Top 50 American Albums Of All Time

As promised, here is my list of the top 50 American record albums of all time. You’ll notice there’s no REM or Smashing Pumpkins here, and that was most definitely on purpose!

#50. Music From Big Pink, The Band (“Oops! These guys are Canadian, aren’t they?”)

#49. We’re Only In It For The Money, Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention (“His sarcastic best!”)

#48. Lysergic Emanations, The Fuzztones (“Sexist, skuzzy and absolutely brilliant!!”)

#47. American Beauty, Grateful Dead (“Like ‘em or not, this album influenced a TON of bands…some good (My Morning Jacket, Wilco), some terrible (Phish, anyone?)

46. Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, Gene Vincent (“Be Bop A Lula…one of the best songs in pop music history.”)

#45. The Sophtware Slump, Grandaddy (“Worth it for The Crystal Lake”)

#44. Dusk At Cubist Castle, Olivia Tremor Control (“Elephant 6 member continues to worship at the alter of 1968 psychedelic pop and does a damn fine job”)

#43. (insert your own album here–thanks, Simon, yet another oversight!)

#42. The Soft Bulletin, The Flaming Lips (In hindsight, this should’ve been a little higher. Naked emotion presented in a modern way.”)

#41. The Velvet Underground (3rd), Velvet Underground (“Their quietest album, and my 2nd favorite from these guys.”)

#40. The Stooges, The Stooges (“The template for 70’s English punk rock”)

#39. Songs For Swinging Lovers, Frank Sinatra (“The first concept album.”)

#38. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (“Not even a guilty pleasure anymore, just a great album. Buckingham’s guitar playing is amazing”)

#37. In The Jungle Groove, James Brown (“Quite simply the best funk album of all time!”)

#36. Marquee Moon, Television (“NYC cool. The Strokes WISH they had half the swagger of these guys”)

#35. Paul’s Boutique, Beastie Boys (“The best hip-hop record ever. Period. And I don’t even really like hip-hop.)

#34. Killers, Alice Cooper (“The beginning of classic-period Alice Cooper!”)

#33. Odelay, Beck (“The one consistently good Beck album.”)

#32. Psychedelic Jungle, The Cramps (“Pure, evil fun. File with the Fuzztones”)

#31. Candy-O, The Cars (“I’m in the minority, but I prefer this to their debut.”)

#30. Buddy Holly, Buddy Holly (“Forget Elvis! Holly was the real deal…”)

#29. Post War, M. Ward (“The most unique voice to come along in a very long time.”)

#28. Double Nickels On The Dime, Minutemen (“Brilliant bass playing.”)

#27. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel (“Weird, and a tad overrated. Not for everyone, but it gets under your skin.”)
#26. Z, My Morning Jacket (“2005 slab of grain silo psychedelic brilliance.”)

#25. Ramones, Ramones (“Gabby Gabby Hey!”)

#24. Sail Away, Randy Newman (“Newman was a true punk, back before he sold his soul to Disney/Pixar.”)

#23. Raw Power, The Stooges (“The title says it all”)

#22. Summerteeth, Wilco (“Tweedy is the modern day Brian Wilson, along with Wayne Coyne from the Flaming L:ips, and this is Wilco’s best album.”)

#21. Psychedelic Soul, The Temptations (“Papa Was A Rolling Stone stretched out to 14 minutes? Yes please!”)

#20. Suicide, Suicide (“Psychobilly electro wizards/pioneers that should be lauded”)

#19. Transformer, Lou Reed (“New York bad boy goes to England, finds success as a glam God, thanks to Bowie”)

#18. Sunflower/Surf’s Up, Beach Boys (“Underrated by everyone, still. This is the Beach Boys period that is influencing scores of bands today, not Pet Sounds.”)

#17. Innervisions, Stevie Wonder (“Because it’s friggin’ amazing, that’s why!”)

#16. Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper (“The ACG’s most consistent set of songs, and their best record before Cooper went all Vaudvillian on our asses”)

#15. Cosmos Factory, CCR (“The last great swamp-boogie classic.”)

#14. Maggot Brain, Funkadelic (“Daddy, what’s a Funkadelic?”)

#13. Sounds Like Silver, LCD Soundsystem (“By far the best new band in 10 years”)

#12. Plastic Surgery Disasters, Dead Kennedys (“Ups the anger quotient, and the humor, from their debut.”)

#11. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Flaming Lips (“Forget the whole ‘concept’ thang and marvel at the songs…”)

#10. The Doors, The Doors (“Simply one of the best debut albums of all time”)

#9. Rocket To Russia, The Ramones (“Back to front the BEST Ramones album of all time”)

#8. #1 Record/Radio City, Big Star (“Every song a power-pop gem”)

#7. Funhouse, The Stooges (“What a freaking fantastic record. Iggy sounds like he’s in some intense pain, man…”)

#6. The Velvet Underground and Nico, Velvet Underground (“Heroin still makes the hairs on the back of my arm stand up.”)

#5. At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash (“What a bad-ass this dude was. Man of the people, indeed.”)

#4. Deserter’s Songs, Mercury Rev (“Weirdo-Americana at its finest.”)

#3. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye (“A latecomer to this record, it has obviously risen in stature. A masterpiece.”)

#2. John Wesley Harding, Bob Dylan (“Hwy 61, Blood On The Tracks, Blonde On Blonde…all good, but this will always be my top Dylan album.”)

…and the #1 pick is…

#1. Pet Sounds, Beach Boys (“Well, duh. Aside from the God-awful cover, of course…”)