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Hall of Fame: Video Finalists AND a NEW CATEGORY [imp. udpate]

Final polling for best video:

[this poll has been completed]


That was to avoid any confusion, like there has been in the past.

This new category is brought to you by my sister Jo-Anne:

Song that is most recoginzed by it's opening riff.

NOTE: This is not the same as best guitar riff or even BEST opening. You are to nominate the songs that are instantly recognizable by the opening notes/drums/voice/guitar/whatever and are maybe even defined by that opening, as in Stairway to Heaven or Smoke on the Water or, in the case of my opinion, Running With the Devil. It's not so much a the best of category as it is a way of honoring a song that has a great, recognizable, defining opening.

Have I explained myself clearly? We'll find out soon enough.

Update: It doesn't have to be a riff, per se. It could be a voice or any other kind of tell-tale noise, such as in Black Sabbath's Iron Man. So we are just calling it OPENING instead of opening riff.


AIC - Would?
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Sabath - Iron Man


Danzig - Mother

I write this only because I heard it on the radio on the ride into work this morning: "Centerfield" by John Fogarty.

Come as you are - nirvana
Paranoid - Black Sabbath
No Surprises - Radiohead

'Sweet Child o' Mine' Guns n Roses
'Here I go Again' Whitesnake

Two come to mind:

Gimme Shelter

"Sweet Home Alabama"
(turn it up)

You Really Got Me - The Kinks
Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult
Layla - Derek and the Dominoes
Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin

There are a lot of 'em, but the one that stands out for me is:

The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go

p.s. -- I should have stipulated above, stands out in the sense of "instantly identifiable".

  • Iron Man - Black Sabbath, not really a riff, but instantly recognizable
  • Aqualung - Jethro Tull, which is recognizable after three notes.
  • Bungle in the Jungle - Tull, Hey, that's a FLUTE on the RADIO

Take on me and Sledgehammer are in the lead??? Eighties much??

Seconded on "Sweet Home Alabama". Love it or hate it, you know what's coming after the first .75 seconds are over.

"Love is the Drug" footsteps and then that one high gtr note.Perfect.
"Rebel Rebel" Bowie

The Spirit of Radio -- Rush
Back In Black -- AC/DC
For Those About To Rock -- AC/DC
The Number of the Beast -- Iron Maiden
Crazy Train -- Ozzy
Photograph -- Def Leppard
Cult of Personality -- Living Color

And the voting on the Best Video category is really difficult, so many good ones. Though if the Beavis-And-Butthead narrated version of "Sabatoge" was the one we were voting on, it would be no contest in my mind.

Hot for teacher! Now that's instantly recognizable. Who cares if the riff is drums?

Song that is most recoginzed by it's opening riff:

It's frickin' obvious to any right winger:

"My City was Gone", The Pretenders

Second Should I Stay or Should I Go and Spirit of the radio.

Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins
Pride - U2
We Will Rock You - Queen
One Step Beyond - Madness

I agree with many of the choices, so I will just throw out a few that haven't been suggested.

Start Me Up - Rolling Stones
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
Cocaine - Eric Clapton
Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix

Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride

Second My City was Gone by the Pretenders. We shouldn't even need a poll to determine that.

All throw in Echo and the Bunneymen - Rescue.

Love is the Drug" footsteps and then that one high gtr note.Perfect.

VERY recognizable.

GREAT song.

But not a riff, at least by any definition I'm familiar with.

I second "Should I Stay or Should I Go" "Smoke on the Water", and "Iron Man". I'll also nominate "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream. It may also qualify as one of the best opening riffs, but it is instantly recognizable.

Third for "Smoke on the Water".

Nirvana - Come As You Are
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
The Doors - The End
Rolling Stones - Satisfation
Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
Guns & Roses - Sweet Child Of Mine
Pearl Jam - Alive

for starters..

But not a riff, at least by any definition I'm familiar with.

doc, I made an update that states it doesn't have to be a riff, per se. We;ll just call it an opening.

Definitely Sweet Child O' Mine and Sweet Home Alabama.


