« today's required reading | Main | Iced Earth: Metal From the Right Side »

Kick Out The Jams: The Coolest Song Parts

Let's take a break from it all, shall we? This is a great topic: 50 Coolest Song Parts. I could really go on about this forever. There are hundreds of songs that are just ok, but I play repeatedly for that one note or one scream or ten seconds of wailing guitar. Each song has its special moment (for instance, Kick it!), some are just more special than others. I'll get to mine later (running late, as usual) but off the top of my head right now, I can say that one of the coolest moments of all my favorite songs is in Tyler by The Toadies, when he sings She pulls the covers tighter. It's the way he says tighter with squeaky antcipation, the way his voice goes up and down on each note, the way I sound like a complete fool when I sing along, but I don't care because it's such a cool part. RetroCrush starts you off with 50, and it's amazing to see that all those little things about your favorite songs that you thought were special only to you came off the same way for other people. Like that moment in Crue's Home Sweet Home.... I'll review RetroCrush's 50 Coolest Moments later, as well as add my own. For now, the floor is yours.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Kick Out The Jams: The Coolest Song Parts:

» Wednesday from Memeblog
LeeAnn links to a new Q&A meme: Tattletale Also there's 50 Coolest Song Parts (via ASV)... [Read More]

» Gone to pieces, bits and pieces from dustbury.com
This started with retroCRUSH's 50 Coolest Song Parts survey, which is based on the perfectly reasonable notion that "sometimes there are pieces of songs that are cooler than the song... [Read More]

» Cool Song Intros from Monsters from the Id 怪?大悪脳
The other day Retrocrush posted their list of 50 Coolest Song Parts. Since it was listed on Fark I'm sure that everyone and their brother has already seen it. It's really a fun list to go through. I don't agree... [Read More]

» All Hail Tha Ahtaficial Hand Faht! from Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness
BOBBY: I just sang a song parody, Dad. Like Weird Al Yankovic. HANK: Son, Al Yankovic blew his brains out in the late '80s after people stopped buying his records. He's not worth getting into trouble over. Interesting discussion... [Read More]


There's a moment in Rush's "Freeze" (who knew I'd pick them, eh?) when Geddy sings "Sometimes I freeze, sometimes I fight..." and he really draws out the high note on the last word, almost like a cry, and it gives me the chills every time I hear it.

The guitar solo in Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal" -- it may not be the best in the world, but it flat out rocks.

The opening of "Hotel Hobbies" by Marillion, when the music comes crashing in full-on.

I'm sure there's a zillion more, but it's way early...

I take one, one, one cause you left me....

The scream in Should I Stay or Should I Go.

The big drums in Coming in the Air Tonight (I like it - sue me.)

The break in Under Pressure - Insanity laughs and the pressure is breaking and then cut to Freddy Mercury!

And since these all seem pretty depressing - the walkie talkie at the beginning of Planet Claire.

Roger Daltrey's scream in "Won't Get Fooled Again"

And I forgot John Entwistle's bass runs in "My Generation"

I'll probably think of Great Who Moments as time goes by...

Keith Moon's exploding drum kit during the Smother's Brothers Show (See The Kids Are Alright if you've never seen it. Trust me, it's worth it.).

"Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair..." - from Thunder Road, by Bruuuuce.

I could think of a couple dozen Bruce moments, actually - the bridge in "The Rising", the first chorus in "Jungleland", the first "Puerto Rican Jane", in Incident on 52nd Street...

The segue from the bridge to the last chorus in "Alive" by Pearl Jam

As to Who moments - the final chorus on "The Song Is Over" ("Just one note, pure and easy...")

So many more to choose from...

a great moment live is when the Who sings "Won't get fooled again" and Daltrey says "and you know that the hypnotized never lie", pause, Townsend then screams "DO YA?" - awesome.

actually the entire song and in fact most of the Who's career is a great moment in RnR history.

Winner by a mile - Bat Outta Hell, the part right after Meat Loaf says "I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver black phantom bike".

the cowbell in "Don't fear the Reaper" (visualize SNL)

E Street, Jungleland: "the poets 'round here don't write nuthin at all; they just stand back and let it all be."

Hell, take this song, Born to Run and Thunder Road and just go cherry picking. Between the lyrics and the music I could fill out half the list.

