Best Song Intros

OK Funseekers, time to post your Favorite Song Intros, or perhaps they should be called the Most Distinctive Song Intros.

We’re talking about Intros so Distinctive that you know the name of the song within the first five notes (or 3 seconds).
My friends and I called this game, “Stump the Jock”

You know, like Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”.
Dun Dun Duhhhh
Dun Dun Di Duhhh
Dun Dun Duhhh
Dun Duhhh*

Like the Stones, “Satisfaction”. (that was a two-note gimme)

Like the Kinks:
“You Really Got Me” or “All Day and All The Night”.

Leave your nominations in the comments.

Update: If the photo isn’t loading, you can see it here.
Bonus points for identifying the band in this photo, I shot from the lightbooth.


About Retired Geezer

Just another Old Retired Geezer in the Spud State.

Posted on March 18, 2006, in Music. Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
    Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
    Rock Candy – Montrose
    Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon

    Is that Styx?

  2. Eye In The Sky – Alan Parsons Project

    That looks like Deep Purple to me. Where did you get the idea of using all that purple light? God, that’s just brilliant! See, like the band’s name is Deep Purple . . .

  3. Kudos to Chris, BTW, for remembering Ridin’ the Storm Out. I love that opening siren-wail from the guitar.

  4. ner ner Ner ner ner ner ner. Layla.

  5. Chris was correct, the band was Styx. I love their intro to “Blue Collar Man”.
    That funkyStyx organ.
    Yeah Baby. (I’m listening to it now)
    They sound better live than on disk.
    The Keyboard player kicks ass.
    If they play near you, try to go, it’s an exciting show.

    Coincidentally enough, REO Speedwagon was the backup band when I took that picture.

    Blogger is still not letting me upload the photo to the main post.

    Donnah, what no Allman Bros?

    Michael, good choice. Those guys had chops and a unique sound. Listening to it next.

    How about Journey? Separate Ways is one of my favorites.

    More insight into my musical taste here.

  6. I can’t believe nobody’s posted it yet! Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult of course. Another intro I’ve always liked is Barracuda by Heart. Hmmm, lotsa choices here. How ’bout Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum. You get that one on the first note!

  7. Enas, good ones. Yeah I have Barracuda as another one of my Ringtones. Not for Mrs. Geezer, her ring tone is “I’ve Been Waiting For a Girl Like You”, by Foreigner.

    Don’t Fear the Reaper and Spirit in the Sky. That’s what I’m talking about. You hear it and right away you KNOW what it is.

    Anybody remember Hold Your Head Up by Argent?

  8. That Argent song starts the same way that Dream Weaver, by Gary Wright, does.

  9. BTW, if anybody wants to hear any of the songs that *I* mentioned, I’ll be glad to email it to them.

    How about Oye Como Va by Santana.
    You *do* know that Carlos Santana didn’t sing all those songs, don’t you?
    That was done by Gregg Rolie, who also sang the lead on Black Magic Woman and Evil Ways.
    After Santana, he went on to form Journey with Neal Schon.

  10. The intro to “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider is particularly distinctive as well – kind of a whistling tone that suddenly goes from a low tone to a very high one and then back down to a quaver that streatches a bit before the guitar kicks in. Very effective at setting a kind of tension that the rest of the song carries in the lyrics and music. It was a minor hit as songs go and it doesn’t get much airplay. In a different direction – how about “The Pink Panther” theme? I know that one right off the first piano chord. Henry Mancini had a very good knack for coming up with distinctive and catchy themes.

    How about the least recognizable songs by famous bands? I offer up “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict”. It’s an actual song title on a real album that you can still buy today. Can you guess the band without google?

  11. If I *had* to make a guess, I would say probably Pink Floyd. Seems like something they might do.

  12. HAH excellent! Yes indeedy Pink Floyd. One of their early exploratory works on the album Ummagumma. You probably remembered my penchant for obscure Floyd works in another discussion topic. 🙂

    I’m still trying to figure out the band in your picture, but I’m at a loss. Any hints?

  13. Um, Enas, the “hint” was Geezer saying it was Styx in his 4:32 p.m. comment.

    BTW, today’s Doonesbury featured old songs.

  14. Whoops! Scrolled too fast to read everything! Nevermind.

  15. Distinctive song openings:

    1. “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin
    2. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
    3. “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin
    4. “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin
    5. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin

    Led Zeppelin was the greatest band to walk the earth, and will retain that honor until the universe succumbs to heat death. I once killed a man with a potato peeler for suggesting otherwise.

