The 500 Greatest Albums of the 1970s…Ranked!

I’m delighted to re-open the account of our Archive Collection series with this new issue: the 500 Greatest Albums of the 1970s…Ranked! You can get yours here

Inside you’ll find 500 albums reviewed. An interview with Ken Scott about his time in the studio with Bowie and other legends of the 1970s. Not to mention a classic audience with Mick Jagger: “I don’t want to be rude,” Mick begins, as he opens a can of lager in 1972 and casts a withering critical eye over the rock and pop landscape…

Unbelievably, it’s nearly 50 years since our senior colleagues in the weekly music press first started running retrospective lists of great albums. Primed no doubt by local nostalgia events like the London Rock ‘n’ Roll Show (Wembley Stadium, 1972) and films like George Lucas’s American Graffiti (cinemas nationwide, 1973), by the mid-1970s it seemed permissible to look back to the first sparks of rock ‘n’ roll and indulge in a little history.


Why they did it is one thing. But has critical opinion changed much in 50 years? Quality rock clearly stood out then as it does still – even today we wouldn’t disagree with key choices on The Rolling Stones, The Who or Led Zeppelin – but it does speak to the dominance of white guitar artists.

Alongside that, however, the 1970s was such a boom time for music production and sales that we’ve been spending the years since trying to make sense of its riches. Reggae and dub. The widescreen take on what originated as “soul” music, now made epic in the hands of auteurs like Curtis Mayfield, the Temptations and Stevie Wonder. The new music from Germany, made by Can, Kraftwerk and Neu! Brazilian singer-songwriters. British innovators like Bowie, Fripp and Eno…

Impossible to make sense of otherwise, democracy has allowed us see how the years have acted on 1970s music. Clearly we now listen to a lot more jazz, and music from other countries. It’s also good to note that there’s been a changing of the guard. In a time when the 50th anniversary reissue of //Dark Side Of The Moon// offers no more surprises than the kind of box it comes in, I’m relieved that the big hitters of our Top 20 aren’t solely the albums you’d have found stacked in every older brother’s bedroom in 1974.


Here instead are artistic breakthroughs; albums to rally a cause, or mobilise a generation, and at least five which dismantle music to rebuild it from the ground up. All are worth your deep consideration because they have made it this far, and seem unlikely to be going anywhere. These are why me make charts. And why, even when we’re surrounded by great new music, we still can’t resist looking back for more.

It’s in the shops on Thursday but you can get one on the way to you today, direct from us, here.