The first ten years of long-term potentiation (LTP) research are reviewed. Surprisingly, given the intensity of current interest, the discovery paper did not trigger a wave of follow-on experiments. Despite this, the initial work laid out what ultimately became standard questions and paradigms. The application of the then still novel hippocampal slice technique oriented LTP towards basic neuroscience, perhaps somewhat at the cost of lesser attention to its functional significance. The use of slices led to the discovery of the events that trigger the formation of LTP and provided some first clues about its extraordinary persistence. Signs of the intense controversy over the nature of LTP expression (release vs receptors) emerged towards the end of the first decade of work. What appears to be lacking in the literature of that time is a widespread concern about LTP and memory. This may reflect a somewhat different attitude that neurobiologists then had towards memory research and a perceived need to integrate the new potentiation phenomenon into the web of established science before advancing extended arguments about its contributions to behaviour.