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The most grandiose list ever

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Spainish music rag Rockdelux is celebrating its 200th issue with a list of the 200 Best Albums of the 20th Century. As one commenter points out, “I guess the 20th Century beats the hell out of the 19th Century for albums.”

The list gets weird at times, being from Europe and all. I’ve never heard of “BENY MORE EL BARBARO DEL RITMO,” and I doubt I’m alone in that. But the list is interesting for the non-canonic stuff that it does include: Laurie Anderson’s Big Science, or Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom. By and large, I love this list. It’s daring and different.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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About Kenan Hebert

  • For what it’s worth, Beny More is the Frank Sinatra of Cuban music.

    Thanks for the link. Food for thought.

  • Eric Olsen

    That is one smoking hot list: Tindersticks, Aphex Twin, Roxy Music, King Sunny Ade! Not enough jazz and blues though – no Muddy Waters? no Howlin Wolf? no Benny Goodman? no Count Basie? I guess Muddy, howlin and Chuck Berry are represented on the Chess Story collection.

  • Kenan Hebert

    The problem probably creeps up when you say “albums.” The Chess Box is probably a better choice to represent those artists, because almost all of that music was originally released in single form. You could throw in Howlin’ Wolf’s Rocking Chair Album if you wanted, but it’s just a bunch of singles, and not near as complete as the Chess Box.

    Then again, The Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady is also a collection of singles, so maybe I’m misidentifying the problem. I imagine that at some point you have to play fast and loose with the rules of what constitutes an album — too much essential music isn’t album-oriented in any way. They walked a fine line: include some non-album stuff, but not all of it, or the list falls apart. The Chess Box holds together as a single thing, but Billie Holiday’s Decca Sessions don’t — those recordings appear on hundreds of scattered releases, throughout your local used bin.

    I’m only specualting as to the thinking, mind you. I really don’t have a clue.

  • What, no Bogshed? No Johnny Moped?

    These lists are worthless, we all know — but they are good fun, especially when they coincide with what’s in your own collection. Instant validation of your critical faculties…. I suppose they’re even more fun if you don’t have any of them — you can tell yourself you’re an individual and your tastes aren’t dictated to by the media. So everyone wins….

    The Sunday Herald list is even more fun as there’s about 200 words on each choice and takes in some wild but spot-on choices like Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, Shirley Collins, Faust, Harry Partch, The Monks, Evan Parker….

  • Whooaaa… that’s a weird list. It has Slayer “Reign In Blood,” but no Metallica. It has Sex Pistols “Never Mind The Bollocks” and Minor Threat “Complete Discography” but no Black Flag. Has Robert Johnson “The Complete Recordings,” but no John Lee Hooker or Muddy Waters. Has Dr. Dre “Chronic” but no N.W.A. or Ice-T.

    Well, you get the point. I’m not necessarily disputing any of the choices, just trying to figure out the rationale.