All Songs Rewind: The Best Opening Tracks : All Songs Considered All Songs intern Julian Ring picks his all-time favorite episode of the show, one that asks: Can you judge an album by its first song? For a handful of classic records, absolutely.

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
Cover for Dusty In Memphis

Dusty Springfield

  • Song: Just A Little Lovin'
  • from Dusty In Memphis
YouTube
Cover for Shake Some Action

The Flamin' Groovies

  • Song: Shake Some Action
  • from Shake Some Action
YouTube
Cover for Stained Class

Judas Priest

  • Song: Exciter
  • from Stained Class
YouTube
Cover for Saturation

Urge Overkill

  • Song: Sister Havana
  • from Saturation
YouTube
Cover for Nefertiti

Miles Davis

  • Song: Nefertiti
  • from Nefertiti
YouTube
Cover for In the Wee Small Hours

Frank Sinatra

  • Song: In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
  • from In the Wee Small Hours
YouTube
Cover for Let It Bleed

The Rolling Stones

  • Song: Gimme Shelter
  • from Let It Bleed
YouTube
Cover for Purple Rain

Prince & The Revolution

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

Note: This song is not available on YouTube.

Cover for More Songs About Buildings And Food

Talking Heads

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

Roxy Music

  • Song: Thrill Of It All
  • from Country Life
YouTube
Cover for Lou Reed

Lou Reed

  • Song: I Can't Stand It
YouTube
Cover for Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin

  • Song: Immigrant Song
  • from Led Zeppelin III
YouTube
Cover for In The Court Of The Crimson King

King Crimson

  • Song: 21st Century Schizoid Man
  • from In The Court Of The Crimson King
YouTube
Cover for Highway 61 Revisited

Bob Dylan

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