Famous First Words
September 6, 2007 7:30 PM   Subscribe

The 25 Best Pop Song Opening Lyrics, like EVER - a spinner.com 'hit list', complete with wry commentary and abruptly cut-off audio clips. Bonus: 25 more, suggested by people who don't work for the webside.

If you are as annoyed by the one-item-per-page format as I am (and if you don't have AdBlock, the video ads are extra annoying), here they all are sorted by artist name:

50 Cent #22, Fiona Apple #24, The Beatles #4 R11, Beck #7, Bon Jovi #10, Johnny Cash R13, The Carpenters #6, Elvis Costello #11, The Doors R8, The Eagles R14, Erik B and Rakim R12, Merle Haggard #18, Jimi Hendrix #14, Human League #25, Michael Jackson #15, Joe Jackson R5, Rick James #1, Jefferson Airplane R18, Led Zeppelin R10, Jerry Lee Lewis R24, LL Cool J #5, Lynyrd Skynyrd R6, Madonna R21, George Michael #19, Nirvana R19, Roy Orbison #12, Ozzy Osbourne R23, Pavement #16, Carl Perkins #8, Tom Petty R20, Prince #17 R25, The Ramones #3, Otis Redding R15, The Righteous Brothers #23, The Rolling Stones #2 R1, Bob Seger R17, The Sex Pistols #20, Simon & Garfunkel #21, Paul Simon R22, Sir Mix-A-Lot (!?!) R2, The Smiths R16, Patti Smith #9, Bruce Springsteen R4, Rod Stewart R7, Three Dog Night (?)R3,Weezer #13, Warren Zevon R9.
posted by wendell (254 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
None of these songs wendell.
posted by Poolio at 7:31 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


This post would be almost perfect if you added hover tags containing the opening lyrics to the songs mentioned.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:34 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"50 Cent ... best ... lyrics"

these words will never ever be this close to each other ever again.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:37 PM on September 6, 2007


ha. and now that I clicked through, it's the "fitty" lyric that was not only a)an inane cliche before he ever used it and b) the one he actually got sued for plagarism over, I think
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:38 PM on September 6, 2007


It dosen't include "In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream.." or "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste.." and is thus clueless.
posted by jonmc at 7:41 PM on September 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Don't be a playa hata, drjimmy11.
posted by Poolio at 7:41 PM on September 6, 2007


Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste...
posted by Poolio at 7:44 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, where the hell is "awopbopaloobopawopbamboom!" for cryin' out loud?
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on September 6, 2007


someone tie up jonmc.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:46 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


what's that the opening line to? something by Arcade Fire?
posted by jonmc at 7:47 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walking through the streets of Soho in the rain.
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:48 PM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Is there anybody going to listen to my story, all about the girl who came to stay?

Sorry, that one trumps 'em all for me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:49 PM on September 6, 2007


!?!

Dude, come on. Sir Mix-A-Lot should have been number frickin' ONE!

"I like big butts and I cannot lie".

It's Shakesperean in its simplicity and its succinct summary of the entire piece. You other brothers can deny.
posted by GuyZero at 7:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [18 favorites]


Spent some time feelin' inferior, standing in front of my mirror..
posted by jonmc at 7:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can someone knock together the list in a way that doesn't make me want to stab anyone?
posted by klangklangston at 7:55 PM on September 6, 2007


Standing on the water, casting your bread, while the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
posted by flarbuse at 7:55 PM on September 6, 2007


Standin' on the corner, suitcase in my hand....

Teddy's sniffin' glue, he was 12 years old, fell from the roof on east two nine...
posted by jonmc at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


what's that the opening line to? something by Arcade Fire?

Arcade Fire Lyrics should have it. I guess it depends which song you mean.

I like "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)": I woke up with the power out, not really something to shout about.

But it's not really that much of a grabber by itself, although I love the song.
posted by GuyZero at 7:59 PM on September 6, 2007


I met her in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola
C-O-L-A Cola.
posted by Sailormom at 8:00 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


She was a fast machine she kept her motor clean she was the best damn woman I had ever seen.
posted by Sailormom at 8:02 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste.." and is thus clueless.

Well, it was the #1 pick in the Reader's Choice list.
posted by GuyZero at 8:02 PM on September 6, 2007


I. AM. IRON. MAN.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:05 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not that they're necessarily the best opening lyrics, but two fabulous songs that open with the date probably deserve an honorable mention:

"It was the third of June,
another sleepy, dusty Delta day..."

"It was the third of September,
That day I'll always remember..."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:07 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I met him in a swamp down in Dagobah where it bubbles all the time just like a carbonated soda S-O-D-A soda.
posted by mrnutty at 8:07 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, the #1 Worst Lyric of All Time, by the same outfit. smooth navigator, heh
posted by GuyZero at 8:09 PM on September 6, 2007


Well they shot four men in a cocaine deal, left 'em lying in open field, with old cars, with bullet holes...
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wendell, you can be forgiven because you did it as a public service, but is there anybody on the planet willing to click the "next" button twenty five times just to make it through the end of that list? Twice that if you want to read the readers suggestions.

Yeah, ad revenue is nice I guess but can they show any more contempt for their readers?
posted by mragreeable at 8:16 PM on September 6, 2007


"FLY~ING to the Rising Sun"
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:21 PM on September 6, 2007


"Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again"
--Joan Baez: Diamonds And Rust
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:23 PM on September 6, 2007


Early one morning while making the rounds/ I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my lady down.
posted by klangklangston at 8:24 PM on September 6, 2007


I never noticed, but those 80's/early 90's songs sure liked them long intros.
posted by RavinDave at 8:26 PM on September 6, 2007


Nice girl's not one with a defect,
Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct,
Red dogs under illegal legs:
She looks so good that he gets down and begs.

posted by Kinbote at 8:26 PM on September 6, 2007


Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
posted by oddman at 8:27 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Memphis; she tried to take me upstairs for a ride...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:28 PM on September 6, 2007


And the band played on
As the helicopters whirred
Drunk on the lawn in a nuclear dawn
My senses finally blurred

posted by darksasami at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


So you think you can tell heaven from hell...
posted by dilettante at 8:34 PM on September 6, 2007


"So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain."
posted by davy at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2007


I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison.
posted by LarryC at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn you dilettante!
posted by davy at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2007


Poor call on the Dylan - Watchtower's finest line is toward the end ("Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late") and here are an easy half-dozen better opening salvos from the master:

Johnny's in the basement mixin' up the medicine, I'm on the pavement thinkin' 'bout the government

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Eastertime too

God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last

Darkness at the break of noon

You've got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend
posted by gompa at 8:36 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison."

