I’m stealing this concept from the AV Club, who stole it from Idolator: pick your favorite album for every year you’ve been alive.
Even for someone like me, who’s been obsessively making lists for just about ever, this wasn’t easy. For one thing, I’d never really done it for anything pre-1980, and for another, I was born just a couple of years prior to the British Invasion, which pretty much kicked off what I consider the music that I love.
I decided to use my previous lists as a guide, but if something I thought was aces in 1989 hasn’t really held up, I’ve gone with something else that I still love every time I hear it.
While I was doing this, other things came to mind: my favorite years were 1967, 1980, 1987, 1991 & 1994; years where any of the top 4 or 5 records I love more than the top record from years like 1974, 1990 or 1999 or 2004. Also, apparently, 1962, was the worst year ever for music, because I think that Dylan’s debut is way way way down in his canon.
Most frustrating was a year like 1975, where epochal records like Physical Graffitti or Born to Run — absolute all-time classics which I still love — get edged out when they would have stomped either the year before or the year prior.
That said, as the digital encroachment and reissue dates made the actual year something was released a bit amorphous, I was able to cheat a bit to cover up a weak-ass 2000 and leverage a strong 2001.
And finally, I’ve resisted the temptation to use the U.K. release date (December 1979) of London Calling just to get Boy, or Pretenders — both of which I loved more at the time — not to mention I Just Can’t Stop It or Underwater Moonlight, which have never gotten old, even for a second, on this list.
But, you know, London Calling.
In any event, here is my list:
- 1962: Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan
- 1963: James Brown – Live at the Apollo
- 1964: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
- 1965: Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
- 1966: Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
- 1967: The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground and Nico
- 1968: The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
- 1969: The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed
- 1970: The Kinks – Lola Vs. Powerman & The Moneygoround Pt 1
- 1971: The Who – Who’s Next
- 1972: The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
- 1973: The Who – Quadrophenia
- 1974: Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin’
- 1975: Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
- 1976: Led Zeppelin – Presence
- 1977: The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
- 1978: The Clash – Give Em’ Enough Rope
- 1979: The Clash – The Clash
- 1980: The Clash – London Calling
- 1981: X – Wild Gift
- 1982: The Dream Syndicate – The Days of Wine and Roses
- 1983: R.E.M. – Murmur
- 1984: The Replacements – Let it Be
- 1985: Bob Dylan – Biograph
- 1986: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
- 1987: Hüsker Dü – Warehouse: Songs & Stories
- 1988: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
- 1989: The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
- 1990: The Pixies – Bossanova
- 1991: Nirvana – Nevermind
- 1992: R.E.M – Automatic For The People
- 1993: Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
- 1994: Hole – Live Through This
- 1995: Oasis – What’s The Story, Morning Glory?
- 1996: Beck – Odelay
- 1997: Whiskeytown – Strangers Almanac
- 1998: Billy Bragg & Wilco – Mermaid Ave.
- 1999: Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
- 2000: Whiskeytown – Pneumonia (Napster Version)
- 2001: Bob Dylan – “Love & Theft”
- 2002: Drive-by Truckers – Southern Rock Opera (reissue)
- 2003: The Wrens – The Meadowlands
- 2004: The Arcade Fire – Funeral
- 2005: The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
- 2006: The Hold Steady – Boys & Girls in America
- 2007: The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
- 2008: Drive-by Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
will (betheboy) says
I was making my own version of this earlier and I used 1979 as the release for London calling. Otherwise I followed the rules except for 2004 which I skipped
1974: Brian Eno, Here Come The Warm Jets
1975: Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks
1976: Station to Station, David Bowie
1977: Television, Marquee Moon
1978: The Jam, All Mods Con
1979: The Clash, London Calling
1980: AC/DC, Back in Black
1981: X, Wild Gift
1982: Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
1983: R.E.M., Murmur
1984: The Replacements, Let it Be
1985: The Replacements, Tim
1986: Run DMC, Raising Hell
1987: REM, Document
1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
1989: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic
1990: Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
1991: Nevermind, Nirvana
1992: Harvest Moon, Neil Young
1993: Nirvana, In Utero
1994: Let Love In, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
1995: Get Lost, Magnetic Fields
1996: Murder Ballads, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
1997: Bob Dylan, Time Out Of Mind
1998: Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
1999: Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
2000: PJ Harvey, Songs From The City Songs From the Sea
2001- Bob Dylan, Love and Theft
2002 – Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
2003- Grandaddy – Sumday
2004 – Omited Due to Apathy
2005 – The Hold Steady – Seperation Sunday
2006 – Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
2007 – Anything But that Arcade Fire record
It’s amazing how we can be so in sync with so much music, but then disagree wildly on things like The Arcade Fire and Nick Cave . . .
will (betheboy) says
For the record I don’t like all Nick cave, but those are especially good.
Tim G. says
I can go with Jim’s list, mostly. However, I strongly favor Dylan’s first, rather than give it a grudging nod.
1970: Derek and the Dominoes – Layla
1985: The Replacements – Tim
1994: Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
1996: Beck tied with Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
2003: Grandaddy – Sumday
2006: My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
2008: R.E.M. – Accelerate [so far–still early]
Layla was in my original draft, and of course, if I hadn’t gone with Biograph, either Tim or Fables of the Reconstruction of the Fables for 1985.
And I totally forgot about Rocks for 1976.
john r says
Wonderful post! 1962 wasn’t all that bad, it was the year of “Green Onions”. Great lists so far , but here is my list.
1963: Sam Cooke – Live at Harlem Square
1964: Elmore James – Original Folk Blues
1965: The Byrds- Mr. Tamborine Man
1966: Bob Dylan- Blonde on Blonde
1967: The Kinks- Something Else
1968: Van Morrison- Astral Weeks
1969: Creedence : Willy and the Poorboys
1970: The Stooges: Fun House
1971: The Who: Meaty Beaty Bouncy
1972 Rolling stones: Exile on Main St.
1973 New York Dolls: New York Dolls
1974 Big Star : Radio City
1975 Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston
1976 The Modern Lovers: Modern Lovers
1977 The Ramones: Rocket To Russia
1978 Wire: Pink Flag
1979 The Clash: The Clash
1980 X: Los Angeles
1981 Elvis Costello: Trust
1982 Dream Syndicate: Wine & Roses
1983 R.E.M.: Murmur
1984 The Replacements: Let It Be
1985 Husker Du: Flip D Wig
1986 Moving Targets: Burning N Water
1987 Sonic Youth: Sister
1988 Cat Heads: Submarine
1989 The Mekons: Rock’n Roll
1990 Yo La Tengo: Fake Book
1991 Superchunk: No Pocky For Kitty
1992 Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted
1993 Polvo: Todays Active lifestyles
1994 Sebadoh: Bake Sale
1995 Luna: Penthouse
1996 Wilco: Being There
1997 Steve Earle: El Corazon
1998 Billy Bragg&Wilco: Mermaid Ave
1999 Sleater-Kinney: The Hot Rock
2000 The White Stripes: De Stijl
2001 Old 97’s: Sattelite Rides
2002 Neko Case: Blacklisted
2003 Drive by Truckers: Decoration Day
2004 Black Keys: Rubber Factory
2005 Spoon: Gimme Fiction
2006 Yo La Tengo:I’m Not Afraid of You…
2007 Apples in Stereo: New Magnetic Wonder
2008 Baseball Project: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails
Great list, naturally. A lot of those are in my top 5 of that year.
Just downloaded the Baseball Project from emusic, so I haven’t listened to it all the way, yet.
Oh, and if you don’t have a copy of Submarine, I found one in an mp3 blog.
john r says
Thanks for the Submarine link! I have it on vinyl, but I have never seen it on cd.