Albums that serve as a gateway to music genres

“Flying Lotus, to me it seemed at times like Rick Wakeman on a bender. I do appreciate the suggestions”

You should write for “The Guardian”

Nurse with wound. Rupture.

An album that could be a gateway down to the rabbit hole of weirdness.
NWW has issued some 60+ albums…

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But wouldn’t that rule out Mozart’s Magic Flute? Many would call that an opera.


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I con’t k ow the official distinction between musical and opera - I just know I don’t like spoken dialogue/ acting breaking spontaneously into song, preferring one or the other

Saw the news just, Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose produced by Jack White introduced me to playing more country music. I have no idea if this is characteristic of country music or not. I’ve investigated many of the other musicians Jack White has been involved with.

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Mahler/Death in Venice.
Wasn’t really fan of classical music but watching Death in Venice film with the hauntingly beautiful music of Mahler made me buy an album and become more inquisitive about the genre and have found the more obscure selections to be the most satisfying.

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I will reply this one in multiple individual post as I have worked myself through multiple genres and sub genres throughout the years. My first deliberate exploration of something new came when my brother insisted that I would need to listen to something which would be insanely good. I was at that time very much into the usual popular styles on the radio, but was especially interested and fan from Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin…… the introduction however was connected to Pink Floyd The Wall……

And I didn’t get my brother and started to do what I did multiple times since then…., when I am not in something I am exposing myself hardcore to it by listening to multiple albums in the genre or I run a certain recommended album multiple times. It took me at least 20 times of the wall to start appreciating the wall. And of course in the meanwhile it’s one of the very much appreciated albums. Funny fact my since 10 years ex wife was running this one grey while she was studying (So it was her background soundwall).

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To get me into jazz I worked myself through the famous album Afro Blue Impressions of John Coltrane. And it was a hard journey coming from a rock/pop background. I could have made it easier for myself if I would have started with My Favorite Things from Coltrane. Nevertheless after multiple runs I got interested into jazz and even in my youth got into extreme free jazz which I will describe in another post.

Perhaps playing it on a crappy long playing one box thing didn’t help the process……


So third and last one of this evening. At the time I already was in popular classical music, like the usual well know symphonies etc. I started to get into the broader realm of classical music and started to appreciate the pureness of just one violin player against the whole world… this is so raw and so pure……, I have since then also used it to test hifi systems as too soundstage, detail and tonality……
Obviously this version then also brought me to others like Nathan Milstein, Christian Tetzlaff etc…… but this one opened the door….


They say your formative years are when you are in your teens. That was certainly true in my case. Since then it has become increasingly difficult to get into new genres of music. I grew up with the Beatles but was introduced to Prog Rock via a school outing to see Jethro Tull at the De Montfort, Leicester and through the sampler album Nice Enough to Eat which spawned King Crimson, Nick Drake and Quintessance to name a few. Once aligned as it were with the genre the rest came easy such as Pink Floyd (Atom Heart Mother), Strawbs, Led Zep, etc.
Moving on, Clockwork Orange blew me away and opened another rabbit hole.
I used to go to a club In Nottingham where the DJ was an avid Doobie Brothers and Steeley Dan fan along with Lou Reed etc.
Latterly I’ve been moved to get into Jazz through Miles Davis and John Coltrane. It’s a well trodden path I’m sure but not easy. I’m still waiting for a light bulb moment on many albums but am persevering.
I go back to my original opening and wonder if I’d only been exposed to Jazz against a backdrop of say Glen Miller as a teenager would I have ‘got it’ in a flash. Maybe so. Clearly virtuoso saxophonists abounded and were revered in the same way (a decade later) that guitarists such as Hendrix, Clapton, Page etc came to the fore.
In summary, music appreciation for many of us is still a work in progress going hand in hand with building a hi-fi system capable of putting you in the studio with the musicians at the time of the recording. The fact that I can listen to a Dave Brubeck recording made over 60 years ago still leaves me awestruck.


I thought it was about time I added to this.
There are three pivotal albums in my musical DNA that formed my early impressions and led me to the music that I love today;

1st: The Rolling Stones

This album REALLY is my first musical memory. My parents weren’t into The Beatles, but my mum loved The Stones. We had singles and this album. As a child it was always on and it really got played to death. I still have it and a mint first press playable copy🙂

2nd: Carl Orff - Carmina Burana
A school trip to the Festival Hall London to see this when I was 12 caused me to carry a life long passion for classical music especially Opera & Choral. I finally bought this copy on Vinyl in 1985.

3rd: Rush - A Farewell To Kings
My first introduction to the band that holds the #1 place in my favourite Band/Artist of all time.
My brother was the conduit and bought this album. I was hooked from the first play. He never really warmed to them and gave me the album early on and I still have it and play it regularly.
There are others. Kidd Ory plays WC Handy was a favourite of my dad and I still have his copy of this album. It was my introduction to Jazz along with Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holliday. I don’t think there is a song she recorded that I don’t own in one form or another.
If my life were a Jig Saw Puzzle; MUSIC would be the edge pieces…


La Boheme and Figaro were the first two operas I listened to. IMHO Figaro is one of the greatest works of art ever created. And it’s funny. Still, I might suggest its "prequel, The Barber of Seville. For one thing, it’s shorter.

La Traviata is also great. (as is Boheme).

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I saw my first musical at age 5: Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady. While I go less often these days, they can still astound me. A few different types:

Musical Comedy

Guys and Dolls (the perfect musical comedy)
Hairspray (you can’t stop the beat)
Anything Goes (effervescent Cole Porter)
She Loves Me (the best RomCom every created - based on The Shop Around the Corner)

Musical Drama

West Side Story (need I say more - the best score ever written for a musical, with choreography to match)
Gypsy (most of the WSS folks re-team, but here the emphasis is on character. A perfect blend of music, lyrics, and libretto)
Next to Normal (a sung through rock musical that takes a Lifetime movie plot and turns it into art)


Candide (really an operetta, based on Voltaire. Bernstein wrote the music. Its overture has become a popular concert piece. It also contains the most challenging song in all of Broadway history)

Sweeney Todd (Sondheim did not want this called an opera, but it has been performed in opera houses. It will be revived on Broadway again next year.)

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My first live musical was Carousel, which I saw in a local dinner theatre production when I was about 10. I then begged my parents to take me to New York, where I saw Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls, Les Miserables, Crazy for You and The Secret Garden on Broadway a couple of years later. I would say that the trio of Phantom, Les Mis and Guys and Dolls was a major gateway drug for me. I would now estimate that I have seen 75 or so musicals live, and performed in about 20. And I still love those shows. I would say that Phantom and Les Mis are the perfect 1-2 punch of 1980s theatre spectaculars.


Since setting up 252/300 we’ve been getting more into Jazz. Really enjoying hearing every instrument playing, there are some incredibly detailed recordings available.

Rather than gateway albums we’ve been using the Jazz Thread on the forums to see what others are listening to. It’s better than Tidal recommendations /feeds/mixes because that is screwed up by the wide variety of music we enjoy.

Thankyou forum!



I’m working through this.


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I have been enjoying Gram Parsons.


Our early music experience was similar except it was my Dad who liked the Stones and whenever he had a good night at the track, would bring home a 45rpm. Unfortunately, my first Rush listen was Caress of Steel and I dismissed them. Friends prevailed and I converted eventually with the release of Moving Pictures

Cats too!

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Imo Transformer wasn’t Lou Reeds best album but it does serve as a great gateway into his much more interesting albums. The involvement of Bowie and Ronson give his rougher edges a bit of polish and opened him up to a much wider audience.

This of course is a gateway to an artist.



Completely opposite.

As a lot of you know, we mainly listen to Jazz.

However, since getting our streamer in June this year, I would say that our listening has gotten more diverse and we’re now listening to a greater number of artistes.