1,001 Albums


Daniel Lanciana
31 min readJun 7, 2023


Listening to all albums (at least once) in the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list. For the record, 1000 *pretty much anything* is an absurd undertaking.

Each album has a little background and any tracks I particularly enjoyed.


Great means the whole album was fantastic. Good albums have at least 6 songs I like. Honorable albums have at least 4 songs I like. Ranked as entire albums, not by artist or isolated tracks.

Great: The Stranger (Billy Joel), Aja (Steely Dan), Rumours (Fleetwood Mac), “Heroes” (David Bowie), The Idiot (Iggy Pop), Bat Out Of Hell (Meat Loaf), My Aim Is True (Elvis Costello)

Good: Rocks (Aerosmith), Songs In The Key Of Life* (Stevie Wonder), Low (David Bowie), Talking Heads: 77 (Talking Heads), Pacific Ocean Blue (Dennis Wilson), Parallel Lines (Blondie), Darkness On The Edge Of Town (Bruce Springsteen)

Honourable: Ramones, Frampton Comes Alive* (Peter Frampton), Exodus (Bob Marley & The Wailers), Out Of The Blue** (Electric Light Orchestra), Hard Again (Muddy Waters), Rattus Norvegicus (The Stranglers), One World (John Martyn), Marquee Moon (Television), Lust For Life (Iggy Pop)

Bad: Music From The Penguin Café (Penguin Café Orchestra), Suicide, New Boots And Panties!! (Ian Dury), The Modern Dance (Pere Ubu), Dub Housing (Pere Ubu), Duck Stab (The Residents), First Issue (Public Image)

* Many tracks
** Few tracks

#351 | Aerosmith — Rocks

One of the first albums to ship platinum when released; and has since gone quadruple platinum. Recorded in Record Plant’s mobile recording truck in the band’s rehearsal space, the Wherehouse.

Back in the Saddle features the sound of a whip by whirling a thirty-foot cord in the middle of six Neumann mikes and adding a cap gun for the cracking sound effect. A real bullwhip was intended to be used, but after hours of trying and several injuries it was abandoned.

In 2003 and 2012, ranked number 176 on the Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; number 366 in 2020.

  • Back in the Saddle
  • Last Child
  • Rats in the Cellar
  • Combination
  • Sick as a Dog
  • Nobody’s Fault
  • Home Tonight

#352 | Parliament — Mothership Connection

A pioneering work of afro-futurism. The concept formed the backbone of P-Funk’s concert performances during the 1970s, in which a large spaceship prop known as the Mothership would be lowered onto the stage as part of Dr. Funkenstein’s arrival.

In 2011, added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. In 2012, ranked number 276 on the Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; number 363 in 2020.

  • P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)
  • Mothership Connection (Star Child)
  • Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

#353 | Penguin Café Orchestra — Music From The Penguin Café

The original was credited to Simon Jeffes, while the cover gave the artist as “members of the Penguin Café Orchestra.” Reissues from 1987 forward generally credit the artist as the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The original cover was by John Bonis; reissue by Emily Young. Brian Eno was the executive producer.


#354 | Jean Michel Jarre — Oxygène

One of the biggest catalysts to widespread use of the synthesiser in the 1970s. Recorded in a makeshift Paris apartment studio using a variety of analog and digital synthesisers; and other electronic instruments and effects. Used in music therapy, meditation and births.

The first pressing of 50,000 copies were given away to a limited number of hi-fi shops vendors. As of 2016, sold an estimated 18 million copies and is one of the best-selling French, electronic and instrumental albums in history. The cover art is adapted from a watercolour of the same name by French painter, Michel Granger. The album title was taken from the artwork.

In. 1997, a sequel titled Oxygène 7–13. In 2007, a new version Oxygène: New Master Recording. In 2016, a 40th anniversary sequel Oxygène 3. Soundtrack to the films Eagle’s Shadow and Gallipoli.

Sounds like a soundtrack.

  • Oxygène (Part IV)

# 355 | Ramones

Recorded in only seven days at a cost of $6,400. The cover was taken in New York for Punk magazine by Roberta Bayley and later sold to the record company for $125. The cover was copied by Alvin and the Chipmunks in Chipmunk Punk.

In 2003 and 2012, ranked number 33 on the Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 47 in 2020. In 2012, added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

  • Blitzkrieg Bop
  • Beat on the Brat
  • Judy is a Punk
  • I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
  • Listen to My Heart


#356 | Fela Kuti & Africa 70 — Zombie

The album criticised the Nigerian government and is thought to have resulted in the storming of Kuti’s commune by a thousand military soldiers! Kuti was severely beaten, and his elderly mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Kuti’s studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed.

In 1978, Kuti married 27 women — many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers. Later, he adopted a twelve-wife rotation system. In 1978, he was banned from Ghana after riots broke our during a concert. At the Berlin Jazz Festival most of his musicians deserted him due to rumors Kuti was planning on using the proceeds to fund a presidential campaign.

Only four tracks. Zombie appears in Grand Theft Auto: IV.

#357 | Peter Tosh — Legalize It

Written in response to his ongoing victimisation by the Jamaican police and as a political piece pushing for the legalisation of cannabis. The title track was banned when released in Jamaica. In 1999, the album was certified platinum.

#358 | Stevie Wonder — Songs In The Key Of Life

With plans for a farewell concert (to quit music and move to Ghana to help children), Wonder changed his mind and signed a seven-year, seven-album, $37 million deal — the biggest recording deal in history.

A total of 130 people worked on the album — including Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Minnie Riperton and Deniece Williams. Pastime Paradise drew on the first eight notes and four chords from Bach’s Prelude №2 in C minor and was reworked by Coolio as Gangsta’s Paradise in 1995. In 1999, Will Smith used I Wish as the base for Wild Wild West.

The third album (first by an American artist) to debut at number one on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart; 13 consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200; 35 weeks inside the Billboard top ten; Billboard charts for 80 weeks; and 20 weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B/Black Albums chart. In 2005, certified diamond (5 million sales for a double album).

At the 19th Grammy Awards won Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. During the ceremony Wonder was visiting Nigeria and accepted via a poor-reception satellite hook-up; a host asked “Stevie, can you see us?”

In 2003, ranked number 56 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 57 in 2012, 4 in 2020. In 2002, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2005, inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

In 2013, Wonder did a live concert performance of the entire album at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. In 2014, to mark the 38th anniversary Wonder began performing the entire album in a series of concert dates in the US and Canada.

  • Have A Talk With God
  • Contusion
  • Sir Duke
  • I Wish
  • Knocks Me Off My Feet
  • Pastime Paradise
  • Isn’t She Lovely
  • Black Man*
  • As
  • Another Star
  • All Day Sucker

* End of the song is good.

#359 | Peter Frampton — Frampton Comes Alive

One of the best-selling (20 million copies) live albums of all time, it reached number one on the Billboard 200 — eventually spending 10 weeks in the top spot. The best-selling album of 1976.

Intended to be a single disc, but additional shows (four total) were recorded and the album expanded to two LPs for release — with a reduced price only $1 more than a single-disc album. Unusual for the time, the album was all recorded live except for the first verse of Something’s Happening, the rhythm electric guitar on Show Me the Way, and the intro piano on I Wanna Go to the Sun — which were fixed in the studio.

The album was pressed in “automatic sequence” with sides one and four on one record, followed by sides two and three on the other, to make it easier to listen through the whole album in sequence on automatic record changers.

In 2001, a 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the album was produced and released by Frampton with four additional tracks and different sequence (to more accurately reflect the set list). He played an impromptu live performance with the original band at Tower Records in LA to help promote the release.

  • Show Me The Way
  • All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
  • Baby, I Love Your Way
  • (I’ll Give You) Money
  • Lines On My Face

#360 | Brian Eno — Before And After Science

Two years in the making with over 100 tracks were written with only ten making the album’s final cut!

The first pressings of the album included four offset prints by Peter Schmidt; the back cover says “Fourteen Pictures” under the album title, referencing Eno’s ten songs and Peter Schmidt’s four prints. King’s Lead Hat is an anagram of “Talking Heads.” Phil Collins played drums.

  • Backwater
  • Julie With…

#361 | Kraftwerk — Trans-Europe Express

Kraftwerk went to railway bridges to listen to train sounds, but found the sound not danceable and changed it slightly. Used customised 32-step 16-channel analog sequencer made for the band. Mixed as two entirely separate versions — English and German.

Kraftwerk made a promotional music video for the song Trans-Europe Express featuring the group wearing long coats on a train trip from Düsseldorf to nearby Duisburg. Photo stills from this video were later used on the single sleeve for Showroom Dummies. The cover for the German version, Trans Europa Express, was taken by New York-based celebrity photographer, Maurice Seymour, in Paris.

In 2003, number 253 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 256 in 2012; 238 in 2020. In 2009, a remastered edition was released.

