Musletter Q&A: What Was the First Single You Bought With Your Own Pocket Money?

Our next Musletter question is… What was the first concert you attended?
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A while back Music Express asked our readers about the first single they bought and received an overwhelming number of fantastic responses! We’ve featured a number of responses in the monthly Musletter over the past few editions, and all of the great responses we received are now compiled here for easy reading.

Al Harlow, Prism

While surrounded by my older sister’s Elvis and Everly Brothers records, I got the music bug via the guitar heroes of the era:  The Ventures, Shadows, especially Duane Eddy.  My absentee older brother gifted me Duane’s first album for Christmas. And so, at age eleven, I scurried to the local record shop in North Vancouver, to purchase Duane Eddy’s latest 45 RPM single, “Dance With The Guitar Man”. It was a thrill to run home and spin it; I felt I’d invested in something important.  I grabbed my cheap guitar and played along until I’d learned every riff.  
A few months later I bought another single, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, flip side “I Saw Her Standing There” by a new group called the Beatles.  
Those two events set me on a life-long course.  

Carole Pope, Musician

I think it was the album ’50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong’ from one of those record clubs. But the very first single I heard in my house was Shop Around by The Miracles.
Not sure if I bought it or my parents. Brain fog. 

Randy Furman, Reader

My first record that I bought was in fact Metal Queen by Lee Aaron. It took me a while to find it but I have it in my collection.

Paul Psaila, Reader

I was probably ten years old and bought The Beatles Rubber Soul, my Mum made me take it back, and I exchanged it for an LP by The Walker Brothers. That was the start of a lifelong love and interest in music. I have 11,000 songs on my iPod and would be lost without it.

Conny Kunz, Former Music Express Publisher

The Guess Who (Wheatfieldsoul) then I got Share the Land. I had such a crush on Burton C!  When I left my partner and headed west I fell in love with the Doobies and I’ll never forget driving towards Tofino BC and heard Moody Blues, Pink Floyd on the radio, sparked something within me. Of course the minute I got back to Calgary I had to get both albums. After I partnered with Keith Sharp, well, we all know where that went to, come on ACDC and Black Sabbath – just kidding! 

Elizabeth Miller, Reader

PRiSM’s phenomenal 1977 eponymous debut album. Which was merely the first debut album by a Canadian artist to achieve platinum status in Canada in less than one year from its date of release. How awesome is that!? With Jim Vallance – or, should I say, Rodney Higgs – penning seven of the nine tunes with Tom Lavin and Lindsay Mitchell rounding out the album with Just Like Me and I Ain’t Looking Anymore (“hope you’ll believe me when I tell ya, baby, I love you more than my guitar!”), respectively.
This probably wouldn’t have been my first album purchase with my own money if it wasn’t for another fine band. I remember being very excited over having tickets to see Styx on November 19, 1977 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium but, I was completely blown away by the opening act. As I like to say, I went to see Styx but came home with PRiSM …er, a lifelong fan. I went out and bought PRiSM’s debut album the next day, or thereabouts. I bought my first Styx album during the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Heh.
The 50th anniversary is approaching and I believe a re-release is in the works. I just hope that Ron Tabak’s beautiful voice will not be tampered with by the way of the pervasive manipulation known as autotuning and/or pitch correction or there will be no small amount of heck to pay!

Leone Gabruck, Reader

Buffalo Springfield Again at Zellers in the Dartmouth Shopping Centre.

Cathy Lavin, Reader

I was fourteen. I remember it well! I had just attended the first evening showing of the film A Hard Day’s Night with a girlfriend and I was feeling quite grown up. I was definitely in Love with The Beatles much like every other girl in the country.
The very next day I managed to put together enough of my allowance to purchase the Beatle’s album of A Hard Day’s Night from Sam The Record Man on Yonge Street. I’ll never forget the feelings I had (and still do) every time I listen to that album.  

Bruce Allen, Bruce Allen Talent

The first record I bought was Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel b/w Hound Dog. My dad and I drove down to Seattle in 1956. I think it’s the first time I was in a record store. 
My first album I bought was the “Elvis” album that was released that same year and I bought that one in Vancouver. My dad died a year later, My mom was an Elvis fan from the outset. When he came on the Ed Sullivan show she squirmed like a teenager! I still have the original album. I bought it in a local electronics store that had a small selection of records but would order them in from the distributor. That was an exciting moment when the phone rang to let me know that my record was in.

Barney Bentall

It’s crystal clear to me! Chinook Mall in Calgary. I’m 13 years old. I bought The Band’s second album – the one with the brown cover and the iconic timeless photo.

John McBeath, Reader

The Archies “Sugar Sugar”/Alice Cooper’s  “Love it to Death”

Andy Curran, Coney Hatch

Yummy Yummy Yummy by the Ohio Express.
I went to the local TOWERS dept store in Mississauga, they had a record / music area and posted the weekly CHUM charts and had a shelving system with the numbers 1 through 20 if I recall, you would look at the song on the CHUM chart and go to the shelf with the number and grab the 45 rpm vinyl of your choice etc.
That was my choice my sisters loved Bubblegum music …and so did I!

Jean-Marc Pisapia, The Box

Crosby Stills & Nash debut album…. (no Young yet…). Just after having seen the movie Woodstock in 1970.

Nick Glider, Sweeney Todd

A song off of Rubber Soul. It was definitely a Beatles title. 

Lee Aaron

When I was a young girl, the radio station at the college where my dad worked decided to switch to 8-track, giving away their entire vinyl library. My dad said, “My daughter LOVES music,” loaded up his car and brought about 50 LPs home. Amongst them, was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It was the first double LP I’d ever seen. I was absolutely enamoured by David Larkham’s artwork on the cover and all throughout the gatefold. The problem was, the cover was quite beat up and a couple of the tracks skipped pretty bad, so…eventually, I cobbled together enough allowance money to buy a brand-new copy. I just had to have it. I spent hours laying in the middle of our rec room floor with these old Koss headphones on listening to that album over and over again. It was a totally immersive experience. That album made me convince my parents to buy me an old Heintzman upright so I could learn to play piano and start writing songs. 

Roman Mitz, Music Express Contributor

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was late summer 1967, and my mom drove me down to Sam The Record Man at Yonge and Dundas so I could buy a couple of singles. I picked up Light My Fire by The Doors and The Letter by The Box Tops. I believe they were 66 cents each and I still have them in my record collection. It’s funny how early music preferences tend to stay with you. I became a huge Doors fan and bought all of their albums, and I followed Box Tops lead singer Alex Chilton throughout his career from the Box Tops to Big Star to his solo records, and back to the Box Tops when I finally saw the original band members play a reunion show in 2000.

Keith Sharp, Music Express

We had just immigrated to Sault Ste Marie from Manchester England in 1967. My dad bought a record player and said he was buying an album and I could select one of my own. He bought one of those horrendous K-Tel Country Music records (God knows why???) but I selected The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour because I had to have a Beatles’ album and that was their latest at the time. I wasn’t happy with just one record so out of my own pocket I bought three 45’s; “I Can See For Miles” by The Who, “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” by Status Quo and for my Mom, I bought “To Sir With Love” by Lulu.

Alan Frew, Glass Tiger

Slade Live LP

Dan Hill

The first 2 singles I purchased, simultaneously, (with money I made teaching classical guitar) were Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and B.J. Thomas’s remake of the Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry.” But I thought B.J. was singing “I Took a Ride,” and not “I Could Cry.” I did a show with the late great B.J. Thomas in Tokyo in 1989 (great guy) and told him my mishearing the words story. #3rd single I purchased was Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” I heard this song on my transistor radio during my grade 6 recess and it left me breathless and devastated.

Ed Sousa, Classic Bowl Mississauga

Remember it as if it was yesterday. First single – Kiss You All Over by Exile. First album – Hemispheres by Rush

Chris Tait, Chalk Circle

The first record I purchased was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody single from the local Stedman’s in Newcastle Ont.  B-Side was Bicycle!

Lawrence Gowan, Styx

My first album (I actually won it in a local music competition) was The Beatles: Revolver. The first one I actually took money from my pocket for was: Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced.

Submit your response for the next Musletter question “What was the first concert you attended?” here

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