What is the best Rolling Stones album of all time? According to Entertainment Weekly, it’s “Exile on Main Street,” the 1972 double album whose best-known singles are “Tumbling Dice” and “Happy.” The album was ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the No. 3 best album of all time.
Entertainment Weekly’s issue dated July 5 to July 12, 2013 is a special double issue with the theme “The 100 All-Time Greatest,” with lists what Entertainment Weekly staffers have ranked as the 100 all-time greatest in the following categories: movies, TV, music albums, books and plays.
Three of the Rolling Stones’ albums are ranked in the music albums list:
- “Exile on Main Street” (originally released in 1972) is ranked at No. 3. Best-known song from the album: “Tumbling Dice.”
- “Beggars Banquet” (originally released in 1968) is ranked at No. 20. Best-known song from the album: “Sympathy for the Devil.”
- “Some Girls” (originally released in 1978) is ranked at No. 35. Best-known song from the album: “Miss You.”
All three of these albums, like most of the Stones’ albums, have been re-released and remastered more than once.
The Beatles’ “Revolver” (originally released in 1966) is Entertainment Weekly’s pick for the No. 1 best album of all time. It’s an interesting choice, considering the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has often been ranked by people in the media as the Beatles’ best album or the best album of all time, but the “Sgt. Pepper” album didn’t even rank on Entertainment Weekly’s list.
The Beatles have three other albums that ranked on the Entertainment Weekly list, more than any other artist: 1968’s “The White Album” (ranked at No. 12); 1969’s “Abbey Road” (ranked at No. 22); and 1965’s “Rubber Soul” (ranked at No. 46).
The Beatles have four albums on the list, while Rolling Stones have three albums. All the other artists on the list have one or two albums that ranked on the list.
There are some things about this list that might surprise fans of classic rock: Only one Led Zeppelin album was chosen: 1971’s “Led Zeppelin IV,” which ranked at a lowly No. 79 on the list. Only one album from the Who made it on the list: 1971’s “Who’s Next,” which is ranked at No. 39. And only one album from Pink Floyd is on the list: 1973’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” which is ranked at No. 37.
Albums from Queen and the Eagles were snubbed and did not rank on the list.
Prince’s 1984 album “Purple Rain” is ranked at No. 2. Michael Jackson’s 1982 album “Thriller” is ranked at No. 4. The Clash’s 1979 album “London Calling” is ranked at No. 5.
The oldest album on the list is the Beatles’ 1965 album “Rubber Soul.” And the newest album is Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” which was released in 2010, and is ranked at No. 8 on the list.
As with all “best of” lists, the albums list is highly subjective, and people will disagree about albums what should have been included. It’s obvious that those who voted for the albums on the list made an effort to cover a wide variety of music, because rock, rap, R&B, country, pop, and electronica/dance are all represented on the list.