There are way more than 100 Great Rock Albums, and placing them in some kind of order is complete nonsense. Music is not a competition and there are no hard and fast criteria by which to judge the greatness of an album. All you can do is measure popularity, the artistic currency a record currently has with critics or the public.
So what, then, is the point of this, The 100 Greatest Rock Albums Classic Rock special?
Think of it, maybe, as an opinion poll, a beginner’s guide, a celebration of some of the greatest music ever made, and a snapshot of a time. Nothing here is set in stone, and if we do this again the results will almost definitely be different. But right now, in 2017, these are the 100 albums that rock fans think are the greatest ever.
Here’s what we did. In August this year we asked people on Classic Rock’s Facebook and Twitter to vote for their favourite albums. We presented them with a 200-strong shortlist, made up of the albums that have appeared on previous lists like this; the usual suspects, if you like, drawn from similar polls held all over the world. We added critical favourites from critics’ lists (you know the ones, those cooler-than-thou albums that win the plaudits but sell very little), cult classics, career bests, even stellar live albums.
Respondents could vote for as many albums as they liked, and if the album they most loved wasn’t on the long list there was an open field for them to tell us who we’d missed.
The result is 146 pages dedicated to some of the greatest records ever made, the albums that have soundtracked the lives of generations. Some of them – even the ones you love – you probably take for granted. When we were making this, we listened to each and every one of them. Far from being a difficult slog through music we’ve listened to a thousand times, it reminded us of why we love rock music so much. We hope it does the same for you.
The 100 Greatest Rock Albums Classic Rock special is in the shops now. And you can buy it online.