  16. OK, everybody is going for dramatic guitar intros. Open your mind. Think about the ultimate Baby Boomer anthem. The intro was not guitar, it was gentle electric organ. You recognize the song in about a nanosecond after you hear the opening chord.

    Whiter Shade of Pale — Procul Harum

  17. The great thing about A Whiter Shade of Pale is that it is indelibly associated with the funeral scene in The Big Chill. The great thing about The Big Chill is that it came out right around the time that most of us Baby Boomers started figuring out that we were going to die.

  18. Michael possesses great descriptive imagery. I knew what song he was describing before he got to the punch line.

    Oh, and the second post made me laugh.
    Mortal, Indeed.

  19. It seems Scott has a woody for all things Zep.
    I wonder if he would add me to his blogroll if he knew I have on tape, an interview with Jimmy Page, that I did back in the early 70’s.
    At Caesars Palace in Vegas.
    When he was in bed with a groupie.

    Nahhh, probably not.

  20. Mrs. Geezer got the Procol Harum song about a half-nanosecond into it.

    Good addition to the list.

  21. “Donnah, what no Allman Bros?”

    Geezer, the opening lick to Layla *is* an Allman.

  22. Uh, oh yeah, I knew that.
    *hangs head in shame*

  23. Donnah, what no Skynard?

    Heh heh heh

  24. “Meat is Murder” by the Smiths. It’s a crappy song, but they’ve got the sounds of cows mooing in the intro. I guess it’s supposed to make us feel bad for the cows in the slaughterhouse, but it always makes me giggle. I can just picture Morrissey in the studio, “Can we make the cows sound more sad?”.

  25. How about Jefferson Airplanes’s White rabbit? Or In a Gadda da Vida?

    My favorite intro was on Louie Louie by the Original Wailers, when the intro was a bari. sax. A little obscure, but worth finding. It was a hit on the West Coast a couple of years before the Kingsmen covered it and got a national hit with the song….

    ……Mr. C.

  26. Okay geez, I’ve added you to the illustrious LMNOP blogroll. Now you owe me some details of that Page interview!

  27. Sunshine of your love-Cream

    Spanish Moon – Little Feat

    Momma Told Me Not to Come – Three Dog Night

  28. I’m not familiar with the Little Feat tune, but those others have instant recognition.

  29. My gosh, I leave town for a few days and find that I completely missed a music thread. Allow me to add a few late nominations (that actually date from within the past 20 years):

    – “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses. The definitive song of strip clubs and sports arenas throughout the world.

    – “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana. Anyone from Gens X and Y would recognize the guitar lick immediately.

    – “Closer,” Nine Inch Nails. A catchy if rather profane tune with an infamous electronic drum opening hook.

  30. Speaking of Pink Floyd, “Welcome to the Machine” has no intro music at all.

    And how could I forget Frank Zappa’s “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama”?


  32. Yeah, I used to be able to play that on a guitar.
    That and Fire and Rain by James Taylor are about the extent of my guitar licks.

  33. Definitely “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. Best intro ever.

  34. How about:
    Back in Black -AC/DC
    In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida -Iron Butterly
    Johnny B. Goode -Cuck Berry
    Crazy Train -Ozzy Osborne
    Heartbreaker -Led Zeppelin

  35. These are all beautiflul intro riffs. The cymbal tabs the blazing guitar of Back in Black is unforgetable. Iron Butterfly’s driving opener. The laughing sound of Chuck Berry’s guitar as he begin to rip on that riff. Crazy Train is self-explanitory. And Heartbreaker could be the greatest riff of all time, followed by an excellent solo.

  36. Thanks Phil and Jimmii. Those are good additions except for I don’t recognize the Ozzy tune.
    (I’m old).

  37. Jimmii, go to Innocent Bystanders, we talk about music all the time over there.

  38. Not necessarilly the best intro riff ever but the best start to any song is undoubtably Ozzy’s Crazy Train


    EIY EIY EIY!!!

