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40 of the Best Songs from Side One, Track One

In addition to being great in and of itself, a solid opening track can set the tone for the album, and even act as an introduction for the artist. Here are 40 of the best songs from side one, track one (or, alternatively, track one on the CD.) Please add to this list in the comments.

1. Miles Davis’s “So What” from 1959’s Kind of Blue

2. Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” from 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited

3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Purple Haze” from the North American edition of 1967’s Are You Experienced

4. The Beatles’ “Come Together” from 1969’s Abbey Road

5. King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” from 1969’s In the Court of the Crimson King

6. The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” from 1969’s Let It Bleed

7. The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” from 1971’s Sticky Fingers

8. The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” from 1971’s Who’s Next

9. John Lennon’s “Imagine” from 1971’s Imagine

10. Yes’s “Close to the Edge” from 1972’s Close to the Edge

11. Muddy Waters’s “Mannish Boy” from 1977’s Hard Again

12. Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” from 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps

13. The Clash’s “London Calling” from 1979’s London Calling

14. AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” from 1980’s Back in Black

15. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” from 1984’s Born in the U.S.A.

16. Metallica’s “Battery” from 1986’s Master of Puppets

17. U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” from 1987’s The Joshua Tree

18. Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Ain’t No Joke” from 1987’s Paid in Full

19. Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” from 1987’s Appetite for Destruction

20. Metallica’s “Blackened” from 1988’s …And Justice for All

21. Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” (Live Acoustic) from 1989’s Freedom

22. The Tragically Hip’s “Blow at High Dough” from 1989’s Up to Here

23. Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” from 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine

24. Ministry’s “Thieves” from 1989’s The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste *NSFW language*

25. Massive Attack’s “Safe from Harm” from 1991’s Blue Lines

26. Temple of the Dog’s “Say Hello 2 Heaven” from 1991’s Temple of the Dog

27. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from 1991’s Nevermind

28. Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” from 1991’s Badmotorfinger

29. Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” from 1993’s Siamese Dream

30. Counting Crows’ “Round Here” from 1993’s August and Everything After

31. Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bring da Ruckus” from 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) *NSFW language*

32. Tricky’s “Overcome” from 1995’s Maxinquaye

33. Meshuggah’s “Future Breed Machine” from 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve

34. Rage Against the Machine’s “People of the Sun” from 1996’s Evil Empire

35. Tool’s “Stinkfist” from 1996’s Ænima

36. Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged” from 1999’s The Fragile *NSFW language*

37. Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place” from 2000’s Kid A

38. Muse’s “Take a Bow” from 2006’s Black Holes and Revelations

39. Matthew Good’s “Champions of Nothing” from 2007’s Hospital Music

40. Nile’s “Kafir” from 2009’s Those Whom the Gods Detest

6 thoughts on “40 of the Best Songs from Side One, Track One

  • Great list, Adam. Glad you managed to fit Champions of Nothing in among these heavyweights. It really is a brilliant song; Matt Good at his best.

    Here’s 15 others I really enjoy (alphabetically):

    The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (from The Suburbs, 2010)
    Depeche Mode – World in my Eyes (from Violator, 1990)
    Drive by Truckers – Where the Devil Don’t Stay (from The Dirty South, 2004)
    Explosions in the Sky – First Breath After a Coma (from The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place, 2005)
    Iggy & The Stooges – Search and Destroy (from Raw Power, 1973)
    Judas Priest – Victim of Changes (from Sad Wings of Destiny, 1976)
    Kings of Leon – Knocked Up (from Because of the Times, 2007)
    Massive Attack – Angel (from Mezzanine, 1998)
    Mastodon – Blood and Thunder (from Leviathan, 2004)
    Monster Magnet – Dopes to Infinity (from Dopes to Infinity, 1995)
    Motorhead – Overkill (from Overkill, 1979)
    Nine Inch Nails – Somewhat Damaged (from The Fragile, 1999)
    Opeth – Wreath (from Deliverance, 2002)
    Pink Floyd – One of These Days (from Meddle, 1971)
    Turbonegro – The Age of Pamparius (from Apocalypse Dudes, 1998)

    Also, if someone was to redo this list in a few years, I’d have to think “Offred” from Dan Mangan + Blacksmith’s new album would be up for consideration. Great track, just hasn’t grown on me like some of the others yet.

    • Thanks! Great additions, too. Love those Opeth and Massive Attack songs.

  • Chromatics 2012 album Kill For Love opens with a cover of Into The Black (the closer on your #12 Rust Never Sleeps), leaving the title track in the #2 spot.

  • Good Times, Bad Times – Led Zeppelin (can’t believe you missed that one)
    Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady from ‘Stay Positive’
    Closer – Kings Of Leon from whatever that giant album was called.
    Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins from Mellon Collie


  • Big ones for me I think others would appreciate are:

    -I Wanna Be Adored by the Stone Roses.
    -Movin’ On Up by Primal Scream
    -Hard to Laugh by Pursuit of Happiness
    -Kill Your Television by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
    -Ich Bin Ein Auslander by Pop Will Eat Itself
    -Knives by Therapy?
    -Dry the Rain by Beta Band
    -Love Burns by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    -Surfin’ USM by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
    -Shine by Collective Soul
    -Chinese Burn by Curve
    -Born of Frustration by James
    -Ladykillers by Lush
    -Rock & Roll Star by Oasis

    My personal favourite is Monochrome by Covenant


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