Ace of Base's “The Sign” was the most popular song, Pearl Jam was on the rise with “Vs.” and Kurt Cobain was dead.
It was 1994, also the year that Blues Traveler's “Four” was released. “Four” is the first album that I ever purchased.
Nearly 20 years later, I remember that album, just like nearly 100 readers, Twitter followers and celebrities (local and otherwise) remembered their first music purchase when we asked.
For my birthday in early 1995, I got a boombox with a CD player, radio and two tape decks (for high-speed dubbing, remember that?!). I unfortunately had no CDs of my own, so unless I wanted to borrow my dad's copy of Garth Brooks' greatest hits, I had to get something.
I went with my brother to Musicland (remember those?!) and bought it. It was a popular album at the time. “Hook” and “Run-Around” were all over the radio and as a fan of 101.9 The Edge (remember that?!), I needed it.
The green cover featuring a cat wearing sunglasses and smoking a doobie is somewhat iconic if you're a child of the '90s.
So are the songs. I can still rattle off the rapid-fire “Suck it in, suck it in, suck it in” segment of “Hook” (seriously, remember that?!) and I'm looking forward to seeing the band play Stir Cove in August.
I still own my copy of “Four.” It rests in one of those huge books made to hold discs, though I rarely play the actual CD. My entire music library is digitized, so if I want to play Blues Traveler I just dial it up on my iPod.
And I still smile when that cat pops up on the screen.
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I'm 41, so these things would have been happening for me in the late '80s. I was really getting sucked into new types of music. My first album had to be a copy of “Sgt. Pepper's” (The Beatles). It's pretty amazing to think about it.
— James Mercer, The Shins
The first record I ever bought was Elvis Presley, “Gold.” I bought it out at Westroads Mall when I was 6 years old with my allowance. I used to play the 33 rpm record at 45 and dance around. That drum fill in “Hound Dog” played at double speed was the greatest thing I'd ever heard.
— Nick Hexum, 311
Billy Joel “52nd Street” (which my ex-boyfriend broke because he was mad that I was still seeing the guy I broke up with for him). I can't believe he picked that one of all the albums he could choose!
— Vicki Fletcher of Omaha
The first album I ever purchased was Men Without Hats, “Rhythm of Youth,” the album with “Safety Dance” on it. I grew up with many older siblings and cousins. This was my first stab at an identity of my own, a song I personally loved without the reassurance or approval of the older kids, the “cool” kids. It's a great song! I still love it, and looking over the songs on the album, there are a lot of fun new wave songs on there.
We lived near a Target when we were young. I remember walking there (certainly with an older sister, I was way too young to go there on my own) and picking out the record from one of the many bins they had in their music section back then. So funny to think of Target filled with record bins.
SADLY, I don't own that copy anymore, likely snagged by an old roommate or ex, hopefully not in malice. Wish I could have held on to that original copy. Oh well.
— Tim Kasher, Cursive
The first CD I ever bought was The Replacements, “Don't Tell a Soul,” at Pickles on 78th and Dodge. It was my sister (3 years senior) who exposed me to the band.
“The Replacements” ultimately became my answer to the daunting question of “Who is your favorite band of all time?” So yeah, needless to say, it stuck with me.
I still have that CD, and the reissue from a few years ago.
— Robb Nansel, Saddle Creek Records
The first one I ever got was The Beatles' “Rubber Soul.” You can imagine how fortunate I am that the first album I ever had was one of the greatest albums ever made.
There are a lot of people who are about my age, John Mellencamp, Sting and all these people who ended up writing songs and doing well. I don't think it's a coincidence that we were right about that age when the Beatles came out.
— Kevin Cronin, REO Speedwagon
Cannot recall what was first, but when my entire LP collection numbered less than 10 and most were Sesame Street based, there were two standouts. One was a record that had Fonzie on the cover. I honestly have no idea what was on there for music...it was more a picture of the Fonz for me. He was wearing a button that said “SIT ON IT” that I really liked. The jacket also had a little fold out easel on the back so you could prop it up and stare at his coolness, which I did often. The other record was the 2 LP set from The Beach Boys, “Endless Summer.” That had some interesting art of its own, especially the inside of the gatefold, but the time spent with that was listening. I played that thing to death, and still have it. Not sure what happened to the Fonz.
