Readers recommend playlist: songs that made you fall in love with music

Saint Etienne, Buddy Holly, the Pogues and Motörhead are among artists sparking stories of a lifelong passion formed

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of stories and suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

Imagine the first track in a playlist is Nag Nag Nag by Cabaret Voltaire. Well, it’s love or hate time. For reader Mussoliniheadkick in the comments, “it changed my whole perspective on what music could be and I have been afflicted by the difficult music bug ever since”. That’s the sort of story we were after this week.

As bishbosh declared: “Sometimes the best music is therapy ... The best songs listen to you as much as you listen to them; they see into your soul and reflect its contents back at you ... Crucially, they understand – and sometimes being understood is all you need.” He recommended Saint Etienne’s Over the Border because its lyrics “so totally nail how I felt when I fell in love with music, when music was really the only thing worth living for, the only thing keeping me alive (and how alive it could make me feel)”.

Many of you wrote of the shock of falling for unexpected musical sounds. In Alexito’s case, it was Machito and His Salsa Big Band’s Ronnie Scott Mambo: “The spiralling, stabbing horns and montuno piano blaring through a big sound system knocked me backwards. A pianist riffing hard over a complex mesh of timbales, congas and bongos while a trumpet or sax takes off is still just about my favourite thing in music.”

LyntonCrosby waxed similarly lyrical about Wana Wanyika by Simba Wanyika: “My musical life has never been the same since.”

In contrast, Suzi fell in love with Peer Gynt’s Morning Mood because her mother played it on the piano and “the melody, and the way the notes looked on the sheets of music, fascinated me.”

For many, falling involved senses, memory and place. Leegleeelge described her parents slow dancing to True Love Ways by Buddy Holly, “in their teeny-tiny damp terraced house living room … I love that image of them.”

The attraction to music often had physical effects: “A sheer rush of adrenaline,” said thesubhuman of Motörhead by Motörhead; and through Traffic’s Paper Sun sonofwebcore felt a “kick in the guts”.

Sometimes it was simply realising a genre didn’t “have to suck after all” – as Shoegazer did when hearing Boys from the County Hell by the Pogues.

Some were smitten by unusual combinations. Philipphilip99 was captivated by the “sublime collision of electro-pop and torch song” in Yazoo’s Don’t Go, which led to “a stupid haircut, purple velvet pixie boots, playing stabby guitar … and, most surprising of all, a girlfriend.”

The falling in love often involved being transported to a place far away from difficulties, such as when untergunter’s mother was stopped by the police. Misery seemed likely until, from the radio, “an electric whoa-oa, whoa-oa, whoa-oa blasted into my life. The sheer energy of it catapulted all my worries into outer space.” Black Box with Ride on Time, of course.

The attraction needn’t be instantaneous though. Benzedrine writes of REM’s E-Bow the Letter: “I think I was horrified by it the first time I heard it, but it increasingly fascinated me, until I kind of understood that music could be something much more other than I had previously understood.”

And do we stop falling in love? No! our ed detailed a history of music affairs – the latest being Noir & Haze’s Around (Solomun Vox Mix) – capturing his imagination over 30 years since Grace Jones’s version of Private Life first “grabbed him by the doo-dahs, shook him up and turned him around.”

My favourite first love story was from nilpferd, on Miles Davis’s All Blues: “It’s hard to explain the effect this had on me. I think it was simply the blend of emotions, the untouchable elegance and style, and the infinite feel of the groove, the revelation that music could indeed take you elsewhere; that even without lyrics, meaning, anything concrete, here was a paradise you could simply inhabit in your mind.”

Lastly, saneshane mentioned many formative music experiences, and we share this one: the Dream Syndicate’s Tell Me When It’s Over. I remember he once said beneath a previous blog, “it should finish every playlist in the world ever.” (And I respond with a wink and a knowing grin.) That song is a love that has remained true.

New theme: how to join in

The next theme will be announced at 8pm (GMT) on Thursday 15 February. You will have until 11pm on Monday 19 February to submit nominations.

Here is a reminder of some of the guidelines for readers recommend:

Paul Hayes

The GuardianTramp

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