What Are Your Favorite Song Intros?

If you follow Rick Beato’s Everything Music channel on YouTube, you’ll frequently hear him comment (correctly, IMO) that pop music doesn’t have room to breathe anymore. Gone is space for the songs to grow and unfold. One example Beato sites is Smells Like Teen Spirit. There is over 30 seconds of music before Kurt Cobain drops the first lyric. Rick argues that pop music just doesn’t allow that to happen anymore. In large part I agree with Rick and have been thinking about what I consider to be some great song intros. I’ll drop just a small handful of my favorite here and encourage the community to add their picks. I won’t get too picky on the rules either, because there are lots of ways to let a slong build and grow.

Metallica - Enter Sandman

You had to see that one coming. A masterstroke of unfolding the main (and killer!) riff a few bars at a time. It takes nearly a full minute of chugging through just a little bit more of that riff before a drum build sets up the unleashing of the riff that arguably mainstreamed truly heavy metal.

Uriah Heep - Gypsy

Proto-metal from 1970. Organ, bass guitar, drums, electric guitar, each given their own path to build and respond to each other for nearly 80 seconds before any lyrics happen.

Journey - Don’t Stop Believin’

This song is almost ALL build. It’s 3:20 into a 4:10 song before the familiar "Don’t Stop Believin’’ refrain sung at literally every sporting event ever happens. Yeah, that kinda structure is rare and hardly ever happened even back then.

Dire Straits - Money For Nothing

Do I need to comment? No. But I will anyway. Mark Knoppfler’s guitar work on those iconic riffs that drop at 1:36 don’t actually repeat themselves. It’s genius how he subtly tweaks them each time through.

Is it cheating to go full prog? I say no:

Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons

The first movement is prog metal perfection.

Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize

A slow burn. It feels like something is weighing the song down for several minutes, slowly kicking against the goads and kicking at the boundaries before it explodes into a metal fury. Propelled along by some masterful drum work.

Underoath - Casting Such a Thin Shadow

A bit more obscure, but I love the soundscape that it paints in that first half.

Alright, no firm rules. I’ve clearly slanted rock/metal here and I’m sure other genres have great intros too. Please share!

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Oh missed this one off…

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i’ve loved this intro for almost my entire life. i still come back to it and use it to gauge how a headphone is tuned because i know exactly how its supposed to sound.

oh and the fucking youtube compression on that is awful. tidal really lets the separation exist.

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Filter have a nice simple intro which builds:

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The calm and slow acoustic guitar just does it for me on this track, which is perhaps Kyuss’ best song.

And here, with Helmet, its the complete opposite, the energetic electric guitar and heavy hitting drums set the stage for the track right off the bat.

AND, if i may cheat and go with an album intro, its gotta be Kool Keith’s “Why?” intro from Black Elvis/Lost in Space.

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Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell just takes its time to introduce you to how the song works.

Heilung - Hamrer Hippyer
You stumbled through a gap in time ending up in germanic forest and hear some chants.

Zoë Keating - Escape Artist

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Love a good piano intro:

And some sax:

Because I’m all over the map:

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Turnip farm by Dinosaur Jr. starts with a guitar solo!!!

The intro to Thiely by Étoile de Dakar has a great guitar pick and when Youssou N’Dour starts singing it always give me the chills.

The a la menthe by La Caution (french rap) made famous by being the laser dance scene from Ocean’s Twelve.

Whistling intro, no comment:

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A little mainstream but still great:

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Hi! Welcome to HFGF!

I dig this track too. “Mainstream” doesn’t automatically mean “bad.” But it does increase the odds of music being “bad” unfortunately. At least these days, it seems.

always liked the start

by far and away my favorite start to a song.

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never heard of her before. she is talented.

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I was :pinching_hand: close to including this one in my OG post, but if I posted ALL the great intros I like I’d still be working on the first post, lol.

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i feel like this topic can not be talked about without probably the most famous song intro ever.

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It really got me! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: