Think back to the first concert you attended. You can probably remember the energy of the crowd yearning for the band to finally take the stage, the reverberation of the first strum of the guitar, the beats of the drum that seemed to thump inside your body. The lights, the charisma of the performers, finally hearing your favorite songs live—as they were meant to be listened to—the experience remains vivid for the rest of your life. You might still have the overpriced T-shirt you bought as a souvenir of the show buried in your closet.

There's something about music that embeds itself deeply inside memories. But this phenomenon doesn't just happen at the individual level—music can also form a collective cultural memory.

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If you think back over the past few generations, certain moments in music stand out as markers of time and reflections of them. Anyone alive in 1980 can tell you where they were when John Lennon was killed, while younger music fans have had a similar experience with the death of Michael Jackson.

There are also those hopeful, unforgettable shows—like Queen's renowned performance at Live Aid, Elvis' hip thrusts on "The Milton Berle Show" and Kurt Cobain's moody acoustic performance on "MTV Unplugged" with Nirvana. No matter how you feel about these artists, there's no doubt that they made an impact on culture and changed music for future generations.

To compile a list of the most iconic and memorable moments in music history, Stacker looked at an assortment of news sources, music publications, and Norman Abjorensen's "Historical Dictionary of Popular Music."

A wide range of significant moments, such as record-breaking albums, major music festivals, tragic accidents and headline-making stunts by musicians from a variety of decades and genres are showcased.

Explore this list to reminisce about the history of music—and see if your favorite music memory made the cut.

100 Iconic Moments From Music History

Stacker compiled a list of the most iconic moments in music history from news sources, music publications, and historical documents.

Gallery Credit: Joni Sweet

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