Wednesday 8th February 2023
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What’s your favorite album of all time?

let it bleed

If you have a tough time narrowing it down to just one, go ahead and list as many as you like—and look here for my picks.

Posted on March 30th, 2016 89 Comments

89 Responses

  1. Dana D says:

    Goody…I love this question!

    Petula Clark’s 1964 album with the hit “Downtown” which my parents played and is my first memory of listening to an album. I also remembers mom playing Harry Belafonte’s “An Evening with…” and I loved that she loved him…

    Cat Stevens “Catch Bull at Four” (and all the other Cat albums)
    Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
    Jackson Browne “The Pretender”

    Those are the ones that stand out and take me up to high school and the brilliant appearance of the cassette tape…

  2. Erica says:

    Whole album, considered in its entirety? The Cure, Disintegration.

  3. I am excited to see what everyone says!

    Picking just one is hard so here are my top 5:

    The National – High Violet
    Joan Baez – Vol. 2
    The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
    Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
    Joni Mitchell – Blue

    p.s. I am 30 and feel like I should have at least one more current one but alas these are my favorites

  4. y.k. says:

    Elton John, Goobye Yellow Brick Road.*
    Blondie, Parallel Lines
    Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
    Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
    Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
    Queen, Night at the Opera

    long hiatus with work marriage kids…
    not much time to enjoy whole albums

    Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
    Matisyahu , Youth

    *first album i ever bought. $5.95.

  5. For some reason I’m always drawn to soundtracks, and love the soundtracks for Stealing Beauty (90s magnificence), and The Last Kiss, but I’ve always said if I had to pick one to take to a desert island, it would be the Garden State soundtrack. I think Zach Braff is pretty genius in curating the soundtracks for his films.

  6. Tammy says:

    R.E.M. — Murmur
    New Order — Substance 1987
    Purple Rain soundtrack
    Fleetwood Mac — Rumours

  7. Lesley says:

    Michael Jackson, Off the Wall

  8. Tina L. says:

    Favorite of all time? Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – can’t believe it’s in your list too! Every single song is brilliant. No one ever knows her when I mention it usually…

  9. Tina L. says:

    Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – can’t believe it’s on your list too. Every single song is brilliant.

    • Dana D says:

      Oh this one is so great, indeed…

      I didn’t list anything from my adult years because I kept thinking album rather than CD…

    • c.w. says:

      Lucinda Williams is brilliant. I get to go to her concert here in Austin in April. Very excited.

    • c.w. says:

      I had my top five albums all set then I looked at Kim’s list and the lists here and my top five becomes more like my top 100 so I give up.

      I’ll shamelessly give a shout out to my daughter’s EP, however, since it is being played on Spotify fairly regularly. Her name is McClain Sullivan and her EP is Rachel.

  10. Dianne says:

    Born To Run- Springsteen

    I was 13 in 1975 when this album was released. It changed my world. It changed the way I listened to music. It changed what music meant to me.

  11. Tara says:

    It changes weekly but my constants are:

    Court and Spark – Joni Mitchell
    Eden – Everything But The Girl
    Moon Safari – Air
    Brother Sister – Brand New Heavies

  12. Rebecca Malley says:

    Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline
    Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
    Any Leadbelly
    Al Green – Let’s Stay Together
    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

    And so much more!

  13. kates says:

    Ditto almost all that is on your list plus:
    Avalon – Roxy Music

  14. DeDe says:

    Ugh, why does this have to be so hard?! Ok ok, here goes…

    The Beatles – Rubber Soul, Revolver, Let it Be (can’t choose, sorry)
    Jimi Hendrix – Jimi Blues
    Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense
    Devo – Are We Not Men?
    The Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society
    Laurie Anderson – Big Science
    Cat Power – Moon Pix
    The Clean – Anthology
    Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors
    Edith Piaf – The Legendary Edith Piaf (live!!)
    Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchitananda
    Os Mutantes (self-titled)
    Taj Mahal – Taj’s Blues
    Arthur Russell – Love is Overtaking Me
    Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
    Fela Kuti – Expensive Shit/He Miss Road

    PS, I feels weird that some of my fave artists aren’t represented here (Nina Simone! Toots and the Maytals! Otis Redding!), but that’s a whole different list, I guess.

    • DeDe says:

      (BTW, this was the short version! Yikes…)

    • AnneL says:

      I just got hit with a giant sense memory of Big Science -the sight and the feeling of the album in my hands. And the feeling of being fundamentally cooler than I was before I bought the album.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Agree especially with Court and Spark and Car Wheels (still listen to them all the time), but my most favorite is Hejira, by Joni Mitchell.

  16. Colby says:

    Blue – Joni Mitchell
    closely followed by:
    Born to Run – Springsteen
    Rubber Soul – Beatles
    Madman Across the Water – Elton John
    Tapestry – Carole King
    Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
    The Koln Concert – Keith Jarrett
    As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls – Lyle Mays & Pat Methany
    The Art of Tea – MIchael Franks
    Geronimo’s Cadillac – Michael Murphy
    Harvest – Neil Young
    Willis Alan Ramsey – Willis Alan Ramsey
    Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel
    Something/Anything – Todd Rundgren
    I’m showing my age.

  17. Debra says:

    These albums reflect a very specific period in time for me: high school, transition to college, and college. That said, I still listen to these on a regular basis and stand by the musical artistry represented by each. I’ve provided some additional tidbits on each choice.

    Van Halen – Van Halen (I had a teenage obsession with the photo of David Lee Roth on the back cover and would stare at it while playing “Runnin’ with the Devil” over and over again. . .)

    Chic – C’est Chic (Even now, I enjoy listening to this while drinking too many vodka tonics and, at the appropriate moment, breaking out some disco moves all by myself in my tiny apartment. I’ve still got it, btw. )

    Michael Jackson – Off the Wall (Taking nothing away from Jackson’s talent — this was the first time I fully grasped the musical genius of the incomparable producer, Quincy Jones.)

    Pink Floyd – Dark Side of Moon (Religious-affiliated university. Hanging with the preacher’s sons and daughters. Enough said.)

    • DeDe says:

      I am super duper over-commenting on this thread (gah, sorry, everyone!), but – CHIC! Oh man. And DSotM – my parents used to listen to that in our hippie van when I was little, and the part where the woman scream-sings used to scare the bejeezus out of me (thankfully they saved Animals for when I was a little older).

    • Dusa says:

      Pink Floyd = sunbathing, drinking pina coladas with my best friend in college.

  18. Jenny says:

    Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams (her first, self-titled one)
    Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a gravel road

    Close seconds: James McMurtry, Complicated Game
    David Broza, Parking Completo
    also love The Cure, Disintegration,
    Billy Joel, Glass Houses
    San Saba County, It’s not the fall that hurts
    Bryan Ferry, Avalon
    Van Morrison, Enlightenment
    Everything but the Girl, Amplified Heart. This thread gives me more joy than any of the previous ones on this blog, and that’s saying a lot.

  19. Linden says:

    U2 – Achtung Baby
    R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
    Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes
    Kate Bush – The Sensual World, Aerial
    Prince – Purple Rain
    Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
    The Beatles – Abbey Road
    Arcade Fire – Funeral
    The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
    Bjork – Debut

  20. Jenny says:

    Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    Lucinda Williams, (self-titled)
    James McMurtry, Walk Between the Rain Drops
    Jimmy LaFave, Austin Skyline
    David Broza, Parking Completo
    The Cure, Disintegration,
    Billy Joel, Glass Houses (I was very young)
    San Saba County, It’s not the fall that hurts
    Bryan Ferry, Avalon
    Van Morrison, Enlightenment
    Everything but the Girl, Amplified Heart.
    Talking Heads, Little Creatures
    Elvis Costello, Greatest Hits
    Dire Straits, Making Movies
    Hampson & Ramey, No Tenors Allowed
    This thread gives me more joy than any of the previous ones on this blog, and that’s saying a lot.

  21. Susan G says:

    Ohhhh, so many good ones already listed!

    I will always worship The Cure’s Disintegration album (my first concert in 1989).

    Cat Power- What Would the Community Think
    Lloyd Cole-Mainstream & Love Story
    Helium-The Dirt of Luck
    The Smiths-all their albums!

    Patti Smith, Unrest, Catherine Wheel, Ride, Velvet Underground, Dead Can Dance, Sebadoh, Nick Cave, Luna, Deerhunter.

    • Jenny says:

      My farvorite Lloyd Cole was Don’t Get Weird on Me, Babe. Loved that. The more comments I read, the more albums I want to add: Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Pretty in Pink soundtrack, early Daniel Lanois and the Wrecking Ball, which was Emmylou Harris but produced by Daniel Lanois. Holy cow, I forgot Annie Lennox, Diva, which was my grad school soundtrack, even though it came out earlier.

