The 200 Best Albums Of The 1960's (Pitchfork)

When considering the whole sweep of 20th century music, the 1960s loom especially large. Some of the importance placed on the music of the decade can be traced to demographics (the massive baby boomer generation born after World War II reached prime music-listening age) and technology (the consumer electronics industry was creating new listening spaces in automobiles and on television, and advancements in sound reinforcement made large concerts possible). Still, there’s no getting around the fact that the music of the ’60s made a huge impact at the time and never really went away. In the 1950s, the album charts were dominated by easy listening singers like Bing Crosby and endless musicals, records that only have niche audiences now. But so many top LPs from the 1960s continue to enthrall old and new listeners, and they're still re-discovered and re-assessed.
This list is Pitchfork’s attempt to do just that. The key for us in assembling this list, which is based on votes from more than 50 full-time staffers and regularly contributing writers, is to make sure we opened up our look at the decade to incorporate all places where great music was happening in LP form. That means, in addition to a mix of rock and pop and R&B, our list is heavy on jazz and includes quite a bit of early electronic music alongside records from outside the English-speaking world. Inevitably, our list also reflects the realities of the marketplace in the ’60s—some brilliant singles artists never made a great album. But we hope this list represents the best of what the decade has to offer and reflects how people explore music now. In 2017, we’re not making the same divisions between, say, Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way and John Fahey’s The Legend of Blind Joe Death or Nico’s Chelsea Girl; they’re all gorgeous records that fill a room, records we stream and collect and share with our friends with a “you gotta hear this one.” Here are 197 more.

The Velvet Underground & Nico (3) The Velvet Underground & Nico

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

John Coltrane A Love Supreme

The Beatles The Beatles

Nina Simone Wild Is The Wind

Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde

James Brown James Brown Live At The Apollo

The Beatles Revolver

Miles Davis In A Silent Way

Aretha Franklin I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You

Leonard Cohen Songs Of Leonard Cohen

The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland

Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited

Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch!

The Beatles Abbey Road

Mingus* The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

Rolling Stones* Let It Bleed

Dusty Springfield Dusty In Memphis

The Stooges The Stooges

Nina Simone Pastel Blues

The Supremes Where Did Our Love Go

Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered Soul

Van Morrison Astral Weeks

Sly & The Family Stone Stand!

The Velvet Underground White Light White Heat

The Kinks The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Aretha Franklin Lady Soul

Albert Ayler Trio Spiritual Unity

The Ronettes ...Presenting The Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Love Forever Changes

Otis Redding Otis Blue Otis Redding Sings Soul

The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet

John Coltrane Giant Steps

Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II

Bob Dylan Bringing It All Back Home

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced

Ike & Tina Turner River Deep Mountain High

Terry Riley In C

Nico (3) Chelsea Girl

Miles Davis Sketches Of Spain

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Jane Birkin Serge Gainsbourg

Scott Engel Scott 4

The Beatles Rubber Soul

The Zombies Odessey And Oracle

The Can* Monster Movie

The Shangri Las Leader Of The Pack

MC5 Kick Out The Jams

Os Mutantes Os Mutantes

Karen Dalton It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best

Pharoah Sanders Karma

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band* Trout Mask Replica

Bob Dylan The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

King Crimson In The Court Of The Crimson King (An Observation By King Crimson)

The Ornette Coleman Quartet This Is Our Music

Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison

Bill Evans Trio* Featuring Scott La Faro* Sunday At The Village Vanguard

The Grateful Dead Live Dead

Nick Drake Five Leaves Left

Etta James At Last!

Laura Nyro New York Tendaberry

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold As Love

Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band Safe As Milk

Buffy Sainte Marie Illuminations

Monk* Solo Monk

Simon & Garfunkel Bookends

The Who The Who Sell Out

Leonard Cohen Songs From A Room

Sam Cooke Ain't That Good News

Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin

Joni Mitchell Clouds

John Fahey Volume 5 The Transfiguration Of Blind Joe Death

Toots And The Maytals* Sweet And Dandy

Steve Reich Richard Maxfield Pauline Oliveros New Sounds In Electronic Music (Come Out Night Music I Of IV)

Silver Apples Silver Apples

Creedence Clearwater Revival Willy And The Poor Boys

Caetano Veloso Caetano Veloso

Karlheinz Stockhausen Kontakte

The Band The Band

Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage

Morton Subotnick Silver Apples Of The Moon

Ray Charles Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music

The Byrds Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell United

Nancy & Lee* Nancy & Lee

The 13th Floor Elevators* The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators

The Temptations Cloud Nine

Françoise Hardy Françoise Hardy

James Brown Say It Loud I'm Black And I'm Proud

Gal Costa Gal Costa

Van Dyke Parks Song Cycle

Nina Simone In Concert

The Doors The Doors

Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf

Randy Newman Randy Newman

The Rolling Stones Aftermath

Gilberto Gil Gilberto Gil

Sun Ra The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra, Vol. I

The Mothers Of Invention* Freak Out!

