11 November 2006

1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

There’s a new book out — 1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die — that DJ Cayenne, my favorite Baby Got Books contributor, posted about this week.

If you love to read and you’ve never visited Baby Got Books, you’re doing yourself a disservice. That gang does a fantastic job reviewing the latest and keeping us up to date with literary news. Bookmark it today.

The ever-cool DJ Cayenne did more that write a simple post. He put together a spreadsheet with those 1,001 albums so that you can calculate how many of these must-hears you’ve heard.

I’ve heard 651 on the list. Added bonus: I now know my gaps, and will be filling in those unheard holes in the next several months. Being nerdy, not groovy like Mr. Cayenne, I further calculated my strengths by decade. My best showing (listening?) was (not surprisingly) the 1980s, for which I’ve heard 76.08 percent of the albums listed, followed by the 1970s, with 70.65 percent. What surprised me is I’ve heard more from the 2000s list than the 1990s.

Now get over there and calculate your aural experiences, then come back and post your tally here. I’m especially interested in M’s and Ben’s scores; I think they’ll best me. Haahnster may beat me, too.

And now I’m off for a cultural evening of bookstore browsing and Borat braying.

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At 11/11/2006 11:13:00 PM, Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Baby Got Books looks pretty cool; thanks for the pointer.

I thought it would be interesting to at least check out the list. I didn't bother calculating; my results would be much too dismal. I can't write while listening to music with words in English, and I like Latin music, so I listen to that more than anything. Most of what I've heard was from the late 1960s and 1970s, when I listened to the radio more.

I do, however, have proof that whoever compiled that list was completely insane. There's only one Jethro Tull album on the list, there's not a single Warren Zevon album on the list, and he puts Britney Spears on there? Some of you might not consider these obvious choices, but no Miami Sound Machine, no Gloria Estefan at all, no Selena, but he made room for Britney Spears on the list? That makes no sense whatsoever.

At 11/12/2006 12:50:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Spreadsheet error! Row 1 is a column header row. Rows 2, 26, 177, 455, 666, and 906 simply say "1950s," "1960s," "1970s," "1980s," "1990s," and "2000s," respectively. That's 7 rows that do not contain album titles. If there were truly 1001 albums listed, we would expect the last row to be 1008 [1001 plus the 7 rows identified above]. Here, the last album is listed on row 1005.

So, which 3 albums are missing?

PS - You kicked my butt in any event. :-)

At 11/12/2006 08:24:00 AM, Blogger Ben said...

I bought this book about 7 or 8 months ago. It's huge and I used it to assist me in choosing my 300 favourite albums.

Some of the choices are a little odd (Britney Spears - Baby One More Time), but most of it is really entertaining.

I'd recommend it to any music fan.

At 11/12/2006 09:34:00 AM, Anonymous DJ Cayenne said...

Beth: Your check is in the mail. My down decade, other than the 50's was the sixties. Huge holes. I'm using the list to fill some embarrassing holes. I've downloaded Beggar's Banquet, Highway 61 Revisited, the Nico album (she's clearly tone deaf).

Haahnster: Nice catch. I've linked to the source list for my spreadsheet. If you can figure out what's missing, I'd be happy to issue an update/retraction. Do we really need to give Beth three more opportunities to humiliate us?

At 11/12/2006 11:01:00 AM, Blogger lulu said...

I'm weighing in here in favor of Brit. Baby one more time is an absolutely perfect little pop song. The fact that the singer is a barefoot-going, non-carseat using, K-Fed marying nut job, doesn't detract from the perfection of the song.

The Baby Got Books website looks interesting, but I barely have time to read the books I want to read, let alone read about the books I don't know I want to read.

At 11/12/2006 05:42:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

i read this book a few months ago, but i didn't have the handy-dandy spreedsheet to record what i had heard. i have listened to 698 of these records. like the rest of you, i wonder how some of these albums got on the list.

what the f*ck is korn doing there?

and no, i haven't listened to it, so maybe it really deserves to be there. riiight...

there are some glaring gaps in this list. hey beth, you should put together a column on what should be there!

