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Music's Top Albums ... Version 2.00

Eight and a half years ago, this newspaper published one man's (mine) determination of the top 100 albums of all time.

That feature generated plenty of response (and criticism: "How could you leave out ...?" "What about ...?" "'Born to Run' was not Springsteen's first album ...") and allowed me ample opportunity to reacquaint myself with my extensive record collection, a labor of love that, while painstaking, reminded me of just how great some of my all-but-forgotten records were.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since 2002, and a lot of great new music has been made as well. So I decided to sit back down with my record collection and see how well it stacked up with some of the new music that's been released in the years since.

What I found in re-evaluating and re-ranking my favorite music is that it wasn't just new albums that surpassed some of the old classics on my list. There were records -- like the Rolling Stones' "Bridges to Babylon," unranked in '02 but at No. 41 here, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication," which jumped from No. 34 almost a decade ago to No. 9 now -- that simply aged better than others.

Alice in Chains' "Facelift," which was at No. 13 on my list in 2002, fell to No. 43 here, and Mad Season's "Above," which was at No. 97 in the first ranking, fell all the way out of this list of 200.

Albums recorded after '02 -- Ben Harper's "Diamonds on the Inside" (No. 24), U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (No. 104), the Josh Joplin Group's "Camera One" (No. 189), Wyclef Jean's "The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book" (No. 142) and even Kanye West's 2010 release "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" (No. 160) -- stood up well against some of the classics that took precipitous drops.

And then there were the what-was-I-thinking -- or not thinking -- oversights like Spirit's "Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus" (No. 37), Paul McCartney's "McCartney" (No. 49) and "Ram" (No. 51), Deep Purple's "Machine Head" (No. 64), Steppenwolf's self-titled first album (No. 115) as well as the metal monsters' "7" (No. 85) and "Monster" (No. 155), plus "The Yes Album" (No. 187) and Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" (No. 95) that certainly belong on any such list.

Heck, we even have a local entry with Albany's Nielson brothers-led Lost Trailers jumping to No. 174 with their excellent and deserving "Welcome to the Woods."

With "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" remaining at No. 1 on my list, the "White Album" coming in at No. 4, "Rubber Soul" at No. 12 and "Revolver" at No. 21, the Beatles again dominated. In all, John, Paul, George and Ringo had seven of their Fab Four albums in the top 200 and seven other solo -- sorry, Ringo -- or collaboration projects ("The Traveling Wilburys, Volume I" with Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynn, the ultimate supergroup, at No. 184) on the list.

Led Zeppelin, which landed at No. 2 ("IV," the so-called ZOSO album) and No. 11 ("II") here, finished with five of its works on the list; while Jimi Henrix (No. 10 "Are You Experienced?"), Dylan (No. 6 "Blood on the Tracks") and Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel or Simon and Garfunkel (No. 15 "Graceland") scored four albums each.

Other albums in the Top 10 include Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" at No. 3, Pearl Jam's "10" at No. 5, Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" at No. 7 and Guns N Roses' "Appetite for Destruction" at No. 8.

Wonder, Metallica (the "Black Album" at No. 18), Elton John ("Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," No. 26), the Chili Peppers, the Allman Brothers Band ("Brothers and Sisters," No. 45), Crosby, Stills, Nash and (a lot of) Young ("Harvest," No. 25), the Eagles ("Desperado," No. 33), the Stones, Steppenwolf, Pearl Jam and U2 ("Joshua Tree," No. 13) had three albums each on the list.

There is plenty of diversity among the Top 200: 11 live albums (REO Speedwagon's "You Get What You Play For," No. 62); 16 R&B/soul/hip-hop collections ("The Eminem Show," No. 31); eight female solo acts (Carole King's "Tapestry," No. 14), six country albums (Johnny Cash's "At Folsom Prison," No. 185) and six co-ed acts (Sly & the Family Stone's "Stand," No. 84).

Obviously, there was no scientific data, sales figures or industry propaganda used to compile this list. These, simply, are the best records I've collected since I got my first plastic, all-in-one-unit turntable in 1962 ... and I fall in love all over again every time I relisten to each and every one of them.

(I called on some friends who have worked in and around music all their lives to come up with their Top 10 lists: Thanks to Jazzmine "Jazzy" Phoenix, Jaxon Riley and Bill Denson for their contributions.)

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.