Top 50 British Albums Of All Time
98% of my record collection consists of bands that originated in either the U.K. or the U.S.A., and I’d wager that your collection mirrors that. A “who’s better, who’s best” comparison would be absolutely futile, downright silly even, as both nations have produced an insane amount of great bands and albums. Creating a list of the top 50 for each was no small task; there were tears, certainly, lots of cussing and plenty of second guessing myself. I thought about making it a “North America vs. Europe” fight, but decided against it at the last moment. That means I had to leave off Neil Young, Rush, Sloan, Kraftwerk, CAN, Neu!, Air, M83, to name but a very few. Which was a shame, ’cause some of them would have ended up quite high in the rankings.
I hope you peruse this list and scream at my choices, and/or my ranking order, because that’s what it’s all about, really. No one is going to agree wholeheartedly about a subjective list like this. If I’ve pissed you off by leaving your favorite off, then tell me in the comment section.
I can take it.
I expect it.
I like it.
So here we go with the British albums. The American list will follow in a couple of days.
#50. Avalon, Roxy Music (“atmospheric, lush and just plain gorgeous”)
#49. Introspective, Pet Shop Boys (“Left To My Own Devices…need I say more?”)
#48. Entertainment!, Gang Of Four (“brought the funk to punk”)
#47. Face The Music, E.L.O. (“not the one with the hits, but their best overall”)
#46. Singles Going Steady, Buzzcocks (“a pure power-pop compilation”)
#45. Look Sharp!, Joe Jackson (“bitter stuff, and his absolute best”)
#44. Parklife, Blur (“about as English as it gets”)
#43. Band On The Run, Paul McCartney (“his most consistent record”)
#42. The Wall, Pink Floyd (“the MJ album”)
#41. Talk Talk Talk, Psychedelic Furs (“underrated genius!”)
#40. This Is The Hour, This Is The Day, This Is This!, PWEI (“Buy the remasters today!”)
#39. Rings Around The World, Super Furry Animals (“acid fried Brian Wilson-esque!”)
#38. Soul Mining, The THE (“early 80’s synth masterpiece”)
#37. Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie (“should have picked The Man Who Sold The World…oh well”)
#36. The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths (“It was all downhill from here…”)
#35. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (“Fools Gold, 10 minutes of baggy perfection”)
#34. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The…, Sex Pistols (“punk classic”)
#33. Exile On Main Street, Rolling Stones (“What a great double album is meant to be”)
#32. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Pogues (“Elvis Costello produced debut that still sounds like nothing else”)
#31. Breakfast In America, Supertramp (“A perfect 70’s record”)
#30. The Lexicon Of Love, ABC (“A perfect ‘80’s record”)
#29. Dazzle Ships, OMD (“Weird, wired & wonderful. The ‘Kid A’ of its time”)
#28. Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches, Happy Mondays (“The smooth sound of hooliganism.”)
#27. Who’s Next?, The WHO (“Classic RAWK”)
#26. Let It Bleed, Rolling Stones (“Their best record. Degenerates apply here.”)
#25. London Calling, The Clash (“Overrated, or masterpiece?”)
#24. Rubber Soul, The Beatles (“The beginning of a beautiful relationship.”)
#23. Bad Habits, The Monks (“Silly faux-punk, catchy as Hell.”)
#22. In It For The Money, Supergrass (“The ‘Grass get serious about great tunes.”)
#21. New Gold Dream, Simple Minds (“BEFORE they were destroyed by a John Hughes movie.”)
#20. I Just Can’t Stop It!, English Beat (“Forget the Specials, this is the ska album you need to own.”)
#19. Argybargy, Squeeze (“Quintessential English pop.”)
#18. Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Stereolab (“Space age bachelor pad music you can dance to.”)
#17. Different Class, Pulp (“It only took ‘em 20 years…”)
#16. Steve McQueen, Prefab Sprout (“Thomas Dolby’s best moment, and he wasn’t even in the group!”)
#15. Power, Corruption and Lies, New Order (“After Blue Monday they dropped THIS.”)
#14. Armed Forces, Elvis Costello (“Maybe not his best, certainly his catchiest.”)
#13. Bandwagonesque, Teenage Fanclub (“Brought power pop back in vogue”)
#12. Rattus Norvegicus, The Stranglers (“Degenerate elder statesmen of punk. Their debut.”)
#11. The Pleasure Principal, Gary Numan (“Back in fashion once again, because this is such a damn fine album!”)
#10. A Scandal In Bohemia, Jazz Butcher (“Eccentric, drunken Englishmen release their masterpiece.”)
#9. Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon (“Primal scream therapy begat this, his finest.”)
#8. Muswell Hillbillies, The Kinks (“Takin’ their sound into the back woods of England, and all the better for it!”)
#7. A Night At The Opera, Queen (“Bombastic guilty pleasure.”)
#6. Sandinista!, The Clash (“Overwrought, self indulgent…their best album”)
#5. Screamadelica, Primal Scream (“The sound of trippin’ on “E”)
#4. Sgt. Peppers, The Beatles (“Changed the world, and contains A Day In The Life. What more do you want?”)
#3. Jesus Of Cool, Nick Lowe (“Has quickly risen in the charts (my charts, anyway), due to the eclecticism and downright brilliance of the songwriting.”)
#2. Revolver, The Beatles (“The album that still sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. Hasn’t dated in the least.”)
…and my #1 pick is….