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Observer - top 100 British albums

 

Maandelijks brengt het Engelse opnieweekblad The Observer de Observer Music Monthly uit. 

Op zondag 20 juni 2004 werd onderstaande lijst gepubliceerd. 

Samengesteld door 100 Engelse journalisten en musici. 

Elke deelnemer moest 10 favoriete Britse albums noemen. 

 

In juli publiceerde het Engelse Q een zelfde soort lijst

 

1 Stone roses The Stone roses
2 Beatles Revolver
3 Clash London calling
4 Van Morrison Astral weeks
5 Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely hearts club band
6 Beatles The Beatles (= the white album)
7 Rolling stones Sticky fingers
8 Rolling stones Exile on Main street
9 Massive attack Blue lines
10 Public Image Ltd. Metal box
11 David Bowie The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars
12 Rolling stones Beggars banquet
13 Clash The Clash
14 Sex pistols Never mind the bollocks
15 Soul II Soul Club classics, vol. 1
16 Nick Drake Five leaves left
17 Specials The Specials
18 Joy division Closer
19 Oasis Definitely maybe
20 My bloody Valentine Loveless
21 Smiths The Smiths
22 Kate Bush Hounds of love
23 Roxy music For your pleasure
24 Radiohead OK computer
25 Pink floyd The piper at the gates of dawn
26 Roxy music Roxy music
27 Fairport convention Unhalfbricking
28 Beatles Abbey road
29 Roxy music Stranded
30 Joy division Unknown pleasures
31 Ian Dury and the Blockheads New boots and panties
32 Beatles Rubber soul
33 Talk talk Spirit of Eden
34 Rod Stewart Every picture tells a story
35 Nick Drake Bryter layter
36 Robert Wyatt Rock bottom
37 Smiths The queen is dead
38 Echo and the Bunnymen Ocean rain
39 David Bowie Low
40 Led zeppelin Led zeppelin II
41 Radiohead The bends
42 ABC The lexicon of love
43 La's The La's
44 Happy mondays Bummed
45 John Lennon John Lennon/Plastic Ono band
46 John Martyn Solid air
47 Smiths Hatful of hollow
48 Led zeppelin Led zeppelin IV
49 Brain Eno Here come the warm jets
50 Small faces Ogden's nut gone flake
51 Yes The Yes album
52 Steel pulse Handsworth revolution
53 Vashti Bunyan Just another diamond day
54 Dexy's midnight runners Searching for the young soul rebels
55 Gang of four Entertainment
56 Jam All mod cons
57 Kinks Kinks are the Village green preservation society
58 Slits Cut
59 Verve Urban hymns
60 Tricky Maxinquaye
61 Elvis Costello My aim is true
62 Smiths Meat is murder
63 Pink floyd Dark side of the moon
64 David Bowie Aladdin sane
65 New order Power, corruption and lies
66 Kinks Something else
67 Van Morrison Moondance
68 Primal scream Screamadelica
69 Elton John Goodbye yellow brick road
70 Oasis (What's the story) morning glory
71 T. Rex The slider
72 Teenage fanclub Grand prix
73 Thin lizzy Jailbreak
74 Who Quodrophenia
75 Streets Original pirate material
76 Blur Parklife
77 Dusty Springfield Dusty in Memphis
78 Rolling stones Let it bleed
79 Nic Jones Penguin eggs
80 David Bowie Station to station
81 Portishead Dummy
82 Pentangle Basket of light
83 Who My generation
84 Young disciples Road to freedom
85 David Bowie Hunky dory
86 Dexy's midnight runners Don't stand me down
87 Fall This nation's saving grace
88 David Bowie Young Americans
89 Wings and Paul McCartney Band on the run
90 Police Regatta de blanc
91 Led zeppelin Physical graffiti
92 Black sabbath Paranoid
93 Coldplay Parachutes
94 Pet shop boys Behaviour
95 Dizzee Rascal Boy in da corner
96 Human league Dare
97 Cocteau twins Heaven or Las Vegas
98 Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Rattlesnakes
99 Manic street preachers The holy bible
100 Eurythmics Sweet dreams




