Monday, 19 October 2015

My Top Ten Opening Lines (Volume 1)

Something a little bit different this week. I'm not going to tell you the song: you either know it from its opening line or you'll have to click on the link. A great opening line can drag you kicking and screaming into a song and never let you go. It's a hard nut to crack... and it's even harder for an old and permanently befuddled brain to remember all the great opening lines in his record collection (they've not yet invented the search criteria for that)... but these were the ones that occurred to me off the top of my head. Hence why this post is a Volume 1... because I'm sure I'll remember loads I've missed sooner or later and then I can stack up another list further down the line.

And yes, I did seriously consider including "I am a lineman for the county"... but hopefully I got that out of my system last week. For a while, anyway.

10. Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom!

Could have been Number One, but I chose to kick off with it instead. In many ways, this is the opening line of popular music itself...

9. Been a whole lot easier since the bitch left town...

OK, considering the caliber of the artists on the rest of the list, including this bunch will no doubt set the cat among the pigeons. (No, it's not Bros.) But anyone who's ever been through a bad break-up will surely nod their head...

No? Just me?

8. In a time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey...

Because we've all felt like this one time or another, right?

7. Bobby said he'd pull out, Bobby stayed in...

The best songs are like short stories, and the best short stories grab your attention from the opening line. There are plenty of examples of that on this particular album (and throughout this particular artist's career), but this is surely the most direct. Start with the sex scene...

6. You look so good when you're depressed... 


6. "Rather than you," she said, "I prefer solitude"...

I couldn't decide between them. He's written many a fine lyric, and if I thought about it harder I could probably fill an entire Top Ten with opening lines just from this guy.

5. Only the very young and the very beautiful can be so aloof...

Written after a "bad experience in a gay sauna", apparently.

That'll explain the cheesy sax.

4. I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour...

This line - this entire song - is the reason I (and many others) hated them back in the day. But we just didn't get it. This isn't miserablism - it's laughing through the graveyard of our lives. In that respect, it may we be the most positive song ever written.

3. You painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair...

Come on. You know you love it. 

2. Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street...

Beginning with an observation that every lovelorn young male will surely recognise... no wonder this was his biggest hit.

1. I don't believe in an interventionist God...

It only really makes sense when you hear it with the following three lines...
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Surely the greatest opening lines to a love song, ever.

Unless you know differently...


  1. Well - I got three of them, and you probably know which three those were.

    I'm pretty sure there should be a Paddy McAloon one in there somewhere though.

    1. Bruce, The Smiths and The Spin Doctors.

    2. You didn't get Tutti Frutii?!

    3. Good point - yes I did, I just didn't notice !

    4. And it was Bruce, the Smiths and Nick Cave

    5. You're not fooling anyone. I've seen you dancing to Two Princes.

  2. I think the opening of Thunder Road would have been better than Spare Parts though :) (although obviously a lot more obvious)

    1. Yeah, I probably agree, but I was trying to avoid too many obvious ones. Apart from the obvious obvious one... Which admittedly only works in conjunction with the song title anyway.

  3. I got a paltry 4 out of 11 but having seen the videos should have got at least 2 more.
    An excellent pop quiz round
    A good idea to avoid looking at the labels!

    1. Which ones?

      I did think about skipping the labels this week.

  4. The Spin chuffing Doctors? Really?and you take the rip out of me for Daphne and Celeste. Stones and glass houses...

  5. The Spin chuffing Doctors? Really?and you take the rip out of me for Daphne and Celeste. Stones and glass houses...

    1. There are far worse crimes against taste and decency in my record collection.

  6. 8 of 11. Shockingly I fell down with Lloyd and unsurprisingly I didn't get The Spin Doctors. I'm usually crap with lyrics, so I fully expect the batting average to plummet come Volume 2.

  7. That's a pretty good score. I'll let you off the Spin Doctors for obvious reasons. Lloyd is ready to be heartbroken, though.

  8. you walk in my house with her lipstick over your face...

    that does it for me about no 6 and about bad break ups...

    excellent idea for top ten... give us more!!!!!!!!

    1. Good call. Half Of Everything is a classic. I must find some way of shoehorning it into a Top Ten soon.


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