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Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' tops Rolling Stone's all-time albums list

Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Eminem, Stooges also make mag's list of greatest albums ever

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

"What's Going On" is the No. 1 album of all-time.

That's according to Rolling Stone's new ranking of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, published Tuesday. Marvin Gaye's 1971 masterpiece dethrones the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the list's previous No. 1 album when it was originally published in 2003. That time, "What's Going On" was No. 6. (This time, "Sgt. Pepper" is No. 24). 

Marvin Gaye

The Gaye set is "one of the most important and influential LPs ever made," the magazine writes. "After 'What's Going On,' black musicians at Motown and elsewhere felt a new freedom to push the musical and political boundaries of their art." 

The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" comes in at No. 2, followed by Joni Mitchell's "Blue" (No. 3), Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life" (No. 4) and the Beatles' "Abbey Road" (No. 5).

Nirvana's "Nevermind," Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors," Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain," Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" round out the Top 10. 

"What's Going On" is one of three Gaye albums on the list, along with "Let's Get It On" (No. 422) and "Here, My Dear" (No. 493). 

Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin each land four albums on the list, while Madonna lands three. 

Significant Detroit and Michigan entries on the magazine's list include: Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" (No. 13); Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" (No. 34) and "Talking Book" (No. 59); Aretha Franklin's "Lady Soul" (No. 75); The Stooges' "Fun House" (No. 94); Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain" (No. 136); Madonna's "The Immaculate Collection" (No. 138); Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP (No. 145);  Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace" (No. 154); Madonna's "Ray of Light" (No. 222) and "Like a Prayer" (No. 331); MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" (No. 349); Stevie Wonder's "Music of My Mind" (No. 350); Eminem's "The Slim Shady LP" (No. 352); Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove" (No. 360); Parliament's "The Mothership Connection" (No. 363); the Temptations' "Anthology" (No. 371); J Dilla's "Donuts" (No. 386); Aretha Franklin's "Young, Gifted and Black" (No. 388); Anita Baker's "Rapture" (No. 404); Smokey Robinson's "Going to a Go Go" (No. 412); the Four Tops' "Reach Out" (No. 429); Diana Ross' "Diana" (No. 394); the White Stripes' "Elephant" (No. 449); Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Anthology" (No. 452); and the Stooges' "The Stooges" (No. 488). 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama