Through the 1500-odd tracks in my collection, there occasionally emerges one so bright that I fall to the floor and listen with rapt attention to each word and every note, and the essence of the song lingers with me for many days. That impact can be diluted with difficulty into a dozen bands who have changed my life, and while I would never assume to call these "my favourites", they are perhaps the most important.

And here they are, in the perceived order of their lasting effect on my life...

New Order
The Smashing Pumpkins
Heather Nova
The Tragically Hip
Modest Mouse
Sarah McLachlan
The Smiths
The Cure

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only take a dozen albums... I'd probably die of exposure. But I'd die happy.