Great idea for a thread. Off the top of my head:
1. Styx - Growing up my Dad listened to country and my Mom listened to classical so whatever exposure I had to rock music began at school. In 1980/1981 "Paradise Theater" was the first record I ever bought. Soon thereafter I bought "4" and "Escape." To this day, I still love 70's arena rock.
2. AC/DC - About the time I was getting into Styx, "Back in Black" had been released and was all over the radio. By the time "For Those About to Rock" came out the next year I was a big AC/DC fan. They introduced me to music that was a bit heavier than most of the radio rock I was listening to at the time. Which led me to...
3. Judas Priest - When I bought "Screaming for Vengeance" in 1982 it absolutely blew me away. I didn't think I would ever hear anything faster or heavier than "The Hellion." Priest immediately became my favorite band and is still one of my favorites to this day.
4. Rush - The first concert I ever attended was Rush/Golden Earring on the "Signals" tour in February 1983. I was a big Rush fan then and now. Rush is probably still the band I've seen live the most times.
5 - 7. Anthrax/Metallica/Raven - I lump these three together because I bought "Fistful of Metal," "Ride the Lightning," and "All for One" right around the same time. Basically anything that was on Megaforce was alright in my book. These bands were my introduction to thrash (a genre I still love) and served as a gateway to more extreme bands. I still listen to their 80's stuff frequently and cherish the fact that I got to see them all live in the mid 80's when (to me) they were at their peak.
8 - 9. Venom/Slayer - I've seen a few of you guys mention that certain bands seemed scary to you when you were younger. That is the way Venom and Slayer seemed to me back in 1984/1985. In those pre-internet days there wasn't much information available about bands outside of the radio or mainstream rock magazines like Circus or Hit Parader. I wasn't religious, but reading the lyrics to albums like "Hell Awaits" or "At War with Satan" was a bit scary at the time. They seemed pretty evil, but I still bought all of their albums!
10. Thin Lizzy - By the time I was getting into Thin Lizzy in 1984/1985 they had already broken up and before long Philip Lynott would be dead (January 1986). I remember hearing about his death on the radio before heading to high school one morning and how much it saddened me. It still saddens me. I've seen Thin Lizzy numerous times over the years with their various reunion lineups but if I could go back in time and only see one live act, it would be Thin Lizzy with Phil. I still listen to Lizzy all of the time and the older I get, the more I appreciate Phil's music.
I still love all of these bands and, with the exception of Metallica, try to catch their shows whenever they come through town.
I'm glad this thread got started. It made me think back to when I first started listening to metal and brought back a lot of great memories. Good times...
02/09 - MSG
02/19 - Lynch Mob
02/20 - Manowar