Sunday, December 7, 2014

Top 40 Song Intros PT.1

PT. 1 (1-20)

The introduction to a song is perhaps the most important part because it's what we first hear and it's what first pulls us in. Here are my Top 40 best song intros for classic pop/rock/blues genres, mostly from the 60s and 70s, with a few from the 80s and 90s.

1. Come Together (The Beatles)
Paul's cool repeating bass line, Ringo's dampened drum rolls, and John's whisper-like "Shoot me" are amazing to behold. You know something special  is about to happen, and you're not disappointed when it does.

2. Riders on the Storm (The Doors)
The wind, rain, and thunder are a perfect fit with the eighth-note bass line; the electric piano wake up notes are followed by a pedal sustain run down the keyboard to set up the main piano groove.

3. Chest Fever (The Band)
The very first three organ notes grab your attention and twist and move into a grinding sound that shakes the ground. A quick glissando launches the main lick which is the foundation of the song. The 16th note piano vamp and the electric guitar fills add tension.

4. Turn! Turn! Turn! (The Byrds)
Two Rickenbacker 12 strings with falling chord fingering and punchy starts and stops make this the signature song of folk/rock.

5. Money for Nothing (Dire Straits)
The angelic, electronic keyboard pads and falsetto "I want my MTV" are overtaken by pounding drums rolls that lead to a first rate rough and ready electric guitar riff that becomes the music refrain of the song.

6. Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Great drum beat sets up an unforgettable funky clavinet riff that sustains the song.

7. Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group)
Simple bass riff and primitive pounding drums provide a great backdrop to the drone of the Hammond organ. The vocal punctuation "Hey" announces the first verse.

8. Eli’s Coming (Laura Nyro)
The haunting first organ note is full of drama and sets the stage for Nyro's voice with its own powerful dynamics. The soft horn textures lead into a gospel like piano vamp that establishes the song's driving beat.

9. Philosopher's Stone (Van Morrison)
Beautiful piano and organ parts compliment each other and set the stage for Van's meditation on searching for meaning.

10. The Way It Is (Bruce Hornsby)
A brilliant piano introduction, free form at first, but then joining the drum beat with the song's main piano motif.

11. A Change Is Gonna Come (Otis Redding)
The beautiful horn intro against the falling piano chords ends to leave a silent space that perfectly sets up Redding's signature worried line singing.

12. Wooden Ships (CSN)
The dampened guitar notes at the beginning set the rhythm and introduce bold chords and aggressive lead work against standout out bass lines; seamlessly the guitar lead changes to a more mellow tone to set up the first lyrics.

13. Love and Happiness (Al Green)
The first solo guitar chord brings in the title vocal line. Green worries the lines as only he can do. Five foot taps and a great guitar lick start the three chord turn around to verse one.

14. Norwegian Wood
The first part of a memorable melody is repeated, the second time around by a sitar, something quite unique for popular music.

15. Smokestack Lightning (Howlin’ Wolf)
One of the the best guitar riffs of all time; raw, direct, hypnotic and a perfect match for Wolf's growling voice.

16. Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)
The Bach-derived organ introduction is a hallmark in rock music history.

17. & 18. Brown Sugar, Give Me Shelter (Rolling Stones)
Two guitars working great together with a solid drum beat create a sound that does New Orleans proud.

Haunting electric guitar chords and lead work along with the ethereal oohs build to a strong back beat to launch the opening verse. Very memorable.

19. California Girls (Beach Boys)
The smooth, lilting guitar and bass joined by the horn section provide a nice contrast to the electric organ/bass vamp that starts the first verse.

20. Your Love is Forever (George Harrison)
The beautiful chordal melody and harmonics set this lovely song in motion. The guitar tone surrounds the song with warmth and love.

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