Christgau’s Consumer Guide: Albums of the ’90s – The A Lists (2000)

The entire text of critic Robert Christgau’s Consumer Guide: Albums of the ’90s is available on his website. It is my favorite book; you should read it. In the back of the book are his A Lists, in which the author provides, in order of preference, the best albums of each year–albums which he has graded A- or higher. Most of the albums listed collect new recordings, though some are single- and multi-artist compilations which contain previously released material.

I love those compilations–do not skip them. But including them in a list makes it hard to compare Christgau to his peers, who tend to make separate lists for new and old music. Comparing lists is fun; therefore, below I have excerpted from Christgau’s book top 10 lists which remove compilations of previously released material and feature only albums of newly recorded music. Though this takes many terrific collections of African music out of each list–an important feature of his criticism–several still remain, and balance is kept in the universe.

Christgau scholars will notice that these top 10s are similar to his Pazz & Jop ballots. You’re right, they are. However, if you’re like me, you will enjoy the subtle differences between the two, especially given that the ballots were completed at the end of each year, and the A Lists were completed at the end of the decade. This difference makes the excerpted top 10s functionally similar to other retrospective ’90s lists, and facilitates easier comparison. Did you know Nevermind leaped from #13 to #1? See for yourself!

Jump to a year: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.

See also this Online Exchange with Robert Christgau from 2002.

1990

  1. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam)
  2. The Chills, Submarine Bells (Slash/Warner Bros.)
  3. L.L. Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam)
  4. Red Hot + Blue (Chrysalis)
  5. Pixies, Bossanova (4AD/Elektra)
  6. L7, Smell the Magic (Sub Pop)
  7. Madonna, I’m Breathless (Sire/Warner Bros.)
  8. Beats International, Let Them Eat Bingo (Elektra)
  9. Ice Cube, Kill at Will (Priority)
  10. Macka-B, Natural Suntan (Ariwa)

1991

  1. Nirvana, Nevermind (DGC)
  2. Linton Kwesi Johnson, Tings an’ Times (Shanachie)
  3. Public Enemy, Apocalypse ’91: The Empire Strikes Black (Def Jam)
  4. Loketo, Extra Ball (Shanachie)
  5. Sonny Sharrock Band, Highlife (Enemy)
  6. R.E.M., Out of Time (Warner Bros.)
  7. Bonnie Raitt, Luck of the Draw (Capitol)
  8. The Feelies, Time for a Witness (A&M)
  9. P.M. Dawn, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (Gee Street)
  10. Ice-T, O.G.: Original Gangster (Sire/Warner Bros.)

1992

  1. Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly (Bar/None)
  2. Ya Ntesa Dalienst & Le Maquisard, Belalo (Sango Music import)
  3. Mzwakhe Mbuli, Resistance Is Defence (Earthworks)
  4. David Murray, Shakill’s Warrior (DIW/Columbia)
  5. Lucinda Williams, Sweet Old World (Chameleon)
  6. L7, Bricks Are Heavy (Slash)
  7. Tom Zé, Brazil 5: The Return of Tom Zé: The Hips of Tradition (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.)
  8. Madonna, Erotica (Maverick/Reprise)
  9. Sonic Youth, Dirty (DGC)
  10. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted (Matador)

1993

  1. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (Matador)
  2. Nirvana, In Utero (DGC)
  3. Loudon Wainwright III, Career Moves (Charisma)
  4. Pet Shop Boys, Very  (EMI)
  5. Archers of Loaf, Icky Mettle (Alias)
  6. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me (Island)
  7. De La Soul, Buhloone Mindstate (Tommy Boy)
  8. Digable Planets, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (Pendulum)
  9. P.M. Dawn, The Bliss Album . . . ? (Gee Street)
  10. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Spinning Around the Sun (Elektra)

1994

  1. Latin Playboys, Latin Playboys (Slash/Warner Bros.)
  2. Iris DeMent, My Life (Warner Bros.)
  3. Sonic Youth, Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (DGC)
  4. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York (DGC)
  5. Beck, Mellow Gold (DGC)
  6. Hole, Live Through This (DGC)
  7. Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador)
  8. M People, Elegant Slumming (Epic)
  9. Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom (Slash/Warner Bros.)
  10. Sebadoh, Bakesale (Sub Pop)

1995

  1. Tricky, Maxinquaye (Island)
  2. Luna, Penthouse (Elektra)
  3. Oruç Guvenc & Tumata, Ocean of Remembrance (Interworld)
  4. Archers of Loaf, Vee Vee (Alias)
  5. Peter Stampfel, You Must Remember This . . . (Gert Town)
  6. Pavement, Wowee Zowee (Matador)
  7. James Carter, The Real Quietstorm (Atlantic)
  8. Yo La Tengo, Electr-O-Pura (Matador)
  9. Randy Newman’s Faust (Reprise)
  10. PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love (Island)

1996

  1. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing . . . DJ Shadow (Mo’ Wax/FFRR)
  2. Fluffy, Black Eye (The Enclave)
  3. Fugees, The Score (Ruffhouse/Columbia)
  4. Sleater-Kinney, Call the Doctor (Chainsaw)
  5. Amy Rigby, Diary of a Mod Housewife (Koch)
  6. Iris DeMent, The Way I Should (Warner Bros.)
  7. Los Lobos, Colossal Head (Warner Bros.)
  8. Ghostface Killah, Ironman (Razor Sharp/Epic Street)
  9. Nirvana, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (DGC)
  10. James Carter, Conversin’ With the Elders (Atlantic)

1997

  1. Arto Lindsay, Mundo Civilizado (Bar/None)
  2. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars)
  3. Pavement, Brighten the Corners (Matador)
  4. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador)
  5. Spring Heel Jack, Busy Curious Thirsty (Island)
  6. The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (Bad Boy)
  7. Tiger, Shining in the Wood (Bar/None)
  8. Cornershop, When I Was Born for the 7th Time (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.)
  9. The Beautiful South, Blue Is the Colour (Ark 21)
  10. Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton, Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton (Verve)

1998

  1. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury)
  2. Sonic Youth, A Thousand Leaves (DGC)
  3. Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue (Elektra)
  4. Liz Phair, Whitechocolatespaceegg (Matador/Capitol)
  5. The Plastic People of the Universe, 1997 (Globus International import)
  6. Public Enemy, He Got Game (Def Jam)
  7. Aretha Franklin, A Rose Is Still a Rose (Arista)
  8. George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, Dope Dogs (Dogone)
  9. The Coup, Steal This Album (Dogday)
  10. Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty (Grand Royal)

1999

  1. The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs (Merge)
  2. Moby, Play (V2)
  3. Le Tigre, Le Tigre (Mr. Lady)
  4. John Prine, In Spite of Ourselves (Oh Boy)
  5. Holy Modal Rounders, Too Much Fun (Rounder)
  6. Latin Playboys, Dose (Atlantic)
  7. Sleater-Kinney, The Hot Rock (Kill Rock Stars)
  8. Handsome Boy Modeling School, So . . . How’s Your Girl? (Tommy Boy)
  9. Willie Nelson, Night and Day (Pedernales/FreeFalls)
  10. Prince Paul, Prince Paul Presents A Prince Among Thieves (Tommy Boy)

The Rolling Stone 200 – The Essential Rock Collection (May 15, 1997)

The Rolling Stone 200 is staid and unimaginative; it is also useful. In theory, the magazine’s more recent list of 500 albums provides welcome breadth and variety, but in fact it doesn’t at all–it merely brings you closer to the present with albums  you totally expect to be there, plus older picks that flesh out known quantities.

In contrast, this more limited 200 provides the canon and little more. However, if you want to talk the talk, this is what you need to be able to walk. And it’s not like this is bad music. Hardly! Even stuff I don’t go nuts over is at least helpful in forming a knowledge base. Hegemony has its uses.

Per usual, I did not correct errors in the original text; however, I am called to note that the 1974 Supremes Anthology LP is in the list, but the 1995 CD gets the accompanying picture. I also doubt the Big Star two-fer was ever a double CD, and Roxy Music made an album named Siren, not Sirens. It’s a long list–errors will be made. Forgiveness is a virtue.

