Music playlist week #28 (The intro edition)
There are a lot of great songs with great intros, and in some cases, the opening bars of a track are so recognisable that they transcend the actual song they belong to.
What makes a great intro? There's no rule book that we know of, but we would say that they need to build anticipation, lead into something amazing and be so damn catchy that even after you've stopped listening, it'll still be stuck in your head two days later.
This was by no means an easy list to create, but here are the 10 favourites from Damson HQ in no particular order...
New Order - Blue Monday
Arguably, the most iconic kick drum of all time. Within 2 seconds you know exactly what you're listening to, its that recognisable. Blue Monday provides the perfect introduction to the techno meets post-punk sound that came from Manchester in the mid-1980's. Rumour has it too that the fade on the synth is out of time by accident. What an accident to make! This song changed dance music forever.
Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al
Right from the beginning, the uplifting horns in "You Can Call Me Al" absolutely sweep you away. The whole song is phenomenal, but the way it unleashes itself upon you is something else. As great as Simon and Garfunkel were as a group, there isn't really any doubt who the true talent was, especially with songwriting like this.
ABBA - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
ABBA are, hands down, the greatest pop group of all time. Everything they wrote was a bonified pop music classic. One of their finest creations is "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!". Especially the opening 30 seconds, which kick off with a whirling mix of guitar and strings, before one of the greatest uses of a synthesizer you will ever, ever hear. Unreal.
AC/DC - Back in Black
I have a love/hate relationship with this song, the intro especially. It's incredible, no doubt, but I had it as my alarm clock for quite a while, and on a Monday morning, the last thing you want to hear is Angus Young's loud, fast and disruptive guitar riffs, no matter how good it is! Thankfully, after a few years, I went back to a normal alarm clock and my love for this track has blossomed again.
Beyonce feat. Jay-Z - Crazy In Love
It's odd to think that this was the song that really launched Queen B as a solo superstar. There's no messing around with the intro here, with instantly recognisable horn samples ripping right out of the gate. I don't think you can ever get bored of hearing this intro, and the song as a whole. Now she's pretty far down the line a solo artist, we still think this is her best ever song.
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
It's funny to think that one of the Beastie Boy's greatest tracks is written about something as trivial as an irritating sound engineer who they felt was trying to "sabotage" their work. We don't know what it is about this intro, but the punky low-fi guitar and the lead into the shout/call to arms just gets the blood pumping every single time. Listening to the first 30 seconds of this amazing song will never get old.
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
This one doesn't really need too much explaining does it. An absolutely mad, yet absolutely amazing introduction to very possibly the most famous song of all time. How exactly do you categorise Bohemian Rhapsody? Does it matter? We say no. Just enjoy it for what it is. As soon as you hear that operatic opening, get ready for a sing-along at the top of your lungs. You just won't be able to help yourself.
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
One drumbeat, one bass line, one synth part and just like that, pop music was changed forever. The intro to Billie Jean will go down in history as one of the most flawlessly executed intros in music history. By modern pop standards it's quite a lengthy intro, but it's worth sticking around for as it develops into one of the best and most danceable songs of all time.
The Who - Baba O'Riley
The opening track to The Who's fifth album, the Baba O' Riley is iconic, feel good and visceral. For whatever reason too, it feels perfect for every single movie soundtrack ever made. There's always been a little bit of mystery around how Pete Townshend created the keyboard intro and which synthesizer he used, but to be honest it doesn't really matter. It's excellent without knowing every single detail behind it.
Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
Slash created the iconic opening bars as a string-skipping exercise, rather than purposely writing it. As you do. Guns N' Roses may be fronted by Axl Rose, but this song is all about Slash. He may have considered the riff a bit of a joke at first, but he created one of the most instantly recognisable intros of all time, and probably GN'R's biggest hit.
February 27, 2020