I listened to Fresh Air's podcast of Ira Glass's interview of Philip Glass. 3 great takeaways.
1. Philip Glass's dad Ben Glass owned a record store. They could return up to 5% of the records for breakage. Philip Glass's first job was jumping up and down on records, breaking them so they could be returned.
2. Ben Glass started as an auto mechanic. So, he had to learn to fix radios. Then he got rid of the cars and fixed radios. Then someone suggested he sell records in the radio store. Eventually he wound up with a record store with a bench in back for fixing radios.
3. Ben Glass would take home the records he could sell (and Philip couldn't break, I guess) and listen to them very carefully to try to figure out what was wrong with them. Soon he found he really rather liked Shostakovich. He wound up becoming a champion for difficult classical music, convincing his customers that they should like Shostakovich, too. It's not hard to see how hearing a lot of ground-breaking music -- and a convincing explanation -- allowed Glass to make ground-breaking music himself.