The bridge in REM's Fall On Me.

The opening of Rush's Spirit of the Radio.

The bridge in XTC's Ballet for a Rainy Day.

All of Johnny Marr's guitar work with The Smith's.

Oh gosh, so many...

You could pick from many of Ray Manzeric's keyboard solos with the Doors, but I'd have to go with the one in "Love me Two Times." OK, it's because I actually played it when my college band covered it, but I still like it.

Believe it or not, for my favorite guitar solo I'd have to go with "Crazy Train."

Dating myself again: for vocal theatrics, that high note Pat Benatar hits in "Promises in the Dark."

My favorite bit of odd instrumentation is the beginning of "Uncertain Smile" by The The. I'm not sure if it's a synth or some sort of water pipes, but it's way cool.

For drum work, I have to go back to the Who and "I Can See for Miles." The opening of Led Zepplin's "Rock and Roll" must also be mentioned here.

Most unusual and totally "Wow" solo section is in Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." It's almost atonal, but oh man does it work!

There ya go, all around the map as usual.

Oh gosh, I forgot sax work. Yeah, I'd have to go with "Born to Run" there.

Oh, and one more, best crowd participation moment. One word: "Taquila!"

John Bonham Drums in "Dazed and Confused"

The beginning of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck"

I always hold my breath and listen for that penultimate "In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe" in Radiohead's Airbag, just because I like the peculiar intonation of "universe."

The line "He resides/ On a beach/ In a town/ where I am going to live" from the Pixies' Dig for Fire, because I identify with it.

The second piano interlude in Yoko Kanno's Green Bird. It sounds so heart-rendingly tragic and yet serenely joyful at the same time.

The guitar solo in the long version of Blinded by the Light.

The intro to Wish You Were Here.

The whistle in Paradise City.

"She told me to come, but I was already there!"

---AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long"

The bong hit in the Beasties Shake Your Rump:

"A full clout ya'll, a full clout ya'll
And when the mic is in my mouth I turn it out ya'll
A full clout..."
lighter flick, sucking, pull the tube all in perfect rythym to the song.

Still as clever as the first time I ever heard it.

The Bass line in Tequila. Only 3 notes, but the timing is perfection

The bass line in Shakedown street by the Grateful Dead. Low in the mix but once you find it, it is all you will listen to.

And of course... the coolest song moment ever:

Do you want me to get rid of this air-o-plane there, Jimmy?
No. Leave it. Yeah.

The opening guitar on Sweet Home Alabama. Turn it up now...

i always liked the beginning of ac/dc's "dirty deeds"... simple, yet totally rockin.

also, the beginning of white zombie's "more human than human", starting with the long guitar slide. it was groovy, but still rockin.

So many to choose from!
How about the drums in the Heads,"Burning Down the House?" Go ahead, play those air drums at the stop light. You just can't hep yo sef.

The intro to "Hot Summer Nights" from Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell I.

"On a hot summer night, would you give your throat to the wolf with the red rose?


I bet you tell that to all the boys."

Then that E-Street CRUSH of pure nighttime in July audio BLISS.

(And yes, I said E-Street, read the liner notes some time and see the other reasons that albumn is sooooooooo good.)

Somewere in a little hotel room a guy is starting to realize that eternal fate has turned its back on him. It's 2am.

Twilight Zone. Golden Earring. Coolest song moment ever.

Intro to Yes's Owner of a lonely heart and throughout the song, where the everything stops, you get a burst and then everything is normal again.

I fear for you decisions to make,
things to lose, things to take.
Just about ready to cut it up....

she said wait a minute honey gonna add it up.

"Add It Up," Violent Femmes.

I love the buildup. And then he gets shut down. His frustration is palapable.

The orchestral crescendo in The Beatles' "Day in the Life".

Rush, "Time Stands Still" - at about 4:15 - "summers going fast, nights growing colder, children growing up, old friends growing older..."

Billy Joel, "Goodnight Saigon" - 5:30 - "and we would all go down together...."

Eric Johnson, "Cliffs of Dover" - the whole damn song.

Van Halen, "Dreams" - Picture the Blue Angels video in your head... the synthesizer running through the song really seems to capture the joy of flight... it's damn near magical... especially at about 4:08, w/ Eddie's guitar. Just dandy.

