Compact disc

Hilarious Stories of the First CDs We Owned

Forty years ago today, a magnificent revolution swept through the music industry, making albums more accessible and audio playback improved.

The compact disc became popular in the late 1980s and became a hallmark of 90s and early culture. Better than cassettes and smaller than vinyl, CDs changed how and where we listened to music. Buying (or receiving) your first CD was no joke. It was a watershed moment for anyone growing up in this era that cannot be replicated.

No one will be able to remember the first song they listened to or which album they hacked first on Napster or Limewire – conversely, we are unable to forget the annoyance of watching a file download a bit too quick only to hear this when we clicked play.

So the FTW team dug deep into our childhood memories to share the first CD we owned. It’s a moment that will probably never be recreated in the culture again, but one that meant so much at the time.

Charles Curtis: Blind Melon – Blind Melon

Band Blind Melon; Shannon Hoon, Brad Smith, Christopher Thorn, Glen Graham and Rogers Stevens. (GNS Photo by Danny Clinch)

“It was 1994. I had just received a big stereo system for a Bar Mitzvah gift that included my first CD player (it was all cassettes before that, yes I’m that old). I was at a school Earth Day event where people were selling their used stuff, and sitting on a table for $5 was Blind Melon’s self-titled album, featuring the Bee Girl from the “No Rain” video. “directly on the cover. I had to have it, even though this song was huge for about a year.

Christian D’Andrea: No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom

Tragic Kingdom, RAW by Mad African! : (Broken Sword) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

“My first CD was a heirloom from an older sister who had no interest in Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’ (idiot). My first CD bought? A used copy of No Doubt’s absolute banger for $3 in a This record was damaged before finally disappearing, replaced by Weezer’s “Blue Album” and vague memories of Sunday Morning’s overly loud snare.

Caroline Darney: Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill

Alanis Morissette ‘Jagged Little Pill’ by Mark Morgan Trinidad B is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

“…Or Basic Ace. Now I don’t remember.

Brian Floyd: Notorious BIG – Life After Death

Cover of posthumous release “Life After Death” by The Notorious BIG

“I don’t remember the first, but I do remember one of the first: getting in trouble for buying Biggie’s ‘Afterlife’ because my parents figured out what parenting advice meant.”

Blake Schuster: AC/DC – Back in Black

The cover of the music album AC/DC Back in Black Epic Records Group HO

“As a super basic college girl learning to play guitar, I needed to hear those riffs 80 times in a row. It came in handy when I performed ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ at my Bar Mitzvah Probably not what the grandparents expected, but I crushed the solo.

Mary Clark: Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys

Pop music sensations, the Backsteet Boys

“Like many girls growing up in the 1990s, my first musical love was the Backstreet Boys! The first CD I owned was the Backstreet Boys’ debut album, which went with me everywhere as a kid because I listened to it constantly with those old portable CD players. So many great memories of being a Backstreet Boys kid growing up.

Grae Gleason: Spice Girls – Spice World

The ‘Spice girls’ pose for photographers outside the Cannes Martinez hotel May 11 as the 50th Cannes International Film Festival takes place. The festival celebrates its 50th anniversary this Sunday, May 11. AFP PHOTO/BERTRAND GUAY

“I stole it from my older brother and wrote my name on it with a Sharpie so he couldn’t claim it as his own.”

Robert Zeglinski: Basic Ace – The sign

“Put me back to five years. Incredibly formative and eternal slaps, I will not expand further.

Michelle Martinelli: NSYNC – ‘N SYNC

The best new pop-rock group ‘NSync shows off their trophy at the 26th annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 11, 1999. (AP Photo/Mark Terrill)

“NSYNC’s debut album was my jam back then, and I can still so easily imagine the CD cover as if I still had it today (I don’t). Opening with “Tearin ‘Up My Heart’, this album is the peak of late 90’s pop, which is also now perfect for millennial weddings/birthdays/dance parties, as many of us surely still know the lyrics to many of those songs. I actually sang ‘I Want You Back’ while writing this, and it’s now delightfully stuck in my head.

Prince J. Grimes: Nas – Nastradamus

“I had no idea at the time that this would become one of his worst albums.”

Bryan Kalbrosky: Aaron Carter – Aaron’s Party

Aaron Carter of a Disney Channel concert, Aaron Carter and Samantha Mumba in concert. — Source: Disney

“I was interested to know how he beat Shaq. It was a lot easier for him than I expected.

Michael D. Sykes II: Kanye West – College Dropout

“CIMG3384” by Charles Laine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“I actually stole it from a cousin who had been looking for the album in her collection for years before revealing that I had put my 12 year old greasy paws on it. Definitely a classic album, you only get not really anything substantial like this from Kanye anymore. He mostly sucks now. I’ll always be grateful for that album and those moments, though.

Cole Huff: Lil Bow Wow – Beware The Dog

Rapper Lil’ Bow Wow, left, is watched from the wings by his producer, Jermaine Dupri, during his performance Friday, May 11, 2001. The 14-year-old rapper from Columbus, Ohio, whose real name is Shad Moss, sold two million copies of his debut album, “Beware of Dog”, after being discovered by rapper Snoop Dogg. (AP Photo/Paul Warner)

“That’s right, Shad Moss at the height of his powers. I didn’t care how much my CD player skipped, I was listening to this album. I can still shamelessly drop virtually every word from at least 75% of leads. And once in a while I go down the rabbit hole Bow Wow on YouTube and have way too much fun *insert eye covering emoji*”

Evan Thorpe: Lil Bow Wow – Beware The Dog

A young Evan doing braids like Lil Bow Wow

“Bow Wow Wow, Yippie Yo Yippe Yay. Where are my dogs? Bark with me now!

“In 2000, not only was I the BIGGEST Lil Bow Wow fan, I wanted to be Lil Bow Wow. I had pigtails and only wore big singlets to school. So when his first album came came out in 2000, I HAD to get it for my birthday. And I got the OFFICIAL CD, not a burnt copy from the hair salon. I think the CD is still at my mom’s house with my name on it, so the people knew it was MY CD.

Alex McDaniel: Celine Dion – Falling Into You

(AP Photo/Gaël Cornier)

Editor’s note: No explanation provided. None were needed.