Top 100 Greatest Music Albums by Romanelli
With production credits (because producers are important, too). Also track listings, label info and short reviews written by yours truly. I hope this chart is helpful, entertaining, and at least interesting.
- Chart updated: 09/22/2023 23:15
- (Created: 06/01/2012 04:29).
- Chart size: 100 albums.
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Produced By FLEETWOOD MAC, KEN CAILLAT & RICHARD DASHUT
1. Second Hand News
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don’t Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
7. The Chain
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don’t Want To Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman
When guitarist Bob Welch left Fleetwood Mac in 1974, the band was left with just Mick Fleetwood, Christine and John McVie, a legacy of a once proud blues band that had slid into mediocre pop, and a long roster of former guitar players who barely shone inside the group or after they had gone (with the exception of Peter Green). The band was about to end when Lindsey Buckingham was discovered in California, and when he was asked to join the band, he insisted that his girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, be part of the deal. The result was the album Fleetwood Mac, an almost perfect album that was based in newfound energy and the sudden connection that the five members of the band made. Rumours is the absolute peak of the career of Fleetwood Mac. It’s also the beginning of the end of that spark that made them so special for such a short time. Instead of being magical because the players involved were so good together, Rumours is magical because it’s a chronicle of a band publically eroding before our eyes. And what an absolutely good time we all had with that! The songs that came from the drama, the broken relationships of the couples in the band, and the ability they still had to blend together musically made for an album that was simply perfect.
The songwriting is split almost evenly between Christine McVie, Buckingham and Nicks. And there’s not a single track that isn’t perfection, or that doesn’t help make the album what it is. Buckingham’s “Second Hand News”, “Never Going Back Again” and “Go Your Own Way” are the best of his career. Nicks chimes in with “Dreams”, “I Don’t Want To Know” and “Gold Dust Woman”, all of which helped cement her reputation as a songwriter. McVie’s “Don’t Stop”, “Songbird”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Oh Daddy” are the foundation of the album, and are exceptional. The group effort, “The Chain”, is simply perfect. This calm pop rock album, built around a fleeting cohesion of talents and internal chaos, remains perfect to this day. The cracks started showing musically on the next album, Tusk, and the magic of Rumours was never regained. But, from 1975 through the release of the somewhat disappointing Tusk, this was the biggest band in the world. It was short, but it was also very sweet. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By BRIAN PAULSON & SON VOLT
2. Live Free
3. Tear Stained Eye
5. Ten Second News
7. Loose String
8. Out Of The Picture
9. Catching On
10. Too Early
11. Mystifies Me
In the aftermath of the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, the race was on to see which member was going to come out with the best first album: Jeff Tweedy's Wilco, or Jay Farrar's Son Volt. The winner was, in a landslide, Son Volt. Trace is not only a great album, it's one of the greatest alt country albums of all time. Farrar shows an uncharacteristic optimism here that shines throughout the album.
"Windfall" is a beautiful opener with it's blessing of a chorus: "May the wind take your trouble away". "Tear Stained Eye", "Loose String" and "Drown" are among Farrar's best songs. The album rates almost as high as Tupelo's swan song, Anodyne, and should be a must for anyone who loves alt country. This is Farrar at his peak, and it should not be missed. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By GEORGE MARTIN
1. Come Together
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus's Garden
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
7. Here Comes The Sun
9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr. Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty
Abbey Road was the last album recorded by The Beatles, although it was released before Let It Be. The album shows that the group was back on the same page, yet seriously divided. The first half is a normal song cycle to appease John Lennon, while the second half is bits and pieces as Paul McCartney wanted to do. The album is still amazing. Every track is golden, the production spotless, and even the continuous song flow on the second half is flawless. George Harrison is in full swing as a writer here with his two contributions being among his best as a Beatle. Even the Ringo song is good. A powerful, timeless work. This album cemented The Beatles place in history, and is still better today than most records made since.
