The Beach Boys - Endless Summer
First music I fell in love with (specifically "I Get Around" was my first favorite song), establishing The Beach Boys as one of my favorite groups and my general preference towards catchy melodies and heavenly harmonies.
Huey Lewis & The News - Sports
Probably technically my first favorite album since "Endless Summer" is a comp. Played my dad's cassette copy to death and still have a soft spot for it- cheesy as hell but arguably one of the most consistent albums of the 80's- only the final track seems like a throwaway.
Metallica - Kill Em All
First album I ever bought- got it on cassette at Tower Records- didn't hate it but pretty much established my distaste for metal (though I did also get "The Black Album" a little later).
Nirvana - Nevermind
Established Nirvana as my first favorite group and Kurt Cobain as my first musical hero. Probably a pretty common reaction, especially for folks in my age group. But I instantly preferred "In Utero" as soon as I heard that one.
Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
The soundtrack of my awkward middle school years- was never really a goth but was definitely depressed and wore a lot of black. Notable that I generally preferred "Smells Like Children" though.
The Beatles - Sgt Pepper/Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced?
Coincidentally kicked off my deep dive into classic rock during freshman year of high school with the 2 quintessential summer of love albums- the former given to me by a punk rock chick because "it wasn't punk enough" and the latter borrowed from my dad.
The Zombies - Greatest Hits
Intro to one of my favorite bands (though the "Zombie Heaven" box is definitely the way to go), Colin Blunstone would eventually become my strongest singing influence.
Pink Floyd- Piper At The Gates of Dawn
The single most memorable first listen ever- stoned in bed with all the lights off- kicked off my relationship with Syd who eventually became my favorite songwriter and cemented by love of psych.
The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money
The editing/production was a revelation, initiated my love affair with Zappa, was fascinated by how many rules he seemed to break.
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
My all time favorite album, taught me that the best art often requires a lot of patience, broke even more rules than Zappa.
The Residents - Meet The Residents
The 3rd pillar of the "throw out the rule book" trifecta.
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
First soul album I fell in love with, still my favorite Stevie (guess that's a pretty common opinion though)
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
First jazz album I fell in love with and still my favorite Trane by far. The amount of control over his instrument he displays here was also a revelation on the level of how Hendrix played guitar.
Nick Drake - Way To Blue
My intro to Nick, pretty solid comp even if the individual albums are obviously the way to go, he'd eventually become my strongest guitar influence.