Here are links to jump to the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

The 50s Era:

Hail, Hail Rock & Roll by David McGee

  • Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-eight (1984, Chess/MCA)
  • Ruth Brown, Rockin’ in Rhythm: The Best of Ruth Brown (1996, Rhino)
  • Johnny Cash, The Sun Years (1990, Rhino)
  • Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul (1991, Atlantic)
  • Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music (1962, ABC, reissued on Rhino)
  • Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley (1986, Chess/MCA)
  • Fats Domino, My Blue Heaven – The Best of Fats Domino (1990, EMI)
  • The Everly Brothers, Cadence Classics (Their 20 Greatest Hits) (1985, Rhino)
  • Buddy Holly, 20 Golden Greats (1978, MCA)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, The Jerry Lee Lewis Anthology: All Killer No Filler! (1993, Rhino)
  • Little Richard, The Georgia Peach (1991, Specialty)
  • Roy Orbison, For the Lonely: A Roy Orbison Anthology, 1956-1964 (1988, Rhino)
  • Carl Perkins, Original Sun Greatest Hits (1986, Rhino)
  • Elvis Presley, The Complete Sun Sessions (1987, RCA)
  • Elvis Presley, Elvis’ Golden Records (1984, RCA)
  • Elvis Presley, The Memphis Record (1987, RCA)
  • Joe Turner, Big Bad and Blue (1994, Rhino)
  • Atlantic R&B 1947-1974 (1991, Atlantic)
  • The Best of Doo Wop Uptempo (1989, Rhino)
  • The Sun Records Collection (1994, Rhino)

The 60s Era:

Let It Bleed by Anthony DeCurtis

  • The Animals, The Best of the Animals (1966, MGM, reissued on Abkco)
  • The Band, The Band (1969, Capitol)
  • The Beach Boys, Endless Summer (1974, Capitol)
  • The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966, Capitol)
  • The Beatles, The Beatles/1962-1966 (1973, Capitol)
  • The Beatles, Rubber Soul (1965, Capitol)
  • The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967, Capitol)
  • The Beatles, The Beatles (The White Album) (1968, Apple)
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road (1969, Apple)
  • James Brown, Star Time (1991, Polydor)
  • Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again (1967, Atco)
  • The Byrds, The Byrds’ Greatest Hits (1967, Columbia)
  • Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica (1969, Reprise)
  • Sam Cooke, The Man and His Music (1986, RCA)
  • Cream, Wheels of Fire (1968, Atco, reissued on Polydor)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, Willy and the Poor Boys (1969, Fantasy)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Deja Vu (1970, Atlantic)
  • The Doors, The Doors (1967, Elektra)
  • Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home (1965, Columbia)
  • Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited (1965, Columbia)
  • Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde (1966, Columbia)
  • Bob Dylan, The Basement Tapes (1975, Columbia)
  • Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (1975, Columbia)
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969, A&M)
  • Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967, Atlantic, reissued on Rhino)
  • Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul (1968, Atlantic, reissued on Rhino)
  • The Grateful Dead, Live Dead (1970, Warner Bros.)
  • The Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead (1970, Warner Bros.)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (British version) (1967, Track U.K., reissued on MCA)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love (1968, Reprise, reissued on MCA)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland (1968, Reprise, reissued on MCA)
  • Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow (1967, RCA)
  • The Kinks, The Kinks Greatest Hits! (1966, Reprise, reissued on Rhino)
  • The Kinks, Something Else (1968, Reprise)
  • John Mayall, Bluesbreakers – John Mayall With Eric Clapton (1966, London)
  • Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971, Reprise)
  • Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967, Capitol)
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (1973, Capitol)
  • Otis Redding, Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding (1993, Rhino/Atlantic)
  • Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Anthology (1995, Motown)
  • The Rolling Stones, Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) (1966, London, reissued on Abkco)
  • The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet (1968, London, reissued on Abkco)
  • The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed (1968, London, reissued on Abkco)
  • The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971, Rolling Stones, reissued on Virgin)
  • The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street (1972, Rolling Stones, reissued on Virgin)
  • The Rolling Stones, Some Girls (1978, Rolling Stones, reissued on Virgin)
  • Simon and Garfunkel, Greatest Hits (1972, Columbia)
  • Phil Spector, Back to Mono (1958-1969) (1991, Abkco)
  • Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis (1969, Atlantic, reissued on Rhino)
  • Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology (1974, Motown)
  • The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967, MGM/Verve, reissued on Verve/PolyGram)
  • The Velvet Underground, Loaded (1970, Cotillion, reissued on Rhino/Atlantic)
  • The Who, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971, Decca, reissued on MCA)
  • The Who, Tommy (1969, Decca, reissued on MCA)
  • The Who, Who’s Next (1971, Decca, reissued on MCA)
  • Jackie Wilson, Mr. Excitement! (1992, Rhino)
  • The Yardbirds, Greatest Hits, Vol. I (1964-1966) (1986, Rhino)
  • Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out! (1966, Verve, reissued on Rykodisc)
  • The Best of the Girl Groups, Vols. I and II (1990, Rhino)
  • Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection, 1959-1971 (1992, Motown)
  • Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 (1972, Elektra, out of print)

The 70s Era:

One Nation Under a Groove by Mark Coleman

  • AC/DC, Highway to Hell (1978, Atlantic)
  • Aerosmith, Rocks (1976, Columbia)
  • The Allman Brothers Band, At Fillmore East (1971, Capricorn, reissued and expanded on Polydor as “The Fillmore Concerts”)
  • Big Star, Radio City (1974, Ardent, reissued on Ardent as a double CD with Big Star’s first album, “#1 Record”)
  • Black Sabbath, Paranoid (1971, Warner Bros.)
  • Blondie, Parallel Lines (1978, Chrysalis)
  • David Bowie, Hunky Dory (1971, RCA, reissued on Rykodisc)
  • David Bowie, Low (1977, RCA, reissued on Rykodisc)
  • Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky (1974, Asylum)
  • Chic, Risqué (1979, Atlantic)
  • The Clash, The Clash (1977, Epic)
  • The Clash, London Calling (1979, Epic)
  • Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True (1977, Columbia)
  • Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970, RSO/Polydor)
  • The Eagles, Hotel California (1976, Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch)
  • Brian Eno, Another Green World (1975, EG)
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977, Warner Bros.)
  • Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On (1971, Tamla)
  • Marvin Gaye, Anthology (1995, Motown)
  • Al Green, Greatest Hits (1972, Hi, reissued on Right Stuff)
  • Billy Joel, Greatest Hits: Vol. I and Vol. II (1985, Columbia)
  • Elton John, Honky Château (1972, MCA, reissued on Rocket/Island)
  • Elton John, Greatest Hits (1974, MCA)
  • Carole King, Tapestry (1971, Ode/CBS)
  • Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express (1977, Capitol)
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II (1969, Atlantic)
  • Led Zeppelin, (Led Zeppelin IV) (1971, Atlantic)
  • John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band (1970, Apple/EMI)
  • John Lennon, Imagine (1971, Apple/EMI)
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burnin’ (1973, Tuff Gong/Island)
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers, Live! (1975, Tuff Gong/Island)
  • Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, The Anthology 1966-1977 (1992, MCA)
  • Van Morrison, Astral Weeks (1968, Warner Bros.)
  • Van Morrison, Moondance (1970, Warner Bros.)
  • Van Morrison, The Best of Van Morrison (1990, Polydor)
  • Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger (1975, Columbia)
  • Randy Newman, 12 Songs (1970, Reprise)
  • The New York Dolls, New York Dolls (1973, Mercury)
  • The O’Jays, Back Stabbers (1972, Philadelphia International, reissued on Legacy)
  • Parliament/Funkadelic, Mothership Connection (1975, Casablanca/Polygram)
  • Parliament/Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove (1978, Warner Bros., reissued on Priority)
  • Pere Ubu, The Modern Dance (1977, Blank/Rough Trade, available on DGC’s box set “Datapanik in the Year Zero”)
  • The Pretenders, Pretenders (1979, Real/Sire)
  • Ramones, Ramones (1976, Sire)
  • Roxy Music, Sirens (1975, Reprise)
  • The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977, Warner Bros.)
  • Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits (1970, Epic)
  • Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Going On (1971, Epic)
  • Patti Smith, Horses (1975, Arista)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (1975, Columbia)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A. (1984, Columbia)
  • Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic (1974, MCA)
  • Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story (1971, Mercury)
  • The Stooges, Funhouse (1970, Elektra)
  • James Taylor, Sweet Baby James (1970, Warner Bros.)
  • Stevie Wonder, Talking Book (1972, Tamla/Motown)
  • Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (1973, Tamla/Motown)
  • X, Los Angeles (1980, Slash)
  • Neil Young, After the Gold Rush (1970, Reprise)
  • Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night (1975, Reprise)
  • Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps (1979, Reprise)
  • The Harder They Come (1972, Mango/Island)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977, RSO/Polygram)

The 80s Era:

Appetite for Destruction by Ira Robbins

  • Laurie Anderson, Big Science (1982, Warner Bros.)
  • Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force, Planet Rock – The Album (1986, Tommy Boy)
  • Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique (1989, Capitol)
  • Black Flag, Damaged (1981, SST)
  • The Cure, Staring at the Sea: The Singles (1986, Elektra)
  • De La Soul, Three Feet High and Rising (1989, Tommy Boy)
  • Eurythmics, Touch (1983, RCA)
  • Gang of Four, Entertainment! (1979, Warner Bros., reissued on Infinite Zero)
  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Greatest Message’s (1984, Sugar Hill)
  • Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (1987, Uzi Suicide/Geffen)
  • Don Henley, The End of the Innocence (1989, Geffen)
  • Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade (1984, SST)
  • Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (1979, Epic)
  • Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982, Epic)
  • Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking (1988, Warner Bros.)
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy (1985, Reprise)
  • Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, I Love Rock & Roll (1981, Boardwalk, reissued on Blackheart)
  • Joy Division, Closer (1980, Factory, reissued on Qwest)
  • LL Cool J, Radio (1985, Def Jam/Columbia)
  • Madonna, Like a Prayer (1989, Sire)
  • Metallica, Kill ‘Em All (1983, Megaforce, reissued on Elektra)
  • Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey (1988, Sire)
  • Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime (1984, SST)
  • N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton (1988, Ruthless/Priority)
  • Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990, Ensign/Chrysalis)
  • Pixies, Surfer Rosa (1988, 4AD/Rough Trade, reissued on 4AD/Elektra)
  • Prince, Dirty Mind (1980, Warner Bros.)
  • Prince, Purple Rain (1984, Warner Bros.)
  • Prince, Sign ‘o’ the Times (1987, Paisley Park/Warner Bros.)
  • Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988, Def Jam/Columbia)
  • Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time (1989, Capitol)
  • R.E.M., Murmur (1983, I.R.S.)
  • R.E.M., Document (1987, I.R.S.)
  • The Replacements, Let It Be (1984, Twin\Tone)
  • Run-DMC, Raising Hell (1986, Profile)
  • The Smiths, The Smiths (1984, Rough Trade/Sire)
  • Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (1988, Blast First/Enigma, reissued on DGC)
  • Talking Heads, Remain in Light (1980, Sire)
  • U2, The Joshua Tree (1987, Island)
  • U2, Achtung Baby (1991, Island)

