I bought my first LP when I was about 19. I can't remember what it was, but a good bet would be that it was either Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut or Spyro Gyra's Morning Dance. The first 45 I bought was EWF's "Getaway" and the first pop songs whose words I memorized were Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On", "The Bells" by Originals and "Ball of Confusion" by The Temptations. Of all those songs and music I've purchased over my lifetime, there are some that I've had for many years and still play now.
1. Moonlight Sonata
When I moved to Brooklyn from LA, I began a nightly ritual that helped me sleep despite the D Train's rumbling reminding me of earthquakes. The first would be that I would watch Charlie Rose on my 9 inch black and white television, the second would be that I would play Maurizio Pollini's version on Deutche Grammophone.
2. Material - Hallucination Engine
This is most likely my favorite album of all time. I never ever tire of it. If my personality were a five sided two dimensional object, this album would represent a full 20% of me. If I were HAL and you unplugged my mind, the last thing I would sing would be this album's version of Naima.
3. Synergy - Sequencer
Of all the electronic synthesizer music in my world, this album remains singular. More than Switched on Bach, more than anything by Billy Preston or Stevie Wonder.
4. Steely Dan - Aja
The first time I heard Aja was in an Avis Rent-A-Car office at the San Jose Airport the year that it came out. I had heard that it was the jazzyest album he had done, and unlike everybody else who was a big fan, I hadn't run out to get it. But the title cut seeped into my consciousness while I was waiting in line, and suddenly I just knew this was it.
5. Windham Hill - Sampler 84
There's something about this album that I keep coming back to. Well, everything. I was on a quest for the soundtrack of my new life as the mellow yuppie programmer I believed myself to be. This was my album. My generation's Montovani.
6. Bobby McFerrin - Beyond Words
The first time I heard this album, coincidentally, was on an airplane flight. It was literally on the plane's jukebox. I was stunned, floored, blown away. What McFerrin and Chick Corea did on this album was singularly profound, and I think it's one of the greatest treats in music that most people don't know about. It is joyful music that defies the misery of our age.
7. Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West
I think most people will agree that this is probably one of the greatest rock albums of the last 20 years. It still works. I still gravitate to it. If you haven't seen the documentary, please do.
8. The Bad Plus - Best of
Well, I made this album myself because I love this group and I just had to have a collection to play in my truck. It includes all of their popular covers and my other favorites.
9. Stanley Clarke Band - The Stanley Clarke Band
This is the newest album in the collection here. Just three years old, but I play it end to end all the time.
10. Radiohead - Best of
My favorite Radiohead songs are almost all covers. So yeah, I made a mix of my favorite cuts which include some of the originals and covers by Vitamins and Radiodread. Awesome.