmes/Violent Femmes (1983) Some bitter angst from America's heartland.

164) Prince/Purple Rain (1984) The soundtrack to the self appreciating ambitious movie of the same title, Purple Rain showed that Prince was the master of funk, pop and sexuality.

165) Laurie Anderson/Mister Heartbreak (1984) One of this avant-gardist's more accessible albums with Bill Laswell, Nile Rodgers, Peter Gabriel, Adrian Belew and William S. Burroughs.

166) REM/Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) Perhaps this Athens, Georgia quartet's darkest album, but appealing nonetheless.

167) Sting/The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985) The ex-Police bassist shows that he wasn't all ska-punk with this jazz laced pop release. With pianist Kenny Kirkland and saxophonist Branford Marsalis and tunes like "If Love Someone, Set Them Free" and "Fortress Around Your Heart", the album is legendary.

168) Paul Simon / Graceland (1986) American folk and African rhythms come together for one great pop album.

169) Public Image Limited/Album (1986) With John Lydon, Jonas Hellborg, Bill Laswell, Ginger Baker and Steve Vai in its ranks, Pil was an unheralded supergroup for the 1980s.

170) XTC/Skylarking (1986) Soothing pyschedelia from these English minstrels.

171) Stevie Ray Vaughan/Live Alive (1986) Scorching Texas blues in a live setting – "Superstition", "Say What!" and "Voodoo Chile" will have you playing air guitar in no time.

172) The Smiths/Strangeways Here They Come (1987) The album that made me realize that Johnny Marr was an underrated guitarist and Morrissey was a gifted lyricist.

173) Guns and Roses /Appetite for Destruction (1987) After listening to way too much keyboards and drum machines, this album reminded us of what rock and roll was.

174) Dirty Dozen Brass Band/Voodoo (1987) With guest appearances by Dr. John, Branford Marsalis and Dizzy Gillepsie, this album requires little further description.

175) Jane's Addiction/Jane's Addiction (1987) The acoustic live version of their own "Jane's Says", the Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll" and the Rolling Stone's "Sympathy for the Devil" is all that you need to know.

176) Midnight Oil/Diesel and Dust (1987) Great sounding politically/socially orientated rock and roll from these Australian rockers.

177) The Replacements/ Pleased To Meet Me (1987) The first album that really showed Paul Westerberg's song writing abilities.

178) Widespread Panic/Space Wrangler (1988) This Georgia band's debut recording is arguably their finest.

179) Sonic Youth/Daydream Nation(1988) These avant-garde hard rockers cover ever thing from John Cage influenced noise to catchy pop tunes.

180) Camper Van Beethoven/Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988) Indie rock with a folk twist.

181) Kate Bush/Hounds of Love (1988) All you have to do is listen to Running Up That Hill and you will be hooked.

182) Public Enemy/It Takes A Nation To Hold Us Back (1998) Led by Chuck D, Hip Hop with an attitude.

183) Beastie Boys/Paul's Boutique (1989) Through goofy lyrics, instrumentation and sampling (all with a funky 1970s angle), this New York City trio shows why they are the bad white boys of Hip-Hop.

184) Strength in Numbers/ The Telluride Sessions (1989) Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Mark O' Connor and Jerry Douglas all in one band.

185) Temple of the Dog/Temple of the Dog (1990) This is what you get when you combine the best elements of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone.

186) Primus / Suck on This (1990) The debut live album that slashes away with humor and hard driving grooves.

187) Uncle Tupelo /No Depression (1990) A fine opening album from this alternative-country outfit who defined a whole genre.

188) A Tribe Called Quest/ The Low End Theory (1991) One of the first albums to blend hip-hop and fusion into one well crafted sound.

189) Soundgarden/Badmotorfinger (1991) Driving grunge from Chris Cornell and company – "Drawing Flies" and "Outshined"!

190) Red Hot Chili Peppers/Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) Fun-alternative rock for the 1990s sprinkled with some surprising personal ballads.

191) Cypress Hill/ Cypress Hill (1991) This music will make you insane in the membrane.

192) Lenny Kravitz /Mama Said (1991) With influences ranging from Luther Vandross to Sly and the Family Stone to Jimi Hendrix, this album is anachronistic masterpiece.

193) Matthew Sweet/Girlfriend (1991) Searing guitar leads from television's Richard Lloyd and Sweet's Beatle-esqe harmonies makes this album a surprise hit for the 1990s.

194) Naughty by Nature/Naughty by Nature (1991) Hardcore rap from this trio from East Orange which included the infectious "O.P.P." –you decide what it stands for?

195) Nirvana/Nevermind (1991) Yeah, sure they got overplayed and over hyped, but considering that the only other listening alternatives at the time were PM Dawn and Pets Shop Boys, this album was A-OK.

196) Metallica/Metallica (1991) A 1990s example that progressive and metal can coexist together masterfully.

197) Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit/Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit (1991) With bassist Oteil Burbridge, pianist Chuck Leavell and guitarist Jimmy Herring, Hampton rips through jazz, pyschedelia and country rock with reckless abandon.

198) The Meters/Uptown Rulers: Live on the Queen Mary (1992) Recorded from a 1975 party on the Queen Mary hosted by Linda and Paul McCartney, this album defines the Meter's quintessential N'awlins live groove.

199) Maceo Parker/Live on Planet Groove (1992) A fine example of what really made James Brown the funkiest man alive.

200) Annie Lennox / Diva (1992) The ex-Eurythmic shows the world that she's got one of the best voices around.

201) Black Crowes/The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992) A great sophomore effort featuring "Sometimes Salvation" and "Sting Me".

202) Brand New Heavies/Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1 (1992) A classic meeting of these acid jazzers and the freshest in hip-hop rappers with the end result being some killer grooves.

203) Rage Against The Machine/Rage Against The Machine (1992) Politically motivated, hard driving rock and roll is what you will find from these guys.

204) Henry Rollins/The End of Silence (1992) Some hard driving tunes from this rocking ex-Black Flag poet.

205) Dr. Dre /The Chronic (1992) Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dog get down with some George Clinton inspired funk.

206) Pearl Jam/Vs(1993) An album with much better crafted tunes than their groundbreaking debut.

207) Dinosaur Jr. / Where You Been (1993) Looking for a guitar hero in the 1990s? Try J. Mascis.

208) Cracker/Kerosene Hat (1993) Led by David Lowery, these guys crafted their own distinct version of American alternative rock.

209) Liz Phair/Exile in Guyville (1993) Phair's quasi-satire on the Rolling Stones that had great pop appeal.

210) Paul Weller /Wildwood (1993) Great English style R&B / soul from this ex-leader of both the Jam and Style Council.

211) The Breeders / Last Splash (1993) Members of the Pixies and Belly come together for a hard rocking pop album.

212) US3/Hand on the Torch (1993) A English hip-hop group's take on classic hard bop jazz tunes by Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver and Art Blakey.

213) Soul Coughing/Ruby Vroom (1994) Jazz, funk, hip-hop and poetry masterfully tied together.

214) Alice in Chains / Jar of Flies (1994) An E.P. that displays the acoustic orientations of these grunge rockers.

215) Portishead/Dummy (1994) If you are looking for a 1990s, trippy version of a James Bond Soundtrack from the 1960s, then this is the answer.

216) Pavement/Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994) A mellow laid back album from these indie rock pioneers.

217) G Love & Special Sauce/ G Love and Special Sauce (1994) The soulful street funk of this modern day guitar/harmonica-toting troubadour.

218) Stone Temple Pilots/Purple (1994) A cool album from a band that doesn't get enough respect – "Interstate Love Song" and "Vaseline" may have been overplayed but they still sound good.

219) Medeski, Martin and Wood/Friday Afternoon in the Universe (1995) The spirit of this jazz trio's live improvisational spirit captured perfectly in the studio.

220) Morphine/Yes (1995) A unique combination of drums, two string bass and tenor & baritone saxophone.

221) Bela Fleck & The Flecktones/Live Art (1996) You take three of the finest instrumentalists alive and add Sam Bush, Branford Marsalis, Jerry Douglas, Bruce Hornsby and Edgar Meyer, you have a superb collection of live bluegrass/jazz/new age.

222) Smilin Myron/What About The People? (1996) Looking for New Orleans Funk and then a whole lot more, these local legends are the way to go.

223) TJ Kirk/If Four Was One (1996) Long before guitarist Charlie Hunter was making his name as a solo artist, he was involved with this group that combined the influences and styles of James Brown, Thelonious Monk and Roland Kirk.

224) Beck/Odelay (1996) Truly one of the most original and eclectic albums available to the human ear.

225) Phish/Slip, Stitch and Pass (1997) A great live album from a great live band - Europe treated these guys well.

226) Viperhouse/Ottawa(1997) After this band had their gear stolen the Ottawa Jazz Fest, they released this live album from the same date to re-coup their losses - a great take this great live band from Vermont.

227) Ozric Tentacles/Curious Corn (1997) This English band's combination of techno, pyschedelia, groove, new age and heavy metal makes them truly one of the most diverse bands out there.

228) Radiohead/OK Computer (1997) With "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" this is an ethereal album that creates imaginative soundscapes.

229) Ani DiFranco/ Living in Clip (1997) Between her numerous albums and her own record label, this folk rock punker is easily the hardest working girl in show business.

230) Oren Bloedow/Oren Bloedow (1997) A great singer/songwriter who gets a backing band of Medeski, Martin and Wood

231) The Greyboy All-Stars/A Town Called Earth (1997) West Coast boogaloo jams as if acid jazz never disappeared

232) Yo la Tengo/I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997) Forget about the married rock and roll couples of John & Yoko, Paul & Linda or Linda and Richard, New York City's Ira and Georgia take the cake with their Velvet Underground influenced tunes.

233) Jon Scofield/A Go Go (1997) The master R&B influence jazz guitarist funks out with the assistance of Medeski, Martin and Wood

234) Strangefolk/Lore (1997) This Vermont quartet blends American folk music with a little jazz, pyschedelia and blues

235) Chemical Brothers/Dig Your Own Hole (1997) Infectious, funky dance floor grooves from across the Atlantic.

236) The Tragically Hip / The Live Between Us (1997) A live album that shows why these Canadian rockers are one of the best concert attractions available.

237) Ry Cooder/Buena Vista Social Club (1997) Famed guitarist headed down to Havana to record some of Cuba's finest (and oldest) musicians. Due to both the age of the contributing performers and the quality of music, this album is like opening a time capsule on Christmas morning.

238) Art Ensemble of Chicago/Coming Home Jamaica (1998) Despite 30 years of combining tribal rhythms with cacophonous instrumental solos, these avant-garde seem to be leaving their best stuff for the later stages.

239) Galactic/Crazyhorse Mongoose (1998) Come to New Orleans and funk out with these guy's groove laden jams.

240) Kermit Ruffins/The Barbecue Swingers Live (1998) The heir apparent to New Orleans trumpeter Louis Armstrong keeps the house grooving with this live album.

241) Various Artists/Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack(1998) Great remakes of Glam rock songs by Roxy Music, Iggy Pop, and the Stooges, Brian Eno and T-Rex.

242) Walter Wolfman Washington/Funk in the House (1998) Dance inducing funk guitar wizardry from a New Orleans legend.

243) Los Hombres Calientes/Los Hombres Calientes (1998) A fine work of Latin favored, New Orleans flavored jazz with Jason Marsalis, Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield.

244) Marc Ribot/Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (1998) A masterful combination of Ribot's guitar virtuosity and traditional Cuban jazz.

245) Wayne Horvitz and Zony Mash/Brand Spankin' New (1998) A take on the jazz fusion groove rage that is sweeping the country but with a New York City experimental underground angle.

246) Hole /Celebrity Skin (1998) She may be a "sell-out", but Courtney Love still knows how to create a great album.

247) Joe Zawinul and the Zawinul Syndicate/World Tour (1998) For years pianist/keyboardist Joe Zawinul has been blending jazz with every musical style possible – and this concert brings jazz together with world music and creates some incredible grooves.

248) Porcupine Tree/Stupid Dream (1999) One of the newest additions to the list, Porcupine Tree, led by multi-instrumentalist Steve Wilson, is one of the finest examples of progressive rock to be heard in the 1990s.

249) Tony Trischka /Bend (1999) The virtuoso banjo player recruits a full band and once again pushes the bluegrass envelope.

250) Ween/Paintin' the Town Brown (1999) The latest addition to the list that shows why these guys are one of the hottest live acts around -with a song like Poopship Destroyer, need I say more?

And finally, an alphabetical listing of some of the bands that could have made it: Arrested Development, Boston, Cake, Deep Purple, Eurythmics, Fixx, Golden Earring, Humble Pie, INXS, Michael Jackson, Kansas, Loverboy, Madonna, NRBQ, Oasis, Psychedelic Furs, Queensryche, Rainbow, Styx, Ten Years After, Uriah Heep, Vanilla Fudge, Weezer, X, Yaz, and the Zombies.

To further accentuate the difficulty in creating this list, here is one more a-z list of non included bands: ABBA, Bad Company, Alice Cooper, Danzig, ELO, Dan Fogelberg, Generation X, Hoodoo Gurus, Iron Maiden, J Geils Band, Kraftwerk, Los Lobos, Marillion, Nazareth, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Pet Shop Boys, Quarterflash, Todd Rungden, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, Ultravox, Steve Vai, Wet Willie, Xanax 25, Yoko Ono and Zero.

 

What would you like to see in this list???