Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ten Great Opening Lines (Volume 2)

I do love a great opening line, yet it's been almost three years since I did Volume 1 of this particular Top Ten. So here's ten more cracking openers... see if you can identify them from the lyric alone. Click the link to see if you're right. (Except number one: you can have that for free.)

10. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...

I play this to students as a good example of alliteration in pop songs. Often, the device doesn't work, but it stands out here. Their response?

"What's she singing?"

"Why's she got such a squeaky voice?"

Pff. Kids.

9. Couple in the next room bound to win a prize
They've been going at it all night long

That opening couplet always makes me smile. One day I will do a Top Ten Songs About Hotel Rooms With Very Thin Walls...

8. Bless my cotton socks, I'm in the news!

So much joy! And who says "bless my cotton socks" these days? You certainly wouldn't expect it from this bloke... or maybe you would.

7. Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once?

Could very well be the strapline for this blog.

6. Libraries gave us power!

They did, didn't they? They weren't as good for socialising as the internet, but they stopped us from being so easily distracted.

And now they're closing them all down and the CD sections are long gone.

5. I guess I shoulda know
By the way she parked her car sideways
That it wouldn't last

"Women drivers, eh?"

I hope that comment can be taken as me being ironic, not sexist. I certainly don't think the writer of this song was sexist. Quite the opposite. I think his point was more: sometimes it's the little things that drive us apart.

4. I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well, he just drove off - sometimes life's okay

"Men drivers, eh?"

(I can be as sexist as I want about men and not worry about it.)

3. Have you lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie!

Look, far be it from me to try and sway the voting on JC's ICA World Cup this week, but really... that's so clearly a better opening line than "This and that, they must be the same". (Although I'm guessing C will disagree.)

2. I was born in the wagon of a travelling show...

Weren't we all, love?

Most of us reach an age when we stop dressing like it though...

Mind you, I could do with a couple'a bottles of Doctor Good right now.

1. I hate the arsehole I become every time I'm with you

It's nowhere near the best song on the album, but it's the best opening line he ever wrote. I'm not keeping this one hidden...

Your suggestions for great opening lines will be gratefully received... and put into consideration for Volume 3.


  1. I also like “one of them’s off herr head and the other one’s off his food and both of them are off down the boozer” from Workers Playtime

    1. With the money from her accident
      She bought herself a mobile home...

  2. How about "Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head"? Quite sets the tone, doesn't it?

    1. Of course... I"m just trying my best not to feature him every week.

  3. "And they wandered in
    From the city of St. John
    Without a dime..." (The Royal Scam by Steely Dan)

    "William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll, with a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger" (when Dylan's lyrics really meant something)

    "The second time that I saw you
    I knew you had to be the one for me..." (So Much In Love With You by John Martyn as he turns a lurrrrrve cliche on its head)

    1. Actually, there are a few contenders from The Dan.

      There's always an air of menace to John Martyn songs.

  4. 8/10. I missed out on Paul Simon and Green Day. I'm surprised that 'Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate' hasn't put in an appearance yet. Or perhaps 'On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?'

    1. Saving that for My Top Ten Spoken Intros...

  5. Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
    Good golly, Miss Molly and boats

    Shared Ian Dury's Reasons to Be Cheerful recently - Love all the lines in that song but the first one pretty great as well (although not sure what he means by "the working folly").

    1. Talking of Ian Dury.... how about (and I'm not going to censor this!) -

      "Arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks...."

      (I had to, I just had to)

    2. He was a case that Ian Dury wasn't he - Bit different from Reasons to Be Cheerful and not quite as poetic as Hit Me...

      In the deserts of Sudan
      And the gardens of Japan

      ...or as comedic as that one about that bloke from Billericay.

    3. Ladies! Wash your mouths out! First W.A.S.P., now this!

  6. I got 10,8, 3 and 2
    How about I like your twisted point of view, Mike from Papa Was a Rodeo?
    Or It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
    from Ode to Billy Joe?

  7. I was going to post the opening lyrics of "Plaistow Patricia" but I have more restraint than some!

  8. I admire your restraint, Gram! I couldn't resist.

    Another favourite of mine though is "There's no point in asking, you'll get no reply". Not poetic or anything but just so straight up with the attitude - may just be because I remember how that sounded on first hearing, so uncompromising. (Much like Plaistow Patricia).

    1. Another one that features the c-word!

  9. One of my favourites from Shaun Ryder:
    Son, I am 30. I only went with your mother cos she's dirty.

    It works for other decadial ages too:
    Son I am 20, I only went with your mother cos she let me

    Son I am 40, I only went with your mother cos she's naughty

    Son I am 50, I only went with your mother cos she's thrifty

    Son I am 60, I only went with your mother ... what was the question again? what did I come in here for? has anyone seen my glasses?

    1. My favourite suggestion so far. A definite contender for volume 3.

  10. Other favourites:
    I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
    Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain

    You've got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
    When I was down you just stood there grinnin'
    (not much when written down, but sung it is absolutely dripping with venom)

  11. "You don't have to take this crap, You don't have to sit back and RELAX"

    The Style Council's Walls Come Tumbling Down. An urgent call to arms, a reminder that it doesn't have to be this way, and a stunning skewering of the glib, inconsequential nature the 80s were already being defined by. Weller proved there was more to life than Frankie Says T-Shirts and that not all youth was so enamoured by the shallow, glitzy facade. There were still people out there fighting for something better, knowing full well that walls can come tumbling down.


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