That's not the FIRST LINE, LarryC.
posted by davy at 8:37 PM on September 6, 2007


Nobody's going to give a shout out to "Respect"?! What you want, baby I got it. Perfection.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:38 PM on September 6, 2007


jonmc said: It dosen't include "In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream.."

At least the readers had the good sense to choose at least one Springsteen opening line (from "Thunder Road"): "The screen door slams. Mary's dress sways..."
posted by amyms at 8:39 PM on September 6, 2007


And moving beyond Dylan:

I'm an American aquarium drinker, I assassin down the avenue

The ashtray says you've been up all night

When you're back in your old neighbourhood the cigarettes taste so good

I dreamed about killing you again last night and it felt alright to me
posted by gompa at 8:41 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


They didn't include this one either: "Well, Billy rapped all night about his suicide. How he'd kick it in the head when he was 25." (Mott The Hoople, "All The Young Dudes")
posted by amyms at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2007


I met my love by the gas works' wall.
posted by Jimbob at 8:47 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


And in the death
As the last few corpses lay rotting on the shiny thoroughfare
The shutters lift an inch in Temperance Building, high on Poacher's Hill
And red mutant eyes gaze down on hunger city
No more big wheels
posted by trip and a half at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


To defend 50 Cent, I always thought this was a ear-grabbing opening line: "Coming up I was confused/My mama kissing a girl"

Hell, his lyrics in Hate It or Love It are great. Too bad about The Game.

Well, if I had to pick my favorite opening lines I'd go with Blur's End of a Century: She says there's ants in the carpet/Dirty little monsters

But that's a purely subjective call. I don't think I can separate my feelings from opinions when it comes to pop.
posted by Kattullus at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2007


I woke up this morning with a bad hangover, and my penis was missing again.
posted by oddman at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Oh where have you been, my blue-eyed son?"
posted by docpops at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2007


The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling way down in the valley tonight

She's got a smile that it seems to me reminds me of childhood memories

Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty

I hurt myself today to see if I still feel

Billy Ray was the preacher's son and when his daddy would visit he'd come along

How do you do, I see you've met my faithful handyman
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2007


Did you never call? I waited for your call
posted by dw at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2007


"It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore..." (CSN&Y, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes")
posted by amyms at 8:52 PM on September 6, 2007


Oooh and I can't forget Billy Bragg:

I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I'm 22 now but I won't be for long.
posted by Jimbob at 8:52 PM on September 6, 2007


This is the end, beautiful friends.
posted by event at 8:59 PM on September 6, 2007


Electric Six:

"I wanna take you to a gay bar!"
posted by zardoz at 9:00 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Goering's on the phone to Freiburg"

"Are you ready Steve?"

"Well I don't know why I came here tonight"
posted by davy at 9:03 PM on September 6, 2007


And hell, we could make an all-Zevon list.

-I went home with the waitress, the way I always do

-I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand walking through the streets of Soho in the rain

-There's a way to live that's right for us, like Mayans in Manhattan and Los Angeles

-I can saw a woman in two, but you won't want to look in the box when I do

-Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun

-I'd lay my head on the railroad tracks and wait for the Double "E"

-Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best and he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest

-If you're all alone and you need someone, call me up and I'll come running

-Grandpa pissed his pants again; he don't give a damn

-Leave my monkey alone.

-Hell is only half full, there's room for you and me

-I had the shit until it all got smoked

-I was staying at the Marriott with Jesus and John Wayne

-I like to think I've earned my reputation for rushing in where angels fear to tread

-Don't let us get sick. Don't let us get old. Don't let us get stupid, all right?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:04 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


i can't get no satisfaction
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 PM on September 6, 2007


Welcome to your life
There's no turning back
posted by oddman at 9:10 PM on September 6, 2007


Jane says I'm done with Sergio.

Driving that train high on cocaine.

Everyday, it's a gettin' closer, goin' faster than a roller coaster,
love like yours will surely come my way.

Good post wendell.
posted by Sailormom at 9:14 PM on September 6, 2007


"Debra was a catholic girl, she held out to the bitter end"
posted by maxwelton at 9:15 PM on September 6, 2007


well i thought about the army / dad said, "son you're fucking high"
posted by ALongDecember at 9:20 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here, have a dollar, in fact no brotherman here, have two...

It's the perfect time of year
Somewhere far away from here...

Wouldn't it be nice if we were older...

There are places I remember...

My child arrived just the other day;
He came to the world in the usual way...

Poor old Johnny Ray... Sounded sad upon the radio, he moved a million hearts in mono...

Sunshine go away today;
I don't feel much like dancing...

Muskrat Susie... Muskrat Sam...
Do the jitterbug down in Muskratland...

posted by wendell at 9:22 PM on September 6, 2007


Your favourite this list sucks.
posted by pompomtom at 9:23 PM on September 6, 2007


(I almost forgot...)
There's an old Australian stockman lying, dying...
posted by wendell at 9:24 PM on September 6, 2007


I'm with Jimbob - Billy Bragg is an absolute master of cramming an entire song's worth of atmosphere and intent into an opening line:

With the money from her accident she bought herself a mobile home - and the scene, character and mood of 'Levi Stubb's Tears' are set perfectly.

Other times, he'll establish that famous Bragg wit, a strong idea of the obsessive nature of love AND a quite extraordinary lexicographical observation:

Between Marx and Marzipan in the dictionary, there was Mary
posted by bunglin jones at 9:28 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Sitting on a park bench"

"I really don't mind if you sit this one out"

"Walking through forests of palm tree apartments"

"Just a little touch of make-up; just a little touch of bull"

"Muscled, black with steel-green eye"
posted by davy at 9:28 PM on September 6, 2007


We're no strangers to love; you know the rules, and so do I.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:29 PM on September 6, 2007


"Son, I'm thirty, I only went with your mother cos she's dirty" - Happy Mondays, Kinky Afro

"I don't believe in an interventionist god" - Nick Cave, Into Your Arms

Shane MacGowan's got a bunch:
"Here a tower shinning bright once stood gleaming in the night";
"One summer evening, drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless"

not forgetting what might the best opener ever:

"It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank."
posted by bunglin jones at 9:36 PM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


And when I wake up in the morning
To feel the daybreak on my face
There's a blood that's flowing
Through the feeling, with a knife
To open up the sky's veins
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:36 PM on September 6, 2007


Though you don't call anymore, I sit and wait in vain...

What have you done to me? I can't eat; I cannot sleep.

Bobby said he'd pull out; Bobby stayed in...
posted by t2urner at 9:39 PM on September 6, 2007


Yeah Billy Bragg can be great. Pity about the bungling, overly-literal pile of crap that was that "Price of Oil" song he came out with a few years back. I guess he was just too pissed off to worry about, you know, songwriting...
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM on September 6, 2007


I really like Gompa's Dylan openings, and would add:

My love she speaks like silence ...

She's got everything she needs,
She's an artist, she don't look back.

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you.

If today was not an endless highway,
If tonight was not a crooked trail
posted by Rain Man at 9:47 PM on September 6, 2007


A cigarette that bears your lipstick's traces...
posted by trip and a half at 9:51 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU
posted by pyramid termite at 9:53 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm with jonmc. Not nearly enough Bruce.

"Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks, and tonight can you get us a ride"

"The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night, and the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line"

"In Candy's room there are pictures of her heroes on the wall"

"I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396, Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor; she's waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store" (okay, opening couplet. So sue me.)

"On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert I pick up my money and head back into town"
posted by jokeefe at 9:54 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


And oh man, has no one mentioned "how many roads can a man walk down" yet?
posted by jokeefe at 9:55 PM on September 6, 2007



"Love is but a song we sing, fears that we will die,"

The Youngbloods

Get Together
posted by knapper at 9:56 PM on September 6, 2007


Let me take you down

No, don't ask me to apologize
I won't ask you to forgive me
If I'm gonna go down
you're gonna come with me

They hung a sign up in our town:
"If you live it up you won't live it down."

posted by Superfrankenstein at 9:58 PM on September 6, 2007


Oh, and just because:

Red wine and sleeping pills help me get back to you arms.

Once again, I'm in trouble with my only friend.

Are you such a dreamer, to put the world to rights?

In the next world war, in a jacknife juggernaut, I am born again.

That there, that's not me.
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 PM on September 6, 2007


Punctured bicycle, on a hillside desolate
Will nature make a man of me yet?
posted by jokeefe at 10:07 PM on September 6, 2007


So you quote-love-unquote me
posted by Superfrankenstein at 10:08 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Like many people, I don't see how they could miss "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."

Also:
- It's getting to the point where I'm no fun any more, and I am sorry.
- Well Smackwater Jack, he bought a shotgun, 'cause he was in the mood for a little confrontation.
- Tin soldiers and Nixon coming; we're finally on our own.

And the ever-classic:
Alas my love, you do me wrong, to cast me out discourteously,
And I have loved you for so long, delighting in your company.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:08 PM on September 6, 2007


So what we've learned is that any opening line in any song in history is great if it happens to be your favorite song?
posted by maxwelton at 10:09 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Apparently you can open a stunningly gorgeous, heartfelt ballad with "I may not always love you" and still not be worthy of a spot on the list. (Okay, okay -- youtube.)
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:10 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


All men have secrets and here is mine

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head and as I climb into an empty bed

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
posted by jokeefe at 10:11 PM on September 6, 2007


There is a town in North Ontario.
posted by jokeefe at 10:11 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if one day I would become a singer with a spanish bum.....
posted by gergtreble at 10:12 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I catch you knocking at the cellar door... I love you baby can I have some more? Ooh, the damage done.
posted by jokeefe at 10:13 PM on September 6, 2007


"There's a thick set man with frog eyes who was standin' at the bar"

Nick Cave, The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane.
posted by Brainy at 10:13 PM on September 6, 2007


...BY THE DOOR!" argh!
posted by Brainy at 10:14 PM on September 6, 2007


It's almost the weekend. Hell, it been the weekend since yestiddy on the East Coast. So in honor of the short week:

Everybody dance now!

Move!
posted by t2urner at 10:14 PM on September 6, 2007


"Ah fuck the police" - NWA

"Bitch betta have my money" - AMG

"You hobo humpin' slobo babe" - Whale

"And the world spreads it's legs, And the world spreads it's legs, for another fucking star" - Marylin Manson (by way of Patti Smith)

"Illuminati, a secret society do exist" - Fatboy Slim

"This mother-fucker's gonna get my metal" - Marylin Manson

"I walked 47 miles of barbed wire, I use a cobra snake for a necktie" - George Thorogood (care of Bo Diddley)

"You're dead!" - Corrosion of Conformity

"Hey man you know, I'm really OK. The gun in my hand will tell you the same" - The Offspring.

[This is fun.]
posted by quin at 10:18 PM on September 6, 2007


In 1984 I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.
posted by obvious at 10:19 PM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


My child arrived just the other day;
He came to the world in the usual way...


that's a little too much like "i gotta rhyme it" for my taste
posted by pyramid termite at 10:24 PM on September 6, 2007


Trapped in a mine that had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left
Were Joe and me and Tim


if you haven't heard this, ignore the early 70s pop stylings and listen - it's a hoot
posted by pyramid termite at 10:32 PM on September 6, 2007


TIMOTHY TIMOTHY Where on .... oh, yeah... Rupert Holmes' best lyric... certainly better than:
"I was tired of my lady..."
posted by wendell at 10:34 PM on September 6, 2007


Oh man, quin, how could I miss Bo's "Who do you love"? That line just perfectly establishes the song's unfuckingrelenting (and somehwat incomprehensible) badassness.
posted by bunglin jones at 10:38 PM on September 6, 2007


She's as beautiful as a foot.
posted by vapidave at 10:39 PM on September 6, 2007


"Hello dad, I'm in jail"
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:41 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"So what we've learned is that any opening line in any song in history is great if it happens to be your favorite song?"

My favorite song has no lyrics: "Moanin'" by Bobby Timmons of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Take that!
posted by davy at 10:42 PM on September 6, 2007


Fav Bruce, from his most misunderstood album:


Fat man sitting on a little stool / takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you...

I hold you in my arms as the band plays / what are those words whispered baby just as you turn away...
posted by dgbellak at 10:57 PM on September 6, 2007


It's getting to the point
Where I'm no fun anymore
I am sorry.

posted by spock at 10:58 PM on September 6, 2007


"...And you make it HARD."
posted by davy at 11:09 PM on September 6, 2007


Look me in the eye
Then, tell me that I'm satisfied
posted by Haruspex at 11:13 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Opening lines, davy, opening lines!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:20 PM on September 6, 2007


"Woah yeah, oh yeah, Kill all the white man" - NOFX

"God money, I'll do anything for you" - Nine Inch Nails

"When the tracks are leading home to the limits of hell
We'll yell, life sure is swell! In Sin City" - Genitorturers (with some KMFDM love...)

"I know you, so better than the city in the rear view" - The All American Rejects.

[I hate that this could be my distraction for days.]
posted by quin at 11:21 PM on September 6, 2007


Manic Street Preachers:
Libraries gave us power
[made it into Uncut's worst opening line list, fer shame]
posted by meech at 11:25 PM on September 6, 2007


If you believe in the power of magic, I can change your mind...

