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Another Spin
A blog by Scott E. Shepherd · A continuing look at popular music, past, present and future.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Definitive" List Defines Crap
200 Albums you don't really need

Filed under: Lists, News, Opinion

Every time I want to give the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame some sort of validity, I'm proven how stupid it is. Again, if you want to create a museum to 20th Century music, focusing on Rock, that's cool. But to call it a "Hall of Fame" is just pretentious and idiotic.

Recently the R&R HOF teamed up with The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) to create a "definitive" list of 200 albums that should be in everyone's collection. As NARM president Jim Donio puts it, they are "albums that have consistently excited record buyers over the years and those that have the potential for continued success based on enduring popularity.... The inevidable debate about the 200 must-own albums will underscore just how much the music and the art form mean to everyone."

Unsurprisingly, Sgt. Pepper begins the list, but it pretty much becomes a joke after that. Other entries include Celine Dion, Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, Kenny G., and Frank Sinatra. On a list created by the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame?? There are, of course, glaring omissions and a skewered rating system (Carol King's Tapestry is number 7, while Jimi Hendrix doesn't even make the top 40.) These are suppose to be the "200 definitive albums of the rock era," but as far as I can remember, Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours was released in 1953, a few years before the rock era. The list ends with Grand Funk Railroad's We're An American Band, and whether you're fan of Grand Funk or not, that should pretty much tell you all you need to know about the list.

Obviously with an association like NARM involved, the whole list is a marketing ploy (and the list is on Amazon.com), but honestly, who would buy an album just because someone says it's "essential" to your record collection? I would never write an "essential" list of any length because I don't know what your personal taste is, and if you really like Kenny G., why would I tell you you need the Beastie Boys to make your record collection complete?

Anyone interested in the list can find it here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000062961

If pressed, I could probably come up with a list of 20 albums essential to my collection, but perhaps I'll save that for another entry.

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