Beach Boys top all-time album chart as critics hark back to Sixties

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The Independent Online

Arts Correspondent

In an exercise destined to provoke heated argument, a chart has been compiled of the 100 best rock albums of all time.

Rock music writers have been surveyed by Mojo magazine over five months and the result is the first chart to be drawn from all rock albums ever recorded. The number one album on the list, which will be printed in the new edition of Mojo tomorrow, is The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. This 1966 album masterminded by the group's composer, Brian Wilson, became known as America's Sergeant Pepper.

Speaking from California, Wilson said: "It's great to know that after all these years people still love the record, because when I made it, I put my heart and soul into it."

At No 2 is Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and at No 3, The Beatles' Revolver.

The chart is fascinating as it repeatedly shows that the musicians involved often had little idea they were working on something special; and in a number of cases the albums sold few copies at first and only became classics years later.

Astral Weeks, which used jazz session musicians, never made the album charts at all when it was released in 1968. The jazz guitarist Jay Berliner, who played on the record, had not heard of Morrison when he played and did not listen to the album for 10 years until younger friends kept congratulating him for playing on a classic.

Rock critics, according to the chart, seem to see greatness as largely rooted in the Sixties and Seventies, with a number of entries for The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. But the occasional Eighties band does creep in, notably The Smiths and Prince, with the eclectic dance band Massive Attack the sole choice from the Nineties with their album Blue Lines.

Among notable omissions are The Who's Tommy and Neil Young's After the Goldrush, though these artists do have other albums in the chart.

The highest placed women are Patti Smith, who makes it to No 10 with Horses, and Joni Mitchell at No 18 with Blue.

Mojo surveyed more than 70 rock critics from Britain and the United States, with an age range evenly spread between 25 and 45.


1. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys 2. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison 3. Revolver - The Beatles

4. Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones 5. Highway 61 Revisited- Bob Dylan 6. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye 7. Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones 8. Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan 9. The Velvet Underground and Nico- The Velvet Underground 10. Horses - Patti Smith

11. Forever Changes - Love 12. Are You Experienced?- The Jimi Hendrix Experience