The Essential Albums for Retired Baby Boomers

The American Association of Retired Persons is slowly being overtaken by aging baby boomers.  With that in mind, they have published this list of the 25 essential albums every retired person needs to own.  They come in chronological order.  Let’s critique the selections, shall we?

1. Patsy Cline, Showcase (1961)

I suppose.  Patsy is held dear by a segment of today’s hipster community.

2. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)

A good album, but my choice would have been What I’d Say from 1959.

3. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

A good choice.  This album should be in everyone’s collection.

4. The Beatles, Rubber Soul (1965)

Is this a better album than Sgt. Pepper, The White Album or Abbey Road?  The debate rages.  (I’d pick Abbey Road, by the way)

5. Beach Boys, Pet Sounds(1966)

No quibbles from me.

6. The Temptations, Greatest Hits (1966)

A cheat! These kinds of lists should never, ever contain a greatest hits record.  Excise and insert Cream’s Fresh Cream (1966).

7. Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced? (1967)


8. Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul (1968)

Yep again.

9.  Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

A fine record, but awfully maudlin and sappy in retrospect.  If we have to replace this with another album from 1970, I’d go with Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

10. James Taylor, Sweet Baby James (1970)

Whatever.  I hate James Taylor.

11.  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Deja Vu (1970)

Too mellow again.  Go with Led Zeppelin III.

12. Carole King, Tapestry (1971)

Fer gawd’s sake.  Okay, it’s a good record but what’s with all this down tempo stuff?

13. Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971)

Wrong.  Should be Let It Bleed (1969)

14.  Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On (1971)


15.  Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971)

Fine again.

16.  Don McLean, American Pie (1971)

Really?  So you can listen to the title track over and over again?  Scratch it and insert Meddle from Pink Floyd (1971)

17.  Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

Double album, good value.

18. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (1975)

No issues.

19. Eagles, Hotel California (1976)

Cliched, but whatever.

20.  Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977)

Also cliched, but it’s still one of the most consistently solid albums ever recorded.

21.  Billy Joel, The Stranger (1977)

My wife would agree. I do not.  This is where you drop Billy for the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks (1977)

22. Willie Nelson, Stardust (1978)

Love you, Willie, but I’ll take Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model (1978) over you any day.

23. Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982)

You mean there are people show still don’t have a copy?

24.  Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever (1989)

Er, really?  Drop Tom.  Add The Pixies’ Doolittle (1989).

25.  Stevie Wonder, At the Close of a Century (1999)

I DARE you to name any song from this album.  Throw out and add Nirvana’s Nevermind,

But there’s still so much missing here.  Velvet Underground, the Clash, Van Morrison, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Oasis…I could go on.  Anything you’d like to recommend?


















Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

7 thoughts on “The Essential Albums for Retired Baby Boomers

  • July 9, 2014 at 11:22 am

    What, no Bowie?

  • July 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with Dave. How in the eff is Ziggy Stardust or maybe Hunky Dory not on this list? Also, I would suggest Brothers in Arms by Dire Straights.

  • July 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I was born in aught 76 but I only agree with two of those! I either feel young or am not old enough (prob the latter)

  • July 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    That Stevie Wonder album is a greatest hits box set, though most people don’t know it exists. Innervisions or Songs in the Key Of Life would have been better picks.

    Also lamenting the lack of Bowie.

    There should also be a Police album – Regatta de Blanc would be my pick.

  • July 10, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Even G’nR’s Appetite For Destruction would have been an easy add to the list.

  • July 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I agree with most of your comments, but replace Sex Pistols with Ramones – and Bowie should definitely be on here as well.


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