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The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own
Kick off Esquire.com's Music Week with our unranked, incomplete, yet highly tasteful and informative list of the records your music collection requires. How many have you listened to? Plus: Albums that didn't make the cut (and never should), new songs, new bands, and new photos... of Katy Perry Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen
This is when Springsteen became a man. He realized that once you break these chains and jump in the car and leave this rotten town behind — that was Born to Run — all those dreams of freedom and redemption can turn into nightmares of hopelessness and, worse, banality.
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Phases and Stages, Willie Nelson
The heartbreaking chronicle of a marriage gone south. From Willie's perspective. And hers.
The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
Brit pop's platonic ideal.
Lust for Life, Iggy Pop
In 1977 Iggy ran off to West Berlin with David Bowie to record an album so juiced with spleen that even cruise-line commercials can't make it
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a full fourteen months before that foursome stormed American shores.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . James Brown The way those teenage girls in Harlem scream when he leans into "Try Me" equals anything the Beatles evoked on Ed Sullivan.esquire. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. David Bowie Only Bowie could pull this off: an apocalyptic concept album by a horny alien drug addict alter-ego who wails his way through eleven glam anthems en route to rock 'n' roll suicide. Marvin Gaye He defied the Motown hit machine with a deeply 3 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .Esquire http://www. What's Going On. Live at The Apollo.Print .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all sound safe.
forever altering the terrain of American soul music. Dire Straits. Dire Straits Like listening to your best 4 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Pavement Makes you shout and rant and cry and it surprises you and challenges you and angers you and brings you to your knees. NaS How to be an MC. Illmatic.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all personal. socially conscious work. sound especially white hot.Print . Then it makes you hit play again. that's because it's the first record they ever got credit for. If the Funk Brothers. Crooked Rain.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .esquire. Motown's most underappreciated backing band.Esquire http://www. Crooked Rain.
Esquire http://www. American Beauty. Nineteen minutes. The Rolling Stones Mick and Keith's first album of 5 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Minor Threat Eight songs. Grateful Dead This 1970 studio disc is the best introduction to the greatest jam band of all time… without all the fortyfive-minute jams from Jerry and Co.'s exhaustive (and exhausting) live catalogue.esquire. sixteen seconds.Print . if your best friend was one of the smartest guitarists and lyricists of our time. Out of Step.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all friend sing beautiful songs about girls and loneliness and wasting time.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . That urgent enough for you? Aftermath.
The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . The Beastie Boys Rap music was stuck in a robotic "boom bap" before this record dropped. including "Paint It Black. It's a clinic.Esquire http://www.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all all original material.esquire." Jones on "Dazed and Confused." Bonham on "How Many More Times") in a way none of their next four nearlyas-quintessential albums still can't. 6 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM ." Plant on "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You. After. This was the British Invasion. Paul's Boutique.Print . Led Zeppelin I shows off each of the band members' singular superiority (Page on "Communication Breakdown. it transformed from a niche genre that did one thing to a mainstream genre that included everything." Recorded when they were twenty-two. Led Zeppelin (I).
The Cars Plays like a greatest-hits album — only it's their first." The Cars. 7 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Elvis Costello If only for "Beyond Belief.esquire.Esquire http://www.Print .The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Imperial Bedroom.
and OK Computer gave us an idea of how weird they might become. reached just moments before they began falling apart. the four members leaping off the top of the mountain they had finished climbing together. KISS started out as cartoon characters and evolved into a band. By the time they recorded Destroyer. "Beth" pulled the improbable double-double of giving birth to the power ballad while also guaranteeing that we'd never have to listen to Peter Criss sing again. Radiohead Because Pablo Honey gave us a taste of how good Radiohead might become. (The iconic cover art is almost prophetic. their fifth record.Esquire http://www. Destroyer. "Detroit Rock City. they were at their peak.Print .esquire.) The lead track.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own ." probably remains their best song. KISS While most bands start out as bands and evolve into cartoon characters. The Bends.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Being There. Wilco Wilco unhinged and unsteady and under-produced is better than nearly any other band — including Wilco. 8 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .
The Dictionary of Soul.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all but The Bends gave us just the right doses of good and weird in equal measure and at once. Bon Scott should be standing in front of the mic.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . Gettin' Ready.Print . The Temptations What we talk about when we talk about Motown. Highway to Hell. Otis Redding Because no matter where she 9 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .Esquire http://www. AC/DC Because when you're assembling your dream band.esquire.
no matter what rough road she takes. Blood on the Tracks. no matter what wrong she does. the Bad.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all goes. Bob Dylan Because of the accuracy of 10 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . she's still his baby. The Good. Cody Chessnut Thirty-six R&B songs recorded on a four-track at home.esquire. Ennio Morricone It's the Old West set to electric guitar by an Italian.Print .Esquire http://www. which is somehow authentically American. no matter how big she gets. no matter where he sees her. Makes you wish the lo-fi approach wasn't almost exclusively embraced by sad white kids. and the Ugly Soundtrack.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . The Headphone Masterpiece.
esquire. And because: "You're an idiot.Esquire http://www." Take a Giant Step/De Ole Foiks at Home. Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own ." Because of the heartbreaking confusion in "Simple Twist of Fate. Even if they're not smoking a baseball bat. babe. It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe." Because of the heartache of "Shelter from the Storm. MTV Unplugged in New 11 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . ethnomusicologist.Print . Taj Mahal Taj Mahal: bluesman." Because you tap your foot through all 8:50 of "Lily.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all "Tangled Up in Blue. Catch a Fire. Bob Marley A record that purists and people who have no use for reggae can enjoy together and in equal measure. underappreciated American treasure. like Bob is on the cover." Because "Buckets of Rain" is a beautiful lullaby if you don't listen to the words.
Esquire http://www.esquire. Townes Van Zandt 12 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . and Harrison. Texas. Live at the Old Quarter. funny. The Best of Mississippi John Hurt (Live at Oberlin College. But it's one man: one very old.Print . Houston. dirty. Petty. very well-traveled man. The Traveling Wilburys. 1.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . Orbison. Mississippi John Hurt You listen to this album and you can't believe you're not listening to two guitars and a standup bass. 1966). He gives them three gospel songs just to get everyone settled and then the real blues — raw. Nirvana It's the last time a huge band recorded a surprising album. and interrupted occasionally (and endearingly) by a forgotten lyric. The Traveling Wilburys Because Dylan. Vol.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all York.
Velvet Underground 13 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Deep down inside." Rubber Soul. With hints of the drug-addled Eastern influences to come on Revolver and sing-alongs more lyrically advanced than on Help. every red-blooded American man is a lovelorn.Esquire http://www. Woke on a Whaleheart.esquire.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . whiskey swilling cowboy with a heart full of sorrow.Print . The Velvet Underground & Nico. The clinking of glasses in the background of this recording only adds to the sweet misery. Bill Callahan Because we're all just like a bee that "tries to find purchase in a turning spoke from Memphis to Potomac never giving up hope. The Beatles It's the ultimate bridge record.
Print . Ike & Tina Turner Because they never did anything nice.. True Stories.. Talking Heads 14 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . mumbling.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Makes you think that a woman's voice could do any rock band good. is chastened and made beautiful. Workin' Together..Esquire http://www. and sometimes we need to be reminded what four superearnest guys can do with some guitars and drums when they really care about what they leave behind. The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. Lou Reed's heroinaddled musical lifeblood. Explosions in the Sky Words sometimes mess things up. Chuck Klosterman once wrote that listening to Explosions in the Sky could make hanging drywall seem transcendental.esquire. and easy. fumbling. and rough. They only did it nice.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . playing with your kids after dinner. for so long dependent on grit and experimentation.. Make this record your soaring soundtrack to just about anything you might do – driving through snowy fields. putting ink into the copy machine – and you'll feel capable of achieving something powerful and beautiful at the same time. and he was right.
Guns N' Roses It's easy to forget. played like one long tirade. losing your booze." Appetite for Destruction. getting slow. Frank Sinatra 15 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .Print . given the bloated whale carcass they became. Appetite for Destruction.Esquire http://www. And we loved it. From the opening wail on "Welcome to the Jungle" to hearing Axl Rose — Who was this guy with all the voices? — banging some groupie hooker in the studio on "Rocket Queen. But this underrated record (underrated even by David Byrne himself) will do. fear is underrated — fear of getting older. that the first time any of us listened to Guns N' Roses. Also underrated: loads of dark British cynicism to help you cope with it.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all The better soundtrack would be the songs from True Stories the movie as sung by John Goodman and Pops Staples and others.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . from front to back. In the Wee Small Hours. we sat in our basements and looked at each other like we had just heard five guys ripping each other into a thousand tiny pieces. Pulp As musical inspiration. This Is Hardcore. losing your woman.esquire.
