A recent article on the BBC, which suggests that intros are dying out, prompted me to finally write a post I’ve been knocking around for a while now. Not that you’d know it from the start of this blog, but I believe that well-crafted intros are a fine art and one that I’d hate to see die out completely. Even if we do have an average online attention span of just eight seconds, surely there’s got to be room in life for the slow-burner. The BBC article linked above gives a handful of fairly predictable choices for the best epic song intro, and here are mine:
Those pounding drums, that scratchy guitar and then, after nearly a full minute of anticipation, the big riff and Chris Cornell’s immortal voice.
Biffy Clyro: Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
Convoluted, confusing and utterly brilliant. I must have listened to this intro hundreds of times, but I still get it wrong when I try to sing along.
Foo Fighters: In Your Honour
The most stadium-sized song the Foos have recorded to date, if I was Dave Grohl I’d open every single show with this absolute belter.
Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same
87 seconds long and featuring at least eight separate phases, this masterpiece is the mother of all hard rock intros.
The Mars Volta: Cygnus… Vismund Cygnus
One of those quiet intros that tricks you into turning up the volume before blowing your head off 45 seconds later. Only with a dizzying blast of salsa-inspired post-rock.
Muse: Knights of Cydonia
Within five seconds you’re aware there’s a Western theme coming, within ten they’ve thrown in a sci-fi element and within 40 you’re wailing your head off to Matt Bellamy’s indiscernible shrieking.
Pink Floyd: In The Flesh?
So many of Pink Floyd’s songs start slowly that, in my teen years, I once skipped through their entire greatest hits impatiently searching for instant gratification. But as they say, good things come to those who wait.
Queens Of The Stone Age: (You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A) Millionaire
Most of the tracks on the seminal Songs For The Deaf could make this list, thanks to the brilliant radio intros punctuating the record, but this one stands out for its utter mastery of the loud-quiet dynamic and Nick Oliveri’s inimitable vocals.
As usual, I’ve probably missed some right gems, so let me know in the comments below and I’ll leave you with the best track that totally shuns any concept of an intro and just gets right into it: