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Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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The Tuesday Survey: What Was the First Music You Bought with Your Own Money?

My mother was furious with me. After saving up money from a paper route, I’d blown $4.99 (plus tax!) on a copy of this record.

I have no idea what she expected a kid in love with his transistor radio to do with his new-found wealth, but dammit, that money wasn’t supposed to go to buying records. Decades later, she still doesn’t get it and instead laments my insistence in having a huge music collection instead of spending that money on…well, something more sensible. Whatever that means.

Which brings me to this week’s question: What was the first piece of music you bought with your own money? Was it an LP or 45? Maybe it was a CD or a cassette or even an 8-track. It could have been an iTunes downloads. Hell, it might have been some sheet music.

Lemme know what that music was, how much you paid for it, why you chose that and if there’s any story behind it. I’ll repeat some of the best stories on my radio show tomorrow on 102.1 the Edge.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker.

In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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37 Responses to The Tuesday Survey: What Was the First Music You Bought with Your Own Money?

  1. I bought my sister a cassette of Culture Club’s Colour By Numbers. The first cassette I bought for myself was How To Be a Zillionaire by ABC.

  2. enahssmith says:

    First album that was given to me was Prince’s Purple Rain on Vinyl. First album I purchased myself was Power Station on cassette.

  3. Troy Seaborne says:

    good topic! I remember buying Kiss Alive II with my birthday money at Woolco.

  4. Marty Murray says:

    I’m pretty sure the first record I ever bought was a copy of the “Happy Trails” album by San Francisco jam band Quicksilver Messenger Service. They had been playing an entire album side, an extended jam on the song “Who Do You Love,” on CHUM-FM late at night, and I had to get it for myself. Those were the days, and the record was to be the first of very, very many!

  5. While I had picked out and received specific albums as presents, the first one I bought myself was Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” at Eaton Centre while on a trip to Toronto with my junior high’s science club (from Rochester, NY) on November 4, 1989. I recall the record costing around $9.99 Canadian. I remember the date because it was the first time I was out of the country without a family member with me. Honestly, I loved the album. I also knew my parents would have some heavy eye rolling going on when I showed off my purchase. That’s how 13 year olds can be!

  6. Diego Lopez says:

    Lion King Soundtrack on tape…now…before you judge…it was 1994, I was 6 years old and I was captivated not so much by the theatrical-sounding songs, but more by Elton John’s music. That sparked a love for his music. I can’t remember how much I paid but I have faint memories of being in the record store with my mom. After that, I did go through other phases (some dark…and pop music may have been involved) but my love for Elton John’s music and all things rock, blues, jazz and soul was re-ignited when I was in middle school. To this day, I hold Elton’s music to a very high regard, and thank him for sparking an interest in rock at an early age.

  7. Josh says:

    Pennywise “Full Circle”. Still get the chills I got then when I listen to Brohym anthem. 🤘🏻

  8. I think I was 12. The first 45 I bought was “The Night Chicago Died” by Paper Lace. Pretty sure I bought “Saturday Night” by The Bay City Rollers that year as well. Yeah, I know…

  9. David E says:

    I was young and in a Prog stage and album was Script for a Jesters Tear by Marillion.

  10. Stephen john says:

    biked from Port Hope to Cobourg to buy my first LP, dirty deeds done dirt cheap….rolled home after what seemed like hours on the road to play it on a hand me down portable record player……didnt take long for my parents to yell at me to turn it down…

  11. Charlie A. says:

    A 45 of Johnny B. Goode / Memphis Tennessee by Chuck Berry. Bought it after seeing “Back to the Future”. Still one of my favourite music related movie scenes.

  12. Cara DAC says:

    Dire Staits – Brothers in Arms on Cassette. My mom took it away from me shortly after. It had a bad word in it! Faggot. Ha! How times have changed.

  13. Sid Vandermeulen says:

    The Who’s Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy album in 1971. First time I heard “I can see for Miles” on radio I knew I had to have the full album.