Alfabetisch

ABC The lexicon of love
Beatles Abbey road
Beatles Revolver
Beatles Rubber soul
Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely hearts club band
Beatles The Beatles (= the white album)
Black sabbath Paranoid
Blur Parklife
David Bowie Aladdin sane
David Bowie Hunky dory
David Bowie Low
David Bowie Station to station
David Bowie The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars
David Bowie Young Americans
Vashti Bunyan Just another diamond day
Kate Bush Hounds of love
Clash London calling
Clash The Clash
Cocteau twins Heaven or Las Vegas
Coldplay Parachutes
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Rattlesnakes
Elvis Costello My aim is true
Dexy's midnight runners Don't stand me down
Dexy's midnight runners Searching for the young soul rebels
Nick Drake Bryter layter
Nick Drake Five leaves left
Ian Dury and the Blockheads New boots and panties
Echo and the Bunnymen Ocean rain
Brain Eno Here come the warm jets
Eurythmics Sweet dreams
Fairport convention Unhalfbricking
Fall This nation's saving grace
Gang of four Entertainment
Happy mondays Bummed
Human league Dare
Jam All mod cons
Elton John Goodbye yellow brick road
Nic Jones Penguin eggs
Joy division Closer
Joy division Unknown pleasures
Kinks Kinks are the Village green preservation society
Kinks Something else
La's The La's
Led zeppelin Led zeppelin II
Led zeppelin Led zeppelin IV
Led zeppelin Physical graffiti
John Lennon John Lennon/Plastic Ono band
Manic street preachers The holy bible
John Martyn Solid air
Massive attack Blue lines
Van Morrison Astral weeks
Van Morrison Moondance
My bloody Valentine Loveless
New order Power, corruption and lies
Oasis (What's the story) morning glory
Oasis Definitely maybe
Pentangle Basket of light
Pet shop boys Behaviour
Pink floyd Dark side of the moon
Pink floyd The piper at the gates of dawn
Police Regatta de blanc
Portishead Dummy
Primal scream Screamadelica
Public Image Ltd. Metal box
Radiohead OK computer
Radiohead The bends
Dizzee Rascal Boy in da corner
Rolling stones Beggars banquet
Rolling stones Exile on Main street
Rolling stones Let it bleed
Rolling stones Sticky fingers
Roxy music For your pleasure
Roxy music Roxy music
Roxy music Stranded
Sex pistols Never mind the bollocks
Slits Cut
Small faces Ogden's nut gone flake
Smiths Hatful of hollow
Smiths Meat is murder
Smiths The queen is dead
Smiths The Smiths
Soul II Soul Club classics, vol. 1
Specials The Specials
Dusty Springfield Dusty in Memphis
Steel pulse Handsworth revolution
Rod Stewart Every picture tells a story
Stone roses The Stone roses
Streets Original pirate material
T. Rex The slider
Talk talk Spirit of Eden
Teenage fanclub Grand prix
Thin lizzy Jailbreak
Tricky Maxinquaye
Verve Urban hymns
Who My generation
Who Quodrophenia
Wings and Paul McCartney Band on the run
Robert Wyatt Rock bottom
Yes The Yes album
Young disciples Road to freedom

 

 

 

 

The 100 greatest British albums

It is the most authoritative poll of its kind and over the following 50 pages, OMM's outstanding team of critics introduce each of the best British albums of all time. Before revealing what made it to Number 1, celebrated pop writer Paul Morley explains the purpose of such an undertaking and trumpets the wealth of music contained herein ...

Sunday June 20, 2004


Lists. Don't you just hate them. And yet, don't you just love them. Hate them because they're all wrong, they're biased, they're fixed, they miss too much out, they're in the wrong order, they're utterly arbitrary, they try to cage musical beasts that should be allowed to run free in our imaginations without the indignity of being branded with numbers. And whatever comes top is usually going to knock you speechless. 
You also love them because whatever comes top is going to knock you speechless. And because without them we wouldn't really know where the Gordon Ramsay we were. They're not complete maps of anything, they're the edge of a map that features the entrance to a universe that is so vast and complicated that in the end you have to make your own way through it. The list helps you begin. It's not the Complete Book of Anything, it's like the contents page. It's the start of something, in the ridiculous but necessary disguise of being definitive. 

It is the definitive nature of the list that always unnerves me. The idea that the list is stating once and for all, this is it. But lists keep coming, ordering music in specialist sections, in time, in genre, in space, lists that sometimes support previous lists, as if there really is any kind of rock music canon, lists that often undermine previous lists, as if to say rock is always on the move and cannot ever be pinned down. The story is always changing. 

Lists in one sense, the boring sense, try and make things safe and organised. Ultimately, in a good sense, they keep breaking things up, they keep reminding us that behind and beyond the obvious, the regulars, the usual suspects, there is more and more to discover. It is in a way what is outside the list, music that is just beginning to make its way into the list, and indeed up the list, as well as the music that is slipping away, that makes them so fascinating. In this list, guaranteed, as the best lists are, to send you bananas, to get you reworking them in your own image, the Clash are joining the Beatles on the saintly stage, Public Image Ltd nibble at the Stones in the bad boy tent. Massive Attack trip past Floyd, Oasis have left Blur for Britdead. Elsewhere Nick Drake, Robert Wyatt, John Martyn and Vashti Bunyan drift in from the outside, inscrutably repre senting all that music yet to be discovered. Richard Thompson, Peter Hammill, Kevin Coyne, Roy Harper ...

One of the things that makes a list like this even more interesting is the idea that certain albums represent music that is on the edges of impinging upon the collective imagination - Wyatt reminds us of Soft Machine and Matching Mole albums that are missing, Yes makes us wonder about King Crimson, Black Sabbath about heavy metal in general, Brian Eno of all the other Brian Eno albums that are missing. Joy Division of the lack of Throbbing Gristle, Wire, Cabaret Voltaire, Magazine. TheHuman League of the lack of Depeche Mode. The lack of anything by Aphex Twin, Underworld or Leftfield reminds you of the lack of anything by Matthew Herbert or Four Tet. Consider the beginning of the alphabet, and imagine a list topped by the Auteurs, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Clinic. 

In a way though, it's all there, shadowing the list, in the gaps, behind the scenes. As I said, this is just the way in, into a very British terrain that owes a lot to mythical America, to a mixed-up world, but in some ways owes nothing. It's not necessarily something to be patriotic about, but it's definitely something to be intrigued by. All this, and more, from our little set of islands inside about 40 years. 

David Bowie, who goes up and down these lists, is currently on the up. Radiohead are falling away, because they might after all be Gentle Giant. The Kinks are klinging on, hinting at a future Sixties invasion. Roxy Music are in the perfect position to launch an assault on the top 10. Five albums from the much maligned Eighties lurk suspiciously at the bottom, perhaps on the verge of poignantly disappearing for ever, perhaps bravely fighting back into favour. They tenderly surround the newest kid on the block Dizzee Rascal, who in 10 years might have climbed alongside Roxy and the Smiths, or have gone wherever those Eighties albums will go. 

You shouldn't read anything into lists but you can't help yourself. They end up as a combination of great music that gets you worked up because they come in an order that makes a kind of sense, but which lacks statistical, historical and aesthetic integrity. It's just a snapshot developed out of the tastes of the people asked, but somehow it contains grains of truth about the shape of things. The Beatles and the Stones remain, however much these lists get revamped and assaulted by new generations of fans and critics. It's also interesting to use these lists to see when patterns and trends set in motion by these new generations become grains of truth. This list certainly suggests that the Smiths and Joy Division are now grains of truth. 

The final thought, apart from considering the end of the alphabet, and imagining a list topped by Wagon Christ, XTC and the Zombies, is how startling it is to note that Van Morrison's Astral Weeks never charted. Perhaps everyone getting pleasure from this list should go out and buy Astral Weeks, one of those great British albums that ends up in a genre of its own, in a psychic limbo between an imaginary American tradition and a possible British tradition. Astral Weeks is the real thing people are looking for when they buy their Norah Jones, their Corrs, their Joss Stones. 

We list not just for comfort and because it's a nice new parlour game. We list to remember albums such as Astral Weeks, and Five Leaves Left, This Nation's Saving Grace and Basket of Light, to remember that such albums might have disappeared without lists like this. We list to remember that for every album like those four, there are others as worthy of our attention just out of hearing. Albums and songs waiting to be listed because, like it or not, the list goes on for ever.

