The Best Song Openings (Maybe) Ever

I’m an audiophile. A good song or an amazing album make me one happy person, so much so that I want to share those good vibes with others. Like previously stated on this blog, I’m not a music expert but I would be remiss to say I didn’t know more than the average person. Music is a part of me, my life blood. Lying in bed alone or with someone else, with songs delicately playing in the background, is an experience I welcome with open arms.

And, sometimes, I hear a song at its beginning and know it will be just be amazing. Others are like this, too, I’m sure. The lyrics and beats just HIT you in the face with Bruce Bannister-like power. Thus, I decided to make this list of some of my personal favorite openings to songs.

The criteria are as follows:

  • Lyrics from any kind of musical artist; famous or indie, obscure or popular — it doesn’t matter.
  • The first line or two are taken into strong consideration. After all, the openers set up the entire track.
  • It must be a song that I personally enjoy, or at least a song I don’t generally dislike.

That about covers it. Now, onto the main portion of this musical meal:

Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”

“Please could you stop the noise, I’m trying to get some rest
From all the unborn chicken voices in my head”

I empathize with Thom Yorke’s poignant lyrics, mainly because chicken squawks often invade my cerebellum when I try to sleep at night. That may or may not be true, but the curiosity of the lyrics alone make one wonder whether Yorke has been pecked repeatedly by chickens at some point in his life.

The Doors – “Crystal Ship”

“Before you slip into unconsciousness
I’d like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss”

Jim Morrison was an icon, and in this song he shows why. He wastes no time in telling an unknown female that he wants a kiss that will sustain his happiness, even if only for a while. The Doors may, in my estimation, be the greatest rock and roll group to ever come out of the United States. Timeless classics and thought-provoking lyrics from Morrison and company have a lot to do with that.

Simon and Garfunkel – “Homeward Bound”

“I’m sitting in the railway station
Got a ticket to my destination”

This song always hits home. When I had dreams of moving cross country last year, I would often listen to this song to remind me that change could be a good thing. It also made me realize that home is, as mundane as it sounds, where the heart is and that will never change. A house is not always a home; a home can be anything of personal substance and meaning. In this song S&G blaze through with lyrics about missing loved ones while being on the road, but if you think about it, isn’t that where the music establishes itself and becomes so powerful? Just food for thought.

Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love”

“You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’
I’m gonna send you back to schoolin'”

This song, like the opening lines of “Black Dog” on Zeppelin IV (“Zoso”), comes right out with Robert Plant being a sexual deviant in the best possible way. He wants a girl and tells her in the most upfront manner possible: I’m going to sex you up. It’s what many females want to hear but don’t, and if they don’t want to hear it they are either A) not very sexual in the first place or B) don’t want a man to be so domineering with the dirty talk (maybe because the females want control in that department?) … But back to the lyrics: they not only send an instant message of what the song entails but also make you think right off the bat. Sending a girl “for schoolin'” in the sexual realm is one of those things males do that drive most women up a wall, in the best possible way. Take charge, guys, and you will be rewarded for your determination.

Guns ‘N Roses – “November Rain”

“When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained,
But darlin’ when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same”

Ah, this song makes me feel a cornucopia of emotions — elation, heartbreak, sadness, hope. Axl Rose starts the song with a bang, basically explaining every relationship ever. Sometimes, in a relationship, one person (or maybe even both people) hold back feelings for a variety of reasons. Maybe it is to not seem too eager, or maybe to not go headfirst into something too soon. Relationships have that complicated aspect to them, where things become so much easier when they are discussed out in the open. Easier said than done, friends. This is that consolation song about love and all of its identities. Love (and, for that matter, romantic relationships) has its own way of working out if both people put in a relatively equal amount into the grand scheme. And when even all hope seems lost or is dwindling away with blunt force, there comes that moment when everything seems salvageable and real. Relationships need as much effort as they do actual affection. Effort is a big component of it all, but is it really effort if you love the hell out of someone? You can decide.

Elton John – “Tiny Dancer”

“Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man”

Elton John’s power ballad is a universal tune that expresses a whirlwind of emotions. How many times have you heard this song in public or at a party and sang out loud, “Blue jean baby, L.A. lady”? The lines are synonymous with one another, an invitation to a story about a dancer (ballerina?) trying to find her place within the bright lights. I can’t tell you how many times I have locked arms with good friends and sang this song in drunken stupors. Better days…

Green Day – “Basket Case”

“Do you have the time
To listen to me whine?”

Billy Joe and his merry men don’t waste any time in this song, proposing whether their whims will be given the proper time of day. The following lines make the opening sequence even more interesting: “About nothing and everything all at once.” This is a man’s anthem, being able to complain about random bullshit because men are human beings too. It resonates with guys, and especially me, because guys can be just as neurotic (“to the bone”) as women. It’s a part of life; there are crazy people everywhere. To what degree of craziness you apply is something you must come to terms with on your own time, but life is confusing and strange for just about everybody. It’s the way of the world.

 

Well, that’s enough for now. I could go all day, and I mean that literally. Do you all realize how many songs there are in the first place?! Hopefully this inspires you to check out the aforementioned songs, or bands, or search for your own favorite song openings, or all of the above. Music is the universal language everyone should want to speak.

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