Responses to the definitive 200

Readers pick the best albums missing from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list.


Salon Staff
March 12, 2007 10:00PM (UTC)

I'm not promising this is by any means scientific, but the following list is what looks to be the Audiofile readers' top 10 albums that weren't included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's recent definitive 200 list, as compiled from all the suggestions made in the comments.

1. "Doolittle," Pixies

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2. "Horses," Patti Smith

3. "Armed Forces," Elvis Costello

4. "Daydream Nation," Sonic Youth

5. "Fragile," Yes

6. "New Day Rising," Hüsker Dü

7. "Parallel Lines," Blondie (7-10 received the same number of mentions)

8. "Astral Weeks," Van Morrison

9. "Disraeli Gears," Cream

10. "The Band," The Band

Pandyora's list of the 10 worst inclusions was definitely the most entertaining:

Okay, the list sucks. This is like beating a dead dead horse. Yet, for what it's worth, here's my 10 worst inclusions with suggestions for better substitutions:

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1. Linkin Park (#84). This craptastic rap-metal band gets mentioned but there is not room for Black Flag, Husker Du, Mission of Burma, the Descendants or any of the other bands they rip off?

2. Shania Twain (#21). A bland new country superstar gets mentioned, but no Lucinda Williams, no Gillian Welch, no Aimee Mann, no Allison Krauss and Union Station?

3. Eminem (#28). A white derivative rapper gets acknowledged ahead of seminal acts like the Notorious B.I.G. (#59), NWA (#108), and Public Enemey (#156). But more importantly, where is the Wu Tang Clan, or Sugar Hill Gang, or Tribe Called Quest?

4. Soundtracks. "Grease" (#37) and "Titanic" (#103) are (at best) mediocre musicals. Where is "West Side Story" or "Singin' in the Rain" or "The Sound of Music"?

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5. Token Jazz nods. Okay, way to show your sophistication by noting Miles' "Kind of Blue" (#34) and Coltrane's "Love Supreme" (#78). But all that does is whet the appetite. Where is Mingus, or Ornette Coleman, or Cecil Taylor, or Charlie Haden?

6. Frat Rock Heroes, specifically Kid Rock (#68) and Creed (#95). I was in college once, and the last thing we were listening to is this Nirvana-lite crap. Where is Pavement, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Joy Division or Mudhoney?

7. '60s flashbacks. Okay, so the Eagles' "Hotel California," a mediocre album with one good song, gets #35, but where are the true underground, '60s cult heroes? Where are the Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello, or the Kinks?

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8. Marvin Gaye is a good choice (#38). But where is the soul music? Where is George Clinton and the P-Funk? Where is Otis Redding? Curtis Mayfield? Isaac Hayes? Mutha f&*$(#ing Sly and the Family Stone?

9. Wrong sensitive white boys. Matchbox 20 at #91? Live at #176? These guys were prefabricated angst. Where is Belle & Sebastian? Where are the Smiths? Where is Sufjan Stevens or the Shins? They are proper sad bastards.

10. Wrong Albums. Radiohead certainly merits a mention but why only "OK Computer" -- where's "Kid A" and "The Bends"? Good call on Beck's "Odelay" -- but where are the superior albums "Mutations" and "Sea Change"? Phil Collins, but no Genesis?

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame really missed an opportunity with this one...

-- Pandyora

And last, here's a little back and forth about the meaning of the list:

See, I took issue with a lot of respondents and also with Marchese. I thought you guys were not getting it. I was ready to berate everyone who asserts that, say, Marquee Moon belongs in a list of the Top 200 Definitive albums, because it doesn't, it just doesn't. It's one of the Greatest albums, and one of the Best, but not one of the "definitive" ones, if by that term we mean those artifacts that define a genre for good or ill ... Some albums, like Marquee Moon and Forever Changes and Big Star's Third are simply sui generis, and hence "define" very little, whereas, say, Cracked Rear View defines incredibly well a certain spot in the music of the nineties (the spot where all the promises of punk and indie and college rock turned to ashes in our mouths). So, ha! to all of you: read before responding, and understand how you're supposed to respond.

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-- JDS

I could not disagree with you more, dude. Television's Marquee Moon is not only a great album, but a definitive and influential one. Don't believe me? Check out anything by the Strokes or any other early 00 NYC band and tell me you don't hear the obvious debt to Tom Verlaine. I think definitive means a great album that has had a lasting influence on future musicians, and has stood the test of time (meaning that 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years later it still sounds great). I think there are so many oversights on this Hall of Fame list it boggles the mind.

-- Slider

-- David Marchese

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