I'm not a big music enthusiast. I LOVE listening to music, but I rarely know which artist put out which smash hit. And I can't write with music on. Somehow the two areas of my brain involved with listening and composing are hopelessly mis-wired.
That said, I liked the idea of sharing the debut albums that were the soundtracks of my life's chapters, that influenced me on many levels. With that in mind, here we go!
My Top 9 Debut Album List
9. Pat Benatar's In the Heat of the Night (1979) -- I was a varsity basketball cheerleader when I discovered this album, although it was several years old by that time. It played over and over during after-school practices and on the bus for away games. It was the first time we'd heard a woman rocking out. Benatar brought down gender barriers for me and made me realize women really can do anything we put our minds to.
8. Guns 'n' Roses Appetite For Destruction (1987) -- My life went into transition shortly after this album dropped. By the time the second or third single was released, my family had moved to a new town. It was the summer before my senior year. Yeah. It sucked. I found if I cranked Guns 'n' Roses loud enough, I could drown out some of the stress.
7. Heart Dreamboat Annie (1976) -- My dad loved this album and used to blast it on Saturday mornings when our weekends were getting underway. It was the time right before our relationship started to unravel. I always think of him when I hear cuts from this album today.
6. Bon Jovi [Self-titled] (1984) -- The year I graduated from high school, the family was deep in debt -- the extent to which my parents hid from me and my sisters. I was accepted to a university, had my on-campus rooming assignment and had been corresponding with my future roommates, and had pre-registered for classes. With only three weeks to go until I left, my parents dropped a bomb on my future. They sat me down and told me there was no money for me to go to school. Bon Jovi's music motivated me to spend that year working my ass off, saving every penny. The next year, with no financial contribution from my parents, I started college.
5. Boston [Self-titled] (1976) -- Growing up, my family owned a very small cottage on Lake of the Woods, one of hundreds of small lakes near New York's 1000 Island region. The first time we lived at the cottage all summer long, we had this album on cassette tape. We played it, rewound. Played it, rewound. Played it....All.Summer.Long. Priceless memories!
4. The Cars [Self-titled] (1978) -- This was the first album I purchased with my own money. It was a hit at the same time I was coming into my teen years, when I challenged boundaries and began thinking about myself as an independent young woman.
3. Kate Bush The Kick Inside -- Six months after I graduated from college, I moved out of my parents' house in upstate New York and began a crazy two-year stint living in Los Angeles. During that time, I glimpsed a bit of what I was made of. You see, the stress was immense, from navigating my first professional job (at Chiat/Day advertising agency), from managing my first apartment, and from being truly all alone. Juggling the balls of my life zapped all my energy, and there was none left to hold down the hurt from my childhood. I spiraled into deep depression, but I lived through it. I survived. Thank you, Kate and your hauntingly beautiful voice, for being there for me during those dark days.
2. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995) -- I left for the Peace Corps in 1994. Friends sent me care packages with letters, candy, little gifts -- anything to make me feel closer to them and home. One package arrived with a homemade cassette, Natalie Merchant was recorded on one side and Alanis Morissette on the other. I fell deeply in love with Alanis's music. Here lyrics ripped me to the core. I was alone under the blazing African sun, but the Jagged Little Pill provided a unique sound backdrop that turned my experience into something eclectic and avant-garde.
1. Madonna [Self-titled] (1985) -- From the first time I heard "Lucky Star," I've been a die-hard Madonna fan. The year I (finally) made it to college, my roommate had this album. We danced like freshman fools in the dorm hallway to "I'm Burning Up," nailing Madonna's signature toe-tap-hop move. Years later, when I lived in LA, I waited for hours behind the rope lining the red carpet at the Hollywood premier of Madonna's documentary Truth of Dare. Limo after limo arrived, and the crowd would buzz, "Is it HER? Is it HER?" Then we'd all sigh. "Oh, it's only Janet Jackson." or "Nope, just Christian Slater." Finally, thirty minutes after the movie was supposed to start, a black stretch limo rounded the corner. Instead of pulling all the way up to the doors where the press corps was stationed, the limo stopped right.in.front.of.me. The doors opened, and there SHE was. Maybe six feet directly in front of me. She was with Nicky and Donna, her backup singers, and several dancers including Gabriel, Oliver, and Carlton. It was such a thrill!!
So, there you have it. My top 9 debut albums. Any of your favorites on my list? And, visit other bloggers participating in this blogfest, listed HERE.
I'll leave you with Madonna's video for Lucky Star. Can't embed (disabled by request), but here's the link: