2009 Countdown: Best Opening Tracks

Yesterday, KEXP counted down what you voted as the Best Opening Track off an album, and no, it wasn’t Michael Jackson (although he ranked 18th). It’s no surprise that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from the Seattle grunge gods Nirvana took the number one spot. A reflection of our listeners’ diversity, the list contains artists new and old in a variety of genres, and even the top 10 tracks are well rounded with “Debaser” from the Pixies, “Like a Rolling Stone” from Bob Dylan, and “Just Like Honey” from The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Here is what you, the listeners, consider to be the best opening tracks of all time:

Rank Opening Track Band Album
110 Caribou Pixies Come On Pilgrim
109 Is There A Ghost Band of Horses Cease to Begin
108 It Was There That I Saw You: Source Tags and Codes And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead Source Tags and Codes
107 Cowboys Portishead Portishead
106 Song Remains the Same Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
105 Love Burns Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
104 I Will Follow U2 Boy
103 Packed Like Sardines In a Crushed Tin Box Radiohead Amnesiac
102 To Bring You My Love PJ Harvey To Bring You My Love
101 The District Sleeps At Home Tonight: Give Up Postal Service Give Up
100 Never Let Me Down Again: Music For The Masses Depeche Mode Music For the Masses
99 Love Vigilanties New Order Low Life
98 Leave Them All Behind Ride Going Blank Again
97 Secret Meeting The National Alligator
96 New Year Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism
95 She’s In Parties Bauhaus Burning From the Inside
94 Drive REM Automatic For the People
93 Kissing The Lipless The Shins Chutes Too Narrow
92 Baba O’Riley The Who Who’s Next
91 Speed Trials Elliott Smith Either/Or
90 Nebraska Bruce Springsteen Nebraska
89 2+2=5 (The Lukewarm) Radiohead Hail To the Thief
88 Rhymin & Stealin Beastie Boys License to Ill
87 Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
86 Message in a Bottle The Police Regatta de Blanc
85 Everything Hits At Once Spoon Girls Can Tell
84 Beautiful Day U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind
83 While You Were Sleeping Elvis Perkins Ash Wednesday
82 Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) Kate Bush Hounds of Love
81 Summer Babe (Winter Version) Pavement Slanted & Enchanted
80 Jimmy James Beastie Boys Check Your Head
79 15 Step Radiohead In Rainbows
78 Bombtrack Rage Against The Machine Rage Against the Machine
77 Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
76 Caring Is Creepy The Shins Oh, Inverted World
75 The Queen Is Dead The Smiths The Queen Is Dead
74 Fake Empire The National Boxer
73 Planet Telex Radiohead The Bends
72 My Name is Jonas Weezer Weezer
71 New Day Rising Husker Du New Day Rising
70 Finest Worksong R.E.M. Document
69 Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough Michael Jackson Off the Wall
68 I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles Please Please Me
67 I Am Trying to Break Your Heart Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
66 In The Flowers Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion
65 The Stars of Track and Field Belle and Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister
64 Bittersweet Symphony The Verve Urban Hymns
63 Age of Consent New Order Power Corruption & Lies
62 Untitled Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights
61 Radio Free Europe R.E.M. Murmur
60 I Am One Smashing Pumpkins Gish
59 Help! The Beatles Help
58 Disorder Joy Division Unknown Pleasures
57 Know Your Rights The Clash Combat Rock
56 3rd Planet Modest Mouse The Moon and Antarctica
55 Respect Aretha Franklin I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You
54 I Will Dare The Replacements Let It Be
53 Good Times Bad Times Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin I
52 Up A Beach Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking
51 Sympathy for the Devil The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
50 Tangled Up in Blue Bob Dylan Blood On the Tracks
49 Rid of Me PJ Harvey Rid of Me
48 Space Oddity David Bowie Space Oddity
47 Welcome to the Jungle Guns & Roses Appetite for Destruction
46 We Will Rock You Queen News Of the World
45 Let’s Go Crazy Prince Purple Rain
44 Foxy Lady Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced
43 Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
42 Boys Don’t Cry The Cure Boys Don’t Cry
41 Cherub Rock Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream
40 Plainsong The Cure Disintegration
39 What’s Going On Marvin Gaye What’s Going On
38 Who Loves the Sun Velvet Underground Loaded
37 Hells Bells AC/DC Back In Black
36 Search and Destroy The Stooges Raw Power
35 Taxman The Beatles Revolver
34 Fight Test Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
33 Burning Down the House Talking Heads Speaking In Tongues
32 Blitzkrieg Bop Ramones The Ramones
31 Hell’s Bells AC/DC Back In Black
30 Search and Destroy The Stooges The Stooges
29 Come Together The Beatles Abbey Road
28 Gloria U2 October
27 Wouldn’t It be Nice Beach Boys Pet Sounds
26 The Stone Roses The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
25 Get Up Stand Up Bob Marley and the Wailers Burnin’
24 Imagine John Lennon Imagine
23 Pink Moon Nick Drake Pink Moon
22 Only Shallow My Bloody Valentine Loveles
21 Devil’s Haircut Beck Odelay
20 Head Like a Hole Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine
19 Rusty Cage Soundgarden Badmotorfiner
18 Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ Michael Jackson Thriller
17 Sympathy for the Devil Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
16 Sunday Bloody Sunday U2 War
15 Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones Let It Bleed
14 Bone Machine Pixies Surfer Rosa
13 Angel Massive Attack Mezzanine
12 Break on Through The Doors The Doors
11 King of Carrot Flowers Neutral Milk Hotel In An Aeroplane Over the Sea
10 Just Like Honey Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy
9 Teenage Riot Sonic Youth Daydream Nation
8 Everything in Its Right Place Radiohead Kid A
7 Where The Streets Have No Name U2 The Joshua Tree
6 Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited
5 London Calling The Clash London Calling
4 Debaser Pixies Doolittle
3 Airbag Radiohead OK Computer
2 Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) Arcade Fire Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
1 Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana Nevermind

Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nevermind:

Nine Inch Nails “Head Like A Hole” from Pretty Hate Machine:

Beck live “Devil’s Haircut” from Odelay:

Pavement live “Summer Babe” from Slanted & Enchanted:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Love Burns” from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club:

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  1. Song Structure
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Ahhh Grunge…those were the days…how I miss thee. Though I guess we all still have the blessing that is PUSA still rockin’ around town.

  2. JasonT
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I am sad Lou Reed’s “Vicious” did not make the list, but, WOW!, what a great list it is!

  3. Amy
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Just a note, 30 and 36 – both the Stooges, both Search and Destroy, different albums.
    I’m printing out these lists for my children – especially the Best Cover Songs. Great category.

  4. Anna
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Two in the top 10 for Radiohead – the most of any other!!! Love this

  5. Jack
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    I was really hoping to see “The Wagon” by Dinosaur Jr. This is a great list none the less.

  6. zack
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    i thinks its great radiohead has so many songs on this list..

  7. james
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    this is a great list but Sympathy for the Devil is on the list twice, the song is awesome enough to be on there twice but I’m guessing it’s a mistake.

  8. Andrew
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I second the nomination the for Dinosaur Jr’s “The Wagon.” I would’ve lead the charge if I weren’t so out of the loop these days…..

  9. Alex
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    i made one of these lists myself. results can be seen here: http://sadsongsforimmaturelovers.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/you-must-be-a-masochist-to-love-a-modern-leper-on-his-last-legs/ .
    on the whol this is a pretty nice list, though. not too many arguments. :D

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