Albums that serve as a gateway to music genres

There is of course no reason why you should like any of these genres! I find jazz si awful generally that nothing makes me want to explore. That is not saying there can’t be some jazz I might like, just I don’t see the point in trying to find something, and in so doing trying music that just makes me cringe, as there is already more music I do like than I have time in my life to hear enough of.

That said, I can’g help with rap or country, but for opera di you like classical? If yes, dramatic orchestral, and/or melodic but less dramatic orchestral? Do you like live theatre? If yes, tragedy or comedy of both?

Having sampled some of the above suggestions, I think one person’s gateway album may be another’s slammed door! So, here are some albums that I remember as my gateway albums:

  • Equinoxe by Jean-Michel Jarre got me into early synth instrumental music for a few years
  • Karajan’s 1963 Eroica on the vinyl copy my father bought as an undergraduate many years earlier started my love of classical music which persists to this day
  • Run DMC’s Raising Hell showed me rap music could be interesting, intelligent, fun and political. Unfortunately, not many of its successors built convincingly on this (a bit like Mozart’s late operas?)
  • Star Wars and Superman by John Williams (the whole scores, not just the main themes) showed me how interesting, involving and valuable film music could be, even when divorced from the films they were written for
  • Kind of Blue was me jazz gateway, perhaps predictably!


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Definitely Le Nozze di Figaro for opera. The Solti recording on Decca with Te Kanawa, Popp, Ramey, Allen, Von Stade, etc.

And also the Pavarotti/Freni La Boheme on Decca.

And the Domingo/Cotrubas La Traviata on DG.

It’s hard to pick just a few, but with apologies to Wagner, that might be like jumping into the deep end too soon!! But if I had to pick, I would pick Die Walkure. 1955 Keilberth or Solti.

And perhaps the Schwarzkopf Rosenkavalier on EMI.

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So much depends on our respective ages I guess. But my jazz gateway was the Ramsey Lewis Trio album “The In Crowd”. It was played variously on the Pop, Jazz and RbB stations. Similarly, I grew up hearing a lot of country music and hated it. Then came Outlaw Country with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. They in turn influenced music variously called Alt Country or Americana and suddenly I was liking country music.

My gateway to Opera was via film soundtracks, particularly “Viens, Mallika, les liane en fleurs” (from Lakmé, Delibes) from the film “I Heard the Mermaids Singing”. Probably further back I was influenced by the Three Stooges “A Night at the Opera”

This is an interesting and fun thread.

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For Rap it has to be Dr Dre’s The Chronic very funk orientated and beautifully mastered by Bernie Grundman.

For Jazz Kind of Blue was my gateway but Blue Train works just as well.

For Reggae it would have to be Exodus.

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Gate way for more music exploration opened up after a separation and divorce from my first wife in the early 90’s. More time on my hands to listen and explore. Went outside the normal rock music that I grew up with in the 60’s and 70’s

Jazz for me was:

Joe Henderson: So Near, So Far and Lush Life
Cassandra Wilson: New Moon Daughter and Blue Light 'Till Dawn

For Country Western:

Alan Jackson: Who I Am and A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little About Love)
Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembered When and Thinking’ About You

In the last six years or so with streaming and more accessibility to world music different flavors of music from the ECM Catalogue, Internet Radio and of course suggestions from this forum has had me enjoying music from around the globe.

Life is Sweet!

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That was like watching Celtic beat Rangers 4-0. Not a complete write-off in the sense I can now take full advantage of the 500 setup at 7am to message the late night partiers at next door’s air bnb. Nor would I be worried about the condition of any vinyl copy I might score as pops, crackles and scratches would be indistinguishable. Thanks for the intro though, not to mention the laugh from using Ms. Cyrus and the DKs in the same sentence.


Thanks for the suggestion. I listened twice, once as background and then again paying attention pre-dinner. I like it and will check out some of his other work. Agree with you that there are many sub-genres of country music, with Chris Stapleton edging more to the pop side of things

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Just had a listen to and enjoyed Sleepless Nights. Somehow I didn’t associate him with the genre. I do now. Thank you.

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I have exactly same experience of your Thievery Corporation enlightened interventions as I do with Jazzanova.

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You just got me in trouble, was about 7 minutes into the first track when Mary jumped out of the bath and raced downstairs thinking I had a heart attack or stroke and wasn’t responsive to the needle skipping. Will listen on headphones later. :joy::sunglasses:

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I for one am expecting a full report from your good self. Good thread, mate.

Jazzanova - yes!

Stanley Clarke
School Days 1974
Used to watch OGWT every Friday night and one night this guy came on and blew me away with his bass playing and that was it hooked on Jazz ever since. :+1:t2:


That was the point I was making saying it depends where one is coming from - and is why re opera I asked if the OP likes classical music, and a bit about the style, ditto live theatre, as that info may help identify possible ‘gateways’.

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@TheKevster - The Gristle. For somebody who tends towards Clapton, Beck and Coltrane this was quite an experience but late 70s I was working in London and this work colleague was raving about this band we must hear and that he could take us to a private gig so we ended up at this wreck of a once beautiful town house in Camden. In the back room there were assorted keyboards and percussion and loads of very wierd people, at least to me.

After a little while 2 of the group emerged from upstairs followed by Cosi (whatever her name was) in a thong and ballet shoes only - I lie not! After some pretty strange noise the word was that the Police had been called and the advice was best to leave NOW. It transpired we were in a squat! I was very pleased to get on a tube at Belsize Pk.

Sorry for the thread diversion.


Thank you for this stimulating thread. ‘Grievous Angel’ also by Gram Parsons is not to be missed.


Your Queen Is a Reptile by Sons of Khemet - fantastic live or at home.

Goodness knows what to call the genre - angry jazz? Think Rip, Rig and Panic plus RATM after an evening listening to Fela Kuti and it may give a flavour.



Great description.

I’ll come back and edit this over time perhaps :smile: Just going through our NAS by genre…

Starting with any of these, if found enjoyable, would lead down the Tidal rabbit hole. Some could arguably be genre defining.

Heavy Metal
Judas Priest - British Steel

Death Metal
At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul

Thrash Metal
Metallica - Kill ‘Em All

Black Metal
Panzerfaust - The Suns of Perdition : Chapter I

Doom Metal
Candelemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

Slowdive - Souvlaki

Dream Pop
Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas

Berlin - Pleasure Victim

Them Are Us Too - Remain

Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92

Joni Mitchell - Blue

Puccini - La Boheme (Decca 421 245-2) OR
Madam Butterfly [Victoria de Los Angeles]

Ricky Skaggs - That’s It!

Barrington Levy - Poor Man Style

Skate Punk
Blink 182 - Dude Ranch

Stoner Rock
Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R

Slipknot - Slipknot

Black Flag - Damaged