Out of all the different musicians and groups I listen to, I'd say that Frank Zappa has done the most to shape my definition of "good music". His albums covered many different genres, and probably invented a few that people had never thought of. I'll never forget the circumstances that led me to get hooked on his music.
I had heard his name floating around for a few years before I ever bought one of his CDs. The first song I remember hearing was "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" on the radio, and I saw the video for "You Are What You Is" on an episode of Beavis and Butthead. Since I was on a really heavy Beatles and Jimi Hendrix kick at the time, though, I forgot about him.
I think it was around late 1997 when I stopped heavily buying baseball cards and started buying CDs. There was a local music store that had a used CD rack, and I looked through that every time I went there, hoping to find a good deal. One day, I looked through the rack and found this:
This CD is by the Mothers on Invention, and it's called "We're Only In It For the Money". I vaguely knew that the MOI were connected with Frank Zappa, but I had never heard any of the songs before. I ended up buying it just because of the cover. I mean, how can you pass up a picture of a guy that looks like a Cocker Spaniel in a dress?
I listened to it when I got home, and I liked it. The only way I can describe it is if you took "Revolution 9" by the Beatles, made it 10 times weirder, and made it long enough to fill a whole album. A lot of it took a while to sink in, but I knew there was enough good stuff to make me want to buy more of his music, and so I did. I have around 40 of his CDs now, which is about half of what's been released so far.