What are the most influential albums of the rock era?
USA Today’s Pop Candy points us to the U.K. Observer‘s list of the 50 Albums that Changed Music. No. 1 is The Velvet Underground and Nico; No. 2 is the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (pictured). Hard to argue with those two 1967 discs: the Velvets’ debut expanded rock’s sonic and lyrical palette, made possible every punk/alt-rock movement that followed, and influenced everybody from David Bowie to Ashley Olsen, while Pepper turned the studio into an instrument and introduced the idea of a rock album as a cohesive work of art (an idea now on its way out, thanks to MP3s). But still, there are plenty of glaring absences. The Spice Girls are here, but where are the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., George Clinton, Mariah Carey, Gram Parsons, the Replacements, James Taylor, Public Enemy, etc.? Yes, there’s a difference between being great and being influential, but really, how myopic do you have to be not to recognize the above artists as both?