Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums

Rolling Stone | Amazon Music

The stories behind some of the most essential albums of all time, told by the artists who made them and Rolling Stone’s writers and editors. Each episode focuses on one album from the brand-new, updated version of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums list, featuring fresh conversations with the people who made the music, classic interview audio and expert commentary. Episodes include the late Tom Petty on his solo classic Wildflowers, Taylor Swift talking about her career-changing 2012 album Red, and Public Enemy breaking down their political masterpiece It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

Listen to songs featured on the podcast and more hits from the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list here.

Now we’re back with Season Two. Across 10 episodes, you’ll hear Dolly Parton tell the stories behind the songs on her 1971 solo breakthrough Coat of Many Colors; Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr delve into the making of the Beatles’ troubled final album, Let It Be; Britney Spears’ collaborators explain how she made 2007’s Blackout in the eye of a paparazzi hurricane; friends and relatives of Alice Coltrane look back at how she overcame tragedy to create her masterpiece Journey in Satchidananda; Rivers Cuomo and his bandmates reflect on the unlikely birth of Weezer’s Blue Album; and much more.

Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums is hosted by Senior Writer Brittany Spanos.

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Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"
17-11-2021
Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"
What's Going On was R&B's first concept album, a suite of seamlessly connected songs tackling everything from police brutality to heroin addiction, inner-city poverty, and the dire state of the environment. When Marvin Gaye first proposed the project, inspired by a song brought to him by Four Tops member Obie Benson, Gordy told him it was career suicide. But when the title track came out, it was an instant smash, and Gordy immediately asked for more. Gaye channeled everything that was weighing on his mind, Terrell's tragic death from a brain tumor, his brother Frankie's harrowing experiences in Vietnam, the struggles of the civil-rights movement, all into a sobering yet healing treatise on troubled times.In the season one finale of the Amazon Original podcast, "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums", we take an in-depth look at What's Going On, which took the top spot on Rolling Stone's newly updated 500 Greatest Albums list. In the episode you'll hear archival interviews with Marvin Gaye, where he delves into his evolving mindset at the time. You'll also hear reflections on the record from Marvin's collaborator and confidant Smokey Robinson; esteemed singer Aaron Neville, Gaye's contemporary and longtime admirer; his biographer David Ritz; and even his beloved sister Zeola Gaye. Later in the episode, host Brittany Spanos leads a roundtable discussion on the history and still-vital legacy of What's Going On featuring legendary music journalist Nelson George, who interviewed Gaye during his lifetime; singer Devon Gilfillian, who recently covered What's Going On in full on his own new album; and director Spike Lee, who wove the songs of What's Going On throughout Da Five Bloods, his acclaimed 2020 film about a group of black veterans returning to Vietnam in the present day.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"
17-11-2021
The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"
In early 1966, the Beach Boys arrived at Los Angeles’ Western Studios to hear what Brian Wilson had been up to. The touring version of the band – Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson – had been on the road in Japan, singing surf hits like “Fun, Fun Fun” and “I Get Around.” Wilson, after suffering a mental breakdown on a plane the year before, stayed home, opting to work on instrumental tracks with studio musicians.What the band heard stunned them. Using instruments like harpsichord, harmonica, strings, and even sleigh bells, Wilson had written a spiritual album that captured heartbreak, insecurity, pain and sadness of entering adulthood. According to legend, the Beach Boys did not like "Pet Sounds", and its commercial failure led Brian Wilson to lose confidence in himself and descend further into mental illness. As the band explained to Rolling Stone in this week's episode of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time podcast, the truth is more a little more complicated.While "Pet Sounds" didn’t sell, it inspired generations of musicians, beginning with the Beatles, who, according to George Martin, said ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ “never would have happened” without "Pet Sounds". The album was voted number two on Rolling Stone's rebooted 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, the spot it held in 2003.Rolling Stone’s Jason Fine narrates the episode, which includes archival interviews with Brian Wilson, members of Wrecking Crew and more, as well as new interviews with several Beach Boys, plus members of Brian Wilson’s touring band, who brought the music of Pet Sounds to life on stage for the first time in 2000. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Daddy Yankee's "Barrio Fino"
10-11-2021
Daddy Yankee's "Barrio Fino"
In the mid-2000s, Daddy Yankee was a married father of three living in the Villa Kennedy public housing projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But he was about to change the world with an album that did perhaps more than any other to turn reggaeton -  an underground urban movement out of Puerto Rico, drawing on influences like Jamaican dancehall, Panamanian reggae en español and hip hop - into a global force that produces hit after hit and fuels the careers of superstars like Bad Bunny and Ozuna.  In this episode of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, Daddy Yankee talks with Nuria Net, journalist and co-founder of podcast studio La Coctelera Music, about that game-changing album, 2004's "Barrio Fino". He breaks down his vision for the album (and for reggaeton itself), going in-depth about the struggles to get the establishment to take reggaeton seriously. Along the way we hear from producers like Echo and Luny Tunes (the massively important hit "Gasolina" was birthed in Luny's mom's house, where she would cook Dominican food for the artists) and from artists like De La Ghetto and Bad Bunny, who talks about first hearing "Barrio Fino" as a 10-year-old kid in Puerto Rico and testifies to the album's influence. Later in the episode, Nuria Net, Los Angeles Times music reporter Suzy Exposito, and De La Ghetto join host Brittany Spanos to discuss the album’s impact and legacy.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Phil Spector's "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector", ft. Darlene Love
17-05-2022
Phil Spector's "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector", ft. Darlene Love
In this special holiday episode of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, our new podcast on Amazon Music, we delve into 1963's "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector", an album that changed the way we look at holiday music. In 2019, Rolling Stone named it the best Christmas album of all time.A labor of love that pulled together all the top girl groups, including the Crystals and the Ronettes, the album was initially an ill-fated flop, dropping the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated (or so the legend goes). After being reissued in 1972 the record found its place in both the holiday and rock & roll canons, and inspired everyone from the Beach Boys to Bruce Springsteen to take a crack at Christmas standards. There was darkness under that festive tree, however, as the infamous perfectionist Spector directed artists on the record with an iron fist and later took his obsession with guns to a far darker place when he killed actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.Spector was unable to talk with Rolling Stone's News Editor Brenna Ehrlich for this episode (as he is serving time for second-degree murder), but she did chat with Darlene Love of the Blossoms about the fame of "Christmas Baby Please Come Home," La La Brooks of the Crystals about conditions in the studio, and Brian Wilson about how Spector inspired the Beach Boys. She also checked in with Spector fan, journalist Greil Marcus, to talk about the album's enduring fame. Later in the episode, host Brittany Spanos discusses the history, allure, and occasional ridiculousness of holiday music with Rolling Stone staffers Rob Sheffield and Jon Dolan, as well as comedian, Desus & Mero writer-producer, and podcast host Josh Gondelman.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.