The breakup was soon to come. McCartney tried to follow in the same vein as Abbey Road, but never matched it. If you look at this as The Beatles final album, then there couldn't be a better way to go out. An absolute classic. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By T-BONE BURNETT
1. Po’ Lazarus (James Carter & The Prisoners)
2. Big Rock Candy Mountain (Harry McClintock)
3. You Are My Sunshine (Norman Blake)
4. Down To The River To Pray (Alison Krauss)
5. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (Radio Station Version) (Soggy Bottom Boys & Dan Tyminski)
6. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (Chris Thomas King)
7. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental) (Norman Blake)
8. Keep On The Sunny Side (The Whites)
9. I’ll Fly Away (Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch)
10. Nobody But The Baby (Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch)
11. In The Highways (Leah, Sarah, & Hannah Peasall)
12. I Am Weary, Let Me Rest (The Cox Family)
13. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental) (John Hartford)
14. O Death (Ralph Stanley)
15. In The Jailhouse Now (Soggy Bottom Boys & Tim Blake Nelson)
16. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (With Band) (Soggy Bottom Boys & Dan Tyminski)
17. Indian War Whoop (Instrumental) (John Hartford)
18. Lonesome Valley (The Fairfield Four)
19. Angel Band (The Stanley Brothers)
One of my favorite films of all time. Also, one of the most consistently fine soundtracks you’ll find. The music assembled here by T-Bone Burnett fits perfectly into the depression era 1930’s. Old Timey music. As an album, it’s amazing, and as a soundtrack, it’s flawless. Great performances from the likes of Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, and the rest are a perfect match for the film’s retelling of The Odyssey. Even Tim Blake Nelson, one of the film’s starts (he plays the born again Delmar) gives a fine performance on “In The Jailhouse Now”.
The central song is, of course, “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow”, represented here with 4 different versions. Which is okay, as the song plays a big part in the story. This soundtrack got a lot of people to discover this lost music, and brought some great forgotten songs back into public view. And again…a great film. A rarity when both the film and the soundtrack are top notch. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By DAVID BARBE
1. Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife
2. 3 Dimes Down
3. The Righteous Path
4. I’m Sorry Huston
5. Perfect Timing
6. Daddy Needs A Drink
7. Self Destructive Zones
9. Home Field Advantage
10. The Opening Act
11. Lisa’s Birthday
12. That Man I Shot
13. The Purgatory Line
14. The Home Front
15. Checkout Time In Vegas
16. You And Your Crystal Meth
17. Goode’s Field Road
18. A Ghost To Most
19. The Monument Valley
So, how did Drive-By Truckers survive losing their up and coming songwriting star Jason Isbell? They went back in the studio and recorded a double album, that’s how. And while this album may not have the immediacy and power of previous albums like Decoration Day, A Blessing And A Curse and The Dirty South, it does stand up very well on its own. The band returns to a more country oriented sound here, and the songs are a bit simpler, but there are plenty of gems to be found. Mike Cooley, in particular, steps up and helps fill the shoes left vacant by Isbell. He makes the most of his seven contributions to the album, and his best lines are classic: “Bob ain’t light in the loafers/He might kneel, but he never bends over” (from “Bob”), and “Skeletons ain’t got no place to stick their money/Nobody makes britches that size” (from “A Ghost To Most”). “Self Destructive Zones” and “Perfect Timing” are high quality, as is the refreshing “Lisa’s Birthday”.
Patterson Hood’s highlights include “Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife”, about musician Bryan Harvey, who was murdered with his family in a home invasion: “Daddy Needs A Drink”, and “You And Your Crystal Meth”. Bassist Shonna Tucker brings three songs herself, including the fine “The Purgatory Line”. There’s a bit of filler here (a double album was certainly an ambitious idea), but Brighter Than Creation’s Dark is a nice transitional album for the band, a return to their roots, and a glimpse of what was to come in the future. And they have stayed busy: since this album, they have released three studio efforts, three live albums, and a pair of compilations. Drive-By Truckers have always released listenable records, and this one is certainly no exception. Always consistently good…this is one of those bands that you just can’t go wrong with. Carriers of the torch for Southern rock, for damn sure. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By CODY DICKINSON & LUCERO
1. Little Silver Heart
2. My Best Girl
3. Wandering Star
4. A Dangerous Thing
5. Drink ‘Till We’re Gone
6. Raising Hell
7. Banks Of The Arkansas
8. All Sewn Up
10. Hold Fast
11. Better Than This
12. All These Love Songs
13. No Roses No More
14. It Gets Worse At Night
If you walked into the darkest, loneliest bar in the southern United States, ordered up a beer and a shot, and settled into a night of drinking alone, the voice you would hear singing all night would be that of Lucero’s Ben Nichols. A band that is described as having a very Memphis sound, they were helped early along by benefactors Luther and Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi All Stars: both played on this album, and Cody helped produce irt. After working in Memphis for a number of years, they released this record and began a trip that continues today as one of the hardest working rock bands in the world.
This album, their first full length release, is alt-country at its most alt. Containing additional elements of punk and soul while maintaining the raw sound that defines Lucero, the band is as good as can be…but the real star is Nichols. His voice creaks through every song, bring a unique quality and toughness to the songs…a big reason why Lucero stands out as much as they do. Technically a debut album, this is a great start to a Lucero collection that so far includes 8 studio albums. And they tour almost non stop, so getting to see them shouldn’t be a problem. This is a fine first effort, and there were even better ones to come. [First added to this chart: 12/06/2013]
Produced By JIM SCOTT
1. Inn Town
2. Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight
3. Yesterday's News
4. 16 Days
5. Everything I Do
6. Houses On The Hill
7. Turn Around
8. Dancing With The Woman At The Bar
9. Waiting To Derail
12. Somebody Remembers The Rose
13. Not Home Anymore
Whether Ryan Adams call himself by his name or Whiskeytown, the results are about the same. He couldn't keep a lineup together for the short lived Whiskeytown, but with the 2nd album, Strangers Almanac, he hit paydirt. Covered in great harmonies and equally great songs, this is one of alt country's greatest records. "Inn Town" opens the door, and there's no closing it after "Excuse Me". This never wavers, and gets even better with "Dancing With The Woman At The Bar" and the hypnotizing "Losering".
Whiskeytown was done after this album, although Pneumonia was released after the breakup. Adams has gone on to great solo success. Strangers Almanac remains an essential record. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By DAVID BARBE
1. Where The Devil Don’t Stay
3. The Day John Henry Died
4. Puttin’ People On The Moon
5. Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
6. The Sands Of Iwo Jima
8. The Boys From Alabama
10. The Buford Stick
11. Daddy’s Cup
12. Never Gonna Change
13. Goddamn Lonely Love
If you ask me what my favorite album is, I can’t answer that. If you ask me what my favorite song is, I’ll put on “Danko/Manuel” by Drive-By Truckers and tell you that this is as close as it gets. In fact, if you’re going to be in a band with me, being willing to play this song is the first test. The Dirty South, the Truckers fifth album, is as good as they get…and that’s pretty damned excellent. Having a songwriter like Jason Isbell limited to just four songs speaks volumes about how loaded the Truckers really were. A loose concept album about the downside of Southern living, The Dirty South marks the peak of the career of this excellent Southern rock and alt-country giant. It’s all good here.
Mike Cooley delivers some of his most memorable material in “Where The Devil Don’t Stay”, “Daddy’s Cup”, and the brilliant story song “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac”. Patterson Hood brings “Puttin’ People On The Moon”, about people driven down by environmental pollution. “Tornadoes” and “The Sands Of Iwo Jima” are excellent, and “The Boys Of Alabama” gives you the “other side of the story” of Buford Pusser and Walking Tall. And Isbell, along with the perfect “Danko/Manuel”, brings the rollicking “Never Gonna Change”, and closes things with this perfect lyric: “I’ll take two of what you’re having/I’ll take all of what you’ve got/To kill this Goddamned lonely, Goddamned lonely love”. This is a great album. Please go buy it. [First added to this chart: 04/19/2017]
Produced By TOM DOWD
1. Ain't Wasting Time No More
2. Les Brers In A Minor
4. Mountain Jam
5. One Way Out
6. Trouble No More
7. Stand Back
8. Blue Sky
9. Little Martha
3 songs (the last 3) were recorded with Duane Allman before he was killed in a mororcycle accident. The effect of losing him would be felt throughout their long career, which continued until 2014. After Eat A Peach, they had one more great album in them. Eat A Peach is almost a classic, and would be better had they released a single instead of a double album. "Mountain Jam", (which, along with 2 other tracks, are from the famous Fillmore East concert. At the end of the Fillmore album, you can hear the beginning of this song as "Whipping Post" fades out.) clocks in at a whopping 33 minutes, and takes some doing to listen to all the way through. But it was a necessary part of the album.
