iTunes has launched a new 50 Legendary American Albums promotion, which encompasses some of the greatest moments in rock, rap, country, pop and soul of the past six decades. The list includes titles by artists from the Beach Boys to the Beastie Boys and everyone in between, including Eminem and Nirvana, Steve Earle and the Allman Brothers Band, James Brown and Johnny Cash, Katy Perry and Counting Crows, and Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift.
Let’s focus on five of the rock landmarks in the campaign, including one that was also a seminal hip-hop release, the Beastie Boys’ ‘Paul’s Boutique.’ This 1989 release rose above a certain initial indifference to be regarded to this day as one of the most significant albums of its time in any genre. It also helped make the name of the Dust Brothers, who became one of the most in-demand production and remixing teams of the 1990s and beyond. Key tracks include: ‘Hey Ladies,’ ‘Egg Man,’ ‘Cart Thief.’
Bon Jovi’s ‘New Jersey’ was the band’s defiant answer to those critics who thought they’d never be able to follow their ‘Slippery When Wet’ breakthrough album of 1986. Two years later, ‘New Jersey’ raced to the top of the American charts in just seven days, stayed there for a month and became their first No. 1 album in the UK. It also produced no fewer than five top ten US singles, two of them chart-toppers, ‘Bad Medicine’ and ‘I’ll Be There For You.’ Key tracks include: ‘Bad Medicine,’ ‘Born To Be My Baby,’ ‘I’ll Be There For You.’
Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged In New York,’ was recorded in November 1993, with the acoustic performance series enticing more and more superstar artists. Nirvana filmed a memorable performance for the show, which sadly, became a posthumous tribute to Kurt Cobain, who died just over six months before the album’s release. The tragic circumstances, and the stark, strippe-down nature of the performance, made Nirvana’s unrivalled contribution to the musical landscape of the 1990s all the more intense. Key tracks include: ‘About A Girl,’ ‘Come As You Are,’ ‘The Man Who Sold The World.’
Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough 2001 release ‘Bleed American’ was the fourth studio album by the Arizona alternative rock band, their first for DreamWorks and first to make the Billboard chart. It produced the top five crossover hit ‘The Middle’ and three other singles that became modern rock radio anthems, and went on to platinum album status in the States and Canada. ‘Bleed American’ was the record that paved the way for the band’s subsequent top ten US album chart appearances with ‘Futures’ and ‘Chase This Light.’ Key tracks include: ‘The Middle,’ ‘’Bleed American,’ ‘Sweetness.’
Finally, the iTunes list boasts one of the all-time classic live rock albums in the shape of the Allman Brothers Band’s ‘At Fillmore East.’ The set was the first in-concert LP by the southern rock kings and helped make them one of the hottest live tickets in the world with its collection of new songs and covers of blues greats such as Muddy Waters, Blind Willie McTell and T-Bone Walker. It featured the band’s classic line-up of guitar virtuoso Duane Allman (only seven months before his sad death), brother Gregg on keyboards and vocals, the dual drumming combination of Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, bassist Berry Oakley and Duane’s guitar foil Dickey Betts. Key tracks include: ‘Statesboro Blues,’ ‘Stormy Monday, ‘Whipping Post.’
The list of 50 Legendary American Albums also includes such undisputed classics as the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds,’ James Brown’s famous concert recording ‘Live At The Apollo,’ John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things,’ Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ and many others.