Modern technology has made it incredibly easy to emulate the sound of a rock band. Plug the right guitar into the right amplifier and you’re already on your way to sounding like Kurt Cobain. In fact, you don’t even need the amplifier. Just plug the guitar into a computer and choose the “Kurt Cobain” setting on your favourite music software. Almost every sound in rock and pop history that’s caused your ears to prick up, or your eyebrows to raise, has been sampled or digitally reconstructed for our music-making convenience. But these sounds all started somewhere; a musician or a producer made a noise – often by mistake – and someone in the studio piped up and said, “Hey! Actually, that sounds quite good!” And so the palette of rock and pop music was formed – a series of happy accidents, developed, refined and combined, mixed down and presented to us. Here are some of the most distinctive and, in no particular order, the records that best showcase them.