I don't know what color your eyes are, baby / but your hair is long and brown...

Last night i came into your home / to break some ice and throw some stones...

The velocity of time turns her voice into sugar water...

You've got your mother in a whirl, she's / not sure if you're a boy or a girl...

Saw a shark today / ate a man and then just swam away...

Must be getting early, clocks are running late...


(And some radio stations were upset, so the legend goes, 'cause "Timothy" contained the word "hell"...)
posted by dgbellak at 11:31 PM on September 6, 2007


"We are building a religion, we are building it bigger / we are widening the corridors and adding more lanes" -Cake

"The piano has been drinking, my necktie is asleep / and the combo went back to New York, the jukebox has to take a leak" -Tom Waits
posted by parudox at 11:38 PM on September 6, 2007


This is a song for Carol.
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:42 PM on September 6, 2007


BICYCLE!
BICYCLE!
BICYCLE!

posted by anthill at 11:48 PM on September 6, 2007


Everybody's talkin' at me.

On the floors of Tokyo.

Must have lived so long with covered eyes.

Yeah I am the astro creep demolition style hell american freak.

The Queen of light took her bow and then she turned to go.

Oh lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
posted by SinisterPurpose at 11:50 PM on September 6, 2007


or, the original video (NSFW)
posted by anthill at 11:50 PM on September 6, 2007


When i came to the city i thought it'd be easy
Selling my ass came so naturally
Through many hot dies and too much rich food
Couldn't hide the facts if i'd own the proof

-Silkworm "Developer"
posted by black8 at 11:52 PM on September 6, 2007


Time, time, time, see what's become of me...

I am still living with your ghost / lonely and dreaming of the west coast...

They tell us that / we lost our tails / evolving up / from little snails...

He was killed by a cellular phone explosion...

Goddamn you half-Japanese girls, do it to me every time...

Minimum Wage!
posted by dgbellak at 12:01 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Lady, understand me now - when you are in the world there's one less angel in heaven/and your human spine lies at the center of systems never ending" - Mind Science

"We're like crystal / we break easy" - New Order

"Do you like my thighs and my feet / oh yes my dear you're heavenly" - Silkworm

"Come on over take your walk across the water / And drop it to me gently" - The Spinanes

"Heart holds mouth to words / said it's gone beyond the line this time" - Sugar

"Once I thought I would be king / And get a piece of anything / A Kingdom has it coming to" - Twilight Singers [*]

[*] Note: Merely watching this youtube link will improve your ability to fuck tenfold.
posted by bunnytricks at 12:03 AM on September 7, 2007


I am an arms dealer, filling you with weapons in the form of words.
(This Ain't A Scene...)

Last year's wishes are this year's apologies.
(I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off)

You are a canary, I'm a coal mine.
(I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers)

fall out boy
has a lot of fun with first lines and titles
posted by M Edward at 12:10 AM on September 7, 2007


What booksandlibretti said--how could they miss God Only Knows?

But my vote goes to Slipknot, who allegedly once began a song with "I wanna slit your neck and fuck it! AAAAAAAAAGH!"
posted by equalpants at 12:17 AM on September 7, 2007


Okay, definitely need to stop thinking about this now--there are just too many good ones. But what about:

"There are things I'd like to do/but I don't know if they will be with you"

"The backbone of this country is the independent truck"
posted by equalpants at 12:24 AM on September 7, 2007


Tired of all this crawling around
Realising the joke was on us
posted by Meatbomb at 12:31 AM on September 7, 2007


Here where you are standing, dinosaurs did a dance...

She had a dream, and boy it was a good one...

City dweller, successful fella / thought to himself: oops, Ive got a lot of money...

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in ihe dark...

Do as I say not as I do because the shit's so deep you can't run away...

The warden threw a party in the county jail...

Somebody's gonna hurt someone before the night is through...

I got chills, they're multiplyin'...

All around the world statues crumble for me...

You make me come...
posted by dgbellak at 12:31 AM on September 7, 2007


can't stop:

"I don't like the words that the birds are singing / I hate their ugly voices and the messages they're bringing" - Arab Strap

"Sex without love is a good ride worth trying / But love without sex is second only to dying" - More Arab Strap

"If our words were once sweethearts, now they're ugly, violent thugs / How did our language come to this? We speak in grunts and sighs and shrugs" - Will the Arab Strap ever stop?!

"The ugly tattooed swingers euphemise and call their mucky hobby "trysts" / But if I saw another man touch you, I'd break his fucking wrists" - Apparently not, more Arab Strap for you.

"It was the biggest cock you'd ever seen but you've no idea where that cock has been / You said you were careful - you never were with me / I heard you did it four times but johnnies come in packs of three" - It's like a faucet that demands to leak, those Arab Strap lines.
posted by bunnytricks at 12:35 AM on September 7, 2007


No Leonard Cohen?

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within

If you want a lover
I'll do anything you ask me to


Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost

posted by Meatbomb at 12:35 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


This list is way too rock and rap-centric. Only two songs from country & western? That's inexcusable when you consider how lyric-driven country music is. Anyway, I'd add:

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, he sounds too blue to fly
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:06 AM on September 7, 2007


And seconding Meatbomb. No Leonard Cohen at all on the list is just stupid.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:07 AM on September 7, 2007


The opening of "Delia's Gone":

Delia, oh Delia, Delia all my life
If I hadn't have shot poor Delia I'd have had her for my wife

posted by davejay at 1:08 AM on September 7, 2007


Oh, and of course(?!) Harm Farm's "Clams":

I like clams/they're mushy/they make me feel like a man, they make me feel like a man
posted by davejay at 1:10 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


pathetic.

"I am angry, I am ill, and I'm as ugly as sin"

Magazine, A Song From Under the Floorboards, paraphrasing the opening line from Dostoyevski's Notes from the Underground, upon which the song is based.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:25 AM on September 7, 2007


A twofer, Tom Waits:

Last night I dreamed that I was dreaming of you

and

Smell like a brewery, look like a tramp/Ain't got a quarter, got a postage stamp
posted by davejay at 1:27 AM on September 7, 2007


The trouble with your brother
He's always sleeping with your mother
And I know that your sister
Missed her
Time again this month


It's a god-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair


Culture sucks down words

When I look back upon my life
It's always with a sense of shame

posted by flashboy at 1:38 AM on September 7, 2007


What's the deal with your dad?
He don't even know my name.


Gordon Downie - 'Get Back Again' on Coke Machine Glow
posted by Flashman at 1:40 AM on September 7, 2007


Not that they're necessarily the best opening lyrics, but two fabulous songs that open with the date probably deserve an honorable mention:

On the first day of March it was raining, it was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen

(the Pogues)

Aw, hell, here goes:

In the rosy parks of England we'll sit and have a drink

A hungry feeling, came o'er me stealing

Says my auld wan to your auld wan "Will ye go to the Waxies dargle?"

I liked to walk in the summer breeze down Dalling Road by the dead old trees

On the first day of March it was raining, it was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen

Dear dirty london in the pouring rain, I wish to God I was back on the sea again

Last night as I slept I dreamed I met with Behan

Hello boys Ive been away on a bit of a holiday

Oh Kitty, my darling, remember that the doom will be mine if I stay

McCormack and Richard Tauber are singing by the bed

When I first came to london I was only sixteen

Oh my name is Jock Stewart I'm a canny gaun man

One summer evening drunk to hell I stood there nearly lifeless

Well Jimmy played harmonica in the pub where I was born

I met my love by the gas works wall

Jesse james we understand has killed many a man

The canals and the bridges, the embankments and cuts

Its of a gentleman soldier as sentry he did stand

Billy ran around with the rare old crew and he knew an arsenal from tottenham blue

When I was a young man I carried my pack and I lived the free life of a rover


Are we up to 25 yet?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 AM on September 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


bunnytricks, I can't believe you missed their best one:

"Burn these sheets that we've just fucked in."
posted by ninebelow at 1:49 AM on September 7, 2007


If I had a gun for every ace I've drawn
I could arm a town the size of Abilene
posted by muckster at 2:18 AM on September 7, 2007


muckster's a deadhead! muckster's a deadhead!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:25 AM on September 7, 2007


It was a dark and stormy night...
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:48 AM on September 7, 2007


We've surrendered to a kind of cosmic propaganda

I been double spaced and indented
more than halfway circumvented

We've been on the verge for five thousand years at least

Worm on a hook, he's a sitting duck

Sent myself a letter but it never did arrive
still in a mailbox back in Brooklyn, least I made it out alive

Go close the window darling
it's gonna come up a big rain soon

I wish I had a nickel
for every time I wished I'd had a nickel

See the southbound train on the northbound track

For reasons unclear I've stayed around here
one day too many

I saw a rich man and his camel
passing through the eye of a needle

Scissors cut paper, paper blows away
stone smashes scissors, and so it goes, another day
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:19 AM on September 7, 2007


Nice to see they caught "Thunder Road" on the reader list. One of the most evocative opening lines ever. Also..

"Well, they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night."
posted by hwestiii at 3:34 AM on September 7, 2007


"I feel good, I feel bad, I feel happy, I feel sad. Am I in love? I must be in love." -- The Rutles
posted by Hogshead at 3:36 AM on September 7, 2007


I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine...

The Eastern world, it is explodin' / violence flarin’, bullets loadin’...

Down, down, down, down...the star is screaming...

Steve walks warily down the street...

It's 2 AM, the fear is gone...

Johnny, angry Johnny, this is Jezebel in Hell / I wanna kill you, I wanna blow you...away...

Put your face up to the window / tell me all about your gay folks...

You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you...

Do you eat, sleep, do you breathe me anymore?

Do you hear me? Do you care?
posted by dgbellak at 3:42 AM on September 7, 2007


The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'
That's what I said

posted by MtDewd at 4:11 AM on September 7, 2007


Batman got on my nerves. He was running me amok. He was ridiculing me calling me a bum.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:16 AM on September 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


You came on my pillowEEEARRGH
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:29 AM on September 7, 2007


God you must have some balls/To open your mouth at all

I am a lineman for the county

I found your picture in a corporal's pocket

posted by unless I'm very much mistaken at 5:06 AM on September 7, 2007


"Frankie Carroll, he got drunk last night, I tried my best to help him, but he wound up in a fight"

THIN LIZZY, frankie carroll
posted by wittgenstein at 5:28 AM on September 7, 2007


She's a loaded gun in my shaking hands
Am I in hell, or the promised land?

Karma police, arrest this man, he talks in maths

Hell is gone and heavens here
Theres nothing left for you to fear


None of which are my favorite songs, but they do have stonking good opening lines.
posted by Molesome at 5:36 AM on September 7, 2007


So what we've learned is that any opening line in any song in history is great if it happens to be your favorite song?

I'm not really a fan of "West End Girls," but I have to give Pet Shop Boys credit for bursting onto the scene with "Sometimes you're better off dead/ There's gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head." BAM.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:46 AM on September 7, 2007


Don't make me call the police. It's a crime the way you bend your knees.

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press.

America number one is a lie. A propaganda tool injected into the psyche of [something] to legitimize over a hundred years of imperialist aggression and coercive intervention.

This street holds its secrets, like a cobra holds its kill.

Well, it's the funkalistic. The blunt I twisted. The slamified, buddhafied, funk on your discus.

I got big balls. Big old balls. Big as grapefruits, big as pumpkins. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. And on my really good days, they swell to the size of big dogs. My balls are as big as small dogs. Well, it ain't bragging if it's true. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Eat your greens. Don't forget your beans and celery.

Here comes another problem all wrapped up in solution. And suddenly as it's strapped on, twice as hard to get behind.

He's walking like a small child but watch his eyes burn you away. Black holes in his golden stare. God knows he wants to go home. Children of the damned.

Way down low where the streets are littered I find my fun with the freaks and the niggers. I don't want much man give me a little. I wanna take my chances if I get 'em. Yeah.

Mamma lick on me now, don't care, put me on the bad side, oh so bad. Wanna make love. Wanna wanna watch your eyes, dip them in a honey glaze.

My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil that did run from the block of a Flacon sedan 1969. The paper said '75. There were no survivors. None found alive.

You've got to be crazy. Gotta have a real need. Gotta sleep on your toes. And when you're on the street you've got to be able to pick up the easy meat with your eyes closed.

I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like. It's got a basket, a bell that rings and things that make it look good. I'd give it to you if I could but I borrowed it.

Sir hand, or is it mam, I fell out of my right place again. And you considered me and now I'm where a snail has to be.
posted by effwerd at 6:07 AM on September 7, 2007


Some people call me the space cowboy.
(The Joker by pompitous Steve Miller)

This tread will loooPi.
posted by phoque at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2007


I go to sleep, and as I'm falling asleep I think "oh man, there's all these Modest Mouse openers that are great... oh well... it's MetaFilter, somebody's bound to post some."

