Friday, January 25, 2019

"Another Opening, Another Opening": THE WEEKEND MIX

I have often said, to some of you, and occasionally out loud to no one, that "Pinball Wizard" by The Who, has to be the most exciting 45 opening seconds in all of rock. I just listened to it again, prior to writing this, and I will not change my mind. But, I did think of a few more, and that is the basis of the Weekend Mix. These songs aren't all Side One openers, though a little more than half are. These are songs, some obvious choices and hopefully a few not so obvious, that I think set a perfect table for the feast to come.

From the iconic opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night" to the incredibly simple yet brilliantly effective cowbell and drum hits of "Honky Tonk Women," and "SNARE>kick-SNARE>kick"of "Bang A Gong," these songs, for my ears and music loving purposes, start at the top and manage to go up! I could fall into the pocket of the opening drums of Iggy's "Lust For Life," Spooky Tooth's "Waitin' In The Wind" and Talk Talk's "Happiness Is Easy" and never come out. And when Little Richard preaches his opening comments right before the band blasts into "Get Down With It," I never fail to...well...get down with it.

I know you have your own choices, but here's hoping you dig this hour of my faves.

A Hard Day's Night- The Beatles
Once Bitten, Twice Shy- Ian Hunter
Shaft- Isaac Hayes
Lust For Life- Iggy Pop
Get Down With It- Little Richard
The Song Remains The Same- Led Zeppelin
Happiness Is Easy- Talk Talk
Making Time- The Creation
Waitin' In The Wind- Spooky Tooth
Bang A Gong- T. Rex
Mississippi Queen- Mountain
Honky Tonk Women- Rolling Stones
Voodoo Child- Jimi Hendrix
Like A Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
Pinball Wizard- TheWho



Squints said...

Great list with a couple (Spirit, Talk Talk) I'ma have to check out.

Isn't the minimalism of the first two verses of "Honky Tonk Woman" simply grand?

As is Ian Hunter's sneering greeting to open "Once Bitten Twice Shy."

Anonymous said...

What a great idea for a mix!

First one not on your list that springs to mind is LZ's Rock & Roll.

One of these days maybe a bookend mix would be songs with great endings.


Sal Nunziato said...

Rock N Roll is a good one, for sure. But I was trying to avoid the Zep haters and their comments about Little Richard's Keep A Knockin, so I went with the very original Song Remains The Same.

jeff said...

funny, I was listening to this the other day and had the same reaction to it that I always have for the past 40 years or so, that this has to be one of the most thrilling openings in all of rock/pop music: "One Fine Day" by the Chiffons.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated

Fun list. Excellent call on Shaft. It's also arguably the greatest use of wah-wah pedal in popular music (hey, that might be a fun topic).

My own contributions to the theme:

*Like a Hurricane - Neil Young. He starts with those great descending octaves and you're immediately hooked.

* Schools Out - Alice Cooper- how snotty is that riff and guitar tone?

* 5th Symphony - Beethoven - I know, I know. But, really, is there any greater musical opening that the legendary "fate motif"?


elroy said...

Great idea for a mix! Thanks

Mr. Baez said...

Great idea and a a great set of songs. Perfect driving mix! Thanks Sal.
Since your Monday spot, I've been on a Beach Boys kick. I've always loved the intro of "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

Anonymous said...

Raspberries' "Go All the Way". Actually, the first three albums all kick off with the killer intro.


So. Much. Fun!

I love how -- for each of these songs -- those first few chords reminds me of the song to come AND how much I enjoyed the album.

Thanks Sal.

Anonymous said...

"Get Down With It" is certainly one of my top five favorite songs. Glad to see it given its due.

An addition to the list might be "Gimme Shelter". The intro never fails to get me.

itsok2beright said...

Shaft has such an awesome intro. Pinball Wizard and TSRTS really show the talent and versatility of Townsend and Page.

My choices:

Whole Lotta Rosie

Ogre Battle

Brian said...