One - Metallica
Enter Sandman - Metallica
(Pretty much anything else - Metallica)
Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard (most recognizable opening half-spoken lyrics?)
Right Now - Van Halen

And I had to laugh when I thought of

Eye of the Tiger - (Survivor?)

Oh, and Jeremy - Pearl Jam


No contest.

Welcome to the Jungle - Guns & Roses

The Beatles: Hard Days Night

A single chord.


Aerosmith - Walk This Way

Beethoven's fifth symphony.

Huey Lewis & The News -- I Want A New Drug.

Ray Parker agrees with me.


I have to second Hot For Teacher.

That's the first one that really jumped right into my head when I read it.

2nd AC/DC "You shook me all night long" or "Dirty Deeds" or "TNT" or "Big Balls" or "Back in Black"
Scorpions - Rock You like a Hurricane

So What'cha Want - Beastie Boys
Jump Around - House of Pain
Groove Is In The Heart - Dee Lite
Fiesta - Pogues
Been Caught Stealiing - Jane's Addiction

Hmm. If the category has widened to the most recognized opening then I would have to nominate:

We Will Rock You - Queen

Should I Stay or Should I Go was the first one that popped into my head. Smoke On The Water and Sweet Home Alabama (whoo!) are also good ones.

Damn, I forgot the best one!

Michele's probably gonna ban this one from consideration, but Meat Loaf -- "You Took The Tords Tight Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)." But a friend of mine insists Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name."


A few come to mind:

Gimme Three Steps and Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Back In Black, You Shook Me All Night Long and Thunderstruck: AC/DC

doc, I made an update that states it doesn't have to be a riff, per se. We;ll just call it an opening.

Cool ... sorry about that mbruce! And I'll second "Love is the Drug" and "Hard Day's Night".

In the spirit of the Pretenders' "My City Was Gone," how about Bill Haley & The Comets -- "Rock Around The Clock?"


The Rolling Stones, "Satisfaction"

I should have also nominated Jesus Christ Pose by Soundgarden.

Best three note can't miss beginning:
"I Saw the Light"
The Runt

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
Pink Floyd - Money (cash register sound)
Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
Def Leppard - Love Bites (starting noise)

Most of mine are gone, already, but here are some:

Aerosmith - Dream on
Eagles - Hotel California
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

Memorable opening # 4,569

Baba O'Reilly by the Who

Damn, so many that are so immediately recognizable.

"Start Me Up"
"Sweet Home Alabama"
"Under Pressure" (although it got hijacked by that stupid-ass white boy)

Although it's very recognizable, you gotta be careful about "Hot For Teacher." in college, I was sure somebody was pulling thru the parking lot with a KILLER system crankin' VH--turned out to be a '74 Olds with a bad tailpipe and a miss.

I have to add "Should I Stay" and "Hard Day's Night" to my list.

I can tell "You shook me all night long" by AC/DC from the first chord.

Once again I find myself putting in a plug for the ever-absent "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. Three notes and you know it, five notes and you're already sucked into the rhythm. If you're talking most recognizabl across generations and across musical tastes you'd have a hard time beating this one.

my suggestions (probably repeats):

AC/DC - Back in Black
Scorpions - Rock You like a Hurricane
White Zombie - Thunder Kiss '65
Judas Priest - You Got Another Thing Comin'
Cult - Wild Flower
Dokken - In My Dreams
Def Leppard - Photograph
Kinks - Lola
Green Day - When I Come Around
New Order - Blue Monday

sorry there are so many... i guess there's a lot of song i know in the first note.

Chicago - Beginings

oh yeah, one more:

Billy Squier - The Stroke

personally, i think Blue Monday and The Stroke should get extra "points" for starting with just a bass drum (and a snare, for The Stroke), and yet STILL being recognizable in two seconds or less.

I didn't see these mentioned anywhere:
Stranglehold - Ted Nugent
Cat Scratch Fever - Ted Nugent
Rock and Roll All Nite - Kiss
Tush - ZZ Top
Breakin' the Law - Judas Priest
School's Out - Alice Cooper
2112 - Rush

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

I don't even have to list the band or the name of the song.

