Rolling Stone Australia Unveil the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time
Rolling Stone Australia has today answered the question ‘what is the best homegrown record?’, announcing their full list of the 200 Greatest Australian Albums of all Time for their latest issue, in partnership with the world’s leading sound experience company, Sonos.
Released today, the new double-length issue features a special edition cover, illustrated by proud Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander artist Dylan Mooney, and underlines the homegrown nature of all the amazing albums discussed throughout the issue.
A mammoth effort from all involved, the initial shortlist of records was compiled after an exhaustive nomination process that included over 800 industry figures, journalists, producers and artists. A hand-picked group of internal staff and music experts then undertook a deliberation process, before the final list was decided upon by Rolling Stone Australia using criteria that covered the cultural and critical impact of each record.
Across the 200 albums included on the list, a full 55 years of Australian musical history is appreciated. Going all the way back in time with two albums released within months of each other back in 1965, the list runs all the way through the next five-and-a-half decades, with its most recent entries being released within days of each other just last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those interested in some deeper facts, the most common year for an album to have been released was 1991 (with eight records featured from that year), yet the average year of release for a record in the list was 1997. Meanwhile, a huge 27 records were produced solely in-house by the recording artists themselves (with a further three albums produced by artists who would later join the bands they worked with).
As the full list is counted down, each entry comes accompanied by an in-depth discussion of the record by some of Australia’s finest musical journalists, focusing on the legacy, impact, and resonant nature of the albums that made the full list.
“Australia truly does have some of the greatest music in the world,” said Rolling Stone Australia Editor, Tyler Jenke. “It’s been an amazing experience to go in-depth with many of these records, realising and understanding the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making each and every one.”
Topping the list is AC/DC’s iconic 1980 album Back in Black, which was written, recorded, and released just months after the death of their iconic frontman Bon Scott.
“Just six months separate the time of Scott’s death and the release of Back in Black,” writes Lars Brandle in his essay on the record.
“In just half a year, AC/DC’s members lifted themselves, found a new singer, and recorded and released an album filled with hits and riffs, and meat and potato blues rock that is, today, one of the best-selling rock albums in the history of recorded music,” he adds. “Ask yourself, what could you achieve in six months, in those circumstances?”
“The story behind Back in Black—how it pays tribute to their fallen brother, and how it launched the band globally—is widely known,” writes Rolling Stone AustraliaManaging Editor Poppy Reid in the magazine’s Editor’s Letter. “But as you read this special collector’s edition, in which Back in Black has been anointed the Greatest Australian Album of All Time, we hope you also remember the incredible resilience of the Australian music industry. Australian musicians cannot be stopped, and just like AC/DC’s timeless rock‘n’roll, they will always have a place on the global stage.”
The rest of the top ten includes some of the most iconic albums in Australian musical history, including the likes of INXS’ Kick, John Farnham’s Whispering Jack, Cold Chisel’s East, and Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust rounding out the rest of the top five, while Silverchair’s Frogstomp, Crowded House’s self-titled debut, The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, Savage Garden’s self-titled effort, and Kylie Minogue’s Fever close out the top ten.
In addition to the full list of the 200 Greatest Australian Albums, Rolling Stone Australia has also unveiled a list of over 200 albums that just missed out, with its full list ofHonourable Mentions available on their website now.
Rolling Stone Australia’s 200 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time – Top Ten
1. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
2. INXS – Kick (1987)
3. John Farnham – Whispering Jack (1986)
4. Cold Chisel – East (1980)
5. Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust (1987)
6. Silverchair – Frogstomp (1995)
7. Crowded House – Crowded House (1986)
8. The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)
9. Savage Garden – Savage Garden (1997)
10. Kylie Minogue – Fever (2001)