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1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
Author General Editor: Robert Dimery, Preface by Michael Lydon
Cover artist Jon Wainright
Country United States
Language English
Genre Reference work
Publisher Tristan de Lancey; Universe Publishing (first edition)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 960 p.
ISBN 1-84403-392-9
OCLC 224890343
781.64026/6 22
LC Class ML156.9 .A18 2006

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a musical reference book edited by Robert Dimery, first published in 2005. The most recent edition consists of a list of albums released between 1955 and 2013, part of a series from Quintessence Editions Ltd. The book is arranged chronologically, starting with Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours[1] and the most recent edition concluding with The Next Day by David Bowie.

Each entry in the list is accompanied by a short essay written by a music critic. The entries are accompanied by pictures, quotes, and additional information (such as the album's running time and producer). Film soundtracks were excluded unless they consisted fully of original material by a particular artist, which meant that compilations by various artists were also excluded.

Critical reception

In February 2006, Publishers Weekly called the book a "...bookshelf-busting testament to music geeks' mania for lists" and said it " about as comprehensive a "best-of" as any sane person could want." They continued "For music lovers, it doesn't get much better."[2] The 2006 version had an average rating of 3.92 stars out of 5 on's social cataloging website Goodreads, with 860 ratings as of April 30, 2015.[3] The same 2006 version had an average rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 on, with 55 reviews as of April 30, 2015.[4]


Although most of the book's recommendations are rock and pop albums from the Western world, 1001 Albums also features selections from world music, rhythm and blues, blues, folk, hip hop, country, electronic music, and jazz. The rock and pop albums include such subgenres as punk rock, grindcore, heavy metal, alternative rock, progressive rock, easy listening, thrash metal, grunge and 1950s-style rock and roll. Classical and modern art music are excluded.


These artists have the most albums in the 2013 edition.[5]


Originally published in 2005, the book was revised in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 to include newly released albums. The 2010 edition includes 25 albums released from 2005 to 2009, with the same number of albums removed from the first edition to keep the total at 1001.

The cover was also changed, with an image of Blondie's Debbie Harry used in place of the images of Kraftwerk and a child wearing headphones that had previously been used in the EU and US respectively. The cover for the Brazilian and Spanish edition features the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious, the cover for the Norwegian edition features Hank von Helvete of Turbonegro, the cover for the Finnish and the Swedish editions feature David Bowie, and the cover for the Polish edition features Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The 2011 edition featured the Andy Warhol-designed banana from The Velvet Underground & Nico on the cover, with the Brazilian reissue using Debbie Harry. The 2013 edition has the cover for Joy Division's debut studio album, Unknown Pleasures.

See also


  1. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Preface by Michael Lydon. Octopus. p. 22. ISBN 1-84403-714-2; ISBN 978-1-84403-714-8. 
  2. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Goodreads: 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  4. ^ " 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  5. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear - 2008 Edition". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 

External links