      • Cristina says:

        Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom
        David Bowie- Sound + Vision (kind of a greatest hits, but c’mon…Suffragette City is on it! And Jean Genie! whooo!)
        Buzzcocks- Singles Going Steady

        and from my beloved Boston 80s scene…
        Human Sexual Response – Fig. 15

        and thanks to Susan for the shout-out to the very great and under-appreciated Lloyd Cole.

  22. Jane says:

    Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks. Full stop.

  23. Susan says:

    The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses 1989. Hippy, dippy, groovy, rockin and every other awesome adjective to describe this album. I was totally into music but when this album came out it changed my life.

  24. Leslie says:

    Second side of Tattoo You, Rolling Stones
    Joni Mitchell Court and Spark
    Natty Dread Bob Marley

  25. Mary Alice says:

    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    Eagles – Hotel California
    Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    Patti Smith – Horses
    Talking Heads – 77
    Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model

  26. Joannawnyc says:

    Off the top of my head, my two favorites are

    Horses-Patti Smith
    One Nation Under A Groove-Funkadelic

    There are many many many MANY others I love, but these are the two that have stood up to 40+ years of listening without my getting tired of them.

  27. LG says:

    Moondance – Van Morrison
    Revolver – The Beatles
    This Side – Nickel Creek
    Party Doll and Other Favorites – Mary Chapin Carpenter (it’s a greatest hits so it sort of doesn’t count but it is just SUCH a good album)

  28. Kathleen says:

    The Unforgettable Fire–U2

  29. Heather says:

    Can we have a GOACA playlist on Spotify? Because I would listen the hell out of that.

    Damn, you wimmin have great taste in music.

  30. Yoshiko says:

    I love that first Cibo Matto album too. My two favorites are Brian Eno’s “Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy” and Robert Wyatt’s “Rock Bottom.”

    • DeDe says:

      Taking Tiger Mountain (and Another Green World) were on my long list! So happy someone mentioned Eno here. (Also, I’ve had Robert Wyatt’s version of Biko stuck in my head for a week!!)

      I swear I’m going to stop commenting now. This topic has me really excited, what can I say?

      • Yoshiko says:

        DeDe, you have so many of my favorites on your list: The Kinks, Os Mutantes, Cat Power, Fela Kuti, Arthur Russell, and Nina Simone. I totally relate to your taste in music. And please comment more!

  31. Kimberly says:

    X- Los Angeles
    Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Elvis Costello- The First 10 Years
    The Clash-London Calling
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It’s Blitz
    The Style Council- At Home and Abroad
    New Order- Bizarre Love Triangle

    • jenny says:

      Yah!! I don’t have time today for albums, but artists:

      X is my absolute fave, joined by Pretenders, and Bowie (although I don’t listen to X too much these days, due to having to share overhead speakers with family members.)

      I also ADORE and listen to Neil Young and Little Feat (only with Lowell George.) constantly.

      What a fun list to continue to expose my 11 year old daughter to!!

  32. Heather Taylor says:

    Funeral – Arcade Fire
    Mezzanine – Massive Attack
    Feed the Animals – Girl Talk
    The Memory of Trees – Enya
    Violator – Depeche Mode
    Siamese Dream – The Smashing Pumpkins
    Goodbye – Ulrich Schnauss
    Californication – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Reflections – Paul Van Dyk
    Everything is Wrong – Moby
    Chimera – Delerium
    Trans Canada Highway – Boards of Canada
    Thriller – Michael Jackson

    and all the David Bowie, of course.

  33. S. says:

    There are many favorites, but when it comes down to it (“it’s down to you…”) there are only two that are essential to my being in this world. As in, I don’t even know who or what or where I would be if these things hadn’t entered my world — or I entered theirs? — when I was in college in the 80s. They are, in no particular order:

    Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
    Joni Mitchell, Blue

    Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks are also important to me, for sure. But Joni, dear, Joni — she is in my blood like holy wine…

  34. Lyn says:

    Tom Waits -Real Gone

  35. Michelle says:

    Ramones (first one)
    Paul Simon – Graceland
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (like so many on this list)
    Nirvana Unplugged
    The Beatles – the red & blue albums, I’m afraid, as they are compilations

    God, there’s so much good music on this thread, I would *love* a GOACA Spotify list!!

