Chris Smith’s 101 Albums That Changed Popular Music tells the fascinating stories behind the most groundbreaking, influential, and often controversial albums ever recorded, ranging from The Anthology of American Folk Music (1952) to Elephant (2003) by The White Stripes.
Organized chronologically to capture the flow of culture from one album to the next, this volume illuminates how these classic recordings reflected–and sometimes changed–the political, social, and economic culture of their eras. Among the featured albums are releases from the hard-blues explosion of the ’60s, including Robert Johnson’s King of the Delta Blues Singers, a landmark collection whose songs were later covered by the likes of Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. Punk made its mark in the ’70s with Patti Smith’s Horses and the Clash’s London Calling. In the ’80s Michael Jackson’s blockbuster LP, Thriller, not only topped the charts, it became the best-selling record of all time. Diversity defined the ’90s, with the most influential albums ranging from Garth Brooks’ No Fences, which made country one of the hottest musical genres of the decade, to Dr. Dre’s debut, The Chronic, a multi-platinum smash hit that brought West Coast hip hop into the mainstream. For each album, the book lists the basic publication information, including release date, label, and producer. More important, Chris Smith sheds light on the history of these albums, revealing the inspiration behind their creation, and why they continue to stand the test of time. Selected on the basis of their popular appeal and influence on later genres, the albums included represent a wide variety of genres, such as blues, jazz, rock, reggae, rockabilly, folk, soul, hip-hop, and country.
A timeline of important events, a selected bibliography for further reading, and an appendix of albums that almost made the cut round out this volume, making it a gold mine of information for everyone who loves popular music.