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1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (1001 Before You Die)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,131 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a highly readable list of the best, the most important, and the most influential pop albums from 1955 through 2003. Carefully selected by a team of international critics, each album is a groundbreaking work seminal to the understanding and appreciation of music from the 1950s to the present. Included with each entry are productio ...more
Hardcover, 960 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Universe (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,693)
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Aug 26, 2012 B0nnie rated it liked it
Shelves: books
Working my way through this

Sinatra, Frank – In the Wee Small Hours
Presley, Elvis – Elvis Presley (1956)
Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of Life
Prima, Louis – Wildest
Domino, Fats – This is Fats
Ellington, Duke – At Newport (1956)
Sinatra, Frank – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!
Crickets – Chirping…
Basie, Count – Atomic Mr Basie
Monk, Thelonious – Brilliant Corners
Sabú [Martínez] – Palo Congo
Davis, Miles – Birth of the Cool
Machito – Kenya
Sep 19, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: music I sit, listening to Einstürzende Neubauten's great album, "Kollaps" which is semi-rhythmic collection of German yelling, banging on garbage cans and recorded sounds from every day objects such as water burbling, feet shuffling and what almost sounds like a broken AM radio.

Such is the story of my life.

My good friends Mike and Karen generously bought me this book several months ago, which was very much appreciated (of course). As close we are, they did not know that they were doomin
Apr 21, 2015 7jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a short note: I thought this was a solid book of important album, with only two flaws - including a Limp Bizkit album (should have chosen Deftones' "White Pony" or something, even Linkin Park would do), and I don't think Britney Spears fits in (but this one is just my opinion)... anyway at least the former should've been taken off. Otherwise great book with reasonably good taste.
Mar 29, 2013 angie rated it really liked it

There is much for music lovers to be happy about once they get a hold of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Arranged by decade (1950s to present day), the hefty book is full of compulsively readable reviews written by various music critics, all more than willing to back up exactly why they consider these selections essential to your musical life.

Kicking off with Frank Sinatra’s heartbreaking In The Wee Small Hours, 1001 Albums tells us that Sinatra was almost a has-been when he recorded i
Matthew Revert
Jan 27, 2010 Matthew Revert rated it it was ok
I thought the "1001 Movies You Must Watch Before You Die" was a surprisingly varied and informative book. For every "Titanic" was a "Satantango". It was for this reason that I picked up "1001 Albums...".

I was disappointed to see how unadventurous it was. For the most part we're presented with a stale list of standards that do very little to expand musical horizons. When the most "out there" release included is by Einsturzende Neubauten, we have a problem. What I hoped this book would provide wa
Jun 18, 2011 Nycdreamin rated it really liked it
This book does indeed cover 1001 albums. Whether or not you need to hear most of them before you die is a question that struck me immediately as I thumbed through it for the first time a few weeks ago when I picked it up at a Library book sale for a cool $1.00.

Starting with the 1950's era and moving forward through the 2000's, 1001 albums are reviewd by a large ensemble of nearly 100 "leading international critics," according to the cover. There is a brief blurb about each contributor to the boo
Tim Niland
Jan 15, 2015 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
There is nothing a music geek likes more than a good list, and this book may be the mother of all music lists. Just like it says on the tin, the editors and several authors list 1001 of their favorite albums from 1955 - 2005. Instead of ranking them from 1 - 1001, they present the albums by year of release, moving from crooners, jazz and the first stirrings of rock and roll in the mid 1950's then focusing almost exclusively on rock and pop music through to the mid-2000's. It is a fascinating boo ...more
Jul 30, 2010 Tanya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-of-life
For those who have spent the large part of their teen/adult years searching out the most obscure and underground music to whet their musical palates, this volume offers great suggestions to get acquainted with the "classics." 1001 Albums gave me some great listening recommendations in the areas of jazz and rock, making me step outside my comfort zone and acknowledge that some mainstream releases are certainly worth a listen. Who would've imagined that I'd ever buy (and like) a Byrds cd?!!
William Schram
Jul 09, 2016 William Schram rated it really liked it
Ordered chronologically, this book contains albums that are considered to be great by a series of critics. Starting with Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, the book continues on through the rest of the 1950s and on into the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. Since it has a huge amount of material to cover, I imagine the list had to be pared down quite a bit.