Elvis Presley From Elvis In Memphis

Stan Getz Joao Gilberto* Featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim Getz Gilberto

Patsy Cline Sentimentally Yours

Simon & Garfunkel Sounds Of Silence

The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet Free Jazz

Four Tops Reach Out

Mingus* Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Terry Riley A Rainbow In Curved Air

The Shaggs Philosophy Of The World

Tom Zé Tom Zé

The Paragons On The Beach

Harry Partch The World Of Harry Partch

Monk* Straight, No Chaser

The Village Fugs* Sing Ballads Of Contemporary Protest, Point Of Views, And General Dissatisfaction

Miles Davis Nefertiti

Serge Gainsbourg Initials B.B.

The Beach Boys Smiley Smile

The Meters The Meters

Pink Floyd The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Desmond Dekker The Israelites

Mulatu Astatke & His Ethiopian Quintet Afro Latin Soul

Marvin Gaye In The Groove

The Kinks Something Else By The Kinks

Sonny Sharrock Black Woman

Tammy Wynette D I V O R C E

Monks* Black Monk Time

Coltrane* Live At Birdland

The United States Of America The United States Of America

Various A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records

Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff

The Flying Burrito Bros The Gilded Palace Of Sin

Aretha Franklin Aretha Now

Duke Ellington • Charlie Mingus* • Max Roach Money Jungle

Fred Neil Fred Neil

Roy Orbison Crying

The Isley Brothers It's Our Thing

Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra* The Magic City

Stevie Wonder For Once In My Life

Mary Lou Williams Mary Lou Williams

Shirley Collins & Dolly Collins* Anthems In Eden

Frank Sinatra September Of My Years

Alexander Spence Oar

David Axelrod Song Of Innocence

Archie Shepp Blasé

Jorge Ben Samba Esquema Novo

Don Cherry Eternal Rhythm

Roberta Flack First Take

Son House Father Of Folk Blues

John Coltrane Olé Coltrane

La Monte Young Marian Zazeela 31 VII 69 10:26 10:49 PM 23 VIII 64 2:50:45 3:11 AM The Volga Delta

Jacques Brel Ces Gens Là

Max Roach We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite

The Delfonics La La Means I Love You

Moondog (2) Moondog

The Ornette Coleman Trio At The "Golden Circle" Stockholm Volume One

Merle Haggard And The Strangers Mama Tried

Alice Coltrane A Monastic Trio

Ray Barretto Acid

Phil Ochs I Ain't Marching Anymore

White Noise An Electric Storm

Dr. John, The Night Tripper* Gris Gris

Big Brother & The Holding Company Cheap Thrills

The Beatles A Hard Day's Night

Sonny Rollins The Bridge

The Byrds The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Impressions Keep On Pushing

Peter Brötzmann Octet Machine Gun

The Sonics Here Are The Sonics!!!

Roland Kirk The Inflated Tear

Various Golden Rain Balinese Gamelan Music Ketjak: The Ramayana Monkey Chant

Eddie Palmieri Justice Justicia

Duke Ellington The Far East Suite

Patty Waters Sings

Ella* And Basie* Ella And Basie!

Townes Van Zandt Townes Van Zandt

Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles

Walter Carlos Switched On Bach

Art Ensemble Of Chicago* Message To Our Folks

Wilson Pickett The Exciting Wilson Pickett

Lesley Gore I'll Cry If I Want To

The Soft Machine* The Soft Machine

Mickey Newbury Looks Like Rain

BBC Radiophonic Workshop BBC Radiophonic Music

Mingus* Mingus Plays Piano (Spontaneous Compositions And Improvisations)

The Kinks Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire

Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow

Dave Van Ronk Folksinger

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live At "The Club"

Judy Collins Wildflowers

Amon Düül II Phallus Dei

Link Wray And The Wraymen* Link Wray & The Wraymen

The Beach Boys Surfer Girl

Donald Byrd A New Perspective

Nilsson* Aerial Ballet

Wanda Jackson Rockin' With Wanda

Cecil Taylor Unit Structures

Andrew Hill Point Of Departure

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Ennio Morricone Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo