Special Report

100 Best Albums of All Time

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

100. Hunky Dory (1971)
> Artist: David Bowie
> Copies sold in U.S.: N/A
> Billboard 200 peak position: 57

“Hunky Dory” includes some of David Bowie’s best loved hits, including “Changes” and “Life on Mars.” The album wasn’t an instant hit, however, and only broke into the top five on the U.K. albums chart after “Ziggy Stardust” was released in 1972.

Source: Morne de Klerk / Getty Images

99. 12 x 5 (1964)
> Artist: The Rolling Stones
> Copies sold in U.S.: 0.5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 3

The Rolling Stones flew their flag as a new breed of R&B performers with “12X5.” The album includes only two original tracks, but it has become a favorite for Stones diehards, selling an equivalent 3.8 million copies worldwide since its release, including physical, downloads, and streams.

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

98. Hi Infidelity (1980)
> Artist: REO Speedwagon
> Copies sold in U.S.: 10 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Fidelity” defined ’80s rock with singles like “Take It on the Run” and “Keep On Loving You.” In 2017, it was certified diamond by the RIAA for sales over 10 million.

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

97. Green River (1969)
> Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
> Copies sold in U.S.: 3 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Green River” was CCR’s third studio release and cemented the group as one of the leading voices in the late-60s Americana rock movement. Rolling Stone’s Bruce Miroff called the album “joyously kinetic” and said “it is hard to listen to it without feeling like getting up and dancing.”

Source: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

96. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
> Artist: Elton John
> Copies sold in U.S.: 8 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” hit the top of the Billboard 200 chart in 1973. The album made such a powerful impact on rock music that it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.

Source: George Stroud / Getty Images

95. Fresh Cream (1966)
> Artist: Cream
> Copies sold in U.S.: 0.5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 39

“Fresh Cream” peaked at just No. 39 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1968 but signalled big things to come for the iconic trio. It would be certified gold with sales over 500,000 by the RIAA within its first year out.

Source: Francois Nel / Getty Images

94. janet. (1993)
> Artist: Janet Jackson
> Copies sold in U.S.: 6 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

The cover art to Janet Jackson’s 1993 smash “janet.” features a cropped image of the singer — topless — with her breasts covered by the hands of an anonymous man. The full image appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1993. The magazine’s editors guessed the hands belonged to her then-husband Rene Elizondo, but they never could never confirm this because Jackson submitted the photo from a private shoot.

Source: wonker / Flickr

93. Smash (1994)
> Artist: The Offspring
> Copies sold in U.S.: 6 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 4

“Smash” by The Offspring broke the California punk-rock band through to international success with singles including “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem.” The album peaked at No. 4 on Billboard 200 chart in 1994 and remained on the chart for 101 weeks before falling off.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

92. Between the Buttons (1967)
> Artist: The Rolling Stones
> Copies sold in U.S.: 0.5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 2

The Rolling Stones made a brief sidestep into the world of psychedelic rock with “Between the Buttons.” The album’s biggest hit “Ruby Tuesday” was a straight-ahead rock single, however, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 4, 1967.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

91. Wheels of Fire (1968)
> Artist: Cream
> Copies sold in U.S.: 0.5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Wheels of Fire” marked the third release from Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton. The double album features half studio recordings and half live recordings from shows recorded in 1968.