The 90s Era:

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Lorraine Ali

  • Beck, Odelay (1996, DGC)
  • Dr. Dre, The Chronic (1992, Death Row/Priority/Interscope)
  • PJ Harvey, Dry (1992, Too Pure/Indigo)
  • Hole, Live Through This (1994, DGC)
  • Massive Attack, Blue Lines (1991, Virgin)
  • Moby, “Go” (1991, Instinct)
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (1991, Sire)
  • Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine (1989, TVT)
  • Nirvana, Nevermind (1991, Sub Pop/DGC)
  • Nirvana, Unplugged in New York (1994, DGC)
  • The Orb, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (1991, Island)
  • Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted (1991, Matador)
  • Pearl Jam, Ten (1991, Epic)
  • Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (1993, Matador)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream (1993, Virgin)
  • The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989, Silvertone/RCA)

Spin Alternative Record Guide – Top 100 Alternative Albums (1995)

Like the guide itself, this list is an excellent alternate path to the then-hegemonic Rolling Stone oeuvre. Simply put, if punk was your Beatles, this is your canon. Two traits worth pointing out:

  • So many female musicians for a list published in 1995! Given how a majority of these albums are FRACKING AMAZING, I don’t consider this tokenism.
  • Where much canon-making relies on ye olde “test of time,” 15 of these albums are from the five-year span immediately preceding the publication of the guide, including one in the top five (Nirvana), another in the top twenty (Pavement), two from just the year before (Hole, Beck), and one from the same year (Moby). (There are also several compilations listed which were released in the ’90s but collect music from the ’70s and ’80s.)

The record guide was edited by Eric Weisbard with Craig Marks. Enjoy!

  1. Ramones, Ramones
  2. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  3. Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico
  4. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade
  5. Nirvana, Nevermind
  6. Patti Smith, Horses
  7. Big Star, Radio City
  8. R.E.M., Murmur
  9. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  10. X, Wild Gift
  11. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  12. Wire, Pink Flag
  13. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  14. Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night
  15. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  16. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
  17. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  18. Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  19. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  20. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  21. Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full
  22. Pet Shop Boys, Discography
  23. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  24. Prince, Sign “O” the Times
  25. Hole, Live Through This
  26. Clash, The Clash
  27. Run-D.M.C., Together Forever: Greatest Hits 1983-1991
  28. Television, Marquee Moon
  29. Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets II
  30. Stooges, Fun House
  31. Replacements, Let It Be
  32. Pretenders, Pretenders
  33. Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  34. Public Image Ltd., Second Edition
  35. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  36. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  37. De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
  38. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  39. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  40. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  41. Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  42. B-52’s, The B-52’s
  43. Mekons, Fear and Whiskey
  44. David Bowie, Changesonebowie
  45. Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights
  46. Roxy Music, Siren
  47. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Armed Forces
  48. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  49. Feelies, Crazy Rhythms
  50. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  51. Pere Ubu, The Modern Dance
  52. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  53. Prince, Dirty Mind
  54. Ornette Coleman, Dancing in Your Head
  55. Germs, (GI)
  56. Big Star, Third/Sister Lovers
  57. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
  58. Black Flag, Damaged
  59. Beck, Mellow Gold
  60. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
  61. Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps
  62. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
  63. Chic, Dance Dance Dance: The Best of Chic
  64. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  65. Various Artists, Wanna Buy a Bridge?
  66. New Order, Substance
  67. Stooges, The Stooges
  68. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  69. Joy Division, Closer
  70. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  71. Go-Betweens, 1978-1990
  72. Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth
  73. Captain Beefheart, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
  74. Descendents, Milo Goes to College
  75. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  76. Flatlanders, More a Legend Than a Band
  77. Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly?
  78. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  79. Flipper, Album–Generic Flipper
  80. ABBA, The Singles
  81. Michael Hurley, Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Frederick & the Clamtones, Have Moicy!
  82. Barbara Manning, Lately I Keep Scissors
  83. Big Black, Atomizer
  84. Sun Ra, Heliocentric Worlds Volume 1
  85. Vaselines, The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History
  86. U2, Achtung Baby
  87. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
  88. Sonny Sharrock, Guitar
  89. Velvet Underground, 1969 Velvet Underground Live with Lou Reed
  90. Roches, The Roches
  91. Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  92. Nirvana, In Utero
  93. Moby, Everything Is Wrong
  94. English Beat, I Just Can’t Stop It
  95. Clean, Compilation
  96. Lee “Scratch” Perry (and the Upsetters), Some of the Best
  97. Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  98. Sebadoh, Sebadoh III
  99. Breeders, Last Splash
  100. Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

Spin – The 90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s (September 1999)

Spin magazine. God I miss Spin magazine. Not the online one; the print one. The ’90s one. I was an avid reader ’96-2000. I would start reading it in the bathroom, beginning with the reviews in the back (obviously), and moving article by article to the front. I’d sit so long my legs would go numb. The best.

Print issues are available digitally through Google Books. Dig out this list and you’ll find excellent write-ups by the best music critics, plus gorgeous pictures and a clean, hip, and functional layout. Worth it. But me, I’m a text guy. So find reprinted below the main list, two essential supplementary lists for reissues and singles, and additional goodies marked “See also” scattered throughout. To die for.

Taken in sum, you get the ’90s according to Spin and, by extension, the dominant critical community c.1999. This is also my ’90s–not a list of my favorite albums, but a list that conceptualizes the decade as I remember it. Virtues of the sum include representation and inclusion, a demonstration of plenty rather than scarcity, and Biggie not 2Pac. Plus, Sonic Youth in the fine print, and the greatest music release ever, presented here as merely the top reissue of its time. If only!

Credits:

The 90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s by Charles Aaron, Lorraine Ali, Chairman Mao, Windy Chien, Joshua Clover, Cheo Hodari Coker, Jon Dolan, Richard Gehr, Andy Gensler, Tony Green, Josh Kun, Jessica Letkemann, Robert Levine, Alan Light, Evelyn McDonnell, Suzanne McElfresh, Sia Michel, Greg Milner, Chris Norris, Simon Reynolds, James Rotondi, Mike Rubin, Jeff Salamon, Mark Schone, Craig Seymour, RJ Smith, Marc Spitz, D. Strauss, Kate Sullivan, Rob Tannenbaum, Sarah Vowell, Barry Walters, Eric Weisbard and Douglas Wolk

