Cityvisitor blog

What’s the best record of all-time?

It’s always a good talking point when “Best of” lists are issued.  Thrashing out a favourite sit-com, or the greatest footballer of all-time can drive you to distraction.

Some of us can sit for hours debating the merits of Porridge over Only Fools and Horses, or whether Ronaldo is better than Pele.

The latest greatest list comes from the Billboard charts, which has proclaimed Adele’s album 21 the best of all time.

How so, I hear you ask.

Well, it’s a fact, according to Billboard. They counted how long records have spent in the charts and Adele’s 21 was top for 24 weeks, spending 78 weeks in the top ten.

Well done, girl, a worthy accolade for a collection of heartfelt, confessional songs that moved millions of people.

There is a slight flaw in the process, however.

The second best Billboard album of all-time is the soundtrack to The Sound of Music! It’s hard to accept that the Von Trapp Family singers had the edge on vintage songs by The Beatles.

But that’s what the Billboard sales tell us.

Further investigation of the top five reveals Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Fearless by Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA: American artists, bought by their fellow countrymen and women for an American chart.

That explains a lot. Work your way through the top 200 Billboard albums of the last 57 years and you might be scratching your head over how Carrie Underwood (who?) or Milli Vanilli outsold The Clash or The Who.

One answer is that Americans have no musical taste.

Of course, this is all very subjective. It’s impossible to say if Madness are better than Madonna (they are, of course).

For the sake of argument let me give you the best three albums of all-time:

–      1. Closer by Joy Division

–      2. Revolver by The Beatles

–      3. Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy

Can anyone do better?


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