Musical first impressions fuel new e-book series

Musicians and writers recall the first time they heard Joy Division, Kate Bush, David Bowie and The Smiths in new e-book series.


Words by: Ruth Saxelby

The memories we attach to music are so personal as to be of universal interest. Or, in other words, when we love something so dearly we can’t help but be curious what makes someone else love it too. Such memories and emotions overflow in new e-book series The First Time I Heard, edited by Massachusetts-based novelist and music fan Scott Heim. The series features contributions from musicians and writers including Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw, Electrelane’s Mia Clarke and Joan as Police Woman’s Joan Wasser.

So far the series includes e-books on Joy Division/New Order, Cocteau Twins, David Bowie and The Smiths, with an issue dedicated to Kate Bush due for release on 1st October 2012. Future books will include Kraftwerk, Roxy Music and the Pixies.

“I wanted to edit a book where musicians and writers tell their brief, first-person stories about those pivotal moments in their lives: where they were, how they felt, and how this “first hearing” really changed the way they listen to, and appreciate, music,” says editor Scott Heim of the idea behind the series. “For many years, I’d been fascinated with hearing people talk about their strongest memories of particular bands, albums, or songs. I’d become especially intrigued with how music lovers remember the first time they heard the music of bands or singers that “shaped” them. A “casual” music listener often doesn’t remember those powerful, life-changing moments—but the true music fan always seems to have a special, nostalgic, lovingly detailed memory of, say, the first time they heard Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ or David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ or The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’.”

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