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From Carole King's 'Tapestry' to Beyoncé's 'Lemonade': Albums with milestone anniversaries in 2021

Gary Dinges, USA TODAY
·6 min read
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Are you ready to feel old?

More than two dozen beloved albums from some of the biggest names in music celebrate milestones this year, from five years all the way to 50.

A few examples: It has been five decades since the posthumous release of Janis Joplin's "Pearl," Mötley Crüe made its debut four decades ago with "Too Fast for Love," and Boyz II Men came on the scene three decades ago with "Cooleyhighharmony."

Others on the list include Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks and The Weeknd.

We've rounded up an assortment of the albums marking milestones in 2021. Enjoy the trip down memory lane!

50 years

  • Carole King, "Tapestry" (Feb. 10, 1971): The singer/songwriter's second album took home four Grammys in at the 1972 ceremony, including album of the year. Hits include "I Feel the Earth Move."

  • Janis Joplin, "Pearl" (Jan. 11, 1971): Released three months after Joplin's death from a drug overdose, "Pearl" spent nine weeks atop the Billboard 200. Hits include "Me and Bobby McGee."

45 years

  • Peter Frampton, "Frampton Comes Alive!" (Jan. 6, 1976): Named album of the year in the 1976 Rolling Stone readers' poll, "Frampton Comes Alive!" was a double album that stayed on the Billboard 200 for nearly two straight years. Hits include "Baby, I Love Your Way."

  • Stevie Wonder, "Songs In the Key of Life" (Sept. 28, 1976): Just before recording "Songs In the Key of Life," his 18th studio album, Wonder had briefly considered leaving the music industry and working with children in Africa. Hits include "I Wish."

40 years

  • Mötley Crüe, "Too Fast for Love" (Nov. 10, 1981): Mötley Crüe's debut studio album is ranked 22nd on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. Hits include "Stick to Your Guns."

  • The Rolling Stones, "Tattoo You" (Aug. 24, 1981): To make "Tattoo You," The Rolling Stones sifted through outtakes from previous recordings, then added fresh vocals. Hits include "Start Me Up."

  • The Go-Go’s, "Beauty and the Beat" (July 8, 1981): This was the debut album from The Go-Go's. Members of the band admitted in a recent documentary that they didn't know how to play instruments before the group formed. Hits include "We Got the Beat."

35 years

  • Madonna, "True Blue" (June 30, 1986): Madonna was still hitched to Sean Penn when her third album dropped. In a review, Stephen Erlewine with AllMusic called it the "album where Madonna truly became Madonna the Superstar." Hits include "Papa Don't Preach."

  • Janet Jackson, "Control" (Feb. 4, 1986): Widely considered her breakthrough album, "Control" was Jackson's third. An eye-popping five singles made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Hits include "What Have You Done for Me Lately."

30 years

  • Garth Brooks, "Ropin' the Wind" (Sept. 2, 1991): The first country album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, "Ropin' the Wind" includes a cover of the Billy Joel tune "Shameless." Hits include "What She's Doing Now."

  • Boyz II Men, "Cooleyhighharmony" (April 30, 1991): R&B group Boyz II Men made their debut with "Cooleyhighharmony," a nod to Cooley Vocational High School in Chicago. Hits include "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."

  • Nirvana, "Nevermind" (Sept. 24, 1991): Nirvana's "Nevermind" stirred controversy by featuring a cover image of a naked baby swimming. Several retailers opted to cover the infant's genitals with a sticker. Hits include "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

  • Smashing Pumpkins, "Gish" (May 28, 1991): Smashing Pumpkins made their debut with "Gish," an album recorded with a budget of just $20,000. Hits include "I AM One."

  • Cypress Hill, "Cypress Hill" (Aug. 13, 1991): Rolling Stone's Kevin Powell called the hip-hop group's self-titled debut album "engaging and innovative in spite of its hard-core messages." Hits include "How I Could Just Kill a Man."

  • "Dangerous," Michael Jackson (Nov. 26, 1991): Jackson's eighth album, "Dangerous," debuted atop the Billboard 200 and was the best-selling album in 1982. Hits include "Black or White."

  • Metallica, "Metallica" (Aug. 12, 1991): Metallica's self-titled fifth studio album topped the Billboard 200 for four straight weeks and is the group's best-selling album. Hits include "Enter Sandman." (Another Metallica album, "Load," turns 25 this year.)

25 years

  • Pearl Jam, "No Code" (Aug. 27, 1996): The third consecutive No. 1 album for Pearl Jam, "No Code" was the group's first album recorded with drummer Jack Irons. Hits include "Who You Are."

20 years

  • Jennifer Lopez, "J.Lo" (Jan. 16, 2001): Lopez's second album landed the same month her film "The Wedding Planner" premiered. A trio of songs were recorded in Spanish. Hits include "Love Don't Cost a Thing."

  • Destiny's Child, "Survivor" (May 1, 2001): Beyoncé Knowles co-wrote and produced all the tracks on the group's third album. Hits include "Bootylicious."

  • Creed, "Weathered" (Nov. 20, 2001): Creed's third album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed in that spot for eight consecutive weeks. Hits include "My Sacrifice."

  • NSYNC, "Celebrity" (July 24, 2001): The third and final album from NSYNC, "Celebrity," felt like "a logical swan song" for the group, Uproxx's John Hugar says. Hits include "Pop."

  • Aaliyah, "Aaliyah" (July 7, 2001): The singer (full name Aaliyah Haughton) with a promising future was killed in an airplane crash in the Bahamas just a month after her self-titled third album arrived. Hits include "We Need a Resolution."

  • Kylie Minogue, "Fever" (Oct. 1, 2001): Many say "Fever," Minogue's eighth album, is one of the best dance albums ever. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the highest ranking for any of her releases to date. Hits include "Can't Get You Out of My Head."

  • Missy Elliott, "Miss E... So Addictive" (May 15, 2001): Elliott tells listeners to the title track on her third album, "Miss E... So Addictive," to get ready for "some (expletive) that you never heard before." And she delivers. Hits include "Get Ur Freak On."

15 years

  • Various artists, "High School Musical" (Jan. 10, 2006): The soundtrack to the hit Disney Channel movie features music performed by its cast members including Zac Efron. Hits include "Breaking Free."

  • Justin Timberlake, "FutureSex/LoveSounds" (Sept. 8, 2006): Timberlake's second album, "FutureSex/LoveSounds" came four years after his group NSYNC went on hiatus. Hits include "SexyBack."

Justin Timberlake in a scene from the concert Justin Timberlake: Futuresex/Loveshow on HBO.
Justin Timberlake in a scene from the concert Justin Timberlake: Futuresex/Loveshow on HBO.

10 years

  • Adele, "21" (Jan. 24, 2011): The title of "21" comes from the fact that Adele was 21 at the time she produced her second album. Hits include "Rolling in the Deep."

  • Lady Gaga, "Born This Way" (May 23, 2011): Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield gave "Born This Way" four stars, writing, "What makes 'Born This Way' so disarmingly great is how warm and humane Gaga sounds." Hits include "Marry the Night."

5 years

  • The Weeknd, "Starboy" (Nov. 25, 2016): The Weeknd teamed with Kendrick Lamar, Daft Punk and Lana Del Rey, among others, for his third album. Hits include "Starboy."

  • Beyoncé, "Lemonade" (April 23, 2016): An HBO movie with the same name premiered along with Beyoncé's "Lemonade" album, her sixth. Hits include "Hold Up."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Albums with milestone anniversaries, including Beyoncé, Garth Brooks