Yahoo!’s music coverage generally leaves a lot to be desired. Their writers are unnaturally obnoxious (even for music crit-types), and they are in the unfortunate position one of my least favorite music writers as one of their main contributors (and because I have a job to protect, I won’t mention his name in public. Besides, he’s not worth it). However, this list of the Top 20 albums of all time was pretty interesting, and I kind of like the method by which this list was created.

Of course, everyone and their mother can make a list and call it “The Top 20 Albums of All Time” (hey, anyone been reading my list of the 105 Greatest Singles of the Eighties??), but the list compiled by Robert of the Radish (dude, you couldn’t think of a better name) is certainly one of the most scientific lists of this kind.

Robert took personal opinion out of the equation completely, instead basing his list on several factors: critical acclaim, actual sales figures, Grammy award love (probably the weakest part of his argument, considering that there have been several bands universally acknowledged as the best at what they do that have never won a Grammy…Led Zeppelin and The Who among them, although it doesn’t look like that affected Led Zep too much), and the most interesting component to my eyes, staying power as judged by the average price and availability of used copies of the CD. I found this interesting mainly because I frequent more than my share of used record stores. I’ve shopped for used music in at least five states, and I can say with some authority that there are certain popular titles that you will see in abundance in just about every used record store in America (he mentions Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Cracked Rear View”. I’ll see him and raise him one Matchbox 20’s “Yourself or Someone Like You”, thank you very much), and some that you never see anywhere (ever seen a Beatles studio non-compilation album in a used record store for less than 8 or 9 bucks, if at all? Don’t think so).

I think he might have flubbed ever so slightly by not taking into account the higher price for multiple-CD compilations, but otherwise I think his list is a fairly accurate depiction of 20 albums that have most successfully navigated the waters of public and critical opinion (which is much harder to do than one would think…critics and consumers generally travel on separate planets when it comes to this sort of thing). Here’s his Top 20, going backwards, and you can see the full article here:

20. “Faith” George Michael
19. “Appetite for Destruction” Guns ‘n Roses
18. “Purple Rain” Prince & The Revolution
17. “Houses of the Holy” Led Zeppelin
16. “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen
15. “Nevermind” Nirvana
14. “Van Halen” Van Halen
13. “Rumours” Fleetwood Mac
12. “The Wall” Pink Floyd
11. “The Joshua Tree” U2
10. “Metallica” Metallica
9. “Led Zeppelin” Led Zeppelin
8. “Hotel California” The Eagles
7. “The Beatles (White Album)” The Beatles
6. “Led Zeppelin IV” Led Zeppelin
5. “Abbey Road” The Beatles
4. “Physical Graffiti” Led Zeppelin
3. “Thriller” Michael Jackson
2. “Dark Side of the Moon” Pink Floyd
1. “Songs in the Key of Life” Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder\'s \"Songs in the Key of Life\": The #1 Album of All Time??

It does look like the writer made a couple of mistakes here. First off, the RIAA certifies sales of double albums on a per-disc basis, so an album such as “Key of Life” is certified at 10 million sales, but has only actually shipped 5 million. Not only that, but if we’re factoring in staying power as it relates to used CD sales, it’s plenty obvious that any dealer is going to give you more money for a double CD than they will for a single-disc. With those criteria in mind, “Key of Life” and “Physical Graffiti” probably slide off the list, as might “The White Album” (“The Wall” would probably stay). Secondly, at least when it comes to “Thriller” , our writer’s math is off. He lists Michael Jackson’s 1982 album as having won four Grammy Awards when in fact it won seven. Would the correction of that error have been enough to vault The King of Pop two places into the #1 spot? Arguable, but however you feel, you’ve got to admit that this is an interesting list…or at least the methods used to make the list were interesting.

I’ll also add that reading through the list of comments on his article makes me fear for the future of humanity.