In yesterday’s Pretty Little Liars recap Tim called the opening line of The Outfield’s “Your Love” his favorite opening line to any song ever. He even dared me to come up with a list of songs topping it.
Well, in the immortal words of Barney Stinson…
And I have bad news for you, Tim, “Your Love” doesn’t even crack my Top 50.
Of course, the topic raises several tricky questions: What constitutes an opening line? The first complete sentence? The first rhyming couplet? Until the first pause? And what criteria should we use to evaluate “the best” opening line? The catchiest? The most memorable?
I ended up being pretty flexible on both questions. Some of these lyrics were chosen because they are legitimately great lyrics. Others were chosen because of how they’re sung. Others are chosen because they are the most iconic moments of great songs. I’m sure I’m forgetting some great ones (I had only one day, chill out!), but here is an initial draft of the Top 50 opening lines in music history: Continue reading »
In last Friday’s edition of the Bob Dylan Rankings, I linked to Led Zeppelin’s version of “In My Time of Dying” from Physical Graffiti, an 11-minute blues rock rendition of the song that somehow doesn’t feel as long as Dylan’s version, which clocks in at just over two and half minutes. This got me thinking about the somewhat lost art of the long rock song. I’m not just talking about long by the standard definition of long—I’m talking about songs that make “Stairway to Heaven” and “Free Bird” feel inadequate. Pop songs over 10 minutes have always been rare for the obvious reason that sustaining interest for that long is quite difficult. When a song does manage to maintain an exciting and powerful sound over such lengths, particularly one that steadily evolves, it can result in a totally riveting song. There are actually a surprising number of great, marathon-length songs; putting together a Top 10 list was a surprisingly difficult task. Here are some notable songs that didn’t make the cut: Continue reading »