Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Rock - Released December 4, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Them were one of the very best R&B acts to come out of the U.K. during the British Invasion era, as tight, wiry, and potent as their contemporaries the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Pretty Things. But as good as they were, their greatest strength was always their lead singer and main songwriter, Van Morrison, who even in his earliest days boasted a style that was raw and unapologetic but full of street smarts and imagination. Morrison's run with Them lasted a bit more than two and a half years, but it laid the groundwork for his wildly idiosyncratic solo career as well as setting a standard that the band would never equal after he left to strike out on his own. There have been plenty of collections devoted to Morrison's tenure with Them, but The Complete Them: 1964-1967 is not only comprehensive but has Van's seal of approval, as it was assembled by Morrison's own team and features liner notes from the man himself. Sequenced chronologically, The Complete Them devotes its first two discs to the group's two albums of the period, Them (aka The Angry Young Them) and Them Again, as well as non-LP single and EP tracks. Disc two is devoted to demos, alternate takes, and some live tracks cut for BBC Radio, nearly all of them previously unreleased. According to Morrison's notes, Them's lineup was never consistent, especially in the studio, as the group's producers often brought in studio musicians (including Jimmy Page) to beef up the performances, but the product was both consistent and strong, with razor-sharp guitars and swirling organs dominating the arrangements and Morrison's vocals sounding nearly possessed. Having essentially all of Them's studio recordings in one place is great, but the bonus material offers a glimpse of their power as a live act, and the outtakes and alternate versions reveal the growing sophistication of Morrison's approach over the course of 24 tracks. Morrison's essay offers as much opinion as it does fact, but given his well-documented reticence, the fact he wrote the notes at all is impressive, and when he sums up his notes with "I think of Them as good records...there's a lot of good stuff here," he's absolutely right. As a history of an underappreciated band's greatest era or the first steps of one of rock's most individual artists, The Complete Them: 1964-1967 is essential listening. ~ Mark Deming
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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Dry was shockingly frank in its subject and sound, as PJ Harvey delivered post-feminist manifestos with a punkish force. PJ Harvey's second album, Rid of Me, finds the trio, and Harvey in particular, pushing themselves to extremes. This is partially due to producer Steve Albini, who gives the album a bloodless, abrasive edge with his exacting production; each dynamic is pushed to the limit, leaving absolutely no subtleties in the music. Harvey's songs, in decided contrast to Albini's approach, are filled with gray areas and uncertainties, and are considerably more personal than those on Dry. Furthermore, they are lyrically and melodically superior to the songs on the debut, but their merits are obscured by Albini's black-and-white production, which is polarizing. It may be the aural embodiment of the tortured lyrics, and therefore a supremely effective piece of performance art, but it also makes Rid of Me a difficult record to meet halfway. But anyone willing to accept its sonic extremities will find Rid of Me to be a record of unusual power and purpose, one with few peers in its unsettling emotional honesty. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 30, 1970 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Listening to The Band is like contemplating old sepia pictures of America: it means hearing the sounds of a rock'n'roll brimming with its classical influences: blues, folk, country, jazz... After accompanying Bob Dylan in the studio and on stage, the Canadian gang led by Robbie Robertson put out their first album in high summer 1968. The record was cooked up in the Woodstock house they dubbed Big Pink. Out of step with other albums of its day, Music From Big Pink with its sleeve painted by Dylan himself, packs some timeless gems: The Weight, This Wheel's On Fire, Chest Fever, Tears Of Rage… Country in silk shirts, folk fused with jazz, old-timey waltzes and roots rock, this long meander prefigures Americana... Above all, this is a collective work – they don't call it The Band for nothing – and from bassist Rick Danko to drummer Levon Helm via pianists Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, and Robertson on guitar, everyone brings a stone of their own to build this major edifice of American rock. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Taking the first, electric side of Bringing It All Back Home to its logical conclusion, Bob Dylan hired a full rock & roll band, featuring guitarist Michael Bloomfield, for Highway 61 Revisited. Opening with the epic "Like a Rolling Stone," Highway 61 Revisited careens through nine songs that range from reflective folk-rock ("Desolation Row") and blues ("It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry") to flat-out garage rock ("Tombstone Blues," "From a Buick 6," "Highway 61 Revisited"). Dylan had not only changed his sound, but his persona, trading the folk troubadour for a streetwise, cynical hipster. Throughout the album, he embraces druggy, surreal imagery, which can either have a sense of menace or beauty, and the music reflects that, jumping between soothing melodies to hard, bluesy rock. And that is the most revolutionary thing about Highway 61 Revisited -- it proved that rock & roll needn't be collegiate and tame in order to be literate, poetic, and complex. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With Another Side of Bob Dylan, Dylan had begun pushing past folk, and with Bringing It All Back Home, he exploded the boundaries, producing an album of boundless imagination and skill. And it's not just that he went electric, either, rocking hard on "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Maggie's Farm," and "Outlaw Blues"; it's that he's exploding with imagination throughout the record. After all, the music on its second side -- the nominal folk songs -- derive from the same vantage point as the rockers, leaving traditional folk concerns behind and delving deep into the personal. And this isn't just introspection, either, since the surreal paranoia on "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and the whimsical poetry of "Mr. Tambourine Man" are individual, yet not personal. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really, as he writes uncommonly beautiful love songs ("She Belongs to Me," "Love Minus Zero/No Limit") that sit alongside uncommonly funny fantasias ("On the Road Again," "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream"). This is the point where Dylan eclipses any conventional sense of folk and rewrites the rules of rock, making it safe for personal expression and poetry, not only making words mean as much as the music, but making the music an extension of the words. A truly remarkable album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released February 9, 1993 | Elektra Records

