Sunday, 19 February 2006

Top-Five best first songs on first albums

Top-Five best first songs on first albums, an idea shamelessly stolen from Hi Fidelity. The first song on a first album should come out of the blocks with something never heard before; it should surprise, stun, start well and promise more. The promise is as important as the song.

Gloria, Patti Smith, Horses
Sunday Morning, Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground
Suspect Device, Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material
Gutter Black, Hello Sailor, Hello Sailor
Slash n' Burn, Manic Street Preachers, Generation Terrorist

Highly commended:
Love Comes in Spurts, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Blank Generation
Blinded by the Light, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man, King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King
Ol' 55, Tom Waits, Closing Time
Holidays in the Sun, Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
You Got to Lose, George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers, George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Top-Five best last songs on last albums. Important criteria here is that they must be memorable, their mood must linger, and with the end of the band or the death of the artist, they must have a certain poignancy or magnitude -- or even a feeling of 'clairvoyance'.

Voodoo Chile (slight return), Jimi Hendrix experience, Electric Ladyland
Who Are You, The Who, Who Are You
Side 2, The Beatles, Abbey Road
Oh Sweet Nuthin!, Velvet Underground, Loaded
Redemption Song,
Bob Marley, Uprising

I expect debate.

Category: Music


  1. Debate? I'm going to have to expand my music collection first :)

  2. "Burning down the House", Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues.

    Fantastic opening track of exemplary album.

  3. Oh, and "My Baby", Janis Joplin, Pearl.

    I'm sure there'll be tons of others as they come to mind.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Sunday Morning always felt like filler to me. It's certainly the least interesting song on the album - it's like the warm-up song before they blow you away with Waiting for the Man.

    Others you missed that fit your criteria are:

    - Remake/Remodel by Roxy Music (Roxy Music)
    - Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
    - Astronomy Domine by Pink Floyd (Piper at the Gates of Dawn)
    - Radio Free Europe by REM (Murmur)
    - Jacqueline by Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand)
    - Me I Disconnect from You by Tubeway Army (Replicas)
    - Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses (Appetite for Destruction)
    - 1969 by the Stooges (The Stooges)
    - Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones (Ramones)
    - Just Like Honey by the Jesus and Mary Chain (Psychocandy)
    - Good Times Bad Times by Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin)
    - Requiem by Killing Joke (Killing Joke)
    - Disorder by Joy Division (Unknown Pleasures)
    - Keep Yourself Alive by Queen (Queen)
    - Running With the Devil by Van Halen (Van Halen)
    - I Wanna Be Adored by the Stone Roses (The Stone Roses)

    You are going to hate me for saying it, but I Will Follow by U2 (Boy) is pretty good as well.

    As for last songs on last albums, how about...

    - Decades by Joy Division (Closer)
    - Love Spreads by the Stone Roses (Second Coming)
    - Come On by the Verve (Urban Hymns)
    - Soon by My Bloody Valentine (Loveless)
    - PCP by the Manics as a four piece (The Holy Bible)
    - Death Trip by the Stooges (Raw Power)
    - Two Suns in the Sunset by Pink Floyd as a four piece (The Final Cut)

  6. No, no, no, Blair! *Never* Joy Division! :)

  7. Ahem, if I may be so bold:

    Phil, I might have been a little unclear, but I was after the opening songs on debut albums. However as you have such nice dogs I'll allow you the oversight, if not the selection. :-)

    Now, Blair: As they say at uni these days when they disagree with you, "interesting." 'Sunday Morning' "filler"? Sigh. It was playing with listeners, setting them up for the assault to come. And such paranoiac beauty!

    Anyway, we can start by immediately throwing out all the Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, U2, Queen, Black Scabbath, Guns and Noses etc., just because it's my blog and what I say goes. Allright?

    Which leaves then for openers 'Blitzkrieg Bop,' 'I Wanna be Adored,' and maybe 'Requiem.' (We could include '1969' and 'Disorder' because of what was to come, but they're otherwise entirely ordinary on their own merits. Maybe 'Disorder.' Maybe.) But what would they knock out?

    For closers, the same exclusions apply, so that's Pink Floyd out again. On top of that:
    - I didn't like 'Decades'
    - 'Second Coming' was so awful it loses points on principle
    - The Verve are boring
    - 'Raw Power' was more an Iggy album than a Stooges, and thankfully he kept going. And 'Death Trip' was boring.

    So that just leaves MBV and PCP, and as I'd still like to think 'Loveless' won't be MBV's last, I guess Richey's last should be added to the list, in memoriam. How about I drop The Who to make way for it? Never really liked that song anyway. They should have stopped with 'Love Reign Over Me.'

    Just realised I'd forgotten Wire's '40 Versions.' If only the silly bastards hadn't reformed and pumped out so much vile rubbish in the eighties.


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