  39. ‘For the love of money’ by The O’jays
    So good, the song can only get worse form there, which it does.
    I still like it though

  40. Sweet Child O’ Mine

  41. Die Hard the Hunter – Def Leppard
    Little Guitars – Van Halen
    Indestructible – Disturbed
    Ridin the Storm Out – REO

    and – although I am not a big fan…

    Any intro to a Marilyn Manson concert – its always long, it builds the excitement, the people go nuts and its always amazing

  42. unbelievable…does no one listen to metallica?

    greatest catchiest intro…master of puppets. hands down.

  43. Under the Bridge-Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Crazy On You-Heart

    Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen

    House of the Rising Sun-The Animals

    Hot for Teacher-Van Halen

    Whole Lotta Love-Led Zeppelin

    Immigrant Song-Led Zeppelin

    Baba O’ Reily-The Who

    more, can’t think though

    maybe Rhiannon-Fleetwood Mac

  44. Ram Jam – Black Betty?

  45. I Forgot 2.

    Deep Purple – Fireball
    Golden Earring – Twilight Zone

  46. Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
    Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
    Avenged Sevenfold – Lost
    Avenged Sevenfold – Strength Of The World
    Guns N’ roses – Patience
    Three Days Grace – Never Too Late
    30 Seconds To Mars – From Yesterday
    My Chemical Romance – Disenchanted
    Avenged Sevenfold – Warmness On The Soul
    Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
    Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
    Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
    Goo Goo Dolls – Name
    Blink 182 – What’s My Age Again
    Angels And Airwaves – The Adventure
    Trivium – Down From The Sky
    Bullet For My Valentine – Tears Don’t Fall
    Bullet For My Valentine – Say Goodnight
    Trivium – Throes Of Perdition
    Slipknot – Before I Forget
    Slipknot – Psychosocial
    Metallica – One
    Metallica – The Unforgiven 1, 2, 3
    Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
    Derek And The Dominoes – Layla
    Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven
    U2 – With Or Without You
    Aerosmith – Angel
    Aerosmith – Walk This Way
    Nickelback – If Everyone Cared
    Michael Jackson – Beat It
    Guns N’ Roses – Civil War
    Jimi Hendrix – Vodoo Chile
    The Beatles – Blackbird…

    and probably hundreds of other that i just can’t name right now, but that’s it for now.

  47. Spirit in the Sky- Norman Greenbaum
    Smoke on the Water- Deep Purple

    These are then two best Rock Song intros of all time, bar none. “Spirit In the Sky”‘s intro is so good it’s better than the rest of the song.
    When the bass comes in on “Smoke” Deep Purple literally wrote the the path for every heavy metal band that came after them, a true iconic moment in time that makes nearly every new teenage electric guitarist want to play this intro.

  48. Great stuff!
    Some of the best music intros of their day has got to be The Doors. Ray Manzarek was genius with bass organ.
    Guitar intros? From my top ten ever, no.1 spot between Voodoo Child and Sunshine of Your Love.

  49. carry on my wayward son by kansas

  50. I Cant believe i didnt see this.

    The Final Countdown-Europe

  51. Shakin’ all over by the Guess Who?
    The twangy guitar is instantly recognized

  52. No .38 Special on here?! Tisk Tisk. Lynard Skynard, Poison, AC/DC, Nirvana and Beastie Boys also deserve some recognition.

  53. Aldo Nova- Fantasy

    Robert Plant- In The Mood

    u2- Where The Streets Have No Name & Pride

    Red Rider- Human Race

  54. The best song intros of all time are:
    stairway to heaven, led zeplin
    one, metalica
    under the bridge, red hot chilli peppers
    my curse, killswitch engage
    Heros of our time, dragonforce.

  55. Theres A Song Thats Stuck In My Head With A Wicked Into, Starts Off With Guitar and then Three Hits On Drum But Then It Slows Down with Guitar Again And Starts to Sound Like A CCR Song.. Any Help??

    Ohhh And Another Song, Starts Off With The Lyrics Saw You On The Bus Today.. Song Is From The 80’s, No Good Intro Just Would Really Like To Know What Its Called After 4 Days Of Looking For The Name Of It

    Another Few Good Intro Songs

    Crazy Train!- Ozzy

    Whisky In The Jar- Metalica

    Learning To Fly- Pink Floyd

    Boys Of Summer- Don Henley

  56. Oh Ya!
    Hysteria & Animal- Def Leppard

  57. Sunglasses at Night- Corey Hart

  58. listen to the intro to deep purples lazy….nobody got this

  59. I’m aging myself here but how about Time Waits For No One by the Rolling Stones. Or the intro to L.A. Woman by the Doors

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