Sunday, December 7, 2014

Top 40 Song Intros Pt.2

PT. 2 (21-40)

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.

21. Layla (Derek & The Dominos)
One of the most memorable guitar riffs to start a rock song-- equal parts strength and melody ending in a strong minor chord.

22. Whipping Post (Allman Brothers Band)
Great bass line joined by guitar one then guitar two create a blues/rock sound that nicely sets up the vocal to this signature Allman Brothers song.

23. Proud Mary (Credence Clearwater Revival)
This intro chord pattern has become synonymous with rollin' on a river. They really lift the energy level.

24. One of These Nights (Eagles)
A nice bass lick played against a chop guitar, later joined by sustained guitar harmony notes which come to a four beat dramatic halt to start the verse.

25. Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)
A drum flam sets up one of the most memorable guitar riffs in classic rock. Definitely gets your attention-- simple, direct, and effective.

26. Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
Solid drum beat sets up the riff that can only mean one thing-- Pretty Woman is about to start.

27. Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
Moody electronic keyboard pad leads to a sparkling rhythmic guitar that joins a heavy kick drum centered beat with bass.

28. I’m a Man/Mannish Boy (Muddy Waters)
Solo guitar and vocal ad lib quickly jump to the famous 5 note no nonsense lick that is a perfect fit for the lyric.

29. Fire Rain (James Taylor)
Smooth, melodic finger style acoustic guitar work that became the signature style of James Taylor. No one does it better.

30. Knock On Wood (Eddie Floyd)
Classic soul horn section piece that all other are judged against.

31. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendix)
This intro riff opened a new door to what was possible with an electric guitar. With Jimi Hendrix a basic blues lick becomes something completely new.

32. I'll Take You There (Staple Singers)
One beat drum starts clean guitar and electric piano lick. Horns start and stop and Mavis's gospel style ad libs lead to the first line, "I know a place."

33. We Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)
Measures of eighth note electronic keyboard set up guitar power chords and distinctive high energy drum beat.

34. Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
Another memorable and forceful guitar riff starts this classic rock song and drives each verse.

35. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
This classic of the classics is where rock lead guitar came from.

36. Papa Was a Rolling Stone – full version (The Temptations)
This intro is quite an arrangement in itself. Bass and hi hat start strong rhythm; then strings and wah wah guitar, then trumpet solo followed by Wurlizer; then hand clapping and kick with strings coming and going until the first vocal line.

37. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)
Grunge bands probably liked the power chords in this intro.

38. Dance To The Music (Sly & The Family Stone)
Dynamic horn section against strong back beat set up a cool four measure a cappella section, followed by the title line chorus. Hard to tell where the intro stops and the main song begins, but who cares. It all works.

39. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Unique bass and snare drum provide backdrop for a haunting, flamenco style guitar line.

40. Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out of Tune (Jack Bruce)
Great bass and horn arrangement that could only come from Jack Bruce.

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