Did you ever encounter a song that just blew you away? It wasn't necessarily your favourite song and it didn't change your life. But the first time you heard it you were left virtually breathless.
I have several.
Back in the mid-sixties, local radio pretty much sucked. There was something called The Campus Club on the most popular station in Ottawa, and they were starting to get into rock and roll. But they only played it in the evenings. The rest of the day the radio station featured Montovani and his ilk.
I was in my early teens and every night while I was doing my homework and after when I went to bed I'd listen to the American stations I could pull in on my tiny transistor radio. They were so far ahead of Canadian stations. WABC in New York and WBZ in Boston. Now they played rock and roll…long before FM radio.
And so I was introduced to rock and roll in my early teens. And I've been a fan ever since.
Now, as I said, there were several songs that upon hearing them for the first time blew me away. 1973's Darkside of the Moon by Pink Floyd had that impact, particularly the track The Great Gig in the Sky. I'd never heard anything quite like Claire Torry's haunting vocals.
In 1970 I was completely in awe of The Who's Live at Leeds version of Substitute and some years earlier Time Won't Let Me by The Outsiders in 1966 sent shivers up my spine,particularly the blaring horns.
But I think the song that had the biggest impact on me, just made me stop in my tracks with my mouth open was a little ditty by Bob Dylan. The drums, the organ,the electric guitar, the spat out lyrics and the over-riding question: is he talking about The Rolling Stones? Hey, I thought Bob Dylan was a folk-singer.
Here's a clip of Dylan performing the song with the Band in London in 1966. It's that famous concert where a fan yelled out "Judas" because Bob had gone electric.
I would love to have been there when that guy yelled "Judas". Because I would have asked Bob "How does it feel?"