The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Editor’s take note, December 2023: In the three many years given that Rolling Stone rolled out the all-new, totally revamped edition of our 500 Biggest Albums record, artists like Beyonce, Bad Bunny, and Taylor Swift have all unveiled simple classics. So we’ve updated the list, adding all those albums even though making a couple other tweaks. The 2020 list protected numerous many years of well-known music, and was the end result of a vote amid far more than 300 artists, writers, producers and market figures this update handles just 3 many years. So we kept the alterations mild. 

Rolling Stone’s record of the 500 Best Albums of All Time was at first posted in 2003, with a slight update in 2012. Over the decades, it is been the most widely read  — and argued about — aspect in the background of the magazine. But no list is definitive — preferences improve, new genres emerge, the record of audio keeps staying rewritten. So we determined to remake our greatest albums listing from scratch. To do so, we received and tabulated Top 50 Albums lists from far more than 300 artists, producers, critics, and new music-industry figures (from radio programmers to label heads). The voters contains Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish increasing artists like H.E.R., Tierra Whack, and Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail as properly as veteran musicians, this sort of as Adam Clayton and the Edge of U2, Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan, Gene Simmons, and Stevie Nicks.

How We Designed the Record and Who Voted

When we to start with did the RS 500 in 2003, people have been chatting about the “death of the album.” The album —and in particular the album launch — is much more relevant than at any time. (As in 2003, we authorized votes for compilations and finest-hits albums, mainly mainly because a effectively-built compilation can be just as coherent and considerable as an LP, for the reason that compilations assisted shaped music historical past, and due to the fact a lot of vastly important artists recorded their very best get the job done in advance of the album had arrived as a popular structure.)

Of training course, it could nevertheless be argued that embarking on a undertaking like this is progressively hard in an era of streaming and fragmented taste. But that was section of what produced rebooting the RS 500 interesting and fun 94 of the albums on the record are from this century, and 163 are new additions that weren’t on the 2003 or 2012 versions. The classics are nevertheless the classics, but the canon retains finding greater and superior.

Created By

Jonathan Bernstein, Pat Blashill, Jon Blistein, Nathan Brackett, David Browne, Mankaprr Conteh, Anthony DeCurtis, Matt Diehl, Jon Dolan, Chuck Eddy, Ben Edmonds, Gavin Edwards, Jenny Eliscu, Brenna Ehrlrich, Suzy Exposito, David Fricke, Elisa Gardner, Holly George-Warren, Andy Greene, Kory Improve, Will Hermes, Brian Hiatt, Christian Hoard, Charles Holmes, Mark Kemp, Greg Kot, Elias Leight, Joe Levy, Julyssa Lopez, Angie Martoccio, David McGee, Chris Molanphy, Tom Moon, Jason Newman, Rob O’Connor, Park Puterbaugh, Mosi Reeves, Jody Rosen, Austin Scaggs, Karen Schoemer, Bud Scoppa, Noah Schactman, Claire Shaffer, Rob Sheffield, Hank Shteamer, Brittany Spanos, Rob Tannenbaum, David Thigpen, Simon Vozick-Levinson, Barry Walters, Jonah Weiner