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20 Greatest Opening Lines In Songs

June 8, 2018

What is the sign of great songwriting? We can all probably think of at least one line in a song that really sticks with us and we return to again and again. There are those songs with choruses that embed in our head forever. And there are those songs we’ve heard many times only to suddenly understand a deeper meaning to the lyrics. But what about those rare songs that grab your attention right from the outset? It takes a lot of talent to write a great opening line, one that makes the audience sit up and listen. It can be a powerful and proactive statement, a perfect set-up to the rest of the song, or something so outrageous it just stays with you. Across generations of music and throughout all genres, there are those songs that came right out of the gate with something special. Let’s take a look at some music’s greatest opening lines.

  1. “As he came into the window/It was the sound of a crescendo”Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson
  2. “Old man take a look at my life/I’m a lot like you were”Old Man by Neil Young
  3. “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain”Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
  4. “In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey”Loser by Beck
  5. “I am a lineman for the county/And I drive the main road/Searchin’ in the sun for another overload”Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell
  6. “And now, the end is here/And so I face the final curtain”My Way by Frank Sinatra
  7. “I may not always love you/But as long as there are stars above you/You never need to doubt it…” God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
  8. “Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night/Now they blew up his house too”Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen
  9. “I am an antichrist”Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols
  10. “Don’t call it a comeback”Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J
  11. “It was Christmas Eve, babe/In the drunk tank”Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues
  12. “I see a red door and I want to paint it black/No colours anymore, I want them to turn black”Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones
  13. “It’s so relieving/To know that you’re leaving as soon as you get paid”Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle by Nirvana
  14. “All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray/I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day”California Dreaming by The Mamas And The Papas
  15. “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away/Now it looks as though they’re here to stay”Yesterday by The Beatles
  16. “Get your motor runnin’/Head out on the highway”Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
  17. “Once upon a time you dressed so fine/You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?”Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
  18. “Please allow me to introduce myself/I’m a man of wealth and taste”Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones
  19. “Hello darkness, my old friend/I’ve come to talk with you again”The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
  20. “I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin’ about half past dead/I just need some place where I can lay my head”The Weight by The Band

What’s your favourite opening line in a song?

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