In February, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first visit to America, many older people (like high-school teacher Jane Batarseh) reminisced about hearing their very first Beatles song. But those too young to remember 1964 have their own memories of the first times they heard what later became favorite groups…
I was in high school at Mira Loma, in 1964. I remember my friend was into them from the minute, and she started wearing one of those Beatles hats, and I asked, ‘’Who are the Beatles?’’ She just went whole hog for them, and that’s the first time I read about (The Beatles). I think I liked them most of all because they sang songs that had, I don’t want to say universal lyrics but fascinating ones.You could just listen to them over and over and over again.
I remember hearing a song by The National called “So Far Around the Bend.” Matt Berninger’s voice is so deep and so distinct that you either love him or you hate him. I heard “So Far Around the Bend,” and I was like “This is crazy good!” I was living in Birmingham, in 2006, and I was in the car, and it just kind of made me stop. (Music kind of hits me hard sometimes.) I own all of their albums. They have five or six maybe? I have seen them in concert; I saw them in Atlanta a few years ago when they toured “High Violet,” and it was amazing. His (Berninger’s) lyrics, everything he’s done, they kind of are poetry, so not only are you enjoying the music, you’re listening to the story.
I listen to something and I know I like it. I think I heard “Yarilo” by Arkona on Pandora at the end of seventh grade. I thought it sounded very lively—upbeat and stuff. Not necessarily happy, but not sad. Arkona is a Russian band that does folk-metal.They play electric guitar and acoustic guitar. It’s like your regular metal band idea, and then they play bagpipes and tribal flute. I have a couple songs from each of their albums, and three whole albums.
The first band that transformed the way I thought about things was Pearl Jam. I think it was a friend playing their tape in the car. That came out in the early ‘90s; I actually did a review of their first album, Ten, when it came out. I was in seventh grade, so it was for my middle-school newspaper! I fell in love with them and I’m still a huge fan. I have all of their studio albums and a lot of extra concert CD’s. I’ve seen them in concert once.
The first time I heard The XX, I was doing a contemporary (dance) improv class where we danced to their music one day. I felt very inspired by the song. It was called “VCR.” After I heard them, I bought their album, The XX. They’re one of my favorite bands now.
Sophomore Elinor Hilton: Imagine Dragons
My brother (Eric) introduced me to Imagine Dragons before they started playing on the radio, and I really liked them. And when I heard ‘’Radioactive’’ on the radio I was like ‘‘Hey! I know them!’’ I like (lead singer Dan Reynolds’s) voice, and I like the song ‘’Demons.” I like its lyrics, the rhythm and how it sounds unique.
In middle school, the very first time I listened to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, I was absolutely hooked. I listened to that CD so many times it became unreadable. It’s one of the best albums of all time.
I was like, ‘Oh my God, they’re fabulous! They’re gonna be famous!’ I was sitting in the car listening to the radio, and I Shazamed ‘’That’s What Makes You Beautiful.” (Shazam is an app that allows a listener to record a song that’s playing and figure out its title and artist.) The song was amazing. I have a few of One Direction’s albums, including the newest one, Midnight Memories.
I would listen to Shaggy in the car with my dad and my sister. The first song I heard was “Angel.” I have a bunch of his songs on my iPod.
I’m a big fan of classical music because I don’t get the same emotional charge out of most popular music.I really liked recordings by the pianist named William Kapell, who died at a very young age. He did a recording of a piano concerto by the Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. I heard this recording as a kid—my parents had a copy of it—and I never really heard another version of it I liked. But Kapell’s interpretation of Khachaturian just really did it for me. It’s because it’s a very wild, passionate, intense piece, and Kapell played it with an amazing kind of nuance and intensity. Khachaturian’s music also uses a lot of Armenian folk tunes, which makes it unique because you never hear that stuff otherwise.
A friend of mine took me to see Paul McCartney live a couple of years ago. Both of my parents were big Beatles fans, so I was listening to their records when I was little. I’d always wanted to see them or McCartney in concert. I love almost every song they did. One of my favorites is “Yesterday.” I have their number-one hits CD on my iPod.
I went to a music festival last summer, and two of my friends really wanted to see Blonde Redhead. I hadn’t heard of them. Then their first song came on and I was like, “Oh, my God, these guys are amazing!” My mouth was open the whole time. I went home and bought their albums.