All the entries have the name of the artist, the name of the particular album in question, and some basic stats about the album; the
Mar 17, 2016 Jim marked it as long-term-reading
Shelves: music, xmas-gift-2015

An Xmas gift at my request. thanks RJ!

The title is somewhat extreme . Lord, I don't feel the obligation to listen to them all or to follow any kind of order. That would be too much like work!

a link to youtube videos of a great many of the songs.

a complete list

List cut and pasted from Goodreads user B0nnie

Sinatra, Frank – In the Wee Small Hours
Presley, Elvis – Elvis Presley (1956)
Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of L
Apr 01, 2009 Ed rated it liked it
Shelves: pop-music
I love compendia such as this, which condense a vast and varied field into bite-sized bits, like a well-seasoned stew or packaged breakfast cereal. The authors show a somewhat British bias, and an artist bias, resulting in numerous Where are they and Why is this in here and Who the hell are they talking about among the recognisable wheat.
Whether or not I will ever hear most of these albums is not the issue (how long would it take anyway--a million years?--who has that kinda time, except maybe S
Nick H
Jan 26, 2011 Nick H rated it liked it
This book is a gluttonous attempt at something that is proven again and again to do nothing but piss people off because of the exclusion of albums that should rightfully be included, but just didn't make the cut due to the contributors' taste in music. That being said, there are a lot of albums included that I was pleasantly surprised to see (Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue being a great example.) Also, the format becomes glaringly insufficient when I'm reading in 2011, and hit 2005 as an end ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Harris rated it liked it
Part of a growing stable of “1001 blanks you must blank before you die” titles published by Universe, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die lists a variety of records from a variety of popular music genres from 1955 to 2008 (though heavily weighted towards the later periods of this range), organized by large group of music critics and editors to be particularly representative of the development and evolution of modern music. Borrowed to me by a friend after I expressed my desire to learn more ...more
Thiago Silva
Dec 28, 2014 Thiago Silva rated it liked it
Fraquinho demais quando chega em meados dos anos 80/90/2000, deixa muita coisa de fora, sendo uma lista (excelente) de discos pop, mas que não necessariamente seriam essenciais, tem lacunas enormes em termos de punk e metal, apesar de algumas surpresas (cita Throbbing Gristle, por exemplo).
Aug 04, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: music lovers
Shelves: music
I am currently reading this massive volume, and for the most part, I enjoy it when I read it. I've tried to read it from cover to cover, and so far am up to 1987.

While I was reading it, I noticed some very interesting albums I might be interested in listening to, so I bought some sticky tabs to mark those pages. I've probably marked hundreds of albums at this point. It definitely opens you up to some eclectic albums, ones you probably wouldn't consider just seeing it on the CD shelf.

I enjoy tha
J Rock
Jul 18, 2007 J Rock rated it liked it
Less a giant tome of musical treasures than an exercise in tedium, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die was something I wanted to love but couldn't. I wanted to discover a lot of music that I may have missed, but it focuses mostly on what's widely discussed as classics anyway so I already knew about most of what was included here. Of what I hadn't heard, hardly any piqued my interest enough to get me to check them out, in fact the only group this book turned me on to was Wire.

I don't really
Shane Malcolm
Sep 11, 2016 Shane Malcolm rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This giant tome is an excellent guide to the greatest albums of the rock music era, 1950s to present. The reviews are well-written and incisive, and there are hundreds of diverse acts featured, from the usual suspects (The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell) to more often overlooked performers (Siouxsie And The Banshees, Matthew Sweet). I would have given the thing five stars, but for the fact that female artists are slightly under-represented (typical for these books, although this one is much b ...more
Jan 31, 2010 Lynn rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book to read mostly to learn about some new music "of worth" by someone's estimation. Of course, many of the reviews are fawning over music that I may or may not care for, but I always like to learn about new music. It also got me to listen to some music that I have but have let sit idle for a while.
One downside to it is that the most recent albums are from 2004-ish, so they're missing some good albums that have come out in the past few years, a problem which will only g
Cedric Hendrix
Aug 09, 2012 Cedric Hendrix rated it it was amazing
For a die-hard music junkie like me, this book is a must-have. That's not to say that I want to hear all 1,001 albums covered here. Some are very mainstream, and I'm not a mainstream kind of music fan. But someone out there is looking for the perfect Brittney Spears album, and good luck to them. This book fits that need at times. But more often than not, it's a good guide to the "jumping-off point albums" of a lot of good artists. Some artists get more coverage than others, but you could still b ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Stas rated it liked it
They included The Who's first album. But A Quick One, their second, is so much better!
Jun 30, 2012 Bernard rated it liked it
A "must" for anyone who enjoys music as an art expression. It's a good guide for those who want to discover new albuns or music genres/styles.
But there are many great albuns that are not listed. And the reviews are too shallow. Also, there's a lack of non american or british are artists, it's clearly oriented to american and british musicians. And I think there's obviously a whole musical WORLD outside these only two countries, which american critics and the public just don't know. It just show
L.e. Wilson
Aug 04, 2015 L.e. Wilson rated it liked it
Almost as good as 1001 Songs to Hear Before You Die, but not quite.
Dec 05, 2015 Pascal rated it really liked it
Shelves: référence
Good reference books on key music albums, from 1955 TO 2005
Jan 16, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is NOT Max, and actually loves music.
i'm just gonna go ahead and say that i 'read' this book although i dont think i will ever finish reading the whole 4000-some-odd pages of this behemoth. although this book does included some fascinating notes and info about most of my favorite albums and a lot of music i have never been exposed to, reading it all would force me to learn way too much about albums by artist(and i used the term loosely) that i have absolutely no interest in, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin T ...more
Keith Seekwhence
Jun 15, 2009 Keith Seekwhence rated it liked it
Is not as essential or definitive as I had hoped, but given the nature of the book, it's mostly left up to opinion. Personally 80% of the works mentioned are irrefutable, but I find a vast myriad of albums that go without mention and I do not agree with a considerable amount that are. At any rate, it is a well done book, nice chunky size, but I cannot help but feel if it were of a more standard form a good portion of the album re-reviews would be in greater detail.
Jul 08, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it
Consider it the holy bible of the music world.

This is a list with of some of the greatest albums of all time. A lot of my favorite albums, bands and artists were included in this book. Although I think some albums shouldn't have been included, and some others should have been included instead, it's still a great list for anyone who wants to expand their horizons. Now I know about more bands and artists that I didn't know about before.
Surfing Moose
Could not disagree more with a lot of entries in this book. Only one entry for The Residents and not even one of their first two albums, really? I don't recall seeing any of the original No-Wave bands on the list. Two entries for The Arcade Fire... two entries too many.

Seems that the list has more filler than killer. But alas it is only a list and these things cause consternation in music snobs such as myself.
May 10, 2013 Chris marked it as to-read
Actually started paging thru this at a friend's place and really liked it. It's organized by decade, with short essays about the picks that include some history of the band and some context for where the music fit the scene at the time.

This is a fun thing to have now that lots of these albums are available to explore online for free at Youtube and elsewhere. I'm actually listening to one right now.
A really good book. I wanted to try out some older music and also some more alternative stuff and found this really helpful.

One you can kinda just pick up where you left off.No need to read all the way through, however this is what I did.

Got an older edition as I didn't feel the need to have something up to date. Also, it was really cheap in sale. so a nice little bargain.(1.99).
Arthur dos Santos
I had great expectations about this book. As a music enthusiast I thought I would indeed find 1001 great albuns listed on this book, but most of them are not a must hear. I was glad to find my favorite bands and artists listed on this book, but they didn't even picked their best albuns! There are also some non-sense reviews about some records, and there are too much Björk albuns for my taste.
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