Nothing will ever be cooler than "Whole Lotta Love" (any part). Kids these days!

Billy Thorpe's "Children of the Sun" has a pretty good intro, IMAO. That was always a turn-up-the-car-radio moment back in high school.

another fave...

"For those about to rock!"

"FIRE!" <>
"We salute you!"

Frank Sinatra's version of "Luck Be A Lady" just as the horns kick in. It just swings.

And Republica's "Ready To Go" when the hard, pulsing drums/guitars kick in.

And "Bootzilla" when Bootsy begins his wild, delightful, eerie "Yabba dabba..."

And for non-singing music: the opening notes of "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly."

damn. there are so many i can't pick...

The first 8 measures of Straw Dogs "Young Fast Iranians".

Gordie's guitar solo in the Big Sugar version of "Dear Mr. Fantasy".

The breakdown on Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe"

The point on the Posie's song "Lights Out" where they switch from dreamy light vocals to dischordant thrashing. It happens at each chorus but its SOOO good.

I can't be expected to name any particular PART in any particular Toadies song.. cos its all rad.

Same for Cream. I'm an avowed Cream fanatic and could never be asked to pick the best Cream part. In a tongue and cheek way, the guitar solo on "Badge" because that part was George Harrison, not Eric Clapton.

I could go on all day long. Really.

gah. Tongue IN cheek, not and. tooo early. no coffee yet. excuses excuses!

The part of Naked Raygun's 'Knock me Down' where everything stops and he says, "Hey, I'm hurting".

The "1-2-3-4" from the beginning of any Ramones song.

The Cramps' cover of "Surfing Bird" when Lux sticks the whole microphone in his mouth to do the weird gibberish part.

The really low part of "Blue Moon" that goes something like "dinga-dang-dong blue moon"

plus: Any time Mike Ness drags his pick down a sting as a segueway between country-fried and blistering rock.

A few obvious ones, but great nonetheless:

Spirit of the Radio/Limelight/Tom Sawyer - pick the beginning of any of them.

Zeppelin's Rock and Roll. I've never been a big LZ fan, but the intro orders you to turn it up to 11.

Dirty Deeds - Bon Scott's scream at the end. Back in my radio days, I recorded it onto the end of 'Fight for Your Right to Party', to make a nice bookend to the 'Kick it!'

Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade/Killing in the Name Of

Peter Gabriel's Big Time - Hi there!


The icy minor piano chords at the beginning of "I don't like Mondays" from Bob Geldof/Boomtown Rats.


The sound of the windshield wipers during the prelude to Chris Rea's "Road to Hell"

Thursday - Paris in Flames. "Burn this city DOWN!"

Coheed and Cambria - A Favor House Atlantic: 2:21 on. "Bye Bye, Beautiful...."

-The segue into and the chorus of Zeppelin's 'Over the Hills and Far Away.

-The strumming guitar, the drum lead in, and, "This bed is on fire with passionate love..." 'Laid' by James, played by a cover band and heard in a college bar.

-The movement from violent strings into a light melody in Dave Matthews Band's 'The Stone' ("I was just wondering if you'd come along..."), and the orchestral at the end (played by the Kronos Quartet).

That's just a few... I could go on forever.

The pounding at the beginnging of "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue. It just builds and builds. Whenever I hear that part of the song, I always think to myself "Something Wicked This Way Comes..."

Eddie Van Halen's slow, laid-back guitar solo in the middle of "Panama". I still find myself humming this from time to time.

While I'm at it, Alex Van Halen's drumwork at the beginning of "Hot For Teacher". It reminds me of the sound a Harley makes when it's idling at a stoplight. Just amazing.

Johnny Rotten's maniacal laugh at the beginning of "Anarchy in the U.K.". As Steven King once said about it (paraphrased, can't remember the exact wording), it makes you realize that you're now in the hands of a Madman, and you'll just have to hang on until the song is over.

Great thread, btw.

The organ solo in "Won't Get Fooled Again".

The instrumental part in the middle of "Jump".

The opening to "Good Times, Bad Times".

The ringing guitar intros to both "Mr Tambourine Man" (the Byrds) and "American Girl" (Tom Petty).

Near the end of "I Can See For Miles", just before Daltrey sings "The Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal..."

