the first album i ever bought: oasis – what’s the story morning glory?

typhoon @ cat's cradle

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama– just up the street from a local record shop.  It was close enough that I could walk to it after school or on the weekends.  It was a couple of doors down from where my father worked and next door to a pretty good sandwich shop.  We lived north of the river, which wasn’t nearly as developed back then as it is in the present-day tornado-ravaged and condo-stuffed Tuscaloosa.

My most-prized possession back then was a clunky black Sony Discman that ate AA batteries like candy.  I was practically attached to the thing.  On the bus, in the backseat of the car, walking around the neighborhood… I usually had my headphones on.  Music was my first love and I’ve been in a steady monogamous relationship with it since I could carry it everywhere I went.

Before the Discman, I used to just tape songs off the radio.  When it came to discovering new things, though, my go-to source was television.  At this point, I was already losing touch with MTV because they started running actual shows instead of just videos.  (I hated MTV before it was cool…)   Suddenly, a new channel appeared really high on the dial.  It was “The Box”.  I was hooked.

Do you remember “The Box”?  Some people I mention it to do– most don’t recall it.  It was a strictly music video channel that allowed the viewer to request the next video by dialing a 1-900 number and punching in it’s code.  The names of the videos scrolled the bottom of the screen and you would jot down the code and dial the number.    You never really knew what was coming next on “The Box”.

The next video up that night was “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis.  At this glorious moment in music history, Oasis weren’t just huge– they were the biggest band on the planet.  This was my first exposure to them and it wrecked my brain.  It looked so different than anything else and the name of the song just sounded SO DAMN COOL to me at the time.  (Honestly, it still does.)  One of the first things you see is a dude (Bonehead was his name, to be precise) playing a fucking melodica!!!  And the guy looks like John Lennon!!!  Then the guitars kick in, the vocals soar… and seven and a half minutes later it has to end.  You see, songs have a beginning and an ending.

Or do they?  Could it not just go on forever?  Well, on “The Box”, it technically could… hence the ridiculous phone bill I ran up by requesting it over and over.  Perhaps it would be cheaper to just buy the CD.  So the next day, I walked up the street and purchased what still stands as one of my favorite albums.

It was “What’s the Story Morning Glory?” by Oasis.

I went on to buy plenty of embarrassing and downright horrifying things after that, but I can stand proudly behind that record.  It is still one of my favorite CD’s to put on in the car and sing along to.  “Champagne Supernova” sold me, but sooner or later every song on the disc shoved it’s way into my brain and my emotions.  “Wonderwall” became a staple on the radio, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became one of my favorite songs (ever)… and “Champagne Supernova” even became the de-facto slow-skate song at Super Skate– the local rollerblading spot.

Music has this amazing power to make you feel cool– this record made me feel alive.  It made me want to play music.  It was one of a handful of albums that I often practiced to when I wanted to feel like a real badass.  Put it on for me today and I could probably drum the whole record from muscle memory.

That black CD stayed in my black Discman for a long, long time.  I finally got to see Oasis in Vegas in 2001.  I managed to grab a setlist and I got it signed by the band as they loaded into their buses.  I told a very, very abbreviated version of this story to Liam Gallagher as he signed my setlist.

His reply?  “Thanks, mate.”

Music never lets me down.  Not then, not now and not ever.

Reed Watson lives in Florence, AL and plays drums for Belle Adair and The Pollies. 

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the first album i ever bought: michael jackson – bad

BurkeBros

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

My brother, Danny, and I were Michael Jackson fans from the first time we heard the song “Beat It”. We were maybe all of 7 and 4 years old when it was released as a radio single. And even at that young age, I remember going apeshit in the backseat of my Mom’s car every time the song would come on the radio. We would hear the intro (with those opening synth notes) and start freaking out. We couldn’t understand half of the lyrics. But we sang along to what we thought the words might be, and filled in the blanks where we were unsure.

At that time, I was a bit too young to buy music on my own. I was more concerned with riding my bike to the local convenient store and spending whatever change I had in my pocket on Big League Chew and Jolly Rancher candy. But we remained avid fans of Michael Jackson. In fact, I remember spending hours trying to learn how to Moonwalk. And I may or may not have owned a shiny glove at one point.

A few years later, the Bad album was released; and I had to have it. But I didn’t have much money, and my Mom’s birthday was coming up. So I said to Danny, “Let’s get Mom the new Michael Jackson album. Then we can listen to it whenever we want!” And that’s exactly what we did. We bought the Bad album on vinyl and gave it to my Mom for her birthday. Problem solved. Crisis averted.

Who’s Bad?

Matt Burke is the singer-songwriter for Tampa, Florida band HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. The above photo is Matt and his brother Danny as kids.

the first album i ever bought: the wallflowers – bringing down the horse

yep roc 15: the mayflies (usa)

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

I was 11 years old when Bringing Down The Horse came out and it still resonates with me today. Much like the rest of the world, I heard about the band because of the insane popularity of the single “One Headlight”. The songs were well written, the band was tight and T Bone Burnett’s production really came into its own here. The Wallflowers tend to get lost in the haze of the 90’s alt-rock movement, but they really offered something more unique than most of their contemporaries.

I think the main reason why this album meant so much to me is because at the time I certainly didn’t “get” Bob Dylan, but he was and is my father’s favorite artist. I remember being elated to find out that Jakob was Bob’s son. In my mind it created this musical bond between the music my father loved and my own musical taste at the time. Everything about Jakob was appealing to me, from the way he sang (subconsciously I learned my own singing delivery from him) to the way he arranged songs. He owed a lot of inspiration to his father, as well as the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young and Springsteen.

By echoing his influences and arranging songs with a good dose of pop sensibility, he really opened the door for me to a world of music I hadn’t appreciated until then.

Kent Goolsby is the singer/songwriter of the Nashville, TN based band Kent Goolsby & the Gold Standard, and you can hear his music here.

the first album i ever bought: deana carter – did i shave my legs for this?

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

In 1997, I was twelve years old, in sixth grade, living in the suburbs of Dallas, and, I was adamant, I hated country music.

I’d started actually noticing and caring about music a year or two before. I’d starting listening to our local pop station, and at some point felt that I had “graduated” to the local alternative station (a common trajectory). My mom gave me a few oldies CDs, in an attempt to convince me, if I had to choose my own music, to choose something she wanted to hear. And I hated country music.

We’d had a karaoke machine a few years before, with cassettes, that you could hook up to the TV. The only cassette I remember playing is the country one — I wore it out, belting out songs like Trisha Yearwood’s ”XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)” and Patty Loveless’ “Timber, I’m Falling in Love.” And yet I was very convinced I didn’t actually like country music.

In sixth grade, so many of the girls in my class were obsessed with Deana Carter’s album Did I Shave My Legs for This?, which had come out that fall. At some point, I started to feel like my lack of education about this album was hampering me socially. Having an opinion about Deana Carter was critical if you wanted to make water fountain talk with your classmates.

I don’t, specifically, recall how I got my hands on the album. Probably I made a friend play it for me at her house at some point. I just remember that I loved it.

The clearest memory I have associated with that album is from that summer, the summer between elementary school and junior high. My family was on a road trip, and I remember listening to the song “Strawberry Wine” (the breakout hit single) and thinking that I couldn’t wait for the day that was my life, to be an adult, sophisticated and jaded and world weary.

“Strawberry Wine,” if you aren’t familiar with it, is a bittersweet recollection of the first boy she ever loved. They slept together (her first time), he went back to college, they drifted apart, and now, when she revisits the farm where they met and fell in love, it seems different, including the line There’s nothing time hasn’t touched // Is it really him or the loss of my innocence // I’ve been missing so much.

I was a melodramatic child.

I didn’t own the CD yet, on that trip; a friend came with us and I was constantly stealing it from her. (It was a point of friction on the trip; we did a lot of awkward attempting to listen together via headphones, which was much harder in the pre-earbud days.) I bought it when I got home, and I am 95% sure it was the first CD I ever paid my own money for, but reader, I’m not going to lie, I’m not 100% sure.

When I hear that song now (and you do still occasionally hear “Strawberry Wine” or “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” on country radio, though none of the others), I do in fact feel somewhat bittersweet nostalgia for that time — for being twelve, for that trip, for the girls who taught me to love Deana Carter but who were not my friends anymore once we moved from elementary school to junior high, for that summer.

I decided, fairly quickly from my discovery of Deana Carter, that I was in fact a country music fan, and I quit listening to the pop and alternative stations in favor of Dallas’ two country music stations. I found the identity of “country music fan” easy to wear, after that, and to this day I think of that as my home genre, basically, even as what kind of country music I like has shifted further and further from the sort of poppy Nashville sound Deana Carter (and the 1990s) embodied. But I still have an incredible fondness for her, and that album, and, even, for the time in my life when I first found her.

Allison is a native Texan and is one of the founders of kickass podcast This Week In Ladies, which you should be listening to. She also writes for The Toast, librarians with a vengeance, and listens to me whine about my life via email on the regular.

the first album i ever bought: kriss kross – totally krossed out

pickwick @ local 506

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

For a little while I thought I could beat the system. I thought I could write this piece about August and Everything After and we would all move on and things would be good and we could all pretend that’s when/where I really started to listen to music. Then someone wrote about that masterpiece of an album and I had to take a long look in the mirror and say what I didn’t want to say: ‘You have to write about Kriss Kross, Adam.’

So here we are, guys and gals. It’s time for me to talk about the first record I ever owned: Kriss Kross’ Totally Krossed Out.

I was 9-years-old when Totally Krossed Out came out. Sorry, I was a very sheltered, pudgy, bespectacled 9-year-old who was prone to temper tantrums and was thoroughly obsessed with baseball when Totally Krossed Out came out. My family had only recently gotten cable, and I had only even more recently started to be permitted to watch MTV without my parents in my room. I first heard about Kriss Kross not from MTV but from my older neighbor Tim and, in a desperate attempt to be cool, I immediately put their album neatly on my Christmas list under the ‘tapes’ section without really knowing anything about them aside from the few bars of ‘Jump’ Tim ‘sang’/‘rapped’ for the few of us gathered to play football. I say all that as a way to admit the following: I had no business listening to Kriss Kross and I didn’t know a damn thing about anything they were rapping about.

And yet, there I was after getting the tape for Christmas, sitting in the back of the family van listening to songs about jumping (I was rather stout, so that wasn’t an activity I had a lot of experience with), missing the bus (I didn’t take the bus until high school), partying (no way dude- TGIF was on Friday nights and there was no way in hell I was missing that), being a ‘mac’ (Young Adam was not what one would call ‘good’ with the little ladies) and sagging pants (I was still in my ‘elastic waist required on all pants and shorts’ phase). Looking back, about the only thing I could have actually claimed to relate to was track 8, ‘Real Bad Dream,’ because I was a pro at having nightmares at that age.

Like most things you are obsessed with when you’re 9, the infatuation didn’t last long. I mean, with spring coming up I had baseball to start worrying about and couldn’t be bothered with things like stopping bum rushes. But man, for a few months Totally Krossed Out was my jam.

Adam Sharp writes about a great song every day at Songs For The Day.

the first album i ever bought: ac/dc – dirty deeds done dirt cheap

promo photos: slingshot cash

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

I got a few records before this for Christmas & such, but the first one I went out and bought was AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. My next door neighbor who was older & cooler, with feathered late 70’s/early 80’s hair and a cool name (think Viking), had played me Back in Black the year before. I thought that was cool cause hey, the cover is ALL BLACK. The lettering was raised but otherwise, nada. Whoa man, like cool. And it was about the band’s dead lead singer. This was a source of both confusion & embarrassment, cuz like, how did they put out a record with a dead guy? But it was then explained it was a Tribute to him, and so okey. I dug it.

