Rolling Stone just updated its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, which means it’s time to look for the LOCAL ANGLES! Buckle up.
(Here’s the tally of albums on the list that were actually recorded, at least in part, in Minnesota: Prince 4, Janet Jackson 3, Nirvana 1, Replacements 1, Hüsker Dü 1, Bob Dylan 1.)
492. Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time
This isn’t Bonnie Raitt’s Lake Minnetonka album, but she’s pretty much an honorary Minnesotan. Prince rehearsed for his first solo shows in the Seven Corners garage of her brother Steve Raitt. (This album was also almost released on Paisley Park Records.)
461. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver is obviously an extremely Wisconsin artist – but you could also say that Eau Claire is in the greater Twin Cities metro area (there, I just said it), and Justin Vernon has spent a lot of time in Minneapolis, collaborating with Minnesota artists including core members of today’s Bon Iver.
460. Lorde, Melodrama
The album cover was painted by a Minnesotan.
457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
The showcase of the album is O’Connor’s chart-topping cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” (Is it one of your favorite covers of all time? Vote!)
428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
RS avers that the St. Paul noise-punk trio “created a roar like garbage trucks trying to play Beach Boys songs.”
411. Bob Dylan, Love and Theft
Rolling Stone gave this 2001 album a five-star review upon its release, and they’re not backing down now.
This landmark garage-rock compilation includes “Liar, Liar” by Minneapolis’s own Castaways.
365. Green Day, Dookie
Billie Joe Armstrong? Married to a Minnesotan.
339. Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814
“Minneapolis!” This revolutionary record, featuring Janet’s “Escapade” shout-out to her adopted musical home, now stands as a landmark in the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis oeuvre.
337. Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
Dylan’s quiet comeback album retains its aura of quiet mystery, and still gets its extra points in the classic-rock canon for having produced “All Along the Watchtower.”
335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
A founding document of contemporary Americana.
331. Madonna, Like a Prayer
Madonna’s intoxicating, rebellious pop collection features the Prince collaboration “Love Song,” as well as uncredited Prince guitar parts on “Keep It Together,” “Act of Contrition,” and the title track.
326. Prince, Dirty Mind
Rolling Stone lists highlights including “Uptown,” Prince’s “utopian ode to the Minneapolis club scene.” Well…yes, and.
318. Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope
Jackson’s producers were moving westward by this point, but portions of this landmark were recorded at the Edina iteration of their Flyte Tyme studio.
296. Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps
Shout-out to Dan Heilman for pointing out that two tracks on this live album — “Welfare Mothers” and “Sedan Delivery” — were recorded on Oct. 15, 1978 at the St. Paul Civic Center.
261. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
“Finger Lickin’ Good” samples Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.”
255. Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
Bobby Zimmerman was still relatively fresh out of Dinkytown when he recorded this landmark of the folk revival.
248. Green Day, American Idiot
Again, allow me to mention that Billie Joe Armstrong is married to a Minnesotan.
184. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
Featuring her soaring cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine.” (Again, just going to put this here.)
181. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
Dylan goes electric, in the heart of the ’60s.
173. Nirvana, In Utero
Recorded with Steve Albini at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Much of this album’s aesthetic was literally purchased at Mall of America.
156. The Replacements, Let It Be
There are the ‘Mats, posing on the porch roof of the Stinsons’ Lowry Hill East home for the cover of their most iconic collection.
153. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
Also recorded at Pachyderm with Steve Albini, who used this album to show how the space could complement their work on In Utero.
142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
This massive LP became indelibly associated with Minnesota (at least, in our minds) when Bruce pulled Courteney Cox up out of an audience at the St. Paul Civic Center to shake it off for the “Dancing in the Dark” video.
137. Adele, 21
One of this album’s signature songs, “Someone Like You,” was cowritten with Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson.
130. Prince, 1999
A recent deluxe reissue illuminated the brilliant surprises of Prince’s pop apocalypse.
111. Janet Jackson, Control
Still so fresh that when the title track played over the opening scene of Hustlers, younger listeners might never have known it wasn’t cut last year.
100. The Band, Music from Big Pink
As RS points out, this is very much the Band’s album – but it does have three Dylan songs on it, so.
99. Taylor Swift, Red
Dan Wilson in with another co-write! (“Treacherous.”)
88. David Bowie, Hunky Dory
This 1971 collection includes Bowie’s “Song for Bob Dylan.”
45. Prince, Sign O’ the Times
Arguably the most complex and powerful collection of Prince’s career is out now in a revelatory reissue.
38. Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde
Long considered Dylan’s defining statement, with what he famously described as “that thin, that wild-mercury sound.”
18. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited
This album has risen in status as Newport ’65 has become enshrined as the pivotal moment for Bob Dylan, and some would argue for popular music generally, in the ’60s. “Like a Rolling Stone” is the song that captures that moment, and that revolutionary energy.
17. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
In a recent podcast episode, Minnesota-adjacent Justin Vernon told Lazerbeak and Jeyca Maldonado-Medina about his experiences making this landmark with the problematic but indisputably game-changing West.
9. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks
A rarity among LPs from Duluth’s own, this Dylan album was actually recorded in Minnesota! Well, half of it was.
8. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
RS calls the title track “the greatest rock ballad of all time.”