1001 albums

I’m listening to all of the 1001 albums you must hear before you die playlist.

In alphabetical order, by album title. This page is where I record my progress.


  • 12 August 2019: Started project
  • 13 August 2019: Found out that the original book list has changed over time. And that there are several similar playlists on Spotify. And that those playlists don’t all match. I’m going to just carry on with this playlist for now.

Key to symbols

★ = I really liked this album
♯ = I’d never heard this before

 Tuesday 26 February

  1. #1 Record / Radio City, by Big Start ♯
  2. 3 years, 5 months and 2 days in the life of Arrested Development
  3. 3+3, by The Isley Brothers ★ ♯

Never heard this before; really liked it.

  1. 16 Lovers Lane, by The Go Betweens ★
  2. 69 Love Songs, by The Magnetic Fields ♯

Friday 1 March

  1. 461 Ocean Boulevard, by Eric Clapton
  2. 1977, by Ash
  3. 1984, by Van Halen
  4. 1999, by Prince ★
  5. 2112, by Rush
  6. Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds ♯
  7. Abraxas, by Santana

Saturday 2 March

  1. Achtung Baby, by U2

Friday 22 March

  1. Actually, by Pet Shop Boys
  2. After the Gold Rush, by Neil Young
  3. Aftermath, by The Rolling Stones
  4. Agaetis Byrjun, by Sigur Rós ♯
  5. Aja, by Steely Dan
  6. Alladin Sane, by David Bowie ★
  7. Alien Lanes, by Guided By Voices ♯

Thursday 18 April

  1. All Directions, by The Temptations ♯
  2. All Hail the Queen, by Queen Latifah
  3. All Mod Cons, by The Jam
  4. All That You Can’t Leave Behind, by U2

Tuesday 23 April

  1. Ambient 1/Music for Airports, by Brian Eno
  2. American Beauty, by Grateful Dead
  3. American Gothic, by David Ackles ♯
  4. American Idiot, by Green Day

Wednesday 8 May

  1. A Girl Called Dusty, by Dusty Springfield
  2. A Grand Don’t Come for Free, by The Streets
  3. A Little Deeper, by Ms Dynamite
  4. A Love Supreme, by John Coltrane Quartet
  5. American IV: The Man Comes Around, by Johnny Cash
  6. American Pie, by Don McClean ★
  7. Amnesiac, by Radiohead
  8. Among the Living, by Anthrax ♯
  9. A Night at the Opera, by Queen
  10. A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse, by Faces
  11. A Northern Soul, by The Verve

Thursday 9 May

  1. Another Green World, by Brian Eno
  2. Another Music in a Different Kitchen, by Buzzcocks
  3. Antichrist Superstar, by Marilyn Manson
  4. Apocalypse Dudes, by Turbonegro ♯
  5. Appetite for Destruction, by Guns N’Roses

Thursday 16 May

  1. Aqualung, by Jethro Tull
  2. Architecture and Morality, by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  3. Arc of a Diver, by Steve Winwood
  4. Are you Experienced, by Jimi Hendrix
  5. Arise, by Sepultura ♯
  6. Armed Forces, by Elvis Costello and The Attractions ★
  7. Arrival, by ABBA
  8. A Rush of Blood to the Head, by Coldplay

Monday 20 May

  1. A Short Album about Love, by The Divine Comedy
  2. Astral Weeks, by Van Morrison
  3. At Budokan, by Cheap Trick ♯
  4. At Fillmore East, by The Allman Brothers Band ♯
  5. At Mister Kelly’s, by Sarah Vaughan and Her Band ★
  6. At San Quentin, by Johnny Cash
  7. Autobahn, by Kraftwerk

Tuesday 21 May

  1. Automatic for the People, by R.E.M. ★

Thursday 23 May

  1. A Walk Across the Rooftops, by The Blue Nile
  2. A Wizard / A True Star, by Todd Rundgren ★ ♯

I thought I knew my 70s stuff pretty well, but I’ve never heard this before, or indeed anything quite like it

  1. Axis: Bold as Love, by Jimi Hendrix

And finally, we reach the Bs! This project may take a tiny bit longer than I had expected…

  1. B-52’s, by The B-52’s ★

One of the finest pop albums ever made, imho

  1. Back at the Chicken Shack, by Jimmy Smith ♯

Monday 3 June

  1. Back in Black, by AC/DC
  2. Back to Black, by Amy Winehouse ★

Tuesday 4 June

  1. Bad, by Michael Jackson
  2. Bandwagonesque, by Teenage Fanclub ★
  3. Bayou Country, by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. Beautiful Freak, by Eels
  5. Before and After Science, by Brian Eno
  6. Beggars Banquet, by The Rolling Stones
  7. Behaviour, by Pet Shop Boys

Monday 10 June

  1. Being There, by Wilco
  2. Berlin, by Lou Reed

Tuesday 11 June

  1. Bert Jansch, by Bert Jansch ♯
  2. Better Living Through Chemistry, by Fat Boy Slim
  3. Beyond Skin, by Nitin Sawhney
  4. Billion Dollar Babies, by Alice Cooper
  5. Birth of the Cool, by Miles Davis