Way to let me down, guys! (Unless, and this is very likely, that I missed some reading the comments)

Everything that keeps me together is falling apart
I've got this thing that I consider my only art of fucking people over

Woke this morning and it seemed to me
That every night turns out to be
A little bit more like Bukowski

Well, all the apostles, they're sitting in swings
Saying, "I'd sell off my savior for a set of new rings"

Won herself a pass to some far off moon
It was second class but what's to lose?

If food needed pleasing
You'd suck all the seasoning off
Suck it off!
posted by Kattullus at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2007


"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused"

"I was born with a coathanger in my mouth"

"When I was a baby, I looked like a pig; my nose was a snout and my ears were too big"

"Come, won't you walk with me, Griselda, wearing your dress that moonlight shines through?"

"Sweetness, I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head"

"Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter that looks like Elvis"
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:25 AM on September 7, 2007


I woke up in a Soho doorway, a policeman knew my name.
posted by rocket88 at 6:30 AM on September 7, 2007


Shit, how did I omit this one? --

"I'm a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm"
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:36 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time, for y'all have knocked her up. "Maggot Brain"

We're nothing but the nerds they say we are. "Nerdball"

Are you a vampire, Melvin Laird, Are you a Vampire? "ABM machine"

I've been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
Drunk and dirty, don't you know, and I'm still...willin'. "Willin"

They say a diamond is the hardest surface known/Well, I guess the man who said that/He must have lived alone. "Diamond" sung by Syd Straw, written by Peter Holsapple, performed by Golden Palominos.

5 great ones.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:36 AM on September 7, 2007


"Goodbye to you, my trusted friend - we've known each other since we were nine or ten."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:38 AM on September 7, 2007


"Get out of that bed and wash your face and hands"

"God, what a mess on the ladder of success, you take one step and miss the whole first rung"
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:41 AM on September 7, 2007


"First thing I remember I was lyin' in my bed, I couldn'ta been no more than one or two."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:47 AM on September 7, 2007


Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.

I pulled into Nazareth I was feeling about half past dead.

I pictured a rainbow
you held in your hands
I had flashes
but you saw then plan.

Went to a party
I danced all night
I drank 16 beers
And I started up a fight.

Listen to the girl
As she takes on half the world
Moving up and so alive
In her honey dripping beehive.

OK. I'm done.
posted by Sailormom at 6:48 AM on September 7, 2007


davy, the line is

"Sitting on a park bench eyeing little girls with bad intent"

And yes Ian Anderson has several good first lines.
"Meanwhile Back in the year one, when you belonged to no one."
"Don't want to be a fat man"
posted by Gungho at 6:53 AM on September 7, 2007


"Hate New York City."

"O Superman; O judge; O mom and dad."

"I wanna tell you about a girl."

"How young are you? How old am I? Let's count the rings around my eyes."

"Caught between the twisted stars the plotted lines the faulty map that brought Columbus to New York."
posted by Joey Bagels at 7:16 AM on September 7, 2007


So what we've learned is that any opening line in any song in history is great if it happens to be your favorite song?

Exactly. Some of the listed ones do not suffer from this, but #1 ("She's a very freaky girl") certainly does. There are lots of great songs with OK opening lines. And most of the great opening lines are just OK songs (i.e. His Most Honourable Mix-A-Lot-ness).

We need criteria here people. A great opening line needs to grab you. Or it needs to be a precis of the song itself, summing up the entire feeling on one sentence. West End Girls does that pretty well. But most of the lines people like aren't that good because they are simply introductions that mean nothing without the rest of the song.

And if you want to go the non-sequiter route, you really have to bring your A-game. "I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand walking through the streets of Soho in the rain" is fucking awesome. But most songs do not feature ethnic food and lycanthropes.

Is there anybody going to listen to my story, all about the girl who came to stay?

Questions are right out. You may love the song, but as an opening line my answer is "No." You fail.

Most of the posted examples are of better written songs, but that's not the point of having the best opening line. To get the best opening line you have to blow your entire creative load on that one line. By definition, the rest of the song goes downhill from there. If the openiong line isn't the best line in the whole song, how can it be one of the best opening lines ever?

I am now off to contemplate this very interesting PLATE OF BEANS.
posted by GuyZero at 7:17 AM on September 7, 2007


"And right now it's time to...KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS!"

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook.

posted by kirkaracha at 7:25 AM on September 7, 2007


I come home in the morning light / My mother says when you gonna live your life right
posted by Ynoxas at 7:29 AM on September 7, 2007


London calling to the far away towns, now war is declared and battle's come down

This cocoon, caught in Vesuvius' shadow, only the ashes remain/And I waited there for you, why couldn't you?
posted by jokeefe at 7:54 AM on September 7, 2007


"I'd rather shoot a woman than a man"
posted by equalpants at 8:06 AM on September 7, 2007


On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
posted by Wolfdog at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Minimum waaaaaaage, heyah!
posted by thewittyname at 8:16 AM on September 7, 2007


Nice, but I prefer-

This ain't rock and roll, this is genocide!
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:55 AM on September 7, 2007


The best opening lines have each been used in many songs.
One is: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhh!" and the other is "Hurgh!"
posted by nowonmai at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2007


The opening lyrics to The Fall's "Classical" lay them all down.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2007


Wynona's got herself a big brown beaver
and she shows it off to all her friends...
posted by anthill at 9:07 AM on September 7, 2007


Poppin, stoppin, hoppin like a rabbit
When I take the nina ross ya know I got ta have it.
posted by Kwine at 9:10 AM on September 7, 2007


Blind date with the chancer
We had oysters and dry lancers
When the check arrived we went dutch, dutch, dutch, dutch

posted by travosaurus at 9:17 AM on September 7, 2007


I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I'm 22 now but I won't be for long.

Yes, but this line is borrowed from a Simon and Garfunkel song.
posted by ORthey at 9:35 AM on September 7, 2007


Efficiency and progress are ours once more, now that we have the neutron bomb.

I love this thread.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:55 AM on September 7, 2007



A modern-day warrior
Mean mean stride,
Todays tom sawyer
Mean mean pride.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:58 AM on September 7, 2007


I am walking
out in the rain
and I am listening to the low moan
of the dial tone again
and I am getting
nowhere with you
and I can't let it go
and I can't get through...

(not "famous" by any means, but great)
posted by exlotuseater at 10:25 AM on September 7, 2007


In the cool shade of the banana tree on the rugged trail toward the balcony, a child of the twentieth century, a dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee.

The woman was a dream I had though rather hard to keep for when my eyes were watching hers they closed, and I was still asleep.


If you're just staring at your walls observing echoing footfalls
from tenants wandering distant halls then this one is for you.


