1. “Blue Suede Shoes,” Elvis Presley, 1956
My grandmother gave me blue suede shoes and put on the song and told me, “Go dance for the family.” I liked the song — and I loved the shoes.
2. “The End,” the Doors, 1967
I had taken acid with Dr. Timothy Leary in the Hollywood Hills. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t even know what acid was, I didn’t have a clue. It was amazing. The next time I took LSD, all I kept hearing was this song, over and over again. It starts out fugue-esque, and then the tempo goes out of control. It’s controlled chaos. And it’s wonderful.
3. “A Day in the Life,” the Beatles, 1967
I practiced it on guitar until it sounded perfect. Coming from a classical music background, the compositional aspect of it that felt challenging to me and rewarding. It went on a journey. Maybe that’s what was so attractive to me.
4. “Bitches Brew,” Miles Davis, 1970
Pure genius. They called it “new directions in jazz,” but it was new directions in everything.