At 11/12/2006 05:45:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

THE WANDERING AUTHOR: I have to admit, I was also appalled that Britney Spears was included on the list. Yes, that album was a fun pop trifle (I guess; I've never heard it, other than the first hit) ... but there is much better pop out there. What about Squeeze? And you're right about the Zevon exclusion; that ticked me off.

HAAHNSTER: You tickle me with your Excel nerdiness. I thought the number was off, but I didn't check. And I'm glad I beat you; age comes in handy sometimes.

BEN: I'd rather read your 1,001 tome ... but I'll probably pick it up and get ready for debates. But I'm curious: By how many albums did you beat my number? I'm betting you're in the nine hundreds.

DJ CAYENNE: I scored about 68 percent on the 1960s ... but I was alive throughout the 1960s, so it makes sense that I'd hear more from that decade. Still surprises me that my 1990s listens are lower than the 1960s.

LULU: I just don't see Brit's album being one of the 1,001 most important albums you must hear. There's a lot of great pop out there that could have ranked above her. Check out Baby Got Books next summer, when you're on break.

M: I knew you'd beat me! I'm gonna download 50 of my misses so that I can get ahead. Maybe we should join forces and build our own 1,001 list.

At 11/12/2006 06:55:00 PM, Blogger Old Lady said...

I'm ashamed, not giving out my score.

At 11/13/2006 05:07:00 AM, Blogger barista brat said...

i couldn't get the spreadsheet downloaded, but i'm going to check the book out. i'm pretty sure my faves aren't on there, though :(

At 11/13/2006 09:04:00 AM, Anonymous HollyC said...

Okay, do you get extra points if you listened to a particular album 1,000,000 times? If not, well, my score is not so hot. You can spot the decades that I worked too much...

At 11/13/2006 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

Beth, how do you intend to listen to your missing albums? That sounds expensive...

Oh, and you all leave Britney Spears out of this!!! That little girl has had enough heartache without a lot of bloggers going after her!

I will take the test later.

At 11/13/2006 09:58:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

OLD LADY: You shouldn't be ashamed! You were probably out there gettin' it done while I was chained to my turntable.

BRAT: There's no Serge Gainsbourg, but there are some good ones on the list. Want me to send you the spreadsheet?

HOLLYC: Maybe that's why my 1990s are lacking ...

COASTER PUNCHMAN: Expensive, but worth it. My priorities are quite in check, aren't they? And I hope Britney's feeling relief, not heartache right now.

At 11/13/2006 10:50:00 AM, Blogger gizmorox said...

I'm not even going to try giving myself a score because it will be dismal. It's an interesting list though. I find it odd that the only Madonna is the recent albums. Because I kind of hate them.

And three Dexy's Midnight Runners albums? Really? Three?

At 11/13/2006 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

Just glancing at the list, I'm at 25 or 30 percent.

I read an article in the New York Times a few years ago where a woman said that she may not have read a lot of important books, but she knew of them and what they were about. I think it's the same with me and those albums. I haven't heard all of them, but I know of most of them.

At 11/13/2006 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Ben Heller said...

Blimey Beth, I never even checked to see how many I've got. I know I've got every one from the 50's, because the last one I got recently was Tito Puente.
The 90's is probably the lowest because there's a lot of Hip/Hop and Rap albums that I don't have.

At 11/13/2006 02:14:00 PM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

"Tito Puente's gonna be dead, and you're gonna say 'Oh, I've been listening to him for years, and I think he's fabulous'"-- John Winger-- Stripes

At 11/13/2006 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Will said...

Wow ... 1001 ... I'll let Ben Heller know he's got competition. I have some glaring gaps I'm sure so I'll have to check it out. Not look I need more music to listen to, however, but you know how it is.

