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 production details and credits as well as reproductions of original album cover art. Perhaps most important of all, each album featured comes with an authoritative description of its importance and influence. Among the critics involved in selecting the list are some of the best known music reviewers and commentators, including Theunis Bates (music writer for Time and urban editor at worldpop.com), Jon Harrington (staff writer at MTV), Seth Jacobson (writer for Dazed & Confused), as well as many others.
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Robert Dimery is a writer and editor who has worked for numerous magazines, including Time Out and Vogue. Michael Lydon was a founding editor of Rolling Stone. His books include Rock Folk, Boogie Lightning, and Ray Charles: Man and Music.From Publishers Weekly:
This bookshelf-busting testament to music geeks' mania for lists is about as comprehensive a "best-of" as any sane person could want. Editor Dimery and the army of 90 music critics he drafted to compile this beast begin in the 1950s with Frank Sinatra, end in 2005 with The White Stripes and cover every genre, sub-genre, fad, flash-in-the-pan and musical movement that hit in the intervening years, taking each on their own merits. So, noise-and-terror group Lightning Bolt (featuring "a 'singer' who barks through a contact microphone taped inside a gimp mask") gets lauded as a "truly challenging listening experience," Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" gets dubious props for turning "heavy metal into a pop genre that women would be able to love" and Yoko Ono gets ignored. Arranged chronologically and with an excellent index, the book's a pleasure to peruse. Hundreds of jacket art reproductions accompany original track listings, and the critic-penned album summaries are brisk, informed, devoid of snark and full of argument-ending trivia. As with any list, there are bound to be glaring omissions and contentious inclusions, though Dimery buffets the book somewhat by disqualifying from consideration compilations, greatest hits albums and most soundtracks. For music lovers, it doesn't get much better.
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