Tom Hawking’s list of 50 albums everyone needs to own, with the caveat that he selected one album per year from 1963-2013 is the rarest of lists.
It’s both a comprehensive musical overview of the last half century, touching on many necessary albums and cross-polluting plenty of genres, but it’s also one that is well argued and opens the door for alternative possibilities.
Plus, there are a few nice surprises sprinkled in, especially in the aughts. That’s a hard decade to select because we don’t have the time and retrospectiveness (is that even a word?) to select each year’s defining record. But, Hawking does an admirable job.
In many ways his list is doubly hard since he is selecting records that are not only musically important, but also historically and culturally important as well.