Spasm waiter dropping to his knees, sees slander on wrap paper ties, lifting up his head he feels the sunlight in his eyes.
posted by Sailormom at 10:26 AM on September 7, 2007


Heaven, a gateway, a hope
Just like a feeling inside, it's no joke

posted by oncogenesis at 10:38 AM on September 7, 2007


Ever since I was a young boy
I've played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball.

Anytime I need to see your face
I just close my eyes
And I am taken to a place where
Your crystal mind and
Magenta feelings take up shelter
In the base of my spine
Sweet like a chic a cherry cola.

The strands in your eyes
That color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
Emeralds from mountains
Thrust towards the sky
Never revealing their depth.
posted by misha at 10:41 AM on September 7, 2007


What is this that stands before me? Figure in black which points at me...
Much as I may hate what that dude has turned into, every once in a while I'm capable of remembering how hair-raisingly creepy it was hearing that the first time.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:21 AM on September 7, 2007


Don't say you love me if it's just a rumor
Don't say a word if there is any doubt
Sometimes I think that love is just a tumor
You got to cut it out
-Elvis Costello
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:50 AM on September 7, 2007


I just want to go on record, on the Internets, to say that this is the greatest song opening ever (with apologies to dw who quoted my beloved R.E.M.):

"I was sitting on the corner just a-wastin my time, when I realized I was the king of the rhyme. I got on the microphone, and what do you see, the rest was my legacy."

Gods bless Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash.
posted by Dantien at 11:54 AM on September 7, 2007


...or, naturally...

"A punctured bicycle, On a hillside desolate, Can nature make a man of me yet?"

this is fun!
posted by Dantien at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2007


gah, I missed yours jokeefe. Sorry for the repeat.
posted by Dantien at 11:58 AM on September 7, 2007


When they kick in your front door, how you gonna come?
With your hands on your head, or on the trigger of your gun?

God save the Queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-Bomb

The preacher asked her, and she said "I do"
The preacher asked me, and she said, "He does too"
posted by sacre_bleu at 12:11 PM on September 7, 2007


One Two Three Four!
posted by whuppy at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


well you tried it just for once found it all right for kicks / but then you found out that it's a habit that sticks
posted by whuppy at 12:18 PM on September 7, 2007


Satan sucks / but you're the best. / Holy smokes / you pass the test. / When I'm with you / I feel blessed
posted by whuppy at 12:21 PM on September 7, 2007


"It's ten minutes past curfew, why are you still up? Hello? Hello? Perhaps you need another shot. Ah, that should do it. Sweet dreams, you bastard."
posted by Wolfdog at 12:22 PM on September 7, 2007


I was born the day they shot JFK
posted by whuppy at 12:24 PM on September 7, 2007


"it's been seven hours and fifteen days..."
posted by ism at 12:24 PM on September 7, 2007


Doodoodoo doodoo doodoo kicker of elves.
Doodoodoo doodoo doodoo kicker of elves.

(Somebody stop me! I'm only on the G's!)
posted by whuppy at 12:27 PM on September 7, 2007


'twas like a god / had come over me / and made the pain you paid me with / ease - Holly Golightly. (This one falls a little flat on the page but the way she delivers it just kills me.)
posted by whuppy at 12:31 PM on September 7, 2007


Jeez, this thread is worse than an air guitar competition.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:49 PM on September 7, 2007


Danny went home and killed himself last night . . .

The parasites will love you when you're dead / la lala la la . . .

Inflammable material is planted in my head / It's a suspect device that's left 2000 dead . . .

Let's do it / this time / whereby / you die . . .

Whatchya gonna do when you get outta jail? . . .

She / had to leave / Los Angeles . . .

Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard . . .

OK, I'm done (for) now.
posted by whuppy at 12:50 PM on September 7, 2007


Step out the front door like a ghost into a fog, where no one notices the contrast of white on white.

I guess I'm in a sort of maudlin mood today.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2007


Whoa, waitaminute here. I know I’m late coming in but the first words to Baby Got Back is not “I like big butts” it is “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt...”
Which, I think, is better, actually.

If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man
You win some, lose some, it's still the same to me

I testified, my momma cried, black people died when the other man lied

Working up a fever in a one horse town, was a jockey by the name of Joe.

(Best all time non-pop has to be:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium!
I mean - dude - Gotterfunken!)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:55 PM on September 7, 2007


Crack that whip.
Give the past the slip.
Step on a crack.
Break your momma's back
posted by Thorzdad at 1:06 PM on September 7, 2007


"Start spreadin' the news"

"It's been--"

"Maybe I..."

"Climbing up on Solsbury Hill"
posted by kirkaracha at 1:10 PM on September 7, 2007


Kate Bush, Wuthering Heights:

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We'd roll and fall in green.

Missy Higgins, The Special Two (crazy emo, but I like it)

I've hardly been outside my room in days
'Cause I don't feel that I deserve the sunshine's rays

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain.
posted by Kattullus at 1:19 PM on September 7, 2007


Sixteen and time to pay off
I get this job in a piss factory inspecting pipe
Forty hours, thirty-six dollars a week
But its a paycheck, Jack.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:29 PM on September 7, 2007


Ah well I bought myself an idol with a golden head,
Put it on a shelf up above my bed
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:34 PM on September 7, 2007


I wish I was a little bit taller,
I wish I was a baller
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:37 PM on September 7, 2007


I met him at the candy store
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2007


Day-O!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2007


Riding along in my automobile,
My baby beside me at the wheel

(OK, I'm done. I could do this all night.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:49 PM on September 7, 2007


I've always liked this one, from X:

Honest to goodness, the bars weren't open this morning /
They must have been voting for the president or something

("The New World")
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:50 PM on September 7, 2007


The party was jumpin'
When Bertha got off o' her stump,
The whistles were blowin'
And everybody did the bump
But all the time Bertha
Had been workin' on her goodie
Now folks call it "the Bertha Butt boogie"
posted by goofyfoot at 1:57 PM on September 7, 2007


"No regrets, coyote..."
posted by AppleSeed at 2:15 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


This one is better, goofyfoot:

What we gotta do right here is go back

also, seconding flapjax's query about the lack of country (though one of the two, Good Year for the Roses, was the one that I favourited in this thread. Other great country lines

Your cheating heart, will make you weep,

Put your sweet lips, a little closer to the phone,
Lets pretend that we're together all alone

You wouldn't read my letter if I wrote you,
You asked me not to call you on the phone

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:16 PM on September 7, 2007


OK, this one is *definitely* my last. Somebody cut my fingers off...

I'm up on the eleventh floor and I'm watching the cruisers below
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:22 PM on September 7, 2007


We were at a party
His ear lobe fell in the deep

posted by Wolfdog at 2:29 PM on September 7, 2007


"Sittin' at home with my dick on hard"
posted by Burhanistan at 2:32 PM on September 7, 2007


Breaking rocks in the hot sun,
I fought the law and the law won.

I was born by the river, in a little tent,
Oh and just like the river, I've been running ever since
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:42 PM on September 7, 2007


The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal.
posted by effwerd at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2007


I'm not so bad/I Just like to do what the bad folks do
-Fatback "Backstrokin"
posted by black8 at 2:52 PM on September 7, 2007


Only 933,555 songs in the ASCAP catalog to go...
posted by Burhanistan at 2:54 PM on September 7, 2007


Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:00 PM on September 7, 2007


Ubu: R. Totale dwells underground, away from sickly grind.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:02 PM on September 7, 2007


They came and took me from my home & put me on death row.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:04 PM on September 7, 2007


I would say I'm sorry if I thought that it would change your mind.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2007


Actually: Standing on a beach with a gun in my hand
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2007


Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schools
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2007


B'stan: All those whose mind entitles themselves, and whose main entitle is themselves, shall feel the wrath of my bombast!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:07 PM on September 7, 2007


(oh, they had Patti Smith (Gloria) in their list already. my bad)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:10 PM on September 7, 2007


I don't believe in an interventionist god.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:17 PM on September 7, 2007


Movin' to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches
Movin' to the country,
Gonna eat me a lot of peaches
Movin' to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches
Movin' to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches.

posted by theiconoclast31 at 3:24 PM on September 7, 2007


I'm your pimp,
I wear my hat to the side
And I walk with a limp
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:16 PM on September 7, 2007


I was sittin' in Miami pourin' blended whiskey down while this old gray black gentleman was cleanin' up the lounge.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:05 PM on September 7, 2007


Comin' out tha slums, it's the hoodlums. I'm pulling my gat out on all you bums.

Best 1st lyrics evarr. End of thread.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:58 PM on September 7, 2007


What an awful day when the judgement comes and the sinners hear their eternal doom.
posted by effwerd at 6:21 PM on September 7, 2007


I left my home in Norfolk Virginia, California on my mind.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:32 PM on September 7, 2007


I was driving on the freeway in the fast lane with a rabid wolverine in my underwear when suddenly a guy behind me in the back seat popped right up and cupped his hands across my eyes- I guessed, "Is it Uncle Frank or Cousin Louie? Is it Bob or Joe or Walter? Could it be Bill or Jim or Ed or Bernie or Steve?" and I probably would have kept on guessing but about that time we crashed into the truck, and as I'm laying bleeding there on the asphalt finally I recognize the face of my hibachi dealer who takes off his prosthetic lips and tells me everything you know is wrong.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2007


Yeah, that's a Tom Waits song. How's the first line go?
posted by goofyfoot at 7:48 PM on September 7, 2007


"Well, I'm Eazy E. I got bitches galore. You may have a lotta bitches but I got much more."
posted by Burhanistan at 7:54 PM on September 7, 2007


Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray

I was cutting the rug
Down at a place called The Jug
With a girl named Linda Lu.

I was sitting in my basement, I just rolled myself a taste of
something green and gold and glorious to get me through the day.

The mama pajama rolled out of bed, and she ran to the police station

Well, I had just got out from the county prison
Doin' ninety days for non-support.

"Welcome to the real world," she says to me, condescendingly, "Take your seat. Take your life. Plan it out in black and white."
posted by misha at 8:20 PM on September 7, 2007


There are a LOT of good opening lines in the world. Heck, these are all from the same album:

I drive alone, home from work
And I always think of her
Late at night I call her
But I never say a word
(All Her Favorite Fruit)

I remember his hat tilted forward
His glasses are folded in his vest
And he seems like the kind of man who beats his horses
Or the dancers who work at a bar
(Jack Ruby)

Are you weary of the lengthening days?
Do you secretly wish for November's rain?
(June)

'Cause he's always living back in Dixon
Circa 1949
And we're all sitting at the fountain, at the five and dime
'Cause he's living in some B-movie
The lines they are so clearly drawn
In black and white life is so easy
(Sweethearts; "he" is Ronald Reagan.)

What did it mean to fly
A tremor in your soul
To resist the dull existence of gravity
(The Humid Press of Days)

I'm alternating between heavy and light
Between meaning and nonsense
And having a drink
(The Light From a Cake)

Well I lost an eye in Mexico
Lost two teeth, where I don't know
People see me comin' and they move to the other side of the road.
(When I Win the Lottery)
posted by bigbigdog at 9:15 PM on September 7, 2007


Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl.

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:44 AM on September 8, 2007


Meatbomb, the original list agreed with you on the Merle.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:55 AM on September 8, 2007


We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee.

Double.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:00 AM on September 8, 2007


Bah! It took me that long to write my reply, flapjax??! Crikey.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:05 AM on September 8, 2007


As you stand there in your sable robes, with the face that launched a thousand round pounds, you turn to the light, your mons veneris shines like Chichén Itzá.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:39 AM on September 8, 2007


Wow, I can't believe no one said this one yet:

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:23 AM on September 8, 2007


Oh... right, because it was in the actual list. God, that's really a terrible format. I've forgotten it already.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:24 AM on September 8, 2007


(The site, I mean, not wendell's)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:54 AM on September 8, 2007


Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired...
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 2:14 PM on September 8, 2007


La! La! La! La! La-la-la!

"Hold me close like the air holds us close to this Earth.
Look with wonder in your eyes like a mother looks into her child's after giving birth.
Let's just breathe in and out again.
Let's just breathe in baby, and in again."


Dat one beats all yall's beetches!

I just added this thread to my list of Best Silly MeFi Threads Of All Time which I really should update someday. I really should go through my whole profile someday and streamline it or something. Do people actually read those things? Mine's got cobwebs on it.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:56 PM on September 8, 2007


PeterMcDermott writes seconding flapjax's query about the lack of country (though one of the two, Good Year for the Roses, was the one that I favourited in this thread).

Well, I *thought* I was favouriting George Jones' Good Year for the Roses, but was actually favouriting These Foolish Things. So I'd better do George here:

I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick on the cigarettes
There in the ashtray,
Lying cold the way you left them,
At least your lips caressed them,
While you packed
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:39 AM on September 9, 2007


Well my daddy left home when I was three,
he didn’t leave much to ma and me just this old guitar
and an empty bottle of booze.


...that’s not a song, I just thought I’d share the pain of my childhood
posted by Smedleyman at 7:22 AM on September 11, 2007


Oh, cool, it's not too late to mention "blind boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy."
posted by Pronoiac at 4:04 PM on September 17, 2007


um. "drive boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy," that is.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:46 AM on September 18, 2007


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