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Rolling Stone overhauls album ranking, Kanye stars

Updated: 2012-04-28 10:01
Rolling Stone overhauls album ranking, Kanye stars

Recording artist Kanye West sits courtside as he attends the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls in Los Angeles December 25, 2011.[Photo/Agencies]


Three Kanye West albums have made it on to the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine's authoritative "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list, placing him among the greats of popular music.

The new ranking, which combines a 2003 list (updated in 2005) with a later survey of the 2000s, saw two Radiohead records join the elite club, while long-established names including Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan also had albums added.

Rolling Stone has published the list, along with details of the albums and several new recording histories based on first-hand accounts, in "bookazine" format available for $11.99 on newsstands between Friday and July 25 in the United States.

As with any survey that tries to put arguably the greatest rock and roll recordings into a particular order, there was plenty of heated debate among the journalists and editors who came up with the final list.

Much of the hard work had been done, however, with hundreds of reporters, executives and musicians involved in the earlier surveys.

"We had arguments in the office, and I hope those arguments are replicated elsewhere," said Christian Hoard, a senior editor at Rolling Stone, of the selection process.

"These special issues are great sellers," he told Reuters. "But they also turn people on to music they haven't heard, and hopefully start fun arguments too.

"People like to get angry about these 'best' lists. It was really a great deal of fun to make."


The big beneficiary was U.S. hip-hop star West, who saw 2005 album Late Registration, The College Dropout (2004) and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) make it to the top 500.

In total, 30 albums were added and 30 taken away, with the casualties including several artists well-represented on the list already and whose "lesser" albums have now been dropped.

The highest entry among recent albums was West's Late Registration at No. 118.

Asked whether the relatively low position of recently released albums reflected a barren period for great rock and pop, Hoard replied:

"My personal opinion is no. Music is as inspirational as it's ever been.

"Things get clearer as the years pass. If you held this poll in 10 years, say, Arcade Fire could be a lot higher and the same could be said of Kanye West. Reputation and time definitely help an album, especially with pollers like ours."

Canadian band Arcade Fire's Funeral is among the 30 additions, as is British act Arctic Monkeys for their 2005 hit Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

Radiohead features twice -- for Amnesiac (2001) and In Rainbows (2007), Jay-Z is added for The Black Album (2003), Lil Wayne makes it with Tha Carter III (2008) and the late Amy Winehouse for Back to Black.

Among those dropping out to make way for the additions were The Beach Boys (Sunflower), David Bowie (Changesone), Elton John (Elton John) and Madonna (Music).

The first change to the previous list comes at number 59, leaving the Beatles to dominate the top 10.

The Fab Four feature no less than four times in the first 10; at number one (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), three (Revolver), five (Rubber Soul) and 10 (The White Album).

Three acts have 10 albums each on the list -- the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan -- and the oldest album on the list is from 1952 (The Anthology of American Folk Music).

Only 40 albums released since 2000 feature, compared with 187 from the 1970s.