 

 

The panel who voted

1. Luke Bainbridge, OMM
2. Danny Baker, DJ, BBC Radio
London
3. James Barton, Cream
4. Bez, Happy Mondays
5. Sarah Boden, OMM
6. Edith Bowman, Radio 1 DJ
7. David Boyd, Virgin Records
8. James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers
9. Lloyd Bradley, Author
10. Harriett Brand, Senior V-P, MTV
11. Ed Buller, Producer
12. Emma Bunton, Singer
13. Tim Burgess, The Charlatans
14. Jean-Jacques Burnel, The Stranglers
15. Martin Carthy, Singer
16. Terry Christian, Broadcaster and journalist
17. Andrew Collins, Broadcaster and author
18. Sara Cox, Radio 1 DJ
19. Tom Cox, Journalist and author
20. Robert Del Naja, Massive Attack
21. Ekow Eshun, Journalist
22. BP Fallon, Critic
23. Martin Fry, ABC
24. Malcolm Gerrie, Producer
25. Charlie Gillett, Journalist
26. Jimi Goodwin, Doves
27. Lucian Grainge, CEO Universal
28. Terry Hall, The Specials
29. Ed Harcourt, Singer
30. John Harris, Journalist
31. Mike Hedges, Producer
32. David Holmes, DJ
33. Peter Hook, New Order
34. Trevor Horn, Producer
35. Barney Hoskyns, Journalist
36. Karl Hyde, Underworld
37. Alex James, Blur
38.Dylan Jones, GQ magazine
39. Mick Jones, The Clash
40. Kelly Jones, Stereophonics
41. Judge, JulesRadio 1 DJ
42.Danny Kelly, Broadcaster
43. Nick Kent, Author
44. Hari Kunzru, Novelist
45. Caspar Llewellyn Smith, OMM
46. Geoff Lloyd, Virgin Radio DJ
47. Stuart Maconie, Broadcaster and journalist
48. Phil Manzanera, Roxy Music
49. Johnny Marr, The Smiths
50. Brian May, Queen
51. Alan McGee, Poptones
52. Ian McLagan, The Small Faces
53. Pete Mitchell, Virgin Radio DJ
54. Paul Morley, Journalist and author
55. Simon Moran, SJM Concerts
56. Morrissey, Singer
57. Garry Mulholland, Journalist
58. Stuart Murdoch, Belle &Sebastian
59. Simon Napier-Bell, Author
60. Trevor Nelson, DJ/presenter
61. Annie Nightingale, DJ
62. Christian O'Connell, DJ
63. Sean O'Hagan, Journalist
64. Ozzy Osbourne, Singer
65. Peter Paphides, Journalist
66. Tony Parsons, Author
67. Ian Penman, Journalist
68. Mark Perry, Fanzine editor
69. Vince Powe, Mean Fiddler
70. Mickey Quinn, Supergrass
71. Amy Raphael, Journalist
72. Simon Raymonde, Cocteau Twins
73. Simon Reynolds, Journalist
74. John Robb, Musician/journalist
75. Peter Robinson, Journalist
76. Kate Rusby, Musician
77. Nitin Sawhney, Musician
78. Charles Shaar Murray, Journalist
79. James Skelly, The Coral
80. Mike Skinner, The Streets
81. Campbell Stevenson, Journalist
82. Rob Stringer, CEO, Sony Music
83. June Tabor, Singer
84. Fiona Talkington, Radio 3 DJ
85. Andy Taylor Executive Chairman, Sanctuary
86. Ben Thompson, Journalist
87. Pete Tong, DJ
88. Andy Votel, Twisted Nerve
89. Tony Wadsworth, CEO,EMI
90. Rick Wakeman, Ex-Yes
91. James Walsh, Starsailor
92. Emma Warren, Journalist
93. Pete Waterman, Producer
94. Norma Waterson, Singer
95. Paul Weller, Singer
96. Andy Williams, Doves
97. Amy Winehouse, Singer
98. Molloy Woodcraft, Journalist
99. Will Young, Singer
100. Yusuf Islam, Singer