Really, really obscure: On Nazz Nazz (Todd Rundgren's original group) where the end of the song "Meridian Leeward" leads into "Under the Ice".

Two words: "Tubular Bells"

"...Just gotta get out
just gotta get right out of he-eere."
and then there is guitar!
Best part of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, just as the guitar solo is the best part of "We Will Rock You"

Bowie- The transition in "Station to Station" from the Bolero like build up to "Once there were mountains and mountains, once there were sun bird to soar with..."
It's like coming up for air, and you realize why the buid-up needed to take so long.

Flogging Molly, so many great lyrics, but this catches me:
"500 years like gel-ignite have blown us all to hell"
"And the rosary beeds
count them 1-2-3
Fall apart as they hit the floor
In our garb of black
We will pay respects
to the colors we're born to mourn."

Strung Out's "Virginia Madison" the break in the middle (I don't know if that's a musical term or not. I mean that part where it sounds different.)

Black Flag:
"So you went to school for a year or two
And you know you've seen it all
the night has come and you know you're far back East to Thai-Kum-Kraw"
Holiday in Cambodia rocks.

The flute interlude in Jethro Tull's 'My God" on Aqualung, and then hym 43, the beginning.
I need to stop now. Damn you and your addictive questions! Like the world needs my thoughts on music (ha!) more than I need to get my work done.
You tryin to get me fired?

...and Bjork's vocals on "Birthday" when she sang with the Sugarcubes.
Waaa-oh-oh-oh-o, oooo-oo0-oh

"I am iron man" Black Sabbath
"I don't care anymore" Phil Collins
The opening of Mississippi Queen
"Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap"
"Bad to the bone"

One more that other comments (posted while I was composing that last one) reminded me of:

That shriek-thing that David Lee Roth does at the end of singing a line -- any of them, they're all good: think, for example, of the word "Panama" in the eponymous song, or the way he says "shock" in "Somebody Get Me A Doctor," or .. or ...

And the guitar intro to VH's "Mean Streets".

AC/DC, "Night Prowler," at the end -- "Shazbot - nanu, nanu."

April Wine, "I Like to Rock" -- the outro, where one guitar starts playing the riff to "Day Tripper" and the other comes in playing the riff to "Satisfaction" on top of it -- I never realized until I heard that song how well they fit together, and now I can't hear one without thinking of the other.

ZZ Top, "Pearl Necklace," start of the last verse right after the guitar solo -- that guttural, lecherous laugh / growl / whatever it is that Billy does over the guitar riff.

Nilsson, "Early in the Morning", last verse: "The waitress looked at me she said Harry you shooooooooooooooooow loooooooooooooook beeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah said, it's early in the morninnnnnn' ...." -- Holy fucking shit, how did he do that with his voice? And stepping out of time to repeat that part of the electric piano blues line while he draws out those words is just the coolest.

Beck, "Hollywood Freaks" -- the line "automatic bezooty, zero to tutti-frutti" cracks me up every time.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a suicide - ACDC
Still, you turn me on - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Summer always comes in a day - Jethro Tull

Dennymack wrote:

"Black Flag:
"So you went to school for a year or two
And you know you've seen it all
the night has come and you know you're far back East to Thai-Kum-Kraw"
Holiday in Cambodia rocks."

That's indeed a great line, but sung by Dead Kennedys not Black Flag. Interesting that the best song bashing fantasy-land college liberals is written by Jello Biafra.

Black Flag's great line would be:
"My name is Henry, and you're here with me now!" I forget the song, off of Damaged.
A scary thought.

Greatest moment in Rock:
Drum fill and guitar solo coming out of the psychodelic section of Led Zepplin's Whole Lotta Love.

Greatest Who Moment:
On Cut My Hair off of Quadrophenia:
the end of the song "I comin' down got home on the very first train from town, my dad just left for work, he isn't talking. It's all a game and inside I'm just the same, my fried egg makes me sick first thing in the morning" and then the (biased)BBC announcer talking about the riots in London and the South Coast. Sends chills up my spine.

Sly Stone's voice on If You Want Me to Stay from Fresh

I have to second Russ, on Billy Joel's 'Goodnight Saigon.'

"And we held on to each other,
Like brother to brother,
We promised our mothers we'd write..."

It gets me every time.