Tuesday 9 July

  1. Bitches Brew, by Miles Davis
  2. Black Holes and Revelations, by Muse
  3. Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath

Thursday 8 August

  1. Blonde on Blonde, by Bob Dylan
  2. Blood and Chocolate, by Elvis Costello & the Attractions ★
  3. Blood on the Tracks, by Bob Dylan
  4. Blood, Sweat & Tears, by Blood, Sweat & Tears
  5. Blue, by Joni Mitchell ★
  6. Blue Lines, by Massive Attack ★

Friday 9 August

  1. Bluesbreakers, by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
  2. Blur, by Blur
  3. Bone Machine, by Tom Waits ♯

Monday 12 August

  1. Bongo Rock, by Incredible Bongo Band ♯
  2. Bookends, by Simon & Garfunkel ♯

Another surprise: I thought I knew my S&G, but I’d never heard this one before and it’s not at all what I expected it to be…

  1. Born in the U.S.A., by Bruce Springsteen
  2. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen
  3. Bossanova, by Pixies
  4. BOSTON, by Boston
  5. Boy in da corner, by Dizzee Rascal ♯
  6. Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon & Garfunkel

First milestone reached: 101 albums in the first 6 months. Wrote a post to tell the world. Right. Next!

Thursday 5 September

  1. Brilliant Corners, by Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and Ernie Henry
  2. Bringing it all Back Home, by Bob Dylan
  3. British Steel, by Judas Priest ♯

Dylan/Judas Priest was an interesting transition.

  1. Broken English, by Marianne Faithfull ♯
  2. Brothers in Arms, by Dire Straits
  3. Brown Sugar, by D’Angelo
  4. Brutal Youth, by Elvis Costello

Monday 16 September

  1. Bryter Layter, by Nick Drake ★
  2. Bubble and Scrape, by Sebadoh ♯
  3. Buena Vista Social Club, by Buena Vista Social Club
  4. Bummed, by Happy Mondays
  5. Butterfly, by Mariah Carey ♯
  6. Caetano Veloso, by Caetano Veloso ♯

I’ve never listened to any Mariah Carey before, and I’ve never even heard of Caetano Veloso. That’s one thing this project is good at, forcing me to listen beyond my usual boundaries.

  1. Café Bleu, by The Style Council ♯

Another completely new discovery for me. You’d think, given my age, that I’d be well familiar with The Style Council’s stuff. But no, only the singles. I’d never heard this album before. It’s… jazzy.

  1. Calenture, by The Triffids ♯

Tuesday 17 September

  1. Call of the Valley, by Shiv Kumar Sharma, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Brij Bushan ♯
  2. Can’t Buy a Thrill, by Steely Dan
  3. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, by Lucinda Williams ♯
  4. Casanova, by The Divine Comedy
  5. Catch a Fire, by Bob Marley & The Wailers
  6. Central Reservation, by Beth Orton
  7. C’est Chic, by Chic ♯ ★

 Wednesday 18 September

  1. Cheap Thrills, by Big Brother & the Holding Company ♯
  2. Chelsea Girl, by Nico ♯
  3. Chicago Transit Authority, by Chicago ♯

Thursday 19 September

  1. Closer, by Joy Division
  2. Close to the Edge, by Yes ♯
  3. Club Classics Vol 1, by Soul II Soul
  4. Clube Da Esquina 1, by Milton Nascimento ♯
  5. Coat of Many Colors, by Dolly Parton ★
  6. Coles Corner, by Richard Hawley ♯
  7. Colour by Numbers, by Culture Club

Friday 20 September

  1. Come Away With Me, by Norah Jones
  2. Come Find Yourself, by Fun Lovin’ Criminals
  3. Connected, by Stereo MC’s

Sunday 29 September

  1. Cosmo’s Factory, by Creedence Clearwater Revival ♯
  2. Country Life, by Roxy Music ♯
  3. Court & Spark, by Joni Mitchell ★★★★★

It’s hard to overstate how important this album is to me. I’ve been listening to it as long as I can remember. I know the words by heart, and sing harmonies, as best I can, to every song as it plays. I turn it up very loud. I play it when I’m driving, when I’m commuting, when I’m working, when I’m doing chores, when I’m relaxing. It gets 5 stars because frankly, it deserves them. Thank you for this gift, Joni.

  1. Crime of the Century, by Supertramp
  2. Crocodiles, by Echo and the Bunnymen

Monday 30 September

  1. Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, by Pavement
  2. Crosby, Stills & Nash, by Crosby, Stills & Nash ♯
  3. Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts, by The Adverts ♯
  4. Cupid and Psyche 85, by Scritti Politti
  5. Cypress Hill, by Cypress Hill
  6. Da Capo, by Love ♯

 Tuesday 1 October

  1. Damaged, by Black Flag ♯
  2. Dare!, by The Human League
  3. Darkdancer, by Les Rythemes Digitales ♯

Monday 21 October

  1. Darklands, by The Jesus and Mary Chain
  2. Darkness on the Edge of Town, by Bruce Springsteen
  3. Daydream Nation, by Sonic Youth
  4. Debut, by Bjork ★
  5. Deep Purple in Rock, by Deep Purple ♯
  6. Deloused in the Comatorium, by The Mars Volta ♯
  7. Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, by TV On The Radio ♯
  8. Destroyer, by KISS ♯
  9. Devil Without a Pause, by Kid Rock ♯
  10. Devotional Songs, by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ★ ♯

Quite a mix in those last 5 or 6 albums. Half a day of stuff that was utterly new to me. I’d never even heard of The Mars Volta or TV On the Radio before.

Monday 28 October

  1. Diamond Life, by Sade

I was a big Sade fan when I was a teenager, which was odd. At least, I wasn’t completely sure why, because the rest of my music taste at the time was far, far away from Sade. But I remember owning all the Sade albums and playing them a lot.

  1. Different Class, by Pulp ★

And Pulp, OMG Pulp. I discovered them when Intro came out, and worshipped the mic that Jarvis Cocker sang into. Different Class is a masterpiece, but not Pulp’s only masterpiece.

  1. Dig Your Own Hole, by The Chemical Brothers
  2. Dire Straits, by Dire Straits
  3. Dirt/Unplugged, by Alice in Chains ♯

The thing about this project is that it forces me to listen to things I would never otherwise consider listening to. Like Alice in Chains, for example.

  1. Dirty, by Sonic Youth
  2. Disintegration, by The Cure ★
  3. Disraeli Gears, by Cream

Wednesday 6 November

  1. Document, by REM

I discovered REM when Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright played The one I love, and my teenage brain latched on to it immediately. I was a dedicated fan for years afterwards.

  1. Dog Man Star, by Suede
  2. Dookie, by Green Day
  3. Doolittle, by Pixies

Thursday 7 November

  1. Double Nickels on the Dime, by Minutemen ♯
  2. Dry, by PJ Harvey ★
  3. Duck Rock, by Malcolm McLaren
  4. Dummy, by Portishead
  5. Dusty in Memphis, by Dusty Springfield

Monday 18 November

  1. Either Or, by Elliott Smith ♯
  2. Electric, by The Cult
  3. Electric Ladyland, by Jimi Hendrix
  4. Electric Warrior, by T.Rex ♯
  5. Elephant, by The White Stripes
  6. Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, by Laura Nyro ♯
  7. Eliminator, by ZZ Top

Tuesday 19 November

  1. Ellington at Newport 1956, by Duke Ellington ♯
  2. Elvis is Back, by Elvis Presley ♯
  3. Emergency on Planet Earth, by Jamiroquai
  4. Endtroducing… by DJ Shadow

 Wednesday 20 November

  1. England’s Newest Hit Makers, by The Rolling Stones
  2. En-Tact, by The Shamen
  3. Entertainment, by Gang of Four ♯

Friday 22 November

  1. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, by Neil Young ♯
  2. Every Picture Tells a Story, by Rod Stewart ♯
  3. E.V.O.L by Sonic Youth ♯

Tuesday 3 December

  1. Exile on Main Street, by The Rolling Stones
  2. Exit Planet Dust, by The Chemical Brothers
  3. Exodus, by Bob Marley and The Wailers
  4. Faith, by George Michael
  5. The Fat of the Land, by Prodigy
  6. Faust IV, by Faust ♯

200 albums down! We’re into the Fs!

Tuesday 10 December

  1. Favourites: from Samba Esquema Novo 1963, to Africa Brasil 1976, by Jorge Ben Jor ♯
  2. Fear of a Black Planet, by Public Enemy
  3. Fear of Music, by Talking Heads

Wednesday 11 December

  1. Fela with Ginger Baker Live!, by Fela Kuti ♯
  2. Felt Mountain, by Goldfrapp
  3. Fifth Dimension, by The Byrds
  4. Figure 8, by Elliott Smith ♯

Saturday 21 December

  1. First Band on the Moon, by The Cardigans
  2. Fisherman’s Blues, by The Waterboys
  3. Five Leaves Left, by Nick Drake
  4. Floodland, by Sisters of Mercy ♯
  5. Follow the Leader, by Korn ♯
  6. Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash
  7. Foo Fighters, by Foo Fighters

Thursday 9 January 2020

  1. Forever Changes, by Love
  2. For Your Pleasure, by Roxy Music
  3. Four Classic Albums, by Count Basie ♯
  4. Fragile, by Yes ♯
  5. Framed / Next, by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band ♯
  6. The Frank Sinatra Collection, by Frank Sinatra ♯

Thursday 16 January

  1. Franz Ferdinand, by Franz Ferdinand
  2. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, by Bob Dylan
  3. From Elvis in Memphis, by Elvis Presley ♯

Friday 17 January

  1. Fromohio, by fIREHOSE ♯
  2. Fulfillingness’ First Finale, by Stevie Wonder