1975 - 6th grade (1986): My parents (who were still married up to this point) were both classical musicians, and so most of what I heard was classical. I latched on early to Copland's 3rd Symphony. They didn't expressly forbid rock music, but I was somewhat afraid to embrace it because I didn't want to offend them, so the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel were about as risky as I was prepared to get. By the 6th grade, the piano was my primary instrument and I was starting to dabble in songwriting, and so I also started listening to Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby. I was way into "Graceland". I do remember owning a Richard Marx cassette, and a Robbie "C'est La Vie" Nevil cassette.
Summer of 1986: My parents got seperated during this summer, and so I was sent to a summer camp where my dad was the orchestra teacher. This summer was huge, music-wise, as I got turned on to a billion different bands, including: Yes/Anderson Bruford Wakeman & Howe, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. I felt pretty safe listening to Yes with my parents around. I can't be sure, but I think Peter Gabriel's "So" was big this summer, as was Billy Joel's concert in the USSR, which every single radio in camp was tuned to.
7th-8th grade: It's a shame that JDixon isn't on LJ anymore, because he and I could probably write the next few years together. We met in 7th grade and basically spent all our time obsessing over various bands. A highlight of 7th grade was at the spring dance, when we both did the Corey Glover headbang when "Cult of Personality" was played. What else, what else... at some point I got obsessed with Edie Brickell's "Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars". Oh yeah - around this point my mom started dating my stepfather, and so I was introduced to my stepbrother Phofo, who was already waaayyyy into the "alternative" thing and got me into Midnight Oil. The next time I go to my mom's house I'm gonna find one of my textbooks from that era and write down all the bands that I was into, because I scribbled all of their names onto every single available piece of paper that I could find. I had perfected the Living Colour logo by this point. Also - I started to REALLY get into U2. I liked Tracy Chapman, too.
9th grade: I was pretty into guitar at this point, and I seem to recall being in a cover band that played lots of the big alternative hits at the time - REM, Jesus Jones, Bosstones... god, my memory is awful. I was the first person in my high school to know who Phish was, and I was damn proud of it. My girlfriend at this point (and for the next 2 years) was heavily into Depeche Mode and Erasure, both of whom I absolutely hated. Lots of Yes, Rush, and Genesis, too. This was 1989, and many great albums came out this year which I didn't really know about until much later - like Pixies "Doolittle". However, I believe it was this year when The Sundays "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic" came out, and I loved it.
10th-11th grade: I listened to "The Wall" about 2000 times. Jane's Addiction ruled my world. Toad the Wet Sprocket accompanied my mopey days. That's about it.
12th grade: By this point my band in high school was playing all original stuff, most of which I wrote. We rehearsed like maniacs and I was writing 5 songs a week. I got high for the first time right around graduation, which directly led to me being obsessed with "Electric Ladyland".
College - Freshman Year: The big 3, which could be heard at any time through every door in my dorm: Peter Gabriel "Us", Beastie Boys "Check Your Head", and Smashing Pumpkins "Siamese Dream". Later this year I met my future bandmates, and suddenly everything changed. Sonic Youth and Pavement entered heavy rotation.
Sophomore Year - Senior Year: Pretty much dominated by Phish and anything that John McEntire played on - The Sea and Cake and Tortoise being the most important - which also got me into Thrill Jockey's catalog. Also, Smashing Pumpkins had a song on Picses Iscariot called "Starla" that pretty much summed up everything we were trying to do.
1998-present: I got a job at iVillage.com after I graduated, which granted me my first real exposure to the internet. I found Pitchfork relatively quickly and they've had as much to do with what I've been listening to ever since, except Phish, which I started to get tired of in 2000. jongre got me into Aceyalone, Tribe and all the other hip-hop that I'd been ignoring. Major bands of this period: Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Pavement, TSAC, Tortoise, Wilco, Flaming Lips, Stereolab.
gotta eat now.