The Top 20 Reissues by Will Hermes

The Top 20 Singles by Charles Aaron

The 90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s

  1. Nirvana, Nevermind (DGC, 1991)
  2. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam, 1990)
  3. PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love (Island, 1995)
  4. Beck, Odelay (DGC, 1996)
  5. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted (Matador, 1992)
    • See also: Bettie Serveert, Palomine
  6. Hole, Live Through This (DGC, 1994)
  7. Björk, Post (Elektra, 1995)
    • See also: Björk, Homogenic
  8. Dr. Dre, The Chronic (Death Row/Interscope, 1992)
  9. Radiohead, OK Computer (Capitol, 1997)
    • See also: Talk Talk, Laughing Stock
  10. The Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole (Astralwerks, 1997)
    • See also: Live at the Heavenly Social Vol. 1 (Heavenly UK)
  11. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral (Nothing/Interscope, 1994)
  12. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head (Grand Royal/Capitol, 1992)
  13. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (Matador, 1993)
  14. Tricky, Maxinquaye (Island, 1995)
  15. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing… (Mo’ Wax/FFRR, 1996)
    • See also: Headz and Headz 2 (Mo’ Wax)
  16. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (Sire, 1991)
  17. Fugees, The Score (Columbia, 1996)
  18. Nirvana, In Utero (DGC, 1993)
  19. U2, Achtung Baby (Island, 1991)
  20. Moby, Play (V2, 1999)
    • See also: Josh Wink, “Higher State of Consciousness”
  21. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars, 1997)
  22. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (Loud/RCA, 1993)
  23. Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream (Virgin, 1993)
  24. Massive Attack, Blue Lines (Virgin, 1991)
  25. Various Artists, Return of the DJ, Vols. 1&2 (Bomb Hip-Hop, 1996, 1997)
  26. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine (Epic, 1992)
  27. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die (Bad Boy/Arista, 1994)
  28. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1998)
  29. Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind (Columbia, 1997)
  30. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Supreme Collection Volume 1 (Caroline, 1997)
    • See also: Untouchable Outcaste Beats (Tommy Boy)
  31. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes (Atlantic, 1992)
    • See also: Fiona Apple, Tidal
  32. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory (Jive, 1991)
    • See also: The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  33. Pearl Jam, Ten (Epic, 1991)
  34. Cornershop, When I Was Born for the 7th Time (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1997)
  35. OutKast, Aquemini (LaFace/Arista, 1998)
  36. Fugazi, Repeater (Dischord, 1990)
    • See also: Jawbox, Grippe
  37. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me (Island, 1993)
  38. Roni Size/Reprazent, New Forms (Talkin’ Loud/Mercury, 1997)
  39. The Breeders, Last Splash (4AD/Elektra, 1993)
  40. R.E.M., Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992)
    • See also: Vic Chesnutt, Is the Actor Happy?
  41. Sebadoh, Sebadoh III (Homestead, 1991)
  42. Portishead, Dummy (Go Discs!/London, 1994)
  43. Pulp, Different Class (Island, 1995)
  44. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Ensign, 1990)
  45. Basement Jaxx, Remedy (Astralwerks, 1999)
  46. Stereolab, Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Elektra, 1996)
  47. L.L. Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam, 1990)
  48. Sublime, Sublime (Gasoline Alley/MCA, 1996)
    • See also: No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
  49. Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio, El Circo (BMG Mexico, 1991)
    • See also: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Rey Azucar
  50. Air, Moon Safari (Source/Caroline, 1998)
  51. TLC, CrazySexyCool (LaFace, 1994)
  52. Metallica, Metallica (Elektra, 1991)
  53. Green Day, Dookie (Reprise, 1994)
    • See also: Rancid, …And Out Come the Wolves
  54. Bikini Kill, Bikini Kill EP (Kill Rock Stars, 1992)
    • See also: Bratmobile, Pottymouth
  55. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Ragged Glory (Warner Bros., 1990)
  56. Aphex Twin, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (R&S, 1992); Selected Ambient Works Volume II (Warp/Sire, 1994)
    • See also: Autechre, Tri Repetae++
  57. Cypress Hill, Cypress Hill (Columbia, 1991)
  58. Red Hot Chili Peppers, BloodSugarSexMagik (Warner Bros., 1991)
  59. Sonny Sharrock, Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)
    • See also: Sonic Youth, A Thousand Leaves
  60. The Prodigy, Music for the Jilted Generation (XL/Mute, 1994)
  61. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury, 1998)
  62. Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador, 1994)
  63. Uncle Tupelo, No Depression (Rockville, 1990)
    • See also: The Jayhawks, Hollywood Town Hall
  64. Built to Spill, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love (Up, 1995)
    • See also: Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West
  65. Basehead, Play With Toys (Imago, 1992)
  66. Missy Elliott, Supa Dupa Fly (EastWest, 1997)
    • See also: Timbaland and Magoo, Welcome to Our World
  67. Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey, 1996)
  68. Fatboy Slim, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (Astralwerks, 1998)
  69. Slint, Spiderland (Touch and Go, 1991)
  70. Soundgarden, Superunknown (A&M, 1994)
  71. Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit/Nonesuch, 1997)
  72. Mary J. Blige, My Life (Uptown, 1994)
    • See also: Erykah Badu, Baduizm
  73. Elliott Smith, Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars, 1997)
    • See also: Richard Buckner, Devotion+Doubt
  74. De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy, 1991)
    • See also: De La Soul, Buhloone Mindstate
  75. Steve Earle, I Feel Alright (Warner Bros., 1996)
  76. Daft Punk, Homework (Virgin, 1997)
  77. Boredoms, Super Æ (Birdman, 1998)
  78. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador, 1997)
  79. Oasis, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Epic, 1995)
    • See also: Blur, The Great Escape
  80. Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (Priority, 1990)
  81. Kristin Hersh, Hips and Makers (Sire/Reprise, 1994)
  82. The Orb, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (Island, 1991)
  83. Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (Loud, 1995)
  84. Lisa Germano, Geek the Girl (4AD, 1994)
  85. Various Artists, Macro Dub Infection Volume 1 (Caroline/Virgin, 1995)
    • See also: Mad Professor, No Protection
  86. Dr. Octagon, Dr. Octagon (Bulk, 1996/Dreamworks, 1997)
  87. Everything but the Girl, Walking Wounded (Atlantic, 1996)
  88. Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge, 1998)
  89. Prince Paul, A Prince Among Thieves (Tommy Boy, 1999)
  90. Cibo Matto, Viva! La Woman (Warner Bros., 1996)

The Top 20 Reissues

  1. James Brown, Star Time (Polydor)
  2. Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music (Mango)
    • See also: Linton Kwesi Johnson, Independant Intavenshan (Island)
  3. Miles Davis, Dark Magus/Live Evil/At Fillmore/Black Beauty/In Concert (Columbia)
    • See also: Miles Davis, Bitches Brew; Agharta; Pangaea (Columbia)
  4. Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways)
  5. Tropicalia: 30 Años (Polygram Brazil)
    • See also: Os Mutantes, Everything Is Possible! (Luaka Bop); The Best of Tom Zé (Luaka Bop)
  6. Martin Denny, Exotica (Rhino)
    • See also: Esquivel, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (Bar/None); Incredibly Strange Music, Vols. 1 and 2 (Asphodel)
  7. Ennio Morricone, A Fistful of Film Music (Rhino)
    • See also: The Carl Stalling Project, Vols. 1 and 2 (Warner Bros.); John Barry, The EMI Years, Vols. 1-3 (Scamp/Caroline)
  8. Serge Gainsbourg, Comic Strip (Polygram/Mercury)
    • See also: Françoise Hardy, Comment Te Dire Adieu (Virgin France)
  9. Louvin Brothers, Satan Is Real (Capitol)
    • See also: Complete Hank Williams (Mercury); The Essential Johnny Cash (Columbia)
  10. Derrick May, Innovator (Transmat)
    • See also: Model 500 (Juan Atkins), Classics (R&S Austria)
  11. Orchestre Baobab, Bamba (Stern’s)
    • See also: 30 Ans de Musique Africaine (Africa No. 1/Sonodisc UK); Africa Never Stand Still (Ellipsis Arts)
  12. The Perfect Beats (Tommy Boy)
    • See also: Street Jams: Electric Funk, Pts. 1-4 (Rhino)
  13. The Congos, Heart of the Congos (Blood & Fire)
    • See also: Lee “Scratch” Perry: Arkology (Island); The Wailers, The Complete Wailers 1969-1972 (JAD)
  14. Yoko Ono, Ono Box (Rykodisc)
    • See also: The Raincoats, The Raincoats; Odyshape (Geffen)
  15. History of Our World Parts 1&2 (Sm:)e)
    • See also: Toasted: Massive Ragga Jungle (Mutant Sound System)
  16. Fela Kuti, Original Sufferhead/I.T.T. (Universal France)
    • See also: Fela Kuti, Shakara/Fela’s London Scene (Universal France)
  17. Wild Style: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Rhino)
  18. Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 8: Binghamton, NY 5/2/70 (Grateful Dead)
    • See also: Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 4: Fillmore East 5/13/70-5/14/70 (Grateful Dead)
  19. Bob Dylan, Live 1966 (Columbia)
    • See also: Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3 (Columbia)
  20. Nuggets (Rhino)

The Top 20 Singles

  1. Dr. Dre, “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” (Death Row/Priority, 1992)
  2. PJ Harvey, “Sheela-Na-Gig” (Island, 1992)
  3. TLC, “Creep” (LaFace, 1994)
  4. Beastie Boys, “Sabotage” (Grand Royal/Capitol, 1994)
  5. Arrested Development, “Tennessee” (Chrysalis, 1992)
  6. Beck, “Loser” (Bong Load/DGC, 1994)
  7. Pavement, “Summer Babe” (Drag City, 1991)
  8. Joey Beltram, “Energy Flash” (R&S/Transmat, 1991)
  9. Goldie, “Timeless” (FFRR, 1995)
  10. Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” (Elektra, 1992)
  11. Deee-Lite, “Groove Is in the Heart” (Elektra, 1990)
  12. Geto Boys, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” (Rap-A-Lot, 1992)
  13. Orbital, “Chime” (FFRR, 1990)
  14. Quad City DJ’s, “C’Mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” (Big Beat/Atlantic, 1996)
  15. (tie) D’Angelo, “Brown Sugar” (EMI, 1995); Erykah Badu, “On and On” (Universal, 1997)
  16. Prodigy, “Firestarter” (Maverick, 1997)
  17. Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance” (Tommy Boy, 1990)
  18. Aaliyah, “Are You That Somebody?” (Atlantic, 1998)
  19. Superchunk, “Slack Motherfucker” (Merge, 1990)
  20. (tie) Hanson, “MMMBop” (Mercury, 1997); Naughty by Nature, “O.P.P.” (Tommy Boy, 1991)

Blender – 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die! (April 2003)

In case it’s been lost to history, Blender was a music magazine published under the Maxim brand from 1994-2009. Among its specialties was A+ music writing (including many who wrote for Spin in the ’90s), risque covers, laffs and lists. So many lists. At its peak, in the early 21st century, it was my favorite music magazine. They also published my favorite of that most contentious thing, a list of the greatest albums ever made.

There is very little context provided for the list in the April 2003 issue; just album covers and blurbs, with no overarching theme or explanation. In his Editor’s Letter, Andy Pemberton jokes how he “decided to release the review dwarves from their cages and send them on a mission to find the 500 best CDs the world has ever heard.” That, plus a list of contributors, is about all we get.

And yet, Pemberton is careful to write “CDs” rather than “albums” in the above passage: while best-ofs are often included in lists such as this, there’s also Big Star and Beach Boys two-fers, and several multi-artist compilations and box sets. Purists scoff (you can Google it), but the ragtag character of the thing beautifully encapsulates the magazine’s larger aesthetic: great art can be from anywhere, even in the most unlikely places, and sometimes a wide net is preferable to a refined canon. I find this sense of inclusion refreshing when compared to the competition (Rolling Stone, cough).

That said, the concentration on CDs feels rather quaint after living through MP3s, Peer to Peer networks, iTunes, and now streaming services, each fundamentally changing the way we collect music. But I remain convinced that canon building and the listing of names remains essential business; even with nearly everything available at our fingertips, the paralysis of choice is real, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you ever find it?

A few notes: the list below is copied exactly as it was printed, no corrections. Yes, Wish You Were Here was released by Columbia in the U.S., not Capitol, and Tear the Roof Off is 1993, not ’83. But should Steely Dan be ABC or MCA? Blender lists both. Is it helpful or confusing to list reissue labels Rhino for Dusty in Memphis and Koch for Lucinda Williams? I’m not convinced. In the end, however, I prefer to provide the original, warts and all, because it’s a piece of history. For more accurate information, I recommend Allmusic, Discogs, or Wikipedia.

In the magazine, the list is broken into loose genre categories, and within some of the genres, side panels are included listing “the best of” specific bands or sub-genres. Really, though, these side panels seem necessitated by layout concerns more than anything, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in them as critical analysis. Regardless, both still act as organizational tools for a rather long and cumbersome list, so I’ve retained them and provided hyperlinks to each like chapter stops. Enjoy!

The list and its blurbs were written by John Aizlewood, Matt Ashare, Michael Azerrad, Greg Beato, Johnny Black, Ben Brandt, J.D. Considine, John DeFore, Tom Doyle, Richard Gehr, Joe Gross, Gerald Hammill, John Harris, David Hiltbrand, Erik Himmelsbach, Hua Hsu, Howard Johnson, Daniel Krauss, Stuart Maconie, Craig Marks, Andy Pemberton, Tony Power, David Quantick, Richard Skanse, RJ Smith, David Smyth, Phil Sutcliffe, Rob Tannenbaum and Jonah Weiner. The feature was edited by John Aizlewood.

Classic Rock

Alternative Rock

Blues

Country

Pop

Rhythm & Blues

Hip-Hop

World

Jazz

13 CDs You Must Not Own Before You Die

Classic Rock

  • AC/DC, Highway to Hell (ATCO, 1979)
  • AC/DC, Back in Black (ATCO, 1980)
  • Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker (Bloodshot, 2000)
  • Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic (Columbia, 1975)
  • Aerosmith, Rocks (Columbia, 1976)
  • The Allman Brothers Band, Live at the Fillmore East (Polydor, 1971)
  • The Animals, The Best of the Animals (ABKCO, 1988)
  • The Band, Music From Big Pink (Capitol, 1968)
  • The Band, The Band (Capitol, 1969)
  • Beach Boys, Little Deuce Coupe/All Summer Long (Capitol, 1990)
  • Beach Boys, Today!/Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (Capitol, 1990)
  • Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (Capitol, 1966)
  • Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight (Chess, 1982)
  • Black Sabbath, Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978) (Rhino/Warner Bros., 2002)
  • Buffalo Springfield, Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield (ATCO, 1969)
  • The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Columbia/Legacy, 1968)
  • The Byrds, Greatest Hits (Expanded Edition) (Columbia/Legacy, 1999)
  • Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman (Elektra, 1988)
  • Cheap Trick, Live at Budokan (Epic, 1979)
  • Eric Clapton, The Cream of Clapton (Polydor/Chronicles, 1995)
  • Alice Cooper, The Best of Alice Cooper: Mascara & Monsters (Rhino, 2001)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chronicles (Fantasy, 1976)
  • The Doors, The Very Best of the Doors (Rhino, 2001)
  • Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home (Columbia, 1965)
  • Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia, 1965)
  • Bob Dylan, Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert (Columbia/Legacy, 1998)
  • Bob Dylan, Blonde On Blonde (Columbia, 1966)
  • Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding (Columbia, 1967)
  • Bob Dylan & The Band, The Basement Tapes (Columbia, 1975)
  • Bob Dylan, Blood On the Tracks (Columbia, 1975)
  • Bob Dylan, Love and Theft (Columbia, 2001)
  • The Eagles, Hotel California (Asylum, 1976)
  • The Eagles, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1976) (Asylum, 1976)
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra (Epic, 1995)
  • Everly Brothers, All-Time Original Hits (Rhino, 1999)
  • Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac (Reprise, 1975)
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers, Sin City: The Very Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers (Universal, 2002)
  • Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (3) (Geffen, 1980)
  • Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead (Warner Bros., 1970)
  • Grateful Dead, American Beauty (Warner Bros., 1970)
  • Grateful Dead, Two From the Vault (Grateful Dead, 1992)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (MCA, 1967)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland (MCA, 1968)
  • Buddy Holly, The Buddy Holly Collection (MCA, 1993)
  • Joan Jett, Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits (Mercury/Blackheart, 1997)
  • Janis Joplin, The Essential Janis Joplin (Columbia, 2003)
  • The Kinks, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Rhino, 1989)
  • The Kinks, The Kink Kronikles (Reprise, 1972)
  • Kiss, Double Platinum (Casablanca, 1978)
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV (Atlantic, 1971)
  • Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti (Atlantic, 1975)
  • John Lennon, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (Capitol, 1970)
  • John Lennon, Imagine (Capitol, 1971)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology (Rhino, 1993)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (MCA, 1973)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, Street Survivors (MCA, 1977)
  • Paul McCartney & Wings, Wingspan: Hits & History (Capitol, 2001)
  • Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell (Epic/Legacy, 1978)
  • Metallica, Master of Puppets (Elektra, 1986)
  • Metallica, Metallica (Elektra, 1991)
  • The Steve Miller Band, Greatest Hits 1974-78 (Capitol, 1978)
  • Joni Mitchell, Blue (Reprise, 1971)
  • Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark (Asylum, 1974)
  • Van Morrison, Astral Weeks (Warner Bros., 1968)
  • Van Morrison, Moondance (Warner Bros., 1970)
  • Motörhead, No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (Sanctuary, 1980)
  • Mott the Hoople, The Ballad of Mott: A Retrospective (Columbia/Legacy, 1993)
  • Randy Newman, 12 Songs (Reprise, 1970)
  • Randy Newman, Good Old Boys (Reprise, 1974)
  • Roy Orbison, For the Lonely: 18 Greatest Hits (Rhino, 1988)
  • Gram Parsons, Sacred Hearts & Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology (Rhino, 2001)
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits (MCA, 1993)
  • Phish, Live Phish, Vol. 11: 11.17.97 (Elektra, 2002)
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973)
  • Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here (Capitol, 1975)
  • Pink Floyd, The Wall (Columbia, 1979)
  • Elvis Presley, Sunrise (RCA, 1999)
  • Elvis Presley, From Elvis in Memphis (RCA, 1969)
  • Elvis Presley, 30 #1 Hits (RCA, 2002)
  • The Raspberries, Capitol Collectors Series (Capitol, 1991)
  • Linda Ronstadt, The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt (Rhino, 2002)
  • Todd Rundgren, The Very Best of Todd Rundgren (Rhino, 1997)
  • Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Greatest Hits (Capitol, 1994)
  • Paul Simon, The Paul Simon Collection: On My Way, Don’t Know Where I’m Goin’ (Warner Bros., 2002)
  • Simon & Garfunkel, The Best of Simon & Garfunkel (Columbia/Legacy, 1999)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (Columbia, 1975)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Darkness On the Edge of Town (Columbia, 1978)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A. (Columbia, 1984)
  • Steely Dan, Can’t Buy a Thrill (MCA, 1972)
  • Steely Dan, Countdown to Ecstasy (ABC, 1973)
  • Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic (ABC, 1974)
  • Steely Dan, Katy Lied (ABC, 1975)
  • Steely Dan, Aja (MCA, 1977)
  • Cat Stevens, Remember: The Ultimate Collection (Island/Universal, 1999)
  • Rod Stewart, Storyteller (Box Set) (Warner Bros., 1989)
  • James Taylor, Greatest Hits (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • Richard & Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights (Hannibal/Rykodisc, 1982)
  • T. Rex, 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection (Hip-O, 2002)
  • The Troggs, Best of the Troggs (Fontana/Chronicles, 1994)
  • The Who, Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (MCA, 1971)
  • The Who, Who’s Next (MCA, 1971)
  • The Who, Quadrophenia (MCA, 1973)
  • Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams (Koch, 1988)
  • Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels On a Gravel Road (Polygram, 1998)
  • The Yardbirds, Ultimate! (Rhino, 2001)
  • Neil Young, After the Gold Rush (Reprise, 1970)
  • Neil Young, Harvest (Reprise, 1972)
  • Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night (Reprise, 1975)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps (Reprise, 1979)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Weld (Reprise, 1991)
  • Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, We’re Only in It for the Money (Rykodisc, 1968)
  • Warren Zevon, Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon (Rhino, 2002)
  • ZZ Top, Greatest Hits (Warner Bros., 1992)

The Best of The Beatles

  • The Beatles, Meet the Beatles (Capitol, 1964)
  • The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night (Capitol, 1964)
  • The Beatles, Beatles for Sale (Capitol, 1964)
  • The Beatles, Help! (Capitol, 1965)
  • The Beatles, Rubber Soul (Capitol, 1965)
  • The Beatles, Revolver (Capitol, 1966)
  • The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol, 1967)
  • The Beatles, The Beatles (Capitol, 1968)

The Best of Pop-Metal

  • Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet (Mercury, 1986)
  • Boston, Boston (Epic, 1976)
  • Def Leppard, Pyromania (Mercury, 1983)
  • Foreigner, The Very Best… and Beyond (Capitol, 1992)
  • Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Geffen, 1987)
  • Mötley Crüe, Decade of Decadence ’81-’91 (Elektra, 1991)
  • Queen, Greatest Hits I & II (Hollywood, 1995)
  • Van Halen, Van Halen (Warner Bros., 1978)

The Best of The Rolling Stones

  • The Rolling Stones, The Rolling Stones, Now! (ABKCO, 1965)
  • The Rolling Stones, Aftermath (ABKCO, 1966)
  • The Rolling Stones, Between the Buttons (ABKCO, 1967)
  • The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet (ABKCO, 1968)
  • The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed (ABKCO, 1969)
  • The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (Virgin, 1971)
  • The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street (Virgin, 1972)
  • The Rolling Stones, Some Girls (Virgin, 1978)

Alternative Rock

  • Tori Amos, Under the Pink (Atlantic, 1994)
  • The B-52’s, Nude On the Moon (Rhino, 2002)
  • Basement Jaxx, Remedy (XL/Astralwerks, 1999)
  • Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (Def Jam, 1986)
  • Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique (Capitol, 1989)
  • Beck, Mellow Gold (Geffen, 1993)
  • Beck, Odelay (Geffen, 1996)
  • Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (Fantasy, 1992)
  • Big Star, Third/Sister Lovers (Rykodisc, 1978)
  • Björk, Greatest Hits (Elektra, 2002)
  • Black Flag, Damaged (SST, 1981)
  • Blink-182, Enema of the State (MCA, 1999)
  • David Bowie, Low (Virgin, 1977)
  • David Bowie, Best of Bowie (Virgin, 2002)
  • Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue (Elektra, 1998)
  • Breeders, Last Splash (4AD/Elektra, 1993)
  • Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady (I.R.S., 1980)
  • The Cars, The Cars (Elektra, 1978)
  • Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole (Astralwerks, 1997)
  • The Clash, The Clash (CBS, 1977)
  • The Clash, London Calling (Epic, 1979)
  • Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol, 2002)
  • Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model (Rhino, 1978)
  • Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Armed Forces (Rhino, 1979)
  • Marshall Crenshaw, This Is Easy!: The Best of Marshall Crenshaw (Rhino, 2000)
  • The Cure, Greatest Hits (Elektra, 2001)
  • Depeche Mode, The Singles ’86-’98 (Reprise, 1998)
  • Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • DJ Shadow, Endtroducing… (Full Frequency, 1996)
  • Duran Duran, Greatest (Capitol, 1998)
  • English Beat, Beat This!: The Best of the English Beat (Sire, 2000)
  • Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets (Island, 1974)
  • Brian Eno, Another Green World (EG, 1975)
  • Fatboy Slim, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (Astralwerks, 1998)
  • The Feelies, Crazy Rhythms (A&M, 1980)
  • Gang of Four, Entertainment! (Infinite Zero, 1979)
  • Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S., 1981)
  • Green Day, Dookie (Reprise, 1994)
  • PJ Harvey, Rid of Me (Island, 1993)
  • PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love (Island, 1995)
  • Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising (SST, 1985)
  • Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking (Warner Bros., 1988)
  • Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly (Bar/None, 1992)
  • Joy Division, Closer (Qwest, 1980)
  • Korn, Follow the Leader (Immortal/Epic, 1998)
  • Kraftwerk, Autobahn (Philips, 1974)
  • Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express (Capitol, 1977)
  • Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive? (Slash/Warner Bros., 1984)
  • Love, Forever Changes (2001 Deluxe Edition) (Rhino, 2001)
  • Nick Lowe, Basher: The Best of Nick Lowe (Columbia, 1989)
  • Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs (Merge, 1999)
  • Massive Attack, Blue Lines (Virgin, 1991)
  • Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets II (SST, 1984)
  • Mekons, The Mekons Rock N’ Roll (Collector’s Choice, 1989)
  • Minor Threat, Complete Discography (Dischord, 1988)
  • Minutemen, Double Nickels On the Dime (SST, 1984)
  • Moby, Play (V2, 1999)
  • Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (Maverick/Reprise, 1996)
  • My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (Sire, 1991)
  • New Order, (The Best of) New Order (Qwest/Warner Bros., 1995)
  • Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral (Nothing/Interscope, 1994)
  • No Doubt, Rock Steady (Interscope, 2001)
  • Oasis, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Epic, 1995)
  • Sinéad O’Connor, So Far… The Best of Sinéad O’Connor (Capitol, 1997)
  • Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted (Matador, 1992)
  • Pavement, Crooked Rain Crooked Rain (Matador, 1994)
  • Pet Shop Boys, Discography: The Complete Singles Collection (EMI America, 1991)
  • Pet Shop Boys, Very (Capitol, 1993)
  • Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (Matador, 1993)
  • Pixies, Doolittle (4AD/Elektra, 1989)
  • Pixies, Bossanova (4AD/Elektra, 1990)
  • The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (Warner Bros., 1985)
  • The Police, Outlandos D’Amour (A&M, 1978)
  • The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta (A&M, 1980)
  • Pretenders, Pretenders (Sire, 1979)
  • Pretenders, Learning to Crawl (Sire, 1984)
  • The Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk Talk (Columbia, 1981)
  • Pulp, Different Class (Island, 1995)
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Rated R (Interscope, 2000)
  • Radiohead, The Bends (Capitol, 1995)
  • Radiohead, OK Computer (Capitol, 1997)
  • Rage Against the Machine, Evil Empire (Epic, 1996)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, BloodSugarSexMagik (Warner Bros., 1991)
  • Lou Reed, Legendary (BMG International, 2002)
  • Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians (RCA, 1978)
  • R.E.M., Murmur (I.R.S., 1983)
  • R.E.M., Document (I.R.S., 1987)
  • R.E.M., Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992)
  • The Replacements, Let It Be (Twin/Tone, 1984)
  • Terry Riley, In C (CBS, 1968)
  • Roxy Music, Avalon (Warner Bros., 1982)
  • Roxy Music, The Best of Roxy Music (Virgin, 2001)
  • Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • Slayer, Reign in Blood (Def American, 1986)
  • Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars, 1997)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins, Greatest Hits (Virgin, 2001)
  • The Smiths, Singles (Reprise, 1995)
  • Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (Geffen, 1988)
  • Sonic Youth, Dirty (Geffen, 1992)
  • The Specials, Singles (2-Tone/Chrysalis, 1991)
  • The Strokes, Is This It (RCA, 2001)
  • System of a Down, Toxicity (American, 2001)
  • Tricky, Maxinquaye (Polygram, 1995)
  • U2, Boy (Island, 1980)
  • U2, The Joshua Tree (Island, 1987)
  • U2, Achtung Baby (Island, 1991)
  • U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Interscope, 2000)
  • Various Artists, 24 Hour Party People – Original Soundtrack (Rhino, 2002)
  • Various Artists, The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever (No Label, 2002)
  • Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes (Slash/Rhino, 1983)
  • Tom Waits, Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years (Island, 1998)
  • Weezer, Weezer (Geffen, 1994)
  • The White Stripes, White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry/V2, 2001)
  • Wilco, Summerteeth (Reprise, 1999)
  • Wire, Pink Flag (Restless, 1977)
  • X, Wild Gift (Slash, 1981)
  • X-Ray Spex, Germ Free Adolescents (Sanctuary, 1979)
  • XTC, Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977-92 (Virgin/EMI, 1996)
  • Yo La Tengo, Electr-O-Pura (Matador, 1995)

The Best of Grunge

  • Hole, Live Through This (Geffen, 1994)
  • Nirvana, Nevermind (Geffen, 1991)
  • Nirvana, In Utero (Geffen, 1993)
  • Nirvana, Unplugged in New York (Geffen, 1994)
  • Pearl Jam, Ten (Epic, 1991)
  • Soundgarden, Superunknown (A&M, 1994)

The Best of Proto-Punk

  • The MC5, The Big Bang: The Best of the MC5 (Rhino, 2000)
  • The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers (Rhino, 1976)
  • New York Dolls, New York Dolls (Mercury, 1973)
  • The Stooges, Raw Power (Columbia/Legacy, 1973)
  • Various Artists, Nuggets From Nuggets: Choice Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (Rhino, 1998)
  • The Velvet Underground, Peel Slowly & See (Box Set) (Polydor, 1995)

The Best of Downtown New York

  • Blondie, Parallel Lines (Chrysalis, 1978)
  • The Ramones, The Ramones (Sire, 1976)
  • The Ramones, Leave Home (Sire, 1977)
  • The Ramones, Rocket to Russia (Sire, 1977)
  • Patti Smith, Horses (Arista, 1975)
  • Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings & Food (Sire, 1978)
  • Talking Heads, Remain in Light (Sire, 1980)
  • Television, Marquee Moon (Elektra, 1977)

Blues

  • Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Anthology (MCA, 2001)
  • Willie Dixon, The Chess Box (Box Set) (Chess/MCA, 1988)
  • John Lee Hooker, The Ultimate Collection (1948-1990) (Rhino, 1991)
  • Son House, Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions (Columbia/Legacy, 1965)
  • Howlin’ Wolf, His Best (The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Chess/MCA, 1997)
  • Elmore James, The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (Rhino, 1993)
  • Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers (Columbia/Legacy, 1966)
  • B.B. King, Live at the Regal (MCA, 1965)
  • Lead Belly, Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 1 (Smithsonian/Folkways, 1996)
  • Charlie Patton, King of the Delta Blues (Yazoo, 1991)
  • Bessie Smith, The Essential Bessie Smith (Columbia/Legacy, 1997)
  • Muddy Waters, The Anthology: 1947-1972 (Chess/MCA, 2001)

The Best of Folk

  • Leonard Cohen, The Essential Leonard Cohen (Columbia/Legacy, 2002)
  • Nick Drake, Pink Moon (Hannibal/Rykodisc, 1972)
  • Fairport Convention, Meet On the Ledge: The Classic Years (1967-1975) (A&M, 1999)
  • Woody Guthrie, Dustbowl Ballads (Rounder, 1964)
  • John Prine, Great Days: The John Prine Anthology (Rhino, 1993)
  • Various Artists, Anthology of American Folk Music (Box Set) (Smithsonian/Folkways, 1997)

Country

  • Garth Brooks, The Hits (Capitol, 1994)
  • The Carter Family, Wildwood Flower (ASV/Living Era, 2000)
  • Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison (Columbia/Legacy, 1968)
  • Johnny Cash, The Essential Johnny Cash (Columbia/Legacy, 1992)
  • Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection (UTV, 2000)
  • Steve Earle, Guitar Town (MCA, 1986)
  • Lefty Frizzell, The Best of Lefty Frizzell (Rhino, 1991)
  • Merle Haggard, The Lonesome Fugitive: The Merle Haggard Anthology (1963-1977) (Razor & Tie, 1995)
  • George Jones, The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country (Epic/Legacy, 1994)
  • Loretta Lynn, All Time Greatest Hits (MCA Nashville, 2002)
  • Willie Nelson, Revolutions of Time: The Journey (1975-1993) (Box Set) (Columbia/Legacy, 1995)
  • Dolly Parton, RCA Country Legends (RCA, 2002)
  • Jimmie Rodgers, The Essential Jimmie Rodgers (RCA, 1997)
  • Randy Travis, Trail of Memories: The Randy Travis Anthology (Rhino, 2002)
  • Shania Twain, Come On Over (Mercury, 1997)
  • Various Artists, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Original Soundtrack (Lost Highway, 2000)
  • Hank Williams, 40 Greatest Hits (Mercury, 1978)
  • Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Anthology: 1935-1973 (Rhino, 1991)
  • Tammy Wynette, Anniversary: 20 Years of Hits (Epic, 1987)

Pop

  • ABBA, The Definitive Collection (Polygram, 2001)
  • Backstreet Boys, The Hits – Chapter One (Jive, 2001)
  • Bee Gees, Their Greatest Hits: The Record (Uptown/Universal, 2001)
  • Bread, The Best of Bread (Rhino, 2001)
  • The Carpenters, Singles: 1969-1981 (A&M, 2000)
  • Neil Diamond, The Neil Diamond Collection (MCA, 1999)
  • Enya, Only Time: The Collection (Rhino/Reprise, 2003)
  • Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston (Arista, 1985)
  • Michael Jackson, Off the Wall (Epic, 1979)
  • Michael Jackson, Thriller (Epic, 1982)
  • Jackson 5, Anthology (Motown, 2000)
  • Billy Joel, The Stranger (Columbia, 1977)
  • Elton John, Greatest Hits (Polydor, 1974)
  • Elton John, Greatest Hits Volume II (Polydor, 1986)
  • KC & the Sunshine Band, VH1 Behind the Music: The KC & the Sunshine Band Collection (Rhino, 2001)
  • Carole King, Tapestry (Epic/Legacy, 1971)
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful, Greatest Hits (Buddha, 2002)
  • Madonna, The Immaculate Collection (Sire, 1990)
  • Madonna, GHV2 (Warner Bros., 2001)
  • The Mamas & the Papas, Greatest Hits (MCA, 1998)
  • George Michael, Faith (Columbia, 1987)
  • The Monkees, Then & Now… The Best of the Monkees (Arista, 1986)
  • Ennio Morricone, The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music (Rhino, 1995)
  • Olivia Newton-John, Magic: The Best of Olivia Newton-John (UTV, 2001)
  • Pink, M!ssundaztood (Arista, 2002)
  • Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Ooo Baby Baby: Anthology (Motown, 2003)
  • Diana Ross, The Motown Anthology (Motown, 2001)
  • Diana Ross & the Supremes, Anthology (Motown, 2001)
  • The Shangri-Las, The Millennium Collection (MCA, 2002)
  • The Shirelles, The Very Best of the Shirelles (Rhino, 1994)
  • Spice Girls, Spice (Virgin, 1996)
  • Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis (Rhino, 1969)
  • Various Artists, 25 All-Time Bubblegum Hits: The Ultimate Collection (Varèse Sarabande, 2000)
  • Various Artists, The Disco Box (Box Set) (Rhino, 1999)
  • Various Artists, Girl Group Greats (Rhino, 2001)
  • Various Artists, Jock Jams: The All Star Jock Jams (Tommy Boy, 2001)
  • Various Artists, The Perfect Beats Volume 2 (Tommy Boy, 1998)
  • Various Artists, Phil Spector: Back to Mono (1958-1969) (Box Set) (ABKCO, 1991)
  • Various Artists, Saturday Night Fever – Original Soundtrack (Polydor, 1977)
  • Various Artists, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 1: Mondo Exotica (Capitol, 1996)
  • Village People, The Best of Village People (Casablanca, 1994)

The Best of Dad-Pop

  • Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream and Other Delights (A&M, 1965)
  • John Barry, Themeology: The Best of John Barry (Columbia, 1997)
  • Bing Crosby, The Millennium Collection (MCA, 1999)
  • Frank Sinatra, Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy! (Capitol, 1955)
  • Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours (Capitol, 1955)
  • Frank Sinatra, Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years (Reprise, 1991)
  • Various Artists, The Doo Wop Box (Box Set) (Rhino, 1994)
  • Various Artists, The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection (Box Set) (Rhino, 1998)

Rhythm & Blues

  • Mary J. Blige, What’s the 411? (MCA, 1992)
  • Booker T. & the MG’s, The Very Best of Booker T. & the MG’s (Rhino, 1994)
  • James Brown, Live at the Apollo (1962) (Polygram, 1963)
  • James Brown, Star Time (Box Set) (Polydor, 1991)
  • Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (Rhino/Atlantic, 1962)
  • Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul (Box Set) (Atlantic, 1991)
  • Chic, Dance, Dance, Dance: The Best of Chic (Atlantic, 1991)
  • The Coasters, 50 Coastin’ Classics (Rhino, 1992)
  • Sam Cooke, The Man and His Music (RCA, 1986)
  • D’Angelo, Brown Sugar (Capitol, 1995)
  • Bo Diddley, His Best (The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection (Chess/MCA, 1997)
  • Fats Domino, The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest Hits the Way You Originally Heard Them (Capitol, 2002)
  • Lee Dorsey, Working in a Coal Mine: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey (Music Club, 2001)
  • The Drifters, All Time Greatest Hits & More: 1959-1965 (Atlantic, 1988)
  • Earth, Wind & Fire, The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire (Columbia/Legacy, 2002)
  • Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings (Box Set) (Rhino, 1992)
  • Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove (Capitol, 1978)
  • Funkadelic, Music for Your Mother: Funkadelic 45s (Westbound, 1993)
  • Marvin Gaye, Anthology (Motown, 1995)
  • Al Green, Greatest Hits (Capitol, 1975)
  • Al Green, Al Green’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (Motown, 1977)
  • Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Columbia, 1998)
  • The Isley Brothers, It’s Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers (Epic/Legacy, 1998)
  • Janet Jackson, Design of a Decade 1986/1996: The Best of Janet Jackson (A&M, 1995)
  • Etta James, Her Best (The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (Chess/MCA, 1997)
  • Louis Jordan, Let the Good Times Roll: The Anthology 1938-1953 (MCA, 1999)
  • R. Kelly, 12 Play (Jive, 1993)
  • Little Richard, The Georgia Peach (Specialty, 1991)
  • Curtis Mayfield, The Anthology: 1961-1977 (MCA, 1992)
  • The Meters, The Very Best of the Meters (Rhino, 1997)
  • Ohio Players, Gold (Mercury, 1976)
  • Parliament, Tear the Roof Off, 1974-1980 (Casablanca, 1983)
  • Wilson Pickett, The Very Best of Wilson Pickett (Rhino, 1993)
  • Prince, Dirty Mind (Warner Bros., 1980)
  • Prince & the Revolution, Music From Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1984)
  • Prince, Sign ‘O’ the Times (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1987)
  • Otis Redding, The Very Best of Otis Redding Vol. 1 (Rhino, 1993)
  • Jill Scott, Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Vol. 1 (Hidden Beach, 2000)
  • Sly and the Family Stone, Anthology (Epic, 1981)
  • The Spinners, The Very Best of the Spinners (Rhino, 1993)
  • Donna Summer, The Donna Summer Anthology (Casablanca/Chronicles, 1993)
  • The Temptations, The Ultimate Collection (Motown, 1997)
  • TLC, CrazySexyCool (LaFace/Arista, 1994)
  • Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner (EMI, 1991)
  • Various Artists, The Best of Blaxploitation (Global TV, 1998)
  • Various Artists, Finger Poppin’ and Stompin’ Feet: 20 Classic Allen Toussaint Productions for Minit Records 1960-1962 (Capitol, 2002)
  • Various Artists, Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage (West End, 2000)
  • Various Artists, New Orleans Party Classics (Rhino, 1992)
  • Various Artists, The Philly Sound: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & the Story of Brotherly Love (1966-1976) (Box Set) (Epic/Legacy, 1997)
  • War, Anthology (1970-1994) (Rhino, 1994)
  • Barry White, All-Time Greatest Hits (Mercury, 1995)
  • Stevie Wonder, Talking Book (Motown, 1972)
  • Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (Motown, 1973)
  • Stevie Wonder, Fulfillingness’ First Finale (Motown, 1974)
  • Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life (Motown, 1976)

Hip-Hop

  • A Tribe Called Quest, The Anthology (Jive, 1999)
  • Afrika Bambaataa, Looking for the Perfect Beat 1980-1995 (Tommy Boy, 2001)
  • Big Daddy Kane, The Very Best of Big Daddy Kane (Rhino, 2001)
  • Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded (Sugar Hill, 1987)
  • Cypress Hill, Cypress Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1991)
  • De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy, 1989)
  • DMX, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam, 1998)
  • Missy Elliott, Under Construction (Gold Mind/Elektra, 2002)
  • Eminem, The Slim Shady LP (Aftermath/Interscope, 1999)
  • Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Aftermath/Interscope, 2000)
  • EPMD, Strictly Business (Priority, 1988)
  • Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full (4th & B’way, 1987)
  • Fugees, The Score (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1996)
  • Grandmaster Flash, Message From Beat Street: The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & the Furious Five (Rhino, 1994)
  • Jay-Z, Reasonable Doubt (Roc-A-Fella/Priority, 1996)
  • Jay-Z, The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, 2001)
  • LL Cool J, All World: Greatest Hits (Def Jam, 1996)
  • Biz Markie, The Best of Cold Chillin’ (Landspeed, 2000)
  • Nelly, Country Grammar (Fo’Reel/Universal, 2000)
  • The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die (Bad Boy/Arista, 1994)
  • Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers – The Dirty Version (Elektra, 1995)
  • OutKast, Aquemini (LaFace/Arista, 1998)
  • OutKast, Stankonia (LaFace/Arista, 2000)
  • Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam, 1988)
  • Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam, 1990)
  • Busta Rhymes, Total Devastation: The Best of Busta Rhymes (Rhino, 2001)
  • Run-DMC, Greatest Hits (BMG Heritage, 2002)
  • Various Artists, Fat Beats and Bra Straps: Hip-Hop Classics (Rhino, 1998)
  • Various Artists, Old School Rap, Vols. 1-4 (Box Set) (Thump, 2000)
  • Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud/RCA, 1993)

The Best of Gangsta Rap

  • 2Pac, Me Against the World (Interscope, 1995)
  • Ice Cube, Greatest Hits (Priority, 2001)
  • Dr. Dre, The Chronic (Death Row/Interscope, 1992)
  • Geto Boys, Greatest Hits (Rap-A-Lot, 2002)
  • Mobb Deep, The Infamous (Loud/RCA, 1995)
  • Nas, Illmatic (Columbia, 1994)
  • N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless/Priority, 1988)
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle (Death Row/Interscope, 1993)

World

  • Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit/Nonesuch, 1997)
  • Fela Kuti, The Best Best of Fela Kuti (MCA, 1999)
  • Bob Marley & the Wailers, Catch a Fire (Island/Tuff Gong, 1973)
  • Bob Marley & the Wailers, Natty Dread (Island/Tuff Gong, 1974)
  • Bob Marley & the Wailers, Legend (Polygram, 1984)
  • Youssou N’Dour & Etoile De Dakar, The Rough Guide to Youssou N’Dour & Etoile De Dakar (World Music Network, 2002)
  • Lee “Scratch” Perry, Arkology (Island Jamaica, 1997)
  • Various Artists, The Harder They Come – Original Soundtrack (Island, 1973)
  • Various Artists, The Kings and Queens of Township Jive: The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, Vol. 1 (Earthworks, 1991)
  • Various Artists, The Music in My Head: Indispensable Classics & Unknown Gems From the Golden Age of Africa Pop (Stern’s Africa, 1998)
  • Various Artists, Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music (Box Set) (Mango/Island, 1993)
  • Various Artists, Tropicália 30 Años (Box Set) (Polygram International, 1998)
  • The Wailers, Burnin’ (Island/Tuff Gong, 1973)
  • Tom Zé, Brazil Classics 4: The Best of Tom Zé (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1990)

Jazz

  • Louis Armstrong, The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (Columbia/Legacy, 2000)
  • Chet Baker, Chet Baker Sings (Pacific Jazz, 1956)
  • Count Basie, The Complete Decca Recordings (1937-1939) (GRP, 1992)
  • Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, A Night in Tunisia (Blue Note, 1960)
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out (Columbia/Legacy, 1959)
  • Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic, 1959)
  • John Coltrane, A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964)
  • Chick Corea, Return to Forever (Polygram, 1972)
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia/Legacy, 1959)
  • Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain (Columbia/Legacy, 1960)
  • Miles Davis, Bitches Brew (Columbia/Legacy, 1969)
  • Duke Ellington, Early Ellington: The Complete Brunswick Recordings (1926-1931) (GRP, 1994)
  • Duke Ellington, Ellington at Newport (Columbia, 1956)
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Sings the Cole Porter Songbook (Verve, 1956)
  • Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters (Columbia/Legacy, 1973)
  • Billie Holiday, Lady Day Swings! (Columbia/Legacy, 2002)
  • Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975)
  • Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)
  • Thelonious Monk, Genius of Modern Music Vol. 1 (Blue Note, 2001)
  • Jelly Roll Morton, Jazz King of New Orleans (RCA, 2002)
  • Charlie Parker, Best of the Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings (Savoy Jazz, 2002)
  • Django Reinhardt, Quintette du Hot Club de France: 25 Classics 1934-1940 (ASV/Living Era, 1998)
  • Sonny Rollins, Ken Burns Jazz Collection: Sonny Rollins (Verve, 2000)
  • Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel (Evidence, 2000)
  • Various Artists, Roots of Jazz Funk Volume One (MVP, 1997)
  • Weather Report, Heavy Weather (Columbia/Legacy, 1977)
  • John Zorn, Naked City (Elektra/Nonesuch, 1990)

And the 13 Albums You Shouldn’t Touch With a 10-Foot Pole…

  • Aerosmith, Rock in a Hard Place (Columbia, 1982)
  • The Beach Boys, Keepin’ the Summer Alive (Caribou, 1980)
  • The Doors, An American Prayer (Elektra, 1978)
  • Duran Duran, Thank You (Capitol, 1995)
  • Bob Dylan, Dylan (Columbia, 1973)
  • Elton John, Victim of Love (MCA, 1979)
  • Joni Mitchell, Travelogue (Nonesuch, 2002)
  • Elvis Presley, Having Fun With Elvis On Stage (RCA Victor, 1974)
  • Lou Reed, Metal Machine Music (Buddha, 1975)
  • Frank Sinatra, Duets (Capitol, 1993)
  • Snoop Dogg, Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (No Limit/Priority, 1998)
  • Tin Machine, Tin Machine (Virgin, 1989)
  • Pete Townshend, Psychoderelict (Atlantic, 1993)