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If you look at the history of recorded music, its greatest hits are quite narrow

March 10, 2013

Greatest Albums

A BLOKE online tabulated the greatest records of all time by Q Magazine. It’s a hugely enlightening example of mediatized collective narratives of greatness – if the rockeratti say it’s great, it pretty much becomes accepted as great, regardless of how much it sells.

Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, (fifth row, centre), is an album I revere above almost all others, but which took 30 years to go gold, yet is still revered. Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter, (bottom right), which (to partially quote Taylor Swift) will never, ever, trouble the public consciousness has a hardy annual presence.

Yet multi-billion dollar generating behemoths like Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours are less important culturally than The Strokes or Manic Street Preachers.

What does it tell us? Nothing. But, we might return to this in the very near future.

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