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Nanci Griffith has the kind of beguiling singing voice that's effortless and easily beautiful -- like a pretty girl who doesn't ever need makeup to be radiant. Sounding a little bit like Emmylou Harris is never a bad thing, but Griffith doesn't stop there. She duets with Harris and a host of other country and folk notables on Other Voices, Other Rooms, her first collection of cover songs. Like Harris, Griffith can climb inside a character-driven song with a simple twist of inflection or a lingering note. This is what she does on Vince Bell's "Woman of the Phoenix," deftly painting images of a winter freeze, cacti, and Michael, the "rock 'n' roll hood from the Odessa plains." Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather" rambles like the Texas countryside and features the man himself on harmonica. The guest list for Other Voices really is incredible. Alison Krauss, John Gorka, Edgar Meyer, Amy Ray, and Emily Saliers -- it's a regular homespun who's who. There's plenty to sigh about here, and occasionally the album can almost be too tasteful for its own good. But raveups like Woody Guthrie's "Do-Re-Mi" let Griffith trade some serenity for dustbowl grit (the addition of John Prine's lascivious gruffness helps a lot, too), and the frustrated anger of "This Old Town" only supports this. What might be most refreshing about Other Voices, Other Rooms is its ability to access the warm tones of country, grassroots, 1960s folk, and the '70s songwriting tradition while still sounding more like it comes from Griffith's Texas roots than anywhere else. This is highly recommended for fans of Griffith or any of the like-minded artists who help out here. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Legacy Recordings

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$15.49

Punk / New Wave - Released October 9, 2007 | Epic

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$7.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | Universal Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Richie Havens' finest recording, Mixed Bag captures the essence of his music and presents it in an attractive package that has held up well. A close listen to lyrics like "I Can't Make It Anymore" and "Morning, Morning" reveals sadness and loneliness, yet the music is so appealingly positive that a listener actually comes away feeling uplifted. In fact, on most of the songs on this album, it's the sound of Havens' distinctive voice coupled with his unusual open-E guitar tuning, rather than the specific lyrical content of the songs, that pulls the listener in. The six-and-a-half minute "Follow" is structured like a Dylan composition in the "Hard Rain" mode, with its memorable verse-ending refrain, "Don't mind me 'cause I ain't nothin' but a dream." Both "Sandy" and "San Francisco Bay Blues" have a jazzy feel, while the aforementioned "I Can't Make It Anymore" would not have been out of place in a movie soundtrack or pop radio playlist of the time. "Handsome Johnny," one of Havens' best known songs as a result of the Woodstock film, is a classic anti-war ballad, stoked by the singer's unmistakable thumb-chorded guitar strumming. Mixed Bag winds up with a soulful cover of Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" and an electric piano-propelled take on the Lennon-McCartney classic, "Eleanor Rigby." ~ Jim Newsom
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Pop - Released January 1, 1991 | Universal Music Division Barclay

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Rock - Released January 17, 1975 | Columbia

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Rock - Released June 17, 1966 | Columbia

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If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record, the double album Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound. Replacing the fiery Michael Bloomfield with the intense, weaving guitar of Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan led a group comprised of his touring band the Hawks and session musicians through his richest set of songs. Blonde on Blonde is an album of enormous depth, providing endless lyrical and musical revelations on each play. Leavening the edginess of Highway 61 with a sense of the absurd, Blonde on Blonde is comprised entirely of songs driven by inventive, surreal, and witty wordplay, not only on the rockers but also on winding, moving ballads like "Visions of Johanna," "Just Like a Woman," and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Throughout the record, the music matches the inventiveness of the songs, filled with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"). It's the culmination of Dylan's electric rock & roll period -- he would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such bizarre imagery, ever again. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released August 27, 1965 | Columbia

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Rock - Released March 19, 1965 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released January 10, 1964 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography