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….

#1. Giant Steps, The Boo Radleys (“I’ve spoken too much about this brilliant album already. Better than Revolver, you say? You better damn well believe it!”)