Well the best 2 minute intro is found on Cheap Trick's Budokan recording of Ain't That a Shame.
And even though I may never want to hear it again, Sweet Home Alabama has a great opening. "Turn it up!"

rick said...

Great list. I've always been drawn right in by the opening of 'Back in the USSR' and by the flute and eerie laughter in the opening of Jethro Tull's 'With You There to Help Me'.

Anonymous said...

Lots to agree to above, but I'll add these that come to mind. Temps' "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", the apocalyptic windstorm going into the fattest bass notes of Les Thugs' "No. 6", bass and eerie guitar of Alice In Chains' "Would?", Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Moby Grape's "Omaha", the seemingly ramble that grows into a bass rumble of The Doors' "The End", the outrageous psychedelic outburst of the live "Ball & Chain" by Big Brother & The Holding Company, the similarly startling psychedelic burst of guitar at the start of Beatles' "It's All Too Much" (after the also-startling bark by someone saying something I've not ever understood), Hendrix's "Red House", the sublime beauty of Bobby Darin's live "If I Were A Carpenter" -- especially when that bass enters (a la The Doors' "The End"), the ominous tones and martial beat of the Airplane's "White Rabbit", the palpably fat, chewy guitar tone in Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky", and so many drum intros that slay me still: Zep's "When The Levee Breaks", Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", Fleetwood Mac's "Hypnotized", the Ventures' "Hawaii 5-0".
There are others, but I've got things to do today, goddamnit, so I'm gonna stop thinking on it. Great topic!
C in California

elroy said...

I love Pinball Wizard's opening. First time I saw The Who live I was very excited to see it in person and was looking forward to a Townsend-like flourish from Entwistle when he hit those great bass notes - that's how I would have played it! Of course, The Ox barely moved his fingers to play them...even cooler!

I'll toss in 2:

The opening of Got To Be A Better Way Home by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes from "Hearts of Stone". Love how that intro sets up the whole album!

And "Prelude/Angry Young Man" from Turnstiles by Billy Joel knocked me out for years, and that piano riff was awesome to see live.

cmealha said...

Nice subject for the blog. You should have kept Rock & Roll ;-). Now of my fave starts even if it was borrowed. It fit perfectly.

dogbreath said...

Stuck in the middle of a wet & windy nowhere waiting for an auto repairman, a cd burn of your mix for company was a lifesaver until help arrived so cheers for that! For my pre-Brexit ten pence worth I'd include just about any tune from AC/DC.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sal. This is a great mix.
I think the Fab Four mastered in this art: She loves you, All you need is love, Got to get you into my life...and so on.
But what about The Ronettes Be my baby intro? Just no words to describe it or Pink Floyd’s Time. Miami 2017 Songs in the Attic version...Bitter sweet symphony by The Verve, the best Jagger-Richards song of the last 30 years...

Anonymous said...

Me again. Sorry as this could be almost endless.

Keep talking by Floyd just popped up in iTunes. Those lines from Stephen Hawking. Just, literally, genius.


Sal Nunziato said...


How did I forget THAT?!

Anonymous said...

I am the God of hell fire! And I bring you ... A pretty lame song after that intro. But what a beginning!

Gene Oberto said...

White Room was one of my anticipatory openings.

Dave F said...

Two great instrumental openings: MFSB’s Thom Bell-arranged opening of The O’Jay’s “Backstabbers” And a certain famous bassist doing his thing onSister Sledge’s “He’s the Greatest Dancer.” And a spoken-word intro: Darlene Love on “He’s Sure the Boy I Love.”

Anonymous said...

Hmm, lots of great intros to digest here. Here's another few that catch my fancy:

Donovan - Season of the Witch, yeah.
Steely Dan - Reelin' in the Years opens with a full-on guitar solo
The Kinks - All Day & All of the Night
U2 - I Will Follow got me with that guitar coming out the ether and the little tinkling bells
Elvis Costello - Chelsea, lowdown & funky
GD - Uncle John's Band (lp version) pulls me in with its acoustic beauty

Have a great weekend all,