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Listing the Lists

01:00 Wed 05th Feb 2003 |

Dylan: acclaimed
Why are lists so interesting I can think of five good reasons... but seriously, there are an awful lot of lists out there, perhaps in pop music more than anywhere else. Nick Hornby would have us believe it's a guy thing. In which case, we think we've found the daddy of them all.

Hats off to Swedish statistician Henrik Franzon who has painstakingly compiled hundreds of critical 'Best Ofs' from around the world, put them all together and come up with a huge database of swinging sounds. It's all there on his website Acclaimed Music and for the hardened music buff (Answerbank stalwart andyhughes, we're thinking of you!) there's many hours of fun to be had... and plenty of arguments in the office, if our experience is anything to go by.

Such as
You mean you don't want to sit in a dark, smoky bar with friends debating the fact that The Velvet Underground are the 8th best 'Albums Band' but only the 425th most acclaimed 'Singles Band'

When you hear that Gram Parsons registers as the 117th most acclaimed artist of all time, don't you want to get out a paper and pen and try to work out who could possibly make the other 116

Pardon me
Or that That'll Be the Day was, critically, the best single of 1957 - beating off stiff competition from the likes of Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Bye Bye Love, Jailhouse Rock and Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu

You're serious, aren't you
Weren't you bursting to know that the 37th most acclaimed LP of 1977 was Kate and Anna McGarrigle's Dancer with Bruised Knees' (And aren't you furious to learn that that makes it less acclaimed than an ELO album ! )

There are lists of the best albums and singles of each year, lists of the best albums bands and singles bands... and there's not a Will Young, a Gareth Gates or a Girls Aloud in sight!

How did he come up with all this
Henrik doesn't reveal every algorhythm and complex co-efficient, but he makes a stab at listing the lists, all 390 of them so far. Sure enough he takes account of everything from Nude as the News' The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s (USA, 1999) to Plasticos y Decibelios' The 80 Best Albums of All Time (Spain, 2000) to more familiar sources - Rolling Stone.Q Magazine and the NME; "... and I eventually decided to include Rob's All Time Top 5 Songs (and the songs that almost made the list) from Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity'."

Room for argument
Why of course there is. That's the best thing about lists. Anyone who's happy that The Beat's Wha'ppen is nowhere to be found can meet me outside in five minutes.

Missy: top freak

Enough talk - show us a list
Try this for size - Henrik's 20 most acclaimed singles of the 21st century (at the time this article was published, anyway).

Yes you are allowed to feel old if you don't know all of the following:

  1. Missy Misdemeanor Elliott - Get Ur Freak On (2001)
  2. Missy Misdemeanor Elliott - Work It (2002)
  3. Eminem - Without Me (2002)
  4. OutKast - Ms. Jackson (2000)
  5. Madonna - Music (2000)
  6. Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood (2001)
  7. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head (2001)
  8. Coldplay - Yellow (2000)
  9. Eminem - The Real Slim Shady (2000)
  10. The White Stripes - Fell in Love with a Girl (2002)
  11. Queens of the Stone Age - No One Knows (2002)
  12. Eminem Feat. Dido - Stan (2000)
  13. The Strokes - Hard to Explain (2001)
  14. Squarepusher - My Red Hot Car (2001)
  15. OutKast - B. O. B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) (2000)
  16. Aaliyah - Try Again (2000)
  17. The Strokes - The Modern Age EP (2001)
  18. Fischerspooner - Emerge (2001)
  19. The Rapture - House of Jealous Lovers (2002)
  20. The Strokes - Last Nite (2001)

The Queens Of The Stone Age No One Knows...

Music was better in my day
That's what every generation thinks, dad! And every critic too, by the looks of things. From the same site, here are the top ten singles of all time. It helps if you're old enough to remember the '60s:

  1. Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
  2. The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
  3. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations (1966)
  4. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
  5. Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1968)
  6. Aretha Franklin - Respect (1967)
  7. The Beatles - Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)
  8. Otis Redding - Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay (1968)
  9. Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel/I Was the One (1956)
  10. Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode (1958)

And just for the hell of it, and to prove that Aretha and Stones weren't always that good, here are singles 991-100, again from Acclaimed Music:

991. Aretha Franklin - Don't Play That Song (1970)
992. Black Grape - Reverend Black Grape(1995)
993. Grand Funk Railroad - We're an American Band(1973)
994. David Bowie - Golden Years (1975)
995. Nirvana - You Know You're Right(2002)
996. The Buzzcocks - Spiral Scratch EP (1977)
997. The Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away (1964)
998. Van Halen - Runnin' with the Devil (1978)
999. The Clovers - One Mint Julep (1952)
1000. Television - Marquee Moon(1977)

It makes your heart glow to think there might be 999 songs better than Marquee Moon, doesn't it... Doesn't it Whaddya mean you've never heard of it !

Of course this is just a taster. Hurry over to Acclaimed Music and see for yourself:

See also: It's All A Matter of Opinion

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