Monday, August 19, 2013


Fifty years ago, an obscure band from Liverpool released an album called Please Please Me that sold a few copies and gave the band a little exposure during the sixties.

A few years ago, I hosted a blogfest on the best debut albums (you can check out my list and links to the other sites HERE.)

Rolling Stone has compiled their list of the 100 greatest debut albums of all time HERE, and I thought I would be interesting to contrast their list with the results of the blogfest.

Rolling Stone "discounted" the debut if the artist went on to greater success, and gave extra recognition to debuts where the success was never repeated. They skipped debuts from artists who had left well-known bands.

This explains why Greetings From Asbury Park did not make the top 25, but does not explain why Boston is not in the top ten.

As is the case with most Rolling Stone lists, it suffers from a bit of pandering and political correctness.  So while their guidelines were not a bad idea, some of their choices (and the running order) are, in my opinion, missteps.

No question that The Beastie Boys belong on the list...but at number 1? While N.W.A. certainly belongs, some of the other rap choices surprise me. And where the heck is Todd Snider's debut (let alone Bob Dylan's)?

Another problem I have with the list is the notion that they gave extra recognition where the success of the debut album was not repeated, but have so many recent debuts on the list.

1. Beastie Boys “Licensed To Ill”

2.  Ramones (S/T)

3. Jimi Hendrix Experience (S/T)

4. Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction”

5. The Velvet Underground “Andy Warhol”

6.  N.W.A. “Straight Outta Compton”

7. Sex Pistols “Never Mind The Bollocks”

8. The Strokes “Is This It”

9.  The Band “Music From Big Pink”

10. Patti Smith “Horses”

11. Nas (S/T)

12. The Clash (S/T)

13. The Pretenders (S/T)

14. Jay-Z “Reasonable Doubt”

15. Arcade Fire “Funeral”

16. The Cars (S/T)

17. The Beatles “Please Please Me”

18. R.E.M. “Murmur”

19. Kanye West “The College Dropout”

20. Joy Division “Unknown Pleasures”

21. Elvis Costello “My Aim Is True”

22. Violent Femmes  (S/T)

23. The Notorious B-I-G “Ready To Die”

24. Vampire Weekend (S/T) 

25. Pavement “Slanted And Enchanted”

Too many of these choices (Strokes, Nas, Jay-Z, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Joy Division, Violent Femmes, Notorious BIG, Vampire Weekend, Pavement) are just the Rolling Stone editors trying to show how hip they are-I guess now that Spin ceased publication they feel like they're the new "cool" magazine.

How Get The Knack did not make the top 25 is beyond me, and I've already mentioned the Todd Snider debut. And Bob Dylan? Not to mention a certain Eddie Van Halen who changed the way electric guitar was played (sorry Hendrix fans-no one plays with their teeth, but everyone is a-tapping).

Sucking up to your young readers is one thing, but I would have liked to have seen a list more representative of debut albums that people actually purchased while they were debut albums, not after the band hit it big (or got killed by a rival gang member, making them a rap martyr).

More to come......






  1. Yeah, Rolling Stone Magazine! Cool covers, but nothing of substance inside as far as I'm concerned. Like you said, it always seems like they have an agenda there. I pick one up every couple of years and it never fails to remind me of why I don't read it.


    1. Jimmy- I am embarassed to say I still subscribe for the three or four pages that focus on music...was never in synch with their politics even as a kid. But it is getting harder to relate even to the music coverage as rap and hip hop become more mainstream.

      I am not a fan of the music, and the overt lyrics are simply a turn off to me.

      Remember when you had to think about the sexual innuendo (rollercoaster or love)?

      Now they just say "back that ass up"-and that's the G-rated stuff!

  2. This is why I refuse to read lists like this. Because they're always BS. You're right about the "wanting to look hip" thing. Kanye and Jay-Z on this list? Please. Also, Indie rock is my bread and butter. My personal favorite music. But Arcade Fire? Why? Those guys are mediocre at best.

    "Oh, but wait, they won a Grammy... so that means they're fantastic, right?"

    1. I should probably swear off lists since they always frustrate me.

      I just think that no matter how you measure it (relevance, impact, sales) a lot of titles were left off.

      After I finish posting the list, I am going to show the blogfest results.


  3. Rolling Stone what little credibility it has left when it featured the Boston bomber on the cover of the magazine. That said, I will put in my two cents on this portion of the list. You must take into account that my music appreciation doesn't range as far and wide as yours. Oh, and I did read your blog bit.

    I don't understand The Beastie Boys getting the number one spot. I can see them making the list, but not number one. I agree with you about Boston and the Top 10. I will say that the Violent Femmes album changed my life, so I have a personal attachment there. I know every song on that album word for word to this day. However, I am not so sure in the entire scheme of music I would put it at #22. In the Top 100, yes, but lower down.

    And Eminem is my favorite Rapper. The fact that anyone else is higher than him on this list just makes it Not Right.

    The bottom line is that these sorts of lists are always personal to the writer(s). And I agree that RS works overtime to prove how "cool" it still is. Blech.

    1. I think, Robin, if they would have had a more representative percentage of acts from across the years, I'd have less of an issue-it just feels like (maybe I will do the math to verify) the last twenty years are over-represented.

  4. Rolling Stone has been a big smouldering pile of crap for years.

    I wouldn't have bothered looking at their list, but I did look at yours, it was tons better than theirs, but I would have had more of your "honorable mentions" in any top ten I would have done. If I went by my plays, Boston and Counting Crows would have been winners, with the Cars not far back. (Keep in mind as I say that that I was far more likely to by greatest hits than debuts.) Weezer might be up there two, if I hadn't lost the damn tape.

    1. I guess we can credit RS for being consistent-they were a liberal rag then and they are a liberal rag now.

      They also have always reflected the mainstream, so while they write about fewer and fewer bands that interest me, I guess they've remained true to whatever standard they had.


    2. After I took a nap, I got thinking about this- and how bad a list I'd be stuck making. I'll post something in a little bit, with due credit.

  5. >>... Rolling Stone "discounted" the debut if the artist went on to greater success

    I don't think I understand what that means. They discounted the debut if the artist made it really big later? If so, then why are The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix on the list?

    And why would they discount a debut just because the artist made it big? What has the artist's future fame and fortune got to do with the quality of their debut album? I don't get this.

    Plus, their list is bad anyway. (What a surprise!)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Stephen-it gets worse (their list).

      And I agree-shouldn't the debut be judged on its own merit?

      There is some stuff on the list I'd leave on that I doubt you would remove (like the last item-you'll have to wait to find out what it is), but so many of their choices are blatant pandering.

      After the four posts that make up the RS list, I do a synopsis of our blogfest from a few years back.

      Our panel of "experts" did it better.

  6. Some very weird choices here. I never owned many of these albums. I don't recall what my best debut picks back during the blogfest, but I think The Band's "Big Pink" may have been number 1 or at least on the list. Great album.

    A Faraway View

    1. Lee-

      Big Pink was on your list, in your "no brainers" section.

      It might be interesting to try this one again to see if we could get a wider participation.

      Another possible blog hop-top ten soundtrack albums.