My first album: We asked 10 new Canadian artists about the first records they ever bought
The first album that Serena Ryder bought was Neil Young's Harvest
Ben Shemie, Suuns: The first album I paid money for was Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. I bought it because it was the coolest because there were swear words. I bought the cassette at Phantasmagoria Records in Montreal.
Mo Kenney: I think it was a cassette tape by Aqua. They sang that stupid song, “Barbie Girl.” I think I bought it from Radio Land at Bedford Place Mall [in Nova Scotia].
Casey Laforet, Elliott Brood: Nevermind, by Nirvana, was my first one. I listened to rap music up until then, NWA. I thought I related to that. I heard it at a high school dance and bought a guitar two days after that, and it’s been a musical journey backwards ever since.
Dave Hodge, Leisure Cruise: The first album I bought was Licensed to Ill, by the Beastie Boys. I don’t remember the circumstance around where I bought it, but I knew it was awesome, and I knew I had to have it! I also remember going specifically to Sam the Record Man in Toronto to buy Purple Rain, by Prince, on vinyl, and David Bowie’s “Blue Jean” on a 45 [rpm].
Serena Ryder: The first album I bought was Neil Young, Harvest. It was a cassette tape, and that’s how I learned to play guitar, too, from that record. I got it at a garage sale for like 50 cents.
Charlotte Cornfield: The first album I ever bought was Bad Hair Day, by Weird Al, on tape. I think I got it at HMV. Maybe on Yonge. My cousin had it, and we had been rocking it all summer, and it was full of hits. The funny thing is that, because I was nine years old, I knew parody versions of all of these songs before originals: “Gangsta’s Paradise,” “Waterfalls.”
Cosmo Ferraro, Ferraro: When I was 11 or 12 my parents got me a stereo for my birthday, along with two CDs — Ashley MacIsaac’s Hi How Are You Today and Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps. I first played the Ashley MacIsaac, and I think the volume was unknowingly cranked. The start of that disc is, for lack of a better word, noise. It scared the crap out of me, and I yanked the plug. I was too scared to listen to that stereo again for a few days. I thought I broke my present. Eventually I worked up the nerve to try again. I still listen to both those records!
Jake Palahnuk, Young Empires: I still vividly remember the day that I got my first Walkman personal cassette player and, along with it, Bryan Adams’ Waking Up the Neighbours. For the first time, I could bring music with me anywhere I went. That album became an imaginary friend to me — a friend that I could go to anywhere, anytime.
Miranda Mulholland, Great Lake Swimmers: I bought Weird Al Yankovic’s Even Worse tape at HMV in the Stone Road Mall in Guelph when I was eight. I used my paper route money. All the kids in my class had been talking about it and singing “Fat,” so I just had to have it. Raised a classical kid with almost no references to most popular music, I was probably well into my teens before I realized a lot of Weird Al’s songs were parodies. The first time I heard Michael Jackson's “Bad,” I thought it was a rip off of Yankovic. Fast forward, I saw Weird Al perform last year, and I've got to tell you, he was incredible.
Jenny Berkel: I grew up just outside of a small town in Ontario, where the music store was a dimly lit shop tucked inside the downtown mall. The first album I bought there was Bette Midler’s Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits. I bought it because I loved everything Bette Midler did. Strangely, that pop album actually introduced me to the more intimate style of music that I now create, as the compilation included covers of folkier songs by musicians like John Prine and Tom Waits.