  14. Blake says:

    Buckner & Garcia’s ‘Pac-Man Fever’ on vinyl. I still have it.

  15. Doug says:

    Five Man Electrical Band – Good-byes and Butterflies LP
    I loved the song Signs, so the first record I bought with my paper route money was the one it was on. I don’t know what happened to it.

  16. Paul Darling says:

    I would have been in grade 2 or 3 when I purchased my first cassette – The Lonesome Jubilee by John Cougar Mellencamp. The reason why I purchased this? I was going to the local Sam The Record Man in St. Catharines and my older brother Jeff suggested it 🙂

  17. Daryl Knee says:

    Bat Out of Hell on LP – can’t recall the price but would probably have been $7.99 or $8.99 back in the day.

  18. Jay V. says:

    First record I bought was “The Forgotten Rebels – In Love With the System” at a used record store… only because I knew a guy at school who loved them and he had an original pressing of the first Ramones record that I hoped to trade for. Today that record is framed and displayed proudly in my living room! Hey Ho Let’s Go!!

  19. PartyBill says:

    The very First – Cassette was the Survivor – Eye of the Tiger Album it was about $10. First CD was GnR’s Appetite For Destruction. The Last CD Monster Truck – Furiousity!

  20. G. says:

    Iron Maiden’s Live After Death on vinyl.

  21. Ryan says:

    I remember finally getting a small AIWA ghetto blaster for my birthday. I lived in the country and cycled into town the next day to try and find a CD that I wanted. I went to the record store in the Milton Mall and decided on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and the just released In Utero. Two genres so far apart from one another. I think I paid $9.99 or could have been 12.99 each.
    The music that I had on cassette at home was things like rap trax, Maestro and I think I had Nevermind. Those were all given to me.
    Unbeknownst to my parents a friend lent me an NWA tape when I was 10 and Dr. Dre released the Chronic when I was 14.
    The thing I remember most from that day, was staring at the cover of the Chronic while I was cycling through town on my way home. I was so lost in the album art work that I just bought I cycled right into the back of a parked car! My first and last distracted driving occurrence!

    To be honest, I don’t have a great reason for buying either of those albums. I was just starting into my musical exploration stage and I liked Dr. Dre in NWA and I liked heart shaped box from hearing it on CFNY.

    Looking back now, I feel as though the universe made me buy those two albums because it shaped me to what I love today.

    My cousin, 10 years older then me, I thought was the coolest chick. I showed her what I got and 2 weeks later she handed me Pretty Hate Machine.

    Dr. Dre & Nirvana led to me hearing my favourite band for the first time.

    Sorry for the length. I can get long winded talking about my music.

    Cheers,

    Ryan

  22. Jasonrolland says:

    My father was a DJ and when I was 7 or 8, I started going out to gigs as my father’s assistant. He would sometimes pay me a little bit. I remember one of the first times he payed me I used that money to buy the 45 of Sam Cooke’s – Wonderful world because I loved that song so much. An almost weekly trip to Sam the Record Man became a huge part of my life after that. I’d spend hours in the listening booths deciding what to buy. This was around 1979-80 so I believe 45s were around $1.50-2.00 then.

  23. Pink Floyd 45 – Money. Was 10 & that year Pink Floyd was playing in our town. No way in hell my parents would let me go saying I was too young, of course I was crushed & wore out that 45 haha.

  24. Dan Clark says:

    First music I remember buying was a cassette copy of Metallica’s Ride The Lightning. This would have been in 1984 when it was a new release. I was 13, had never heard of Metallica, but loved metal, and this had a cool cover, so grabbed it. This was before they signed with Elektra, so it’s somewhat rare. I still have the tape.

    Fun fact, years later when I bought my first CD player, Ride The Lightning was the first CD I bought. Along with Already by Jesus Jones. Still have both of those too.

  25. Chrys Czulo says:

    First ever purchase was a 45 of the Beatles – Birthday; first LP record purchased was Rubber Soul ( still have both )

  26. Kerry says:

    Cassette, Van Halen 1984. Vinyl, I think it was Pyromania, before moving on to the Clash and Siousie

  27. Wes Tanney says:

    Moxy, Riding High and Moxy II from Sam The Record Man in Brockville

  28. Grace says:

    First album I remember begging my mother for was Eve 6’s self-titled debut album…first one I bought with my own money? I think it was AFI’s Black Sails in the Sunset (from a Hot Topic while on a choir trip)

  29. Fred Murtz says:

    I must be older than most here. Not sure it was my first record but definitely my first LP – as well as theirs – \”Englands Newest Hitmakers – The Rolling Stones”. Got it at a hardware store that had a couple of rows of albums at the front.

  30. Paul Dicks says:

    Well,that was a long time ago – I bought 3 45s – Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet, Low Rider by War, and Fame by David Bowie.

  31. Jamie west says:

    Beastie Boys Licence to Ill. I was 8, was probably a $6 or $7 cassette

  32. Cathy says:

    It was fall 1979 and I had some money from my 11th birthday. Supertramp was huge at the time and I remember going to the Bramalea Ciy Centre and buying Breakfast in America on 8-track. I can’t remember which store or how much it cost, but I loved it.
    Around 1980 I bought my first 45 which was Cars by Gary Numan. It took me ages to find because I was looking under “Newman” at the record store –pre-internet problems!
    My first album on on vinyl was either Def Leppard’s Pyromania or Duran Duran’s Rio, I remember for a while they were the only two albums I had sitting side by side on the shelf above the record player. I liked them both, but I guess Rio was the bigger influence because by the time I was in high school in the mid-eighties it was new wave/synthpop that made up 95% of my music collection.

  33. Paul Burns says:

    The first album I bought was Elastica’s self titled album on CD. The tune ‘Connection’ blew my mind when the movie Hackers came out so much that I had to own the whole thing. My own money cutting lawns to finally buy MY kind of music. No columbia house needed. Remember the song “Stutter”!?

  34. Dave D. Cawley says:

    My first purchase was KISS Alive II on 8-track. We had an 8-Track play up on the shelf because we kept breaking the tone arm off the record player as little kids and after 3 times, my parents screw it and got the 8-track player to put up on the shelf. I wanted to join the KISS Army, but my parents wouldn’t let me. They thought it was a stupid idea and just another way to get money from the fans. They didn’t understand how cool it would be. Also after the first hearing of KISS, I had to go buy headphone because they didn’t want to listen to the “crash, bang racket!”

  35. Robert says:

    I was in Scotland on my first trip there by myself in 1977 to visit my family. I was 11 and my mum and dad sent me to have a great summer holiday. While at an amusement park with cousins, we rode an “Alpine” ride – the one that goes fast around a circular track with little hills, and music is blasting while the operator asks if you want to go faster – you know the one! The song that was playing was like nothing I’d heard before, and my cousins had no idea. Several weeks later I returned home to Canada, and that song was still on my mind; it was instrumental and nobody I hummed it to had a clue of what it was. I had all but given up. I really wanted to know what it was because it represented one of the best summers of my life. The following Spring, I was playing street hockey with friends, and somewhere in the distance I could hear that bloody song playing! I dropped my hockey stick and ran in the direction until I found myself outside of a neighbour’s house. They had the windows open and I could hear the song just ending, with the CFNY DJ announcing that it was Oygene Part IV by Jean-Michel Jarre! There it was! The next day, Saturday, a friend and I hopped on a bus to Robinson’s and I found the 45 and the album in their record department. Brilliant!! I still have that album and play it regularly.

  36. Heather says:

    I loved them! Are you from Buffalo?

  37. I bought Slippery When Wet from HMV downtown Calgary. I had no idea what I was doing but I loved Bad Medicine.

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