First Time I Ever Heard

We’ve all experienced it—that moment when you hear a band or musician for the very first time and everything changes. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but nothing is quite the same after. These experiences come in all sorts of varieties, from the opening act you never expected to love to the singer everyone was talking about to the song that didn’t even make sense but was unshakable nonetheless.

For pop music lovers and scholars, these moments aren’t just memorable but often transformative. The IASPM-US website ( asked to hear about the first time you heard something that knocked your musical universe off its axis, even if only for a moment, and here’s what we got.

Hi there. Nice to be with you. Happy you could stick around: The First Time I Heard the Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band, by Philip Auslander

A Love Supreme, by Justin D Burton

Over and Over, by Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone

The First Time I Heard 3 Feet High and Rising, by Nick Rubin

First Time I Ever Heard Tom Waits, by Gabriel Solis

Democracy in China: A Singles Club, by Logan K. Young