I agree with a lot of the nominees I've seen so far, but the Stones are sorely underrepresented. Here they are:

Can't You Hear Me Knockin'
Brown Sugar
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Honky Tonk Woman
Start Me Up
You Can't Always Get What You Want


Rock Candy (Montrose) !!!

Superstition (Stevie Wonder/SRV)
Dream On (Aerosmith)
Walk This Way (Ditto)
Train Kept a Rolliin' (Aerosmith/Jeff Beck)
Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)
Down With the Sickness (Disturbed)
Rock 'n Roll Hootchie Koo (Rick Derringer)
Layla (Derrick & the Dominoes)
Life in the Fast Lane (Eagles)
Funk 49 (Jamesgang)
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
Bawitdaba (Kid Rock)
Mississippi Queen (Mountain)
Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
Purple Haze (Jimi)
Sweet Home Alabama (Skynrd)
Wild Thang (Troggs/Jimi/X)

I hope I didn't forget to mention:

Three way tie:

Iron Butterly |Inna Godda Davida|
Beatles "Ticket To ride"

I cannot BELIEVE that 'Twilight Zone' by Golden Earring hasn't been mentioned.

AC/DC, Thunderstruck.

Of course,"Surrender " by Cheap Trick should be in the list.Bun E.'s drum lick followed by Rick's power chord always gets me in the mood.

Yeah, "Honkey Tonk Woman", what a great into. I remember reading during one of their tours back in the '90's (Steel Wheelchairs? No (social) Security?) that the cowbell sound was so distinctive and so (apparently) unreproduceable that they finally had to use a sample from the original track.

Heartbreaker- Led Zeppelin
You really got me- Van Halen

Rock n' Roll Fantasy -- Bad Company

Slow Ride -- Foghat

Iron Man -- Black Sabbath

At the risk of being thrashed soundly....

How about the wedding standard?

"Old Time Rock 'n Roll" by Bob Seger

Now that I have sucessfully planted THAT in the brains of many...

I also second the following as pennance:

"Photograph" Def Leppard
"Honky Tonk Woman" Stones
"Bohemian Rhapsody" & "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" Queen
"Dream On" Aerosmith
"Walk This Way" Aerosmith
"Pretty Woman" Roy Orbison

For the late 80's/early 90's clubby kids, there was one opening that always caused a rush to the dance floor.

How Soon is Now - The Smiths

My nominees:

Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
Rock of Ages - Def Leppard
I Will Follow - U2

Easy, and as far as I tell, unmentioned... Hands down...

LET'S GET IT ON. Marvin Gaye

Contest over.

It's the ROCK AND ROLL hall of fame, Tomact :)

Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
AC/DC - Back in Black
Smashing Pumkins - 1979


Details, Michelle... you wanted most recognizable riff to open a song, and I gave it to you. Bam!

Try it, even phonetically it works, dig it:

Bwah bwah bu bah...

"i've been really tryin', baby."

but if it needs to be "rock" then I put forth Lowrider by War.

The Beatles: Hard Days Night.
The Clash: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
AC/DC: Thunderstruck.
Rush: 2112.

  • Yes - Starship Troopers
  • Genesis - Paper Late
  • Walk the Dinosaur - Was (Not Was)
  • Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Johnnie B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
Frankenstein (Edgar Winter)
Working Man (Rush)
Should I Stay or Should I Go (Clash)
Heard it Through the Grapevine (Credence to make it rock; Marvin Gaye to be authentic)
Hells Bells (AC/DC)
Superfly (4 Non Blondes)
Billion Dollar Baby (Alice Cooper)
One Way or Another (Blondie)
Cocaine (Clapton/JJ Cale)
I Love Rock 'n' Roll (Joan Jett)
Come Down (Bush)
Crossroads (Cream)
Fortunate Son (Credence)
Roadhouse Blues (Doors)
Saturday's Alright for Fighting (Elton John)
Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics/Marilyn Manson)
Keep Away (Godsmack)
Mr. Brownstone (Guns & Roses)
Celebrity Skin (Hole)
What You Need (INXS)
Cold Hard Bitch (Jet)
Duece (Kiss)
Cold Gin (Kiss)
She (Kiss)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benetar)
Control (Puddle of Mudd)
Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots)
Semi-Charmed Life (Third Eye Blind)
Honey Bee (Tom Petty)
Beautiful Girls (Van Halen)

I'm going to start limiting the nominations to no more than three per person.

And, from ZZ TOP:

Waitin' For the Bus
La Grange

making the band... just like fantasy football off of http://kylespointsincase.blogspot.com/
10.17.05 post...i want your opinion! i agreed with kyle but aside from the guitarist...i'd have Wes Borlin.

if you could make up a fantasy 4-person band, who would be in it? my choices are:

Vocals: Mike Patton (most notably of Faith No More)

Guitar: Dimebag Darrell (Pantera)

Bass: Les Claypool (Primus)

Drums: Danny Carey (Tool)


Vocals: Chris Cornell (Temple Of The Dog, Soundgarden, Audioslave)

Guitar: Eric Clapton

Bass/Horns: Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Drums: Vinnie Paul (Pantera)

these combinations would kick so much, i would surrender my first born to see them if they were all alive....

ok. only one. Sweet Home Alabama. I only know it so well so i am prepared to run at the sound of the second note. Most recognizable to me.

but there's a billion of them.

So I over-did it, eh? I was just curious whether any others would pile on some of the more forgotten songs.

After some more thought, I have to also nominate "Superfreak" - Rick James.

Suzy Q, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Cowboys from Hell- Pantera
Youth Gone Wild- Skid Row

Mr Brownstone might win the best song ending, if that was a category...

I was trying to think of songs that start with acapella speaking, and the first one that sprung to mind was "Forgive her, for she knows not what she does."

I second the Beatles - Hard Days Night. Excellent call ! A single chord and you can guess the rest.

Another vote for Mountains's Mississippi Queen here.

after reading this, and I know most, but not all, of the songs; "Stroke" you immediately hear it when you read the title, "Hells Bells" same thing, but clearly Beethoven's "Fifth"; who doesn't know that opening measure?

Highway to Hell - AC/DC

The Who: Baba O'Riley

I'll 2nd Rock of Ages, because it's hard to get more recognizable than "unta gleebin blah blah whatever"

and I'll toss in

The Ocean- Led Zeppelin

Money for Nothing- Dire Straits

Bent- Matchbox Twenty

and please don't kill me, but

Beat It - Michael Jackson

Centerfold by J. Giels

I can't believe noone's mentioned Tom Sawyer by Rush yet. That synthesized filter sweep is instantly recognizable.

And I'll second Highway to Hell by ACDC.

ok, i've got one more, and i'm only here because nobody else mentioned it:

NIN - Closer

just like "The Stroke" and "Blue Monday", you know exactly what song it is just from one bass drum hit.

While many of these suggestions are quite recognizable - when you add QUALITY and GOTCHATTENTION to the evaluation - It can only be LAYLA !!!!

Children of the Grave - Black Sabbbath
..because, as much as I like them, Paranoid and Iron Man are two of the most overplayed songs. EVER.

My choice : Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana - Come As You Are, Guns & Roses - Sweet Child Of Mine, Jump Around - House of Pain =)

Sammy Hagar: Heavy Metal. There is NO MISTAKING that song when it starts.

Going back quite a ways, but how about Time of the Season and Whiter Shade of Pale?

You definitely know it instantly when either of those songs come on.

I have three:

"Smoke on the Water" (seconding those upthread who have already nominated it). Every beginning guitar player in the world learns this chord progression

"Thriller"---those four kind of "bonging" noises are very distinctive

"Cat Scratch Fever"

And there's a fourth, although I'm ashamed to admit that I used to listen to it...the opening part of "Ice, Ice, Baby".

Garrett: And what about Fairies Wear Boots or Electric Funeral?

Both instantly identifiable, though the latter is probably more powerful.

(Hell, I actually caught the latter on the radio a while back - KUFO here in Portland has sneakily turned into a half-decent radio station when I wasn't looking.)

Heart- Crazy On You, Magic Man

the best begining is black magic women by carlos santana other good ones are wasting my hate by metallica and white wedding by billy idol