  36. Dusa says:

    Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak
    Annie Lennox: Medusa
    Lyle Lovett: Joshua Judges Ruth
    Prince: Batman Soundtrack
    Counting Crows: Films about Ghosts

  37. Dusa says:

    Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak
    Annie Lennox : Medusa
    Marillion: Misplaced Childhood
    Steely Dan: Aja
    Lyle Lovett: The Road to Ensenada

  38. I.M. says:

    Richard & Linda Thompson – Pour Down like Silver – Richard is a great songwriter and Linda’s clear, elegant voice is devastating. There are beautiful songs and musical moments on all their albums but this one is my favorite since I discovered them at 13.

    Duncan Sheik – Phantom Moon

    The Flamingos -The Best of the Flamingos – vocals like pure silk

    Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

    Phil Ochs – I ain’t marching anymore. When I was about 8 or 9 I used to take the album out of my Dad’s collection and stare at the cover. I thought it was the coolest ever.

    The Beatles – any album
    Laura Nero -Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
    Nina Simone – anything
    Tim Buckley – Dream Letter, Live in London 1968
    The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Jazz at Oberlin

  39. Carla says:

    I like so many of these that people have listed! Mine would have to be:

    Tom Waits, Closing Time
    Tracy Chapman (first album)
    Billy Joel, The Stranger
    Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
    Prince, Sign of the Times
    Ani DiFranco, Living in Clip
    Cassandra Wilson, Blue Moon Daughter

  40. liz says:

    maybe Jeff Buckley Grace and anything Jackson Browne
    also My Aim is True

  41. Karin says:

    Abbey Road, the Beatles

  42. kathyj says:

    So much good stuff up there^^^. I’ll add:
    Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space – Spiritualized
    Power, Corruption, and Lies – New Order
    Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – Neko Case

  43. kathyj says:

    Oh, and one more thing: I like that Elastica is on your pinterest list… I LOVE that album, too.

  44. GT says:

    Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline
    Neil Young, On the Beach
    The Who, Who’s Next
    John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
    Miles Davis, In a Silent Way
    The Jimi Hendirx Experience boxed set (worth the money)
    Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
    Springsteen, Born to Run
    Aretha Franklin, Aretha’s First 12 Sides
    Keith Jarrett (anything)

  45. JosieBella says:

    Just off the top of my head:

    The Smiths – Meat is Murder
    The Smiths – Strangeways here we come
    Morrissey – Vauxhall and I
    Morrissey – Bona Drag
    Depeche Mode – Violator
    Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning glory
    Duran Duran – Rio (I will stand by that for ever!!)

    • Margaret Paine says:

      I was wondering when I would see MY favorite album…Rio!!! Love it!!! I’ll stand by that forever too.

  46. Tina says:

    August and Everything After – Counting Crows

  47. Laurie M says:

    Sparks- Kimono My House
    Roxy Music – Stranded
    David Bowie- The Rise and Fll of Ziggy Stardust

  48. maggie says:

    The Who – Who’s Next

  49. Rose from Australia says:

    Reading entries on this blog for the first time I feel like I am among people I have known for a long time, bonded through the soundtracks to our formative years

    For me

    Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark, Blue, Hissing of summer lawns
    Van Morrison – Moondance, Astral Weeks, Tupelo Honey

    and the pick of the sounds down south
    Crowded House – Recurring Dream

  50. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    Joni Mitchell, Blue, Court and Spark
    Nick Drake, Pink Moon
    Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks ( because I can!)
    Lucinda Williams, Car Wherls on a Gravel Road
    Wilco, Sky Blue Sky, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Deja Vu
    Neil Young, Harvest
    Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

  51. Kirsten says:

    Jewels for Sophia – Robyn Hitchcock
    The List – Roseanne Cash
    Chips From The Chocolate Fireball – Dukes Of Stratosphere
    The Lion and The Cobra – Sinead O’Conner
    It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads
    Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
    Dusty In Memphis – Dusty Springfield

  52. I still, to this day, love the Allman Brothers Band, “Eat A Peach.” ‘Melissa’ has to be one of my favorite all time song’s, too. But, ‘Ain’t Wasting Time No More,’ ‘One Way Out,’ and ‘Blue Sky’ among others, are wonderful, too. Of course, I’m old enough to remember the gate fold art for the vinyl. wow! Hard not to love all the album extras!

  53. amanda says:

    sparks – kimono my house