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The 35 greatest debut albums of all time

Including The Doors, Lady Gaga and Kanye West

I was a John Peel defender despite the allegations until recently

After years of being in awe of the DJ, revisiting critics that I’d previously dismissed as killjoys forced me to choose between nostalgia for the past and solidarity with legitimate voices

An intense relationship with the piano

The Outsiders: Continuing his series, comedian Dan Antopolski tells us why learning an instrument is a human birthright – even if you hammer the keys

Making waves: How women are reclaiming the pool scene

With a whole host of titles to choose from, Amanda Hess examines how modern film, and music, is allowing the infamous pool scene to be ruled by women – not men

Long Reads

Andy Martin Musical tech whose ‘virtual instruments’ allow anyone to be a composer

Can’t afford a 109-piece ensemble to help compose and perform your latest work? Fear not – a sample library around the corner from Kings Cross has all the cleaned and polished notes you’ll ever need. Andy Martin pays a visit to Spitfire Audio, creators of ‘impossible sounds’

Top 10 hits that blindsided experts and gatekeepers

The great success stories that the people paid to spot them failed to see coming

John Lewis Christmas ad: Fans have mixed views on Elton John film

The retailer's annual advert is one of the highlights of the festive season

How a Welsh school music programme is benefiting the wider community

Welsh regeneration programme Codi’r To (Raise the Roof) brings music projects to more than 280 children from two poor areas, report Eira Winrow and Rhiannon Tudor Edwards