I saw an Instagram post recently from ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris (old farts like me will remember his husky tones from the BBC TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test many moons ago) where he had posted a playlist from his recent radio show and the theme was opening songs from debut albums. Well this sounded like a splendid idea, and as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I thought I’d have a go at posting my top 5 opening tracks from debut albums. Easy, right? Wrong! I realised how many great songs that open up debut albums I really, really loved and choosing just 5 would be a tad difficult. With that, I’m posting the first 5 tracks that spring to mind but later on I’ll also post my other favourite opening tracks , and they’ll probably be some kind of theme to the posts (metal/NWOBHM/UK punk/US punk/britpop/postpunk etc). Below is my top 5 opening tracks from debut albums that still have the power to excite when the needle hits the groove.
1. BLACK SABBATH: Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
Rainfall? Check. Toiling bell? Check. Iconic riff and song that births heavy metal and a variety of sub-genres? Check. Best self-titled song of all-time? Probably.
2. GUNS N’ ROSES : Welcome To The Jungle (Appetite For Destruction)
I flew into LAX to first meet my now wife, and the first song on the mix cd (awww) she made for the drive to her place, was this. Driving round L.A. with this blasting out was probably a cliché but it felt so damn right! Opening album tracks rarely get better than this.
3. CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
Nary a screaming guitar in sight, just three dudes and some of the sweetest vocal harmonies I’ve ever heard. This song takes me to a happy place.
4. THE RUTS: Babylon’s Burning (The Crack)
Starts off with an old school British police siren then ruthlessly slaps you about for a couple of minutes becoming one of the greatest punk songs ever.
5. MEAT LOAF: Bat Out Of Hell (Bat Out Of Hell)
A song that has everything including the kitchen sink and Todd Rundgren’s motorcycle guitar! Bombastic, overblown, indulgent and above all, fucking amazing! Up there in my top 5 greatest title tracks ever!