The 20 bestselling albums
1 Michael Jackson, Thriller As thrilling today as it ever was.
2 Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV Still worth a listen? Ask the millions who fought for tickets last year.
3 Pink Floyd, The Wall The alienation of the modern world? Yup, still relevant.
4 AC/DC, Back in Black A great guitar riff never really goes out of fashion.
5 Shania Twain, Come on Over Er, actually, we’re kind of busy right now . . .
6 The Beatles, The Beatles (White Album) Its eclectic brilliance is still the target that ambitious bands aim for.
7 Fleetwood Mac, Rumours You can still feel the intra-band heartbreak behind the smooth pop songs.
8 Whitney Houston, Bodyguard OST You may think you’ve heard that song enough now.
9 Boston, Boston Has found its rightful home on classic rock stations.
10 Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill We thought it was going to be the beginning of a brilliant career. Oh, well.
11 Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti Many people’s favourite Zep album.
12 Eagles, Hotel California Overexposed, and soon to be over here again.
13 Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon The album that shot the Floyd into the super league.
14 Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA Far from his best work (try Nebraska), but still capable of setting off those “fist pumping in the air” reflexes.
15 Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever OST Silly hair, silly voices, yet somehow magnificent.
16 Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction It certainly sounds dated now; mind you, it sounded dated even then.
17 Santana, Supernatural A remarkable resurgence late in his career, but head instead for the early albums.
18 Meat Loaf, Bat out of Hell More is more.
19 Britney Spears, Baby One More Time Back when she was a singer, not an increasingly distressing news story.
20 Prince, Purple Rain Before the squiggles and record-company wrangles, he was capable of timeless genius.
The 20 most influential albums
1 The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico Hardly anybody bought it, as the saying goes, but everyone who did formed a band.
2 Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Created the idea of using the recording studio as an instrument.
3 David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars The arrival of postmodernism in rock’s most glamorous self-fulfilling prophecy.
4 Patti Smith, Horses Pioneered vast new territories for women in popular music.
5 Beach Boys, Pet Sounds The instrumentation, the harmonies, the arrangements, the sheer ambition.
6 Beatles, Revolver Goodbye “pop group”, hello “rock band”.
7 The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? Shaped our sonic world – the template for guitar heroes everywhere.
8 Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited How does it feel? Like a whole new world just opened up.
9 Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Hip-hop comes of age.
10 Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks... Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (for a while).
11 Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express It sounded like the future then; eerily, it still does now.
12 Michael Jackson, Thriller The last quarter of a century of R&B starts here.
13 Nirvana, Nevermind Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (again).
14 NWA, Straight Outta Compton Created the template for gangsta rap.
15 Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You A soul masterpiece, and an album whose anthems radiated out into the wider culture.
16 Ramones, Ramones Rock’s ultimate palate-cleanser. Generations of punks started here.
17 Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On Motown finds its social conscience.
18 The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin It was largely ignored at the time, but where would alt-country be without it?
19 Bob Marley and the Wailers, Live! Reggae goes global.
20 Joni Mitchell, Blue Searching for sensitive singer-songwriters? Here’s the source.