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All Songs Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks

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All Songs Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks

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All Songs Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks

All Songs Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks

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Clockwise from upper left: Miles Davis, Dusty Springfield, Talking Heads. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

Clockwise from upper left: Miles Davis, Dusty Springfield, Talking Heads.

Courtesy of the artists

Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are still out of the office, so contributor Katie Presley and intern Julian Ring are ending their week-long All Songs Considered takeover by revisiting Julian's favorite episode of all time.

Can you judge an album by its first song? For a handful of classic records, absolutely.

In 2010, Bob Boilen asked listeners to submit their picks for the best opening tracks of all time. A week later, he invited Monitor Mix blogger Carrie Brownstein and Tom Moon, author of 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, for a roundtable discussion about the best side-one-track-ones ever.

I vividly recall listening to this podcast while on a road trip with my father. We cranked these game-changing picks — songs by Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Gang Of Four — through our minivan's sound system, making the desert of northern Nevada seem to cruise by.

As with every All Songs show, the commentary was my favorite part. Moon is right when he says songs like "Let's Go Crazy" set the tone of the entire album to come — in Prince's case, a manic, glam frenzy of sexual bravado. The group looked at what kind of statement an opening song can make and celebrated the myriad ways artists have surprised and delighted us from the get-go.

Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks Ever?

Cover for Entertainment!

Gang Of Four

  • Song: Ether
  • from Entertainment!
YouTube

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Song
Entertainment!
Album
Entertainment!
Artist
Gang Of Four
Label
EMI Gold
Released
1979

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Dusty Springfield

  • Song: Just A Little Lovin'
  • from Dusty In Memphis
YouTube

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Song
Dusty In Memphis
Album
Dusty In Memphis
Artist
Dusty Springfield
Label
Rhino
Released
1969

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The Flamin' Groovies

  • Song: Shake Some Action
  • from Shake Some Action
YouTube

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Song
Shake Some Action
Album
Shake Some Action
Artist
The Flamin' Groovies
Label
DBK Works
Released
1976

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Judas Priest

  • Song: Exciter
  • from Stained Class
YouTube

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Song
Stained Class
Album
Stained Class
Artist
Judas Priest
Label
Sony/Epic
Released
1978

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Urge Overkill

  • Song: Sister Havana
  • from Saturation
YouTube

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Song
Saturation
Album
Saturation
Artist
Urge Overkill
Label
DGC (David Geffen Company)
Released
1993

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Miles Davis

  • Song: Nefertiti
  • from Nefertiti
YouTube

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Song
Nefertiti
Album
Nefertiti
Artist
Miles Davis
Label
Columbia/Legacy
Released
2007

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Frank Sinatra

  • Song: In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
  • from In the Wee Small Hours
YouTube

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Song
In the Wee Small Hours
Album
In the Wee Small Hours
Artist
Frank Sinatra
Label
Japanese Import

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The Rolling Stones

  • Song: Gimme Shelter
  • from Let It Bleed
YouTube

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Song
Let It Bleed
Album
Let It Bleed
Artist
The Rolling Stones
Label
ABKCO

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Prince & The Revolution

  • Song: Let's Go Crazy
  • from Purple Rain

Note: This song is not available on YouTube.

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Song
Purple Rain
Album
Purple Rain
Artist
Prince & The Revolution
Label
Warner Bros.
Released
2009

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Talking Heads

  • Song: Thank You For Sending Me An Angel
  • from More Songs About Buildings And Food
YouTube

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Song
More Songs About Buildings And Food
Album
More Songs About Buildings And Food
Artist
Talking Heads
Label
Warner Bros.
Released
1978

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Roxy Music

  • Song: Thrill Of It All
  • from Country Life
YouTube

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Song
Country Life
Album
Country Life
Artist
Roxy Music
Label
Reprise
Released
1974

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Lou Reed

  • Song: I Can't Stand It
YouTube

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Song
Lou Reed
Album
Lou Reed
Artist
Lou Reed
Label
BMG International
Released
1972

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Led Zeppelin

  • Song: Immigrant Song
  • from Led Zeppelin III
YouTube

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Song
Led Zeppelin III
Album
Led Zeppelin III
Artist
Led Zeppelin
Label
Atlantic
Released
1970

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King Crimson

  • Song: 21st Century Schizoid Man
  • from In The Court Of The Crimson King
YouTube

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Song
In The Court Of The Crimson King
Album
In The Court Of The Crimson King
Artist
King Crimson
Label
Discipline Global Mobile
Released
1969

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Bob Dylan

  • Song: Like A Rolling Stone
  • from Highway 61 Revisited
YouTube

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Song
Highway 61 Revisited
Album
Highway 61 Revisited
Artist
Bob Dylan
Label
Sony International
Released
1965

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