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Great music from the beginning

There's so much talk, fascinating and insightful more often than not, around here and elsewhere about the wealth of superb music that has been set to record. Usually such conversations presume relatively extensive prior knowledge and appreciation of a long back catalogue of music listening.

But my question is: imagine somebody who has never made an effort to submerge him/herself into 'great' music (they have, maybe, a nodding acquaintance with chart music, but very little else). What handful of maybe 5 records to you recommend this person as a great starting place for their musical journey?

Re: Great music from the beginning

it depends on the person. whenever i am introducing people to music, i find something that they will understand to show them first, even if it isn't all that great. sometimes i will even just point out things that i like about the music that they already listen to, even if that music on a whole is bad (hopefully it has some good qualities). i would also point out things that i don't like about the same music, i suppose just train them to listen the right way. anyway, the point is, the best 5 albums to recommend to them depends on the individual. if the individual is unknown, then of course, the answer is my top 5 albums. why? because they're probably the ones that i can explain the appeal of the best.

Re: Great music from the beginning

This is a question I asked myself because when I wanted to give birthday or christmas presents to my nephews or nieces who are in their early teens only know Kanye West or Justin Timberlake.
For my nephew I started with a Beatles singles compilation. I think it is a good choice because I really liked those song when I was their age and that's the way I discovered classic rock.
Simon & Garfunkel could do too. A Motown compilation too.
I remember that I really liked a50's rock'n roll compilation, but maybe now it is too old.
I think that 3-chords rock'n roll which is to me the core, the matrix of pop/rock, is not an influence anymore on today's music, so some people (even on this forum ) often tag it as "dated".

Re: Great music from the beginning

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks did it for me, but almost anybody can enjoy Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper's on the first listen.

Re: Great music from the beginning

I have many friends with children in the 6-10 age range. Every single one of those kids loves the Beatles.

(One of them also loves Rush, but we won't get into that.)

But I think Max's original question was about how to get adults into the good stuff. Any teacher will tell you it's about building on what someone already knows ("go from known to new," to use a catchphrase). Here's a story from my own experience:

My wife knows very little about pop music beyond what has been on the charts since about 1990. But she loves the soundtrack to Xanadu (I know, I know. Don't start; she's a lovely person). I didn't plan this, but I figured that if she liked the ELO songs there, I'd play her the Wilburys album, since that had Jeff Lynne on it. Bingo: she got into Bob Dylan. Cautiously at first, but we saw I'm Not There yesterday and today she took my copy of Highway 61 to work (of course, now she'll imagine it's Cate Blanchett singing all those songs, but that's ok).

Re: Great music from the beginning

schleuse, you broke up with a girl because she liked "Somebody", but "Xanadu" is OK?

I just couldn't resist.

BTW, my wife and I share the opinion that "Dummy" is the best record ever made.

Re: Great music from the beginning

ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

Re: Great music from the beginning

This is an interesting question. I think the goal would be to find something that has both accessibility (i.e. a pop sensibility) and enough quality musical depth to promote further exploration into the genre and influences.

Here are some suggestions:

1. The Beatles - Rubber Soul. A great middle-era Beatles record that could promote further exploration forward and back in the Beatles catalog and into their contemporaries (Kinks, Who, Stones) and influences.

2. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue. No genre was specified. This is a great first jazz album. Another would be the Best of Lee Morgan (Blue Note).

3. Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks. The most accessible of Bob's great albums.

4. The Pixies - Doolittle. Bridges the gap between 1980's "alternative" (REM, Replacements, Smiths) and 1990's "alternative" (Nirvanna, et al).

5. The Clash - London Calling. This record is full of interesting influences. Generally regarded to be one of the greatest achievements in rock history not from the 1960s. Bridges gap between sixties and eighties. Representative of the late 1970's punk era, but transcends ordinary punk rock.

6. Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions - Great early rock. Historically important record that sounds fantastic today.

Re: Great music from the beginning

Bringing It All Back Home took about five notes to hook me.

Any of those three great albums Dylan recorded in 1965-1966 would work. Probably Rubber Soul, Revolver, or Sgt Pepper too.

Patti Smith - Horses is a good indoctrination to that wave of music.

Exile On Main St is one of those albums that's obviously amazing immediately.

Re: Great music from the beginning

A great introduction album is Neil Young's "Harvest"

Re: Great music from the beginning

I think the best starting point is the 2 Beatles compilations, the red one "1962-1966" and the blue one "1967-1970". Simply perfect for any newbies.
That's where I start when I was a five years old kid.

Re: Great music from the beginning

Compilations would probably be best to start off with - The Beatles,Stones,Beach Boys,Elvis
A Queen greatest hits was what kicked it off for me

Re: Great music from the beginning

Can we include box sets? It's really cheating but let's go with the Nuggets complete box set, No Thanks- Punk Rebellion, Complete Motown Singles, Whatever- 90's Culture in a box and The Hip-Hop Box. That does a pretty good job of covering the past 40 years. It does leave out a lot. 5 discs (even if they are box sets) is only enough to explore one genre in one era.