— Jason Kulbel, Saddle Creek Records
My first album, one I purchased with my own money, was the second album from the Monkees, “More of the Monkees.” I was on vacation with my parents returning from a trip to Pioneer Village and we had stopped in Grand Island and I used my allowance to buy the album at a Woolworth's-type store. The album had just come out. It was the summer of '68, I believe.
The first album I ever received was Herb Alpert's “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” as a Christmas present in 1967.
My first single was before that, 1966 or '65. I had seen The Gentrys on “American Bandstand” and just had to have the 45rpm of “Keep on Dancing”
— Mike Fratt, Homer's Music
My first CD I ever purchased was Snoop Dogg's “Doggystyle.” I bought it at Steve's Video in Imperial, Neb., in the summer of 1994. I was 14 years old and fancied myself, naturally, a bit of a “gangsta” at that young age in that small farming community. I remember the album cover, featuring a kind of crude cartoon of Snoop “chasing tail,” was sort of racy, but I was totally cool with that. While I quickly memorized every line to every song (and can still recite “Lodi Dodi” on command), it took me many years to learn what a “dove sack” was. I don't have the CD anymore, and I haven't heard most of those songs in years. I remember that they were super catchy and, at the time, exciting, like sneaking out of the house or playing catch with a football across our town's main street. I never was too hardcore of a G.
— Andy Norman, HearNebraska.org
I'm pretty sure that the first album I ever owned personally was “Toys in the Attic” by Aerosmith. Bear in mind I had three older brothers and sisters so I usually just listened to their stuff. So I didn't need to buy “Dark Side of the Moon” or the early '70s Led Zeppelin stuff. I just had to make sure I didn't scratch it or I would bear the wrath of my older siblings.
While I own the digital version of that record, I don't think I still have the vinyl.
— Terry Kroeger, Omaha World-Herald publisher
Bon Jovi, “Slippery When Wet”
— Landon Hedges, Desaparecidos and Little Brazil
First album I bought myself was Aldo Nova's “Aldo Nova” at Woolworth's in Hibbing, Minn. I did (have it) for a long time and it has gone missing in the moves over the years.
— Marq Manner of Omaha
Smashing Pumpkins, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” I actually do still have it, it was part of the first three albums I bought. That, Blur's self titled and “Big Willie Style” (Will Smith). Ah 1997, the year that was!
The (Pumpkins) album definitely still holds significance to me. It made me want to take up the drums, which I did a few years later after saving up, and I listened to it at a very formative time in my life. Your adolescent years are filled with beauty, wonder, love, frustration, rage, confusion and determination. All of those emotions flow throughout “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” from start to finish.
— Bill Grennan of Omaha
I don't remember which came first: Fiona Apple's “Tidal,” or Alanis Morissette's “Jagged little Pill.” I listened to them both on my walkman cassette tape player as I walked to and from school.
— Sarah Scott of Papillion
From Ages 3 to 12 all I owned and listened to was Michael Jackson's “Thriller.” First record I ever purchased myself that wasn't a gift was Rage Against the Machine's “Evil Empire.”
— Patrick Kirschbaum of Omaha
I am ashamed to admit it was Alabama's “Mountain Music.” I was 7. Give me a break.
— Stacy Winters of Omaha
I think it was Weird Al's “Greatest Hits, Volume 2.” I have no idea. I didn't have a CD player until I was probably 13 or something. I had a (lot) of records growing up. Cassettes and some (stuff). I don't think I ever actually bought them. They were stuff my parents bought me.
— John McCauley, Deer Tick
KISS' “Rock & Roll Over” only because mom wouldn't let me buy “Hotter Than Hell.” She thought the album cover was too scary.
— Joe Ziskey of Omaha
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