  • The Hall of Mirrors
  • Trans-Europe Express

#362 | Billy Joel — The Stranger

Recorded over three weeks. The photograph on the back cover was taken at the Supreme Macaroni Company restaurant.

Spent six weeks at number 2 on the US Billboard 200. Won the Grammy for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. To date, has achieved a diamond certification for surpassing 10 million sales.

In 1978, performed Just The Way You Are on Saturday Night Live. Featured in an episode of the TV series Taxi and the 2004 teenage comedy film 13 Going on 30.

  • Entire album

#363 | Bob Marley & The Wailers — Exodus

Recorded in London following an assassination attempt (shot in the arm, his wife was also shot and survived). The album that propelled Marley to international stardom.

  • Exodus
  • Jamming
  • Waiting in Vain
  • Three Little Birds
  • One Love / People Get Ready

# 364 | Electric Light Orchestra — Out Of The Blue

The entire double album was written in three and a half weeks. Four million pre-ordered copies and quickly went multi-platinum. One of the first pop albums to have an extensive use of the vocoder (speech synthesiser).

The cover art is by Shusei Nagaoka based on a logo Kosh designed for ELO’s previous album. The number “JTLA 823 L2” which is featured on the shuttle arriving at the space station is the original catalogue number for the album. The album also included an insert of a cardboard cutout of the space station and a fold-out poster of the band members. For live shows, the band played inside a huge glowing flying saucer stage set.

Re-released in 2007 (30th anniversary), 2012 (limited-edition vinyl) , and 2017 (40th anniversary).

Sounds very much like the Beatles.

  • Turn to Stone
  • Sweet Talkin’ Woman
  • Jungle
  • Believe Me Now
  • Mr. Blue Sky

#365 | Weather Report — Heavy Weather

Birdland is a jazz standard. Although not listed as such, Rumba Mamá was recorded live. In 2011, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

#366 | Muddy Waters — Hard Again

Recorded in three days. An outtake from the sessions, Walking Through the Park, appeared on a 2004 reissue — with several more unused tracks appeared in 1981. Won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording.

  • Mannish Boy
  • Bus Driver
  • Jealous Hearted Man
  • Crosseyed Cat
  • Little Girl

#367 | The Stranglers — Rattus Norvegicus

One of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain — eventually achieving platinum. Produced in one week as a snapshot of the band’s live set at the time. Originally to be titled Dead on Arrival, but changed last-minute to the taxonomic name for the common brown rat. The “IV” prefix was a deliberate attempt to cause confusion.

The first 10,000 copies of the original vinyl release included a free 7-inch single. Remastered versions in 1996, 2001 and 2018.

  • Sometimes
  • Princess of the Streets
  • Hanging Around
  • Peaches
  • Down in the Sewer

#368 | The Clash

Recorded over three weekend sessions and costing £4,000. Not released in the US until two years later; as their second US release and with a different track listing. The best-selling (over 100,000 copies) import of the year in 1978.

The cover artwork was designed by Polish artist Rosław Szaybo. The cover photo by Kate Simon was taken in the alleyway opposite the band’s rehearsal building in Camden Market. Drummer Terry Chimes did not appear in the picture as he had already decided to leave the group. Another picture from the same Kate Simon photoshoot appears on the UK Special Edition DVD of Rude Boy, released in 2003. The picture of the charging police officers on the rear, shot by Rocco Macauly, was taken during the 1976 riot at the Notting Hill Carnival — the inspiration for the track White Riot.

  • I’m So Bored with the USA
  • Police & Thieves

#369 | David Bowie — Low

The first of three collaborations with producer Tony Visconti and musician Brian Eno that became known as the “Berlin Trilogy.” Followed Bowie’s move to France with friend Iggy Pop to overcome drug addiction. Bowie produced and co-wrote Pop’s debut studio album, The Idiot, and toured as Pop’s keyboardist.

During recording, Bowie developed his “three-phase” process (backing tracks first; then overdubs; lyrics and vocals last) which he would use for the rest of his career. Visconti created the distinctive drum sound using an Eventide H910 Harmoniser — the first commercially available pitch-shifting device. When Bowie asked what it did, Visconti replied “It fucks with the fabric of time.” Mostly recorded at a Château in France, then finished in West Berlin.

On hearing the album, RCA rejected the album and urged him to make a record more like Young Americans. Bowie kept the rejection letter on his wall at home. RCA refused to issue the album for three months. The cover is taken from the film The Man Who Fell to Earth and was intended as a visual pun (“low profile”).

