1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a musical reference book first published in 2005 by Universe Publishing. Part of the 1001 Before You Die series, it compiles writings and information on albums chosen by a panel of music critics to be the most important, influential, and best in popular music between the 1950s and the 2010s.[1] The book is edited by Robert Dimery, an English writer and editor who had previously worked for magazines such as Time Out and Vogue.[2]

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
AuthorRobert Dimery (general editor)
Cover artistJon Wainright
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreReference work
PublisherTristan de Lancey; Universe Publishing (first edition)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages960 p.
781.64026/6 22
LC ClassML156.9 .A18 2006

Each entry in the book's roughly chronological list of albums is accompanied by a short essay written by a music critic, along with pictures, quotes, and additional information (such as the album's running time and producer). Compilations of various artists, and most film soundtracks, are excluded.[3]

Selection and sorting methodologyEdit

In the book's introduction, general editor Robert Dimery notes that the selections were also intended to bring attention to gifted songwriters. Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello and Nick Cave are named as examples. The release dates are chosen from the date the album first released in the artist's home country, and the version is the first one released. In most cases, bonus tracks added for later versions are ignored. The editors also attempted to ensure that each album profiled was still available for purchase. Soundtracks that were not original material from a particular artist were also excluded.[4]


The 2005 edition starts with Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours,[4] and ends with Get Behind Me Satan by the White Stripes.[5] As the book has been reissued several times, some albums are removed in each edition to make space for more recent albums.

The 2010 edition ends with It's Blitz! by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, while 2013 edition ends with The Next Day by David Bowie.[6] The 2016 edition ends with Blackstar, also by David Bowie. The 2018 edition ends with Microshift by Hookworms.[7] The 2021 edition ends with Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan.

Critical receptionEdit

In February 2006, Publishers Weekly called the book a "bookshelf-busting testament to music geeks' mania for lists" and said it was "about as comprehensive a 'best-of' as any sane person could want". The reviewer added: "For music lovers, it doesn't get much better."[8]


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 rockabilly. Classical and modern art music are excluded.[3]


Neil Young has among the most appearances in the 2017 list.

These artists have the most albums in the 2017 edition.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Publisher description for 1001 albums you must hear before you die / [edited by] Robert Dimery". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Hachette https://www.hachette.co.uk/contributor/robert-dimery/ Archived 2021-03-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Dimery, Robert (June 10, 2016). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2016 ed.). Octopus Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-84403-890-9. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b Dimery, Robert (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. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  5. ^ "1001 albums you must hear before you die". Muzieklijstjes.nl. Archived from the original on 2021-02-27.
  6. ^ "The '1001 Albums...' 2016 Edition is Here!". 1001albums.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2020-11-16. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  7. ^ Fleming, Greg (2 December 2018). "The 1001 album debate". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 2020-10-27. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". publishersweekly.com. 2006-02-06. Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-04-30.

External linksEdit