At 11/13/2006 02:42:00 PM, Blogger landru said...

Yet again another example of why I never put together lists like this. It's impossible to say what is "good" and "bad" when it comes to something like music. There are maybe a handful of musically "important" records on that list (as in, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven important) and the rest is down to taste and the marketplace.

At 11/13/2006 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Tenacious S said...

581, but I think the list is a bit odd. I think we all have at least one "where the heck is......" thought in our mind. I don't know, at this point in my life, I know what I like and while I always appreciate a good recommendation, I'd rather have one from a friend who knows me.

At 11/13/2006 04:03:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I like lists like that. A few notable absences that I could tell (maybe I just missed them):
-not a single Ween album
-not a single They Might Be Giants album
-Maybe it was geared toward Rock, but there were some jazz titles in there and they are missing a bunch of good ones.

Sorry to nitpick. There were a few I was heartened to see, like The La's, The The (twice) and a couple of Spiritualized albums.

At 11/13/2006 04:23:00 PM, Blogger lulu said...

I was at 681, but the only reason for that is that most of the 50-60s stuff my parents had, so I have heard them, but it isn't like I went out of my way to look for it. And what if I have heard the albumn but hate it?

I think the list was odd, and obviously very subjective. No TMBG, and like 100 Bowie albums. Not that Bowie isn't great, but it is obviously all about the compiler's personal taste.

At 11/13/2006 06:14:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

Can I just act like a total asshole and tell people I've listened to those albums and I think they're all crap?

At 11/13/2006 06:29:00 PM, Blogger mellowlee said...

Thanks for the links! I bookmarked the site, and downloaded the spreadsheet for later :)

At 11/13/2006 07:13:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

GIZMOROX: Ben may slap my hand, but I think Dexy's Midnight Runners should be applauded for "Come on Eileen," and that's about it.

JOHNNY YEN: I know about 98 percent of the albums ... and which ones I never care to listen to. Great Stripes reference, by the way; we can never quote too many Bill Murray vehicles on this page.

BEN: It's the rap/hip-hop albums that hurt my 1990s score, too. I have songs, but haven't listened to albums. I want you to expand your 300 to 1,001.

WILL: I'm using it to fill in the holes I'm interested in; I'm not going for a 1.000 batting average. I prefer listening to what Will & Ben's Record Room tells me to listen to.

LANDRU: It's good to see you on this side of the comment box! I don't any one person or group of editors can put together THE definitive list ... but I enjoy the conversations and arguments these lists bring.

At 11/13/2006 07:20:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

TENACIOUS S: I'm with you on preferring a recommendation from a friend. But lists are fun to debate, aren't they?

CHRIS: I hate to go against you and the many, many others ... but I don't see TMBG as a seminal, important band. Fun, yes; influential, no. What I thought was lacking was country music.

LULU: I thought you'd be way up there; you beat me. I love Bowie and I find him very influential, so all of his didn't bother me. I'd happily cut some of the Aerosmith and Doors, though; I hate the Doors.

GRANT MILLER: Go asshole, go! That's why we love you.

MELLOWLEE: Let me know what you think.

At 11/13/2006 08:34:00 PM, Blogger Toccata said...

Saw you on Mellowlee's site and decided to give you a click. I'm sure glad I did. Thanks for the sites, I'm going to have a look see after posting this comment.

I'm terribly impressed that you have already listened to 651 of the entries!

At 11/13/2006 08:52:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

beth darlin',

i think you would come close to putting together a pretty definitive must-HAVE album list-(which is different than must listen to list )as long as you let us blog groupies make a few suggestions.

At 7/20/2007 01:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello folks... as haahnster mentioned above, three albums are missing from the spreadsheet linked here (and from the source list used to create it...)

They are...
#94 Byrds -- Younger than Yesterday
#201 James Taylor -- Sweet Baby James
#339 Tom Waits -- Nighthawks at the Diner

This info via http://www.listsofbests.com/list/3687



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