Sunday, December 29, 2013

incidental music spot of the day

Led Zeppelin's thumping Good Times Bad Times on the trailer to the new film American Hustle. The film looks fine, if a little bit Son Of Casino, and does feature the very delightful Jennifer Lawrence, a woman of robust good sense on a variety of topics, not least hotel room butt plug etiquette.

A more interesting topic for discussion, though, might be: is this song the greatest track 1, side 1, album 1 of all time? Or, in proper English, the greatest opening track of a debut album ever? There are a gazillion lists of Greatest Debut Albums, all featuring some fine stuff, and almost without fail featuring Led Zeppelin's eponymous debut album very highly, but I can't think of one on these lists or elsewhere that features an opening track that grabs you by the throat quite so effectively. Here's a selection of runners-up, though, just off the top of my head:
  • Foxy Lady by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, from the album Are You Experienced? I once read the rhythm track to this described as being like a sine wave, which is simultaneously wrong (it's fairly basic 4/4) and sort of right in that the riff seems to speed up and then slow down again.
  • Do It Again by Steely Dan, from the album Can't Buy A Thrill. Steely Dan are either desperately hip or hideously unfashionable these days; I haven't really kept track. Anyway, this has one of the great intros, so good in fact that it was stolen wholesale for Belinda Carlisle's Circle In The Sand 20-odd years later.
  • Tears Of Rage by The Band, from the album Music From Big Pink, as featured here.
  • 6'1" by Liz Phair, from the album Exile In Guyville, as featured here.
No doubt there are many more. I suppose the candidates will be those bands who sprung into existence (at least in terms of recorded output, anyway) pretty much fully-formed (Zeppelin, say, or more recently Oasis), rather than easing into an album-releasing career gradually with a few minor works (Queen, U2 or Radiohead, say).

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