In 1978, an rare extended spliced version of Breaking Glass was released as a single in Australia and New Zealand; it was released in 2017 on Re:Call 3. In 1993, Philip Glass produced a classical suite based on the album titled “Low” Symphony. In 2003, number 249 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 251 in 2012; 206 in 2020.

  • Speed of Life
  • Sounds and Vision
  • Be My Wife
  • Warszawa
  • Art Decade
  • Subterraneans

#370 | Steely Dan — Aja

Pronounced “Asia” and named after a Korean woman lead singer, Donald Fagen, knew. An important release in the development of yacht rock. The album cover features a photograph by Hideki Fujii of Japanese model and actress Sayoko Yamaguchi.

In 1978, won the Grammy for Best Engineered Recording — Non-Classical; nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance. In 2003, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2003 and 2012, number 145 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 63 in 2020. In 2010, added to the Library of Congress.

In the 1990s both a surround-sound and SACD versions were scrapped after the multitrack masters for Black Cow and the title track were missing. In the 1999 remastered reissue, the liner notes offer a $600 reward for the missing masters or any information that leads to their recovery. Sampled in De La Soul’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising. In 1999, featured in the documentary series Classic Albums.

  • Entire album

#371 | Wire — Pink Flag

In 2012, number 412 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 310 in 2020.

#372 | John Martyn — One World

Credited for helping develop trip hop music. Some of the recording was done outdoors in a mobile recording studio, with microphones picking up natural reverb, surrounding geese, and trains. A large supply of opium fuelled Martyn’s drug habits during the stay at the farm.

The track listing on the back cover listed the two sides in reversed order, due to the design being completed before the album.

  • Big Muff
  • Couldn’t Love You More
  • Small Hours
  • Dancing

#373 | Talking Heads — Talking Heads: 77

After seeing the band at CBGB Lou Reed invited the trio to his apartment, where he critiqued the group’s act. Reed and his manager, Jonny Podell, later offered the band a recording contract — but after talking to a lawyer declined the deal that would give away full rights to the album.

In 2005, remastered in DualDisc format; in Europe it was released as a CD+DVD-Audio two-disc set. In 2009, re-released on vinyl for Record Store Day. In 2003, number 290 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 291 in 2012.

  • Happy Day
  • Who Is It?
  • No Compassion
  • First Week / Last Week…Carefree
  • Psycho Killer
  • Pulled Up

#374 | Fleetwood Mac — Rumours

The band’s first number-one album on the UK Albums Chart and also topped the US Billboard 200 — where it stayed for 31 weeks. Four singles reached the US top 10, with Dreams reaching number one. In 2020, re-entered the Billboard 200 top ten after a viral TikTok.

Advance orders of 800,000 copies was the largest in Warner Bros.’ history. Sold over 10 million copies within a month. Received Diamond certifications in several countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US, where it was certified 20× Platinum. As of 2023, sold over 40 million copies making it the 12th best-selling album of all-time.

“The band would come in at 7 at night, have a big feast, party till 1 or 2 in the morning, and then when they were so whacked-out they couldn’t do anything, they’d start recording.”

During recording keyboard player and vocalist Christine McVie and bass guitarist John McVie divorced and stopped talked to each other socially; guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks had an on/off relationship that led them to fight often; and drummer Mick Fleetwood discovered his wife was having an affair with his best friend. Nicks suggested the band created the best music when in the worst shape. Sleepless nights and the extensive use of cocaine marked much of the production.

The working title was Yesterday’s Gone, and John McVie suggested the eventual album title to the band because he felt the members were writing “journals and diaries” about each other through music. The front cover features a stylised shot of Fleetwood and Nicks dressed in her “Rhiannon” stage persona, while the back has a montage of band portraits.

In 1978, won the Grammy for Album of the Year. In 2003, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2017, added to the Library of Congress. In 2020, number 7 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 1998, the album Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours featured covers by Tonic; Matchbox 20; Goo Goo Dolls; The Corrs; The Cranberries; Elton John, Jewel; Tori Amos; Death Cab for Cutie; and Lorde. In 2004, remastered and reissued with the addition of Silver Springs, which had been excluded from the original release, and a bonus CD of outtakes from the recording sessions.

  • Entire album

#375 | David Bowie — “Heroes”

The second release of his “Berlin Trilogy,” and the only one fully recorded in Berlin. The studio had been used by Gestapo officers during World War II as a ballroom, and was was located about 500 yards from the Berlin Wall and Russian Red Guards — leading Bowie to describe it as “the hall by the wall.”

The majority of the tracks were composed on the spot in the studio. Inspired by Iggy Pop, Bowie didn’t write any lyrics before stepping in front of the microphone — and usually completed his vocals in only one or two takes! Producer Tony Visconti kept a two-track tape running at all times to avoid losing new ideas.

The cover photo was taken by Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita and, like Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, is a nod to the painting Roquairol by the German artist Erich Heckel. Bowie said that the quotation marks in the title “indicate a dimension of irony about the word ‘heroes’ or about the whole concept of heroism.” In 2013, Bowie’s The Next Day album cover is an altered and obscured version of the “Heroes” cover.

Bowie re-recorded his vocals in German and French for the respective singles of “Heroes”. In 1991, U2 recorded Achtung Baby by the Wall in Berlin in honour of this album. In 1997, Philip Glass adapted the album into a classical piece, titled “Heroes” Symphony, and developed it into a ballet by American choreographer Twyla Tharp.

In 1991, reissued with two bonus tracks. In 1990, a CD release featuring 24-bit digitally remastered sound. In 2017, remastered for the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set.

  • Entire album

#376 | Dennis Wilson — Pacific Ocean Blue

The only studio album from the co-founder of the Beach Boys. At the time of recording, hard living affected his looks and singing voice, which now delivered grainy and rough. Wilson intended to record a follow-up, Bambu, but the album was unfinished at the time of his death in 1983.

Issued on CD in 1991, it went out of print within a year due to copyright issues making it a rare collectable. The album was virtually unavailable for more than fifteen years. In 2008, a 30th anniversary 2-disc edition was released that includes material from the Bambu session. A limited edition 180-gram vinyl multi-LP box set was also released.

For Holy Man, Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters recorded the missing vocals. Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor also recorded backing vocals for the track, along with guitar by May, although their contributions went unused until Record Store Day 2019.

  • River Song
  • Dreamer
  • Thoughts of You
  • You and I
  • Pacific Ocean Blues
  • Farewell My Friend
  • Rainbows

#377 | Suicide

Regarded as a milestone in electronic and rock music. Recorded in just four days and the band had spent the previous five years playing the songs at shows. Frankie Teardrop features in the film In a Year of 13 Moons; Cheree was used by in Downtown 81 — a film shot in the early 1980s but not completed until 1999.

Really bad.

#378 | Iggy Pop — The Idiot

Produced by David Bowie and primarily recorded at the Château d’Hérouville in France. While Bowie composed much of the music for The Idiot, Pop wrote most of the lyrics on the studio floor — often in response to the music Bowie was composing. Pop was also keen to improvise some of his lyrics while standing next to the microphone, something that fascinated Bowie, who later used this method when recording “Heroes”.

The title was taken from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel of the same name, while Erich Heckel’s painting Roquairol inspired the photograph taken by Andy Kent. Bowie would later use the same painting as inspiration for the cover artwork for “Heroes”.

For two days, and with minimal guidance, local drummer Michel Santangeli played on rough tracks he assumed were demos before being dismissed. He left thinking his playing was inadequate, but many of his first takes became part of the final mix! Given the almost demo quality of the tapes, the post-production work was “more of a salvage job than a creative mixing.”

Although The Idiot was completed first, Bowie wanted to be sure he had his own album in stores before the release. Bowie admitted that Pop was a guinea pig for what he wanted to do with sound. It can be argued the true “Berlin Trilogy” consists of The Idiot, Low, and “Heroes” — with Lust for Life a supplement and Lodger an epilogue. Bowie later re-worked Sister Midnight as Red Money on Lodger; and issued his own version of China Girl as a single in 1983.

In 1980, The Idiot was still playing on the turntable of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis when he was found after committing suicide. In 2020, Pop released an alternate mix of China Girl to promote the forthcoming release of the seven-disc deluxe box set The Bowie Years.

  • Entire album

#379 | Peter Gabriel

Because Gabriel’s first four albums were not titled or numbered, the album was later known as Peter Gabriel I, Car, or Peter Gabriel 1: Car. Remastered in 2002 and 2011.

The cover is Gabriel sitting in a 1974 Lancia 2000 owned by Storm Thorgerson, co-founder of Hipgnosis and the cover’s designer. A black-and-white image was hand-coloured, with reflections modified using a scalpel by artist Richard Manning. An alternative proposal was the photograph of Gabriel wearing contact lenses intended to give his eyes the appearance of metallic ball bearings, which was included on the inner sleeve.

  • Solsbury Hill
  • Waiting For The Big One

#380 | Television — Marquee Moon

An original musical development in rock music, abandoning contemporary punk rock power chords in favour of rock and jazz-inspired interplay, melodic lines, and counter-melodies.

After sharing a CBGB residency with Patti Smith, where he and her boyfriend persuaded Arista Records president to sign the band. The band rehearsed for four to six hours a day and six to seven days a week. The cover was shot by Robert Mapplethorpe, who previously shot the cover for Patti Smith’s Horses. Guitarist Richard Lloyd got the printer to turn knobs with his eyes closed to produce an altered photo.

In 2003, number 128 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

  • Marquee Moon
  • Guiding Light
  • Prove It
  • Torn Curtain

#381 | Meat Loaf — Bat Out Of Hell

Developed from a futuristic rock version of Peter Pan musical called Neverland, which composer Jim Steinman wrote for a workshop in 1974.

Produced by Todd Rundgren, who thought the album was a hilarious, parody of Bruce Springsteen. The pianist and drummer from Springsteen’s E Street Band played on the album, and the mixer for Born to Run remixed a song. After discovering no record deal existed, Rundgren essentially financed the album himself. He initially mixed the record in one night, but Meat Loaf requested Paradise by the Dashboard Light be dropped.

Steinman created the cover concept, which was illustrated by Richard Corben. In 1995, Steinman registered “Bat Out of Hell” as a trademark and sought to prevent Meat Loaf from using the title. In 2006, the trademark was cancelled for Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.

One of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 43 million copies. Certified 14× Platinum in the US; 26× Platinum in Australia as the best-selling album. As of 2019, the fourth-longest (522 weeks) charting studio album in the UK Albums Chart. In 2022, named the biggest-selling debut album in UK chart history. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 343 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 1991, Bat Out of Hell: Re-Vamped release. In 2001, 25th anniversary Super Audio CD. In 2016, SACD version mastered from the original tapes. In 2017, a musical based on the album opened at the Manchester Opera House.

  • Entire album

#382 | Elvis Costello — My Aim Is True

At the time performing as D.P. Costello (his actual name is Declan MacManus) as a tribute to his father, his label suggested he change his image to match the rising punk rock movement. His name change sparked controversy in both Britain and America, facing opposition from both his supporters and Elvis Presley fans. In the middle of touring, Elvis Presley died of a heart attack; four days later the album reached number 14 on the UK Albums Chart.

With the majority of songs written in two weeks and recorded in six four-hour sessions for about £2,000. Costello kept his day job as a data entry clerk, calling in sick to rehearse. Most of the tracks were recorded live and in first few takes, with little overdubbing. Due to inexperience Costello played with his borrowed guitar unadjusted until halfway through the sessions!

The cover was designed by Barney Bubbles and features the phrase “Elvis Is King” on the checkerboard pattern. Initially, the cover art was in black-and-white on the front and came in four different colours; later reissues added seven additional variants. First pressings of the record included a flyer that read “Help Us Hype Elvis,” which asked buyers to send in a 25-word description of “why they liked the ‘English’ Elvis.” The first 1,000 purchasers earned a free copy of the LP.

Shortly after its release, Costello and the Attractions performed an unauthorised show outside a Columbia Records convention where Costello was arrested and charged with obstruction, fined £5, then released time for a gig later that evening. The stunt attracted the attention of executive Greg Geller, who was integral in Costello’s signing to Columbia in the US months later.

During a last-minute SNL appearance, Costello and the Attractions abruptly cut to the then-unreleased Radio Radio that angered producer Lorne Michaels so much he banned Costello until 1989!

In 1978, nominated for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In 2003, number 168 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 430 in 2020. In 2007, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2007, the first and only live public performance by the original ensemble at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Reissued in 1993 and 2001 — both of which featured extensive liner notes written by Costello — and in 2007 as a deluxe edition.

  • Entire album

#383 | Iggy Pop — Lust For Life

The second collaboration with David Bowie, but with Pop taking more creative control. The cover was taken by Andy Kent, who also shot the cover for The Idiot, in Pop’s dressing room while he was preparing to talk to an interviewer during his UK tour. The title track gained renewed popularity in the late 1990s after being featured in the 1996 film, Trainspotting. Remastered with bonus content in 2020.

  • Lust For Life
  • Some Weird Sin
  • The Passenger
  • Tonight
  • Fall In Love With Me

#384 | Ian Dury — New Boots And Panties!!

The cover photo was taken by Chris Gabrin outside Axfords underwear and lingerie shop in Westminster and includes Dury’s son, Baxter. The title was influenced by the photo and reflected Dury’s habit of buying clothes second hand and refers to the only items of clothing he insisted on buying new.

The phrase ‘There’s nothing wrong with it!!’ appears on the back cover below the track listing, which was the bands response upon hearing the first playback of the finished record. Reissued several times, including a three-disc edition for its 30th anniversary and a five-disc box set for its 40th anniversary.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll appeared as the first track on side two of early re-pressings of the album, including a gold vinyl pressing in 1978, but was not credited on the sleeve or label.


#385 | Sex Pistols — Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols

One of the most influential punk albums and the band’s only studio album. Originally titled God Save Sex Pistols. During recording, bassist Sid Vicious stumbled into the Queen studio and was thrown out after insulting Freddie Mercury. Johnny Rotten also crawled in during a Queen rehearsal.

At time of release, the band was controversial — having spoken profanity on live TV, been fired from two record labels, and been banned from playing live in some parts of Britain. The offensive title added to that controversy, with many record stores refusing to carry it and some record charts refused to list its title, showing just a blank space instead. An obscenity court case was heard and subsequently thrown out.

Ten thousand copies of Virgin’s pressing erroneously listed 11 tracks on the sleeve instead of 12. A bootleg named Spunk featuring high-quality recordings of Sex Pistols demos and recording sessions was released on a label called Blank.

Debuted at number one on the UK Album Charts, advance orders of 125,000 copies after a week, and went gold only a few weeks later. Spent 48 weeks in the top 75. Certified platinum by the RIAA. In 2003, number 41 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 73 in 2020. In 2006, one of the 100 Greatest Albums Ever by Time magazine.

In 1996, reissued as a double CD with the original Spunk bootleg album as Spunk/This Is Crap. In 2007, released a special 30th-anniversary edition of the album in 180-gram vinyl LP format; Virgin also reissued the group’s four singles on 7-inch vinyl. In 2012, a four-disc boxed set reissue.

  • God Save the Queen
  • Anarchy in the U.K.
  • Pretty Vacant


#386 | Pere Ubu — The Modern Dance

In 2005, a 5.1 surround sound version was released as the DVD-Audio side of a DualDisc.


#387 | Kraftwerk — The Man-Machine

The cover was produced by Karl Klefisch based on Russian suprematist, El Lissitzky. The back cover image is an adaptation of a graphic from Lissitzky’s book for children. In 2009, a remastered edition was released on CD, Vinyl and digital.

  • The Robots
  • The Model

#388 | Blondie — Parallel Lines

Reached №1 in the UK. Heart of Glass was their first number-one hit on the American Billboard Hot 100, with help from a promotional video that people thought was filmed at Studio 54. The name is from an unused track; the lyrics of which were included in the first vinyl edition of the album. The cover was taken by Edo Bertoglio and chosen by Blondie’s manager — despite being rejected by the band.

The producer, Mike Chapman, said the band was the worst band he ever worked with in terms of musical ability (except for guitarist Frank Infante and vocalist Debbie Harry). Many lyrics were written last-minute. Recorded in six weeks, despite being given six months by the label. The label executives did not like the album and wanted them to start again, but Chapman pushed for its release.

Chapman used “pencil erasing” — “that meant using a pencil to hold the tape away from the head and erasing up to the kick drum. If a bass part was ahead of the kick, you could erase it so that it sounded like it was on top of the kick.”

King Crimson‘s Robert Fripp makes a guest appearance on guitar on Fade Away and Radiate. I’m Gonna Love You Too is a Buddy Holly cover. In 2001, reissued and remastered. In 2008, Parallel Lines 30th Anniversary Edition released.

  • Hanging On The Telephone
  • One Way Or Another
  • Picture This
  • Will Anything Happen
  • Sunday Girl
  • Heart Of Glass
  • I’m Gonna Love You Too

#389 | Elis Regina — Vento De Maio (May Wind)

The first album on the list not in Wikipedia! The album isn’t even listed in her discography.

Note: Not on Spotify, YouTube link.

#390 | Pere Ubu — Dub Housing

The title is an allusion to the visual echoes of blocks of identical row houses in Baltimore. “Dub” is also a reference to Jehovah’s Witnesses, of which lead singer David Thomas was a member. The cover shows the Cleveland apartment building where the band lived during recording. Reissued in on CD in 1989, 1999, 2008, and 2015 (including vinyl).


#391 | The Only Ones

In 2009, re-released in Europe.

  • Another Girl, Another Planet

#392 | Elvis Costello — This Year’s Model

Recorded in eleven days with many songs written prior. The hit tracks Pump It Up and (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea were done in one afternoon. Big Tears featured Clash guitarist Mick Jones. During recording Costello stayed at bassist Bruce Thomas’ flat due to an impending separation from his wife.

The cover is by Barney Bubbles. The original UK cover shows Costello with his hands open and is deliberately off-centre with a printers’ colour bar along the right side. The American and Swedish versions show Costello holding the camera and are not off-centre. The first American pressings contain Costello’s rather than Columbia’s logo. Between the LP holding spirals it read “Special pressing №003. Ring 434–3232. Ask for Moira for your prize” — a free 7" single for the first 50,000 copies.

In 2003, number 98 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 121 in 2020. The US release replaced (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea and Night Rally with Radio Radio. Reissued in 1993, 2002 (adding Radio Radio), 2008, and 2021 (adding Big Tears).

  • Pump It Up
  • (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea

#393 | The Jam — All Mod Cons

The title is a British idiom for “all modern conveniences” and is a pun on the band’s association with the mod revival. Weller admitted to a lack of interest during the writing/recording process, and had to completely re-record a new set of songs for the album after producer Chris Parry rejected the first batch as being sub-standard.

David Watts is Kinks’ cover. Down in the Tube Station at Midnight was rescued from the studio bin by producer, Vic Coppersmith. Neither the title nor lyrics of English Rose were printed on the original vinyl release as Weller felt that the song’s lyrics did not mean much without the music. In 1979, reissued in the US with the song The Butterfly Collector replacing Billy Hunt. In 2006, reissued on CD with a DVD documentary.

  • David Watts
  • English Rose
  • In the Crowd

#394 | Joe Ely — Honky Tonk Masquerade

  • Boxcars
  • Honky Tonkin’

#395 | The Adverts — Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts

The single Gary Gilmore’s Eyes was dropped off the album at the last minute, but is included in most reissues.

  • Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

#396 | Big Star — 3rd

A promotional version of the album was ready in 1975, but not released for another three years. Whether the band was still called Big Star is debatable. The session sheets used the band name Sister Lovers (Chilton and Stephens were dating sisters at the time), which was also used for a 1975 radio broadcast.

Reissued numerous times — often with a different title (3rd, Third, Third/Sister Lovers), cover art and/or running order. No ‘definitive’ version had ever been agreed upon by the band. Covers of The Kinks’ Till the End of the Day, eden ahbez’s Nature Boy and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On were variously included or omitted. The 1992 CD release on Rykodisc is regarded as the first attempt at the original album concept devised in 1974. In 2016, the Complete Third box set release that includes every demo, rough mix, outtake, alternate take, and final master from the Third sessions ever known to exist.

In 2012, number 449 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 285 in 2020. Holocaust was covered by Placebo; Kanga Roo by Jeff Buckley; Jesus Christ by The Monkees.

Note: Spotify has the 1992 reissue track ordering.

  • Femme Fatale
  • Nature Boy

#397 | The Residents — Duck Stab

After the first pressing quickly sold out, the album was re-released bundled with the unreleased Buster & Glen.


#398 | Public Image — First Issue

Engineer John Leckie did a rough mix and went home for the day. The next day the band never showed up and the rough mix was the record. Uncredited, but Richard Branson gave him £250.

In 1978, a promotional video for Public Image was shown on British TV twice; in 1986, released on VHS; in 2005 released on DVD. The album was unreleased in the US until 2013 (Public Image was released on a compilation album).


#399 | Magazine — Real Life

The original artwork is by Linder Sterling. Reissued in remastered in 2007.

  • Definitive Graze
  • Shot By Both Sides

#400 | Bruce Springsteen — Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Made after legal proceedings against his manager prevented Springsteen from studio recording for almost a year. Recording started four days after the proceedings ended. The sessions spanned nine months and reportedly yielded between 50 and 70 songs, although only 32 are known. He gave several songs to other artists.

The album was to eight tracks long and titled Badlands; a mockup album sleeve was created. Columbia Records promoted the album minimally at Springsteen’s request — who wanted zero publicity. The cover was taken by then-unknown photographer Frank Stefanko inside his New Jersey home.

During the 112-concert Darkness Tour the band used 74 different songs. They sold out stadiums and played shows upwards of three hours in length. Reissued in 1982, 1990, and as a 2010 box set that won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

Reached number five on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart and remained on the chart for 167 weeks, selling more than three million copies. In 2003, number 151 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; 150 in 2012; 91 in 2020.

  • Badlands
  • Adam Raised a Cain
  • Something in the Night
  • The Promised Land
  • Streets of Fire
  • Prove It All Night