Apple Music’s top 100 albums of all time sparks fan debate as Michael Jackson misses out on top spot

Apple Music has released its inaugural list of the 100 best albums of all timeand the results have sparked debate.

Last week, the streaming company kicked off its 10-day countdown, covering the last 65 years of music, with its top 10 released on Wednesday (22 May).

Albums by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Beyoncé, Prince, Nirvana, Kendrick Lamar, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder and Frank Ocean all made the top 10.

However, Lauryn Hill’s 1998 classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill took the top spot.

The results were simultaneously celebrated and derided by online commenters who passionately debated the outcome.

Thriller should be number one, it’s an all time great and classic! Yes, Lauryn Hill was good but the star power, influence on the culture and longevity of MJ’s THRILLER is forever!” wrote one fan questioning the listing.

Others disagreed as they celebrated, “Lauryn Hill is the legend! She deserves this position! Congrats!”

Hill shared her reaction to the accolade after receiving the news with a statement shared through Apple Music. “This is my award, but it’s a rich, deep narrative, and involves so many people, and so much sacrifice, and so much time, and so much collective love,” the “Ex-Factor” singer said.

Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney of The Beatles (Getty Images)
Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney of The Beatles (Getty Images)

Hill’s crowning wasn’t the only cause for debate as fans questioned the choice to place Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) above The Beach Boys’ 1966 hit album Pet Sounds.

As well as this, Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019) placing higher than Nina Simone’s 1965 record I Put A Spell On You also split fans.

To compile this ranking, members from Apple Music’s internal team submitted their personal lists of albums through the company’s voting microsite. The votes were weighted according to an album’s placement – the higher the ranking, the more votes assigned.

Apple Music used the same voting methodology for a select group of external voters that included artists, songwriters, producers and some media.

“This list isn’t a popularity contest,” said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B.

“We challenged everyone to not vote based on your favorites. You’re invited into the panel because you have music knowledge beyond what you listen to when you’re on the elliptical machine.”

Apple’s top 10 albums of all time are listed below, with the complete list available here.

1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill (1998)

2. Thriller by Michael Jackson (1982)

3. Abbey Road by The Beatles (1969)

4. Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution (1984)

5. Blond by Frank Ocean (2016)

6. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder (1976)

7. good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (2012)

8. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse (2006)

9. Nevermind by Nirvana (1991)

10. Lemonade by Beyoncé (2016)