Print . cavorting from righteous dub ("Know Your Rights") to rollicking pub rock ("Should I Stay or Should I Go") to a bouncy disco anthem about censorship in post-revolutionary Iran ("Rock the Casbah"). somewhere in Spain.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . Sketches of Spain. The Clash Because the last great recording by The Clash was the original mashup album.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all After getting dumped by Ava Gardner. Road to Ruin. Sinatra responds with a crushing meditation on heartbreak and desolation. The Ramones Because the Ramones started 16 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .esquire. Combat Rock. Miles Davis Because jazz masters too infrequently step out of the genre's improvisational comfort zone and into somewhere classical — somewhere with movements.Esquire http://www.
yet Tom Verlaine's smart songwriting — and his guitar battles with Richard Lloyd — left its most modern footprint. 17 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Animals. Pink Floyd Three dark. Road to Ruin is the definition of tight.Print . That's also when they brought in Marky to replace Tommy on drums. Television It sounds like nothing else out of New York's '70s punk scene. taking sing-along choruses and three-chord riffs and turning them into high-school anthems. Marquee Moon. Here they hustled their shared love of 1960s girl groups and New York City's needle alleys to a new level.Esquire http://www. only two of which ran over three minutes.esquire.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . allegorical. making Road to Ruin the debut of what a lot of us consider the band's classic lineup.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all getting serious in 1978. and largely instrumental tracks over ten minutes each? Trust us.
The Notorious B. Hank Williams 18 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .esquire. Ready to Die. Slick Rick This is how you tell a story.Print .I. The Pixies This album sounds like the devil's rock band.G.Esquire http://www. and funny. well-read. This is how you foretell a story. The Adventures of Slick Rick. if the devil was slightly overweight. The Unreleased Recordings.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Doolittle.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .
Band of Gypsys. Pearl Jam These eleven tracks were always bigger than the Seattle scene they epitomize.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Made up of recently unearthed songs that were almost thrown out with the trash after he recorded them for a Nashville radio show. Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix but blacker.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . bluesier. better.Esquire http://www.Print .esquire. Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Ten. Worth it if only for Hank's spoken-word introductions. Drive-By Truckers 19 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .
Print .. Ray Charles Triumphant Ray. Metallica Thrash metal somehow made elegant. . rakish Ray.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Anthems of whiskey and women and helplessness and fear and trucks and guns and whiskey and women.. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Van Halen The least commercially successful album from the 20 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . despondent Ray.And Justice for All.esquire.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .Esquire http://www. vulnerable Ray. Fair Warning.
Jay-Z The paragon of rise-fromthe-streets lyricism.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all David Lee Roth years. Pet Sounds.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . 21 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Reasonable Doubt.Esquire http://www. Beach Boys The result of Rubber Soul blowing Brian Wilson's mind and forcing him to reinvent the Beach Boys.esquire.Print . And the best.
The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . the way we fall in love. Songs in the Key of Life. And to want to make it up to her. And we like it. our dreams. Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder can make magic in minutes.Esquire http://www.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Exile in Guyville. Liz Phair Liz Phair can make you feel ashamed to be a man. but this complex double album took him two years to produce. Joe Jackson Because with this album Joe Jackson pisses on all of us — our hopes. Look Sharp!.esquire. 22 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .Print .
esquire. funky. Who's Next. Rage Against the Machine.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Gritty. and lush.Esquire http://www. Rage Against the Machine For its righteous indignation. Vic Chessnut The fact that folk-rock singersongwriter Vic Chessnut has 23 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . The Who What the rock album has aspired to be — before and since.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .Print . Left to His Own Devices.
Night Beat. Beethoven Beethoven at his most. 5.Esquire http://www.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .esquire. Leonard Cohen 24 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Sam Cooke Heartbreaking and surprisingly spare. Symphony No. Songs of Leonard Cohen. The only time Sam Cooke's music hinted at how tragic his life would turn out to be. Beethovenian.com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all been partially paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair since he was eighteen would be incidental if it weren't for the handful of songs on this quietly triumphant album that deal with the subject.Print ...
esquire. Buena Vista Social Club This album is so tightly performed that it's hard to believe that the musicians you're hearing were mostly dormant before Ry Cooder decided to form a Cuban supergroup. Witty. Luna Languid. and almost-whispered vocals seem so commanding." For the indie-pop set at least. modest ideas.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Only Cohen could make such simple lyrics.Print . Penthouse. Suspicious. This album defined "cool. 25 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Buena Vista Social Club.Esquire http://www.
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison (Live).Esquire http://www. 26 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM . Tom Waits Anthems for the alcoholic.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .esquire.Print .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Small Change. Johnny Cash Because the man knew his audience.
Neil Young An album so accessible that Neil Young has been trying to run away from it since 1972. Mingus Ah Um.Esquire http://www.Print . 27 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Harvest. exhilarating.The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own . and scary.esquire. Charles Mingus This is everything Mingus is: generous.
Gustav Mahler In this piece of music is every emotion a man can experience. 5.com/the-side/music/best-albums-030909 28 of 28 1/5/2011 9:19 PM .The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own .com/print-this/best-albums-030909?page=all Symphony No. http://www.Print . Grace. Jeff Buckley Hallelujah.esquire.Esquire http://www.esquire.
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