I don't know what triggered this memory this morning, but I suddenly started thinking about albums I distinctly remembered hearing for the first time, and knowing I was hearing something special:
The Rolling Stones, Now: My friend Steve's basement. At 11, he immediately knew that he wanted to be a rock star, and actually achieved a small measure of fame.
Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited: First album I bought myself. Hooked from that amazing down beat.
Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?: Beginning of a long obsession.
The Allman Brothers Band: Ditto. Another basement experience. My friend Myles this time.
The Stooges, Fun House: My friend Gilles had a knack for finding the gems. This was our summer music in 1971.
Miles Davis, Live-Evil: I knew Miles by reputation, but it was the album cover that sold me.
Miles Davis, On The Corner: Absolutely the hottest opening riff ever.
The Cars: Previewed this on a Sunday afternoon at the radio station with my girlfriend. Every track sounded like a winner.
Carolyn Mas: Shoulda been a star. Same preview room with my late buddy Brian Eagle. He'd already booked an interview with her after his first hearing of it.
Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle: At my pal Jim's house. We must've played it 10 times.
Bruce Springsteen, Darkness On The Edge Of Town: Back in the days when FM stations would preview entire albums. Hot summer night at my friend Tom's house. Dominated the summer of '78 for me.
All of which leads me to conclude that these types of indelible experiences may be limited to your first quarter-century, since I haven't had a single memorable moment like this since — not for lack of listening to new music. Maybe having children (and pets, and debts, etc.) in your life has something to do with it, too.