The next year though, they put out another album, an older one with the dead guy singing. It was then that I learned they were Australian or Scottish and drank a lot. All of the dads in the neighborhood were no stranger to the can curls, but these guys died drinking. I saw it at a friends house, and decided I had to have it.

The cover really is what got me. People in a parking lot of a bland motel, a cop, an old lady, a nurse, a dog – but all of their eyes were blacked out (Though oddly, or not so oddly, I can never decide, not the dog’s eyes) like words missing from the Nixon Tapes or some crazy shit (Yes, at nine I knew about the Nixon Tapes and redacted words, but not about the logistics of rock  stardom. Mine was a troubled and quirky childhood). It was odd and awesome and dangerous. To me it meant they were hiding something, and whatever it was, it was no good. In my dull childhood, that was exactly what I wanted to see. Or in this case, not see.

The record itself was alright I thought. The title cut was kinda cool in a stupid/catchy Rawk kinda way. It strikes me now as a bit silly, but I still think it’s catchy. It’s Done Dirt Cheap. Ahhhhha….. as they said as the song ended.

The rest of it wasn’t even as good as the title track except for one on side two. It was slow, like actually slow, one of about three such songs Acca Dacca has ever put out. It was bluesy and there was not much to it. Some vague blues-isms about evil and such… but Shit. Bon Scott’s voice. It got to me. The big one. Ride On.

Ride On? Hell yes. I want to get out of town, another town, another lonely town, another lonely night. Bon Scott stayed up late at night lonely and sad too, although much less sober than I was. At least at that age. That dead guy sounded so certain of something & resigned to it & sad. I didn’t know what Bon Scott seemed to know, but I wanted to. That impulse to Ride On, to know that which is darkest in you and not be able to do much about it other than try and outrun it, that impulse would and still does cause me a lot of grief. Bon didn’t out run it; I have for the most part. Though it’s still out there, right behind me, making me go to another lonely night.

I don’t blame Bon Scott for that, only for pointing it out to me. That it was in me. Well, what can you do? Sometimes the most seductive things are the most destructive. But you gotta Ride On, Bon. I’m with you man.

I call shotgun.

Jon Ackley fronts an Americana band that’s better than yours called Slingshot Cash. He writes other stuff, lives in Chapel Hill, and thinks music is very, very important.

the first album i ever bought: ace of base – the sign

architecture in helsinki @ cat's cradle

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

It is early 1994.  I am a 10 years old, with Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket.  There is a record store in the mall – it is probably a Sam Goody, but that’s not important.  The radio has been playing this song called “The Sign”, and I am obsessed.  Prior to this moment, every piece of music I’ve owned has been a gift, and all of them compilation Beatles albums.  But for my very first purchase using my own money, I’ve decided to take a chance on Ace of Base.

The tape – because I had my own walkman, but no CD player yet – probably cost me $8.  I can still remember the packaging – pink and green, with two ladies looking at me from behind an abstract rose on the cover, and then long-folded page of lyrics and liner notes in white on black.  The music is all so earnest and danceable, with occasional semi-rap-breaks by men with deep bass voices.  I learn all the words to all the songs by following along, and eventually sing along unaided (learning basic harmonization for the first time) as I dance in my room every day after school.  I imagine disco balls and singing to imaginary crowds of people dancing as I do this for months.  I don’t understand what many of the lyrics are trying to say, but I sing along with unabashed joy and seriousness.

Going back and listening now, it’s all a little bizarre – most of songs are pretty much the same, but it’s easy to see why a burgeoning fan of pop music would enjoy it.  Songs like “Don’t Turn Around” and “The Sign” still make for excellent karaoke fodder, and most everyone who hears them and was listening to the radio in that early-mid 90s era enjoys them – at least on a kitsch level.  And considering the fact that Wikipedia tells me it is in the top 100 best selling albums of all time, I’m probably not alone in “The Sign” as my first album purchase.  Because it may be Swedish dance-pop, but it’s fun, damn-it!

Maggie is a librarian working for the federal government in the DC area, who has questionable taste in music, but is surrounded by good influences. (Her words, not mine! I think Maggie’s taste is perfectly fine.)