“1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” Book Review

By Nick The Recordlover

Hello Fellow Music Lovers,

As you may know, Rolling Stone magazine has just published their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” issue. Any Top 10, Top 20, Top 1000-whatever it may be-list is going to be subjective (which is defined as influenced by personal taste, opinion, emotion, feeling, etc.). I have to say I didn’t agree with most of those choices on the list. In fact, it wasn’t what was on the list but what wasn’t.

Anyhow, I’ve already spoken my piece about that list. Tonight I will be discussing “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” which contains over 950 pages (including the index) of essays discussing albums from the 1950s-2000s. I remember buying this book for an extremely discounted price in a local outlet store brand new and sealed. I’ll tell you folks right now. This is a much different and much more subjective list of albums that I’ve researched up to this very day. It starts with Frank Sinatra’s 1955 “In The Wee Small Hours” and finishes with The White Stripes 2005 release “Get Behind Me Satan”. Fifty Years of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Rap, and Metal. Keep in mind when you read the book (and I highly recommend you do), that these essays have been written by Leading International Critics. Having said that, there is something for everyone to enjoy reading. If you’re a Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” fan, fear not. It is listed. At the time I bought the book, I was disappointed that none of the early Fleetwood Mac material pre-Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was included. What about their 1975 self -titled LP? It’s mentioned in the “Rumours” essay but deserves a spot of its own, as many artists are repeated (i.e. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Janis Joplin) here. As time has passed I’ve come to enjoy and treasure “Rumours” the more I hear it. It seems though certain albums are in this book because they “should” be included, more than by personal taste. Of Course, “Sgt. Pepper’s” gets the nod, but I’m so glad “Revolver” received its own essay. “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull is a common choice, but then again it’s the only one. I’ve snarfed up Jethro Tull albums recently -“This Was”, “Heavy Horses”, “Songs From The Wood”-, but they are curiously omitted, as are The Moody Blues albums (how can you miss “In Search of The Lost Chord” or “A Question of Balance”?). Then I was pleasantly surprised The Bee Gees “Odessa” and “Trafalgar” albums from 1969 and 1971 made the list. The Beach Boys score with “The Beach Boys Today” and “Pet Sounds”, but I would have included “Smiley Smile” and/or “Wild Honey”. The self-titled second album of Blood, Sweat & Tears gets a mention, but no “Child is Father To the Man” their debut with founding member Al Kooper? The choices in this book aren’t bad by any means. I think the Critics should have delved a little deeper. Maybe include “Between The Buttons” by The Stones? Their debut and “Exile on Main St.” get mentioned (as well they should), but I disagree with the critic who says the group hated the music on “Exile”. They think it’s been overrated, and it was a heady time in their career (to say the very least) when they recorded it, and it’s great from beginning to end, but to say the Stones “never rolled this well again” after this album? I think “Goats Head Soup” was very underrated.

Hopefully this post will influence my fellow music lovers to give this book a read and come up with their own opinions. Do you agree or disagree here? Let me know. I would love to hear from all of you.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Nick The RecordLover

Author: recordlover

Hi Everyone! Welcome to my page! I've been collecting records for over 36 years and it is my passion to search for original pressings of albums by The Beatles, Stones, British Invasion, 1960s-1970s artists, and more!

2 thoughts on ““1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” Book Review”

  1. This was a fun post. It’s nice to see a greater variety of material covered in this book than the typical lists. I find the whole idea of “1,000 [fill in the blank] before you die” books fascinating ventures, but I doubt I’d ever take a deep dive into one. I love movies and music, but not that much, haha


    1. Hi Jackie! Thank you for the comment šŸ™‚ It’s a book you can read and thumb through for fun, not the Gospel according to whomever is writing about said albums. No need to take a “cover to cover” approach to this. I think you would find certain choices fascinating, and others you would agree to disagree on.


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