What song hit you like a thunderbolt when you first heard it

…sounded like nothing else you’d ever heard before, and seemed to expand the very horizons of music?

I was only five when I first heard “It’s A Small World, After All”. The experience still affects me to this day.


Bohemian Rhapsody. Bored to hell with it after hearing it nonstop for 40+ years; but when it first came out someone should have called Pete Townsend and told him he doesn’t know what Rock Opera is.

“Runaway” by Kanye West - it got me into rap music. Before hand I (shamefully) used to use the word cRap a lot. Runaway completely altered my views of rap.

Karma Police by Radiohead when I was about 14. Completely changed my taste in music forever. You wouldn’t believe the garbage I used to listen to before I found out about Radiohead.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. I was into college radio and “alternative” before that, but on my first listen I could tell it was going to bridge the gap between underground and mainstream. Maybe it didn’t change music, but it certainly changed what music you could hear on commercial radio.

I’m not sure I have an answer for this one, but my daughter’s guitar teacher told me one day that the first time he heard Eleanor Rigby, he was driving and had to pull over.

Lorde - Royals. Was just about to start the car to leave the work car park and it came on - never heard it before and it sounded very African which was really a novel thing. It’s still very different to anything before or since on mainstream radio.

Elbow - Magnificent. You hear this for the first time and its almost spellbinding, its one of those songs that can interrupt what you are doing - if you haven’t heard it before I’d be interested in your reaction


Wuthering Heights


Ergen Deda

Akatsukino Ito

Blue Bell Knoll


Love Will Tear Us Apart (original)

Love Will Tear Us Apart (a cover)



All songs that struck me dumb (although most also moved my feet right away)

The Who’s The Music Must Change.
I remember waking up to my clock radio playing it when I was in college. I had never heard it before, and I thought it was awesome.

“Bring Me To Life” Evanescence seemed pretty genre-bending when I first heard it.

Ohio. I think I was tripping when I heard it the first time on the radio.

Danish String Quartet plays “Wood Works” - nothing rocks like a string quartet.

The World I Know - Collective Soul

One Headlight - The Wallflowers

Arriving Somewhere But Not Here - Porcupine Tree

All immediately resonated with my normal state of melancholy/depression…

Oooh, I was going to write Wuthering Heights too, but Ederlezi is an excellent candidate as well.

I think I may just have to check out the rest of them.

One to add for me is Matty Groves by Fairport Convention. It was, of all things, in my English book at secondary school, and it set off me on a life of folk and traditional music.

a 2nd for Smells like Teen Spirit. Around the same time, also Basket Case by Green Day got me hooked on punk.

One by Metallica opened my eyes to metal.

Rusty D-con-struck-tion by Ashley MacIsaac made me say, “You mean when I was playing violin in high school orchestra, I could have actually been COOL?”

I was 13 years old when I heard Like A Rolling Stone come on my transistor radio. That downbeat, then the swirling organ… hooked!

Not sure if this counts, but “Epiphany/A Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd- I’d always liked musical theater music. I did not know that that was a thing that you could do.

Hip Hop: King of Rock Run DMC. A mixture of rap and heavy metal guitar. Brilliant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9HGeH3pVGE&list=PLn7qZ70jqTZFCYOwob8Cyz8upkyYkGL2u

Rock: Santana 3 Santana Amazing jam rock. Carlos Santana and Neil Schon absolutely rock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGO7tuCauw0&list=PL94gOvpr5yt3EfHqpKTkbo-oNpkddR0h5

Electronic: King Arthur Rick Wakeman This album combines the legend with some descent electronic music. It really doesnt hold up that well but I loved it as a teen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfznyxhfYMo&list=PL94gOvpr5yt1TfW3dfVtpxhbl4Ni6LUIG

In 1981, I bought Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Chronicle” (greatest hits) double album. CCR had been broken up for 9 years by then, and were 12 years removed from their biggest fame. Still, I didn’t know them very well beyond their obvious huge hits like Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising.

While playing Side B for the first time, I cranked it up loud to listen to Green River, which I did already know and like. It was still up loud when the next track began, a song which I don’t recall ever having heard before.

Suddenly, the opening guitar lick to Commotion shot up my spine like an electric shock. Never before or since has a song hit me that hard from the very first note of the very first listen.

To this day, Commotion remains one of my favorite CCR tracks.