Otherwise, this is great. The first 3 tracks were recorded without Duane, and are as good as anything they did with him. "One Way Out" and "Trouble No More" are also from Fillmore, and the last 3 with Duane, particularly Dicky Betts' "Blue Sky", are excellent.
A band picking up and moving on from tragedy. Not for the last time, either. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
Produced By CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG
1. Carry On
2. Teach Your Children
3. Almost Cut My Hair
6. Déjà Vu
7. Our House
8. 4 + 20
9. Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill/Down, Down, Down/Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)
10. Everybody I Love You
As if having a supergroup with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash wasn’t unfair enough…they had to go and add in Neil Young for their second album. The CSN (&Y) franchise was so successful that they were able to put together a full greatest hits album after only two records. They had a successful debut album, then played at Woodstock, were already stars in their previous bands, and in 1970, they could do no wrong. Déjà Vu divides the songwriting pretty evenly, with each member contributing two songs each. The remaining two songs consist of a cover (Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”) and “Everybody I Love You”, co-written by Stills and Young. The inclusion of Young on the album has been often overstated. While “Helpless” is one of his greatest songs, his other contribution, the mini-suite “Country Girl”, may be the album’s weakest track. And he only appears on half of the songs on the album, making Déjà vu really more of a CSN project with Neil as more of a guest than anything else. But even so, his presence definitely adds an edge to the songs he does play on.
But what really makes this work is that the two songs each from the other members are all exceptional. Stills hits big with “Carry On”, a perfect song for all that harmony, but also with the stunning “4 + 20”, which may be his most beautiful track. Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” is a bluesy rocker buoyed by Young’s stinging guitar, while the title track is proof of his understated genius. And Nash adds his pop sensibility with the charming “Our House” and the neat “Teach Your Children”, which features solid pedal steel work by Jerry Garcia. As an album, Déjà Vu kicks off the 70’s in fine fashion, and showcases not only the strengths of the individual members, but also their ability to sing so strongly and seemingly effortlessly together. This, alongside their debut, is all of the CSN you’ll ever really need…it would be seven years before their next studio effort, by which time Stills had dried up as a writer and the distance between the three made them sound less cohesive. But at the turn of the 70’s, there was no one who did it better than these guys. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2012]
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This chart is rated in the top 6% of all charts on BestEverAlbums.com. This chart has a Bayesian average rating of 88.5/100, a mean average of 87.3/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 88.7/100. The standard deviation for this chart is 12.5.
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What I found most intriguing is where you actually argue in your comments why an album isn't that great - which is an unusual way to create a greatest 100 chart. A bit too US-orientated for my liking and too many so-so bands. Good to see one album each from Australia & New Zealand.
Great chart, with impressive comments; very inspirational!
would appreciate more variety from coutries, genres
Lots of new music to discover here
There's a lot of excellent choices here. Many of which I'll be listening to as well. Thanks for this list!
Stunning chart. I own 83 of the albums in your chart so it's inevitable that I'm going to love it. Also love the notes. Great addition.
Nothing but great records here!
perfect soundtrack to being the only guy left in the rural middle-of-nowhere bar at 4AM (this may sound backhanded but I assure you it's high praise)
Still Crazy (good) after all these years.
very interesting stuff, could use some more 2010s or look into 1950s
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