I Like Lyrics

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After reading Spinner‘s list of 25 best opening lyrics (and their subsequent readers’ list), I was inspired to write my own Top 10 list.

So, without further ado . . .

JD’s Top 10 List of Best Opening Lyrics

1. Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your

—The Smiths: “Bigmouth Strikes Again”

We’ve all had those moments when we wished we could take back what we’d said, especially when it involved tooth-smashing. And I’m sure we’ve all known how Joan of Arc felt.

Johnny Marr shoots off his big mouth in this interview with Record Mirror.

2. I woke the dawn
Saw horses growing out the lawn

—Eisley: “Marvelous Things”

You know you’re in for a weird ride with this one. If I saw horses growing out of my lawn, it could only mean that those pesky acid flashbacks have returned. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Go to Mog and listen to some Eisley tracks for the low, low price of FREE!

3. When you first left me I was wanting more
But you were fucking that girl next door
What’d you do that for?

—Lily Allen: “Smile”

You don’t expect to hear the “F” word at all, never mind right off the bat from this innocent-sounding Brit songstress. She goes on to share with us the many pleasures of sweet revenge.

Watch the video for Smile and feel the schadenfreude as Lily pays some strangers to beat the crap out of her cheating boyfriend.

4. 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

—The Kinks: “Lola”

Ahhh . . . driving up to Lake Geneva before we turned 21 and drinking and dancing at Thumbs Up. This was the song that got everyone out on the dance floor. The BBC refused to play the song until the band changed the LP version from “tastes just like Coca-Cola” to “tastes just like cherry cola.” As long as drunken idiots can still yell “C-O-L-A Cola” at the top of their lungs, who cares what kind it is?

Dave Davies discusses bisexuality and other Kinks-y stuff.

5. Traveling in a fried-out Kombi
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie

—Men at Work: “Down Under”

When this song came out, we all started saying “chunder” and “vegemite” and grooving to the weirdo sounds of Australian reggae. The “Kombi” is a Volkswagen van (VW Kombivan) and “head full of zombie,” according to that most reliable of sources Urban Dictionary, refers to a particularly strong strain of pot popular in Australia at the time. And it rhymes with Kombi!

Enjoy the acoustic version from Colin Hay’s Man at Work CD.

6. She keeps her Moet et Chandon
In a pretty cabinet
“Let them eat cake” she says
Just like Marie Antoinette

—Queen: “Killer Queen”

Of course, Marie Antoinette never said that, but whose name are you gonna get to rhyme with “cabinet”?

The tribute band Killer Queen took their name from this song.

7. Watch out—you might get what you’re after

—Talking Heads: “Burning Down the House”

I have no idea what this is about, but the line is a perfect opening to a weird, menacing song. Nuclear war? Some guy’s house burned down? And the video? Brrrrr. Who are those creepy kids? Why is David Byrne’s head on that road? And on the side of the house? Why does he have that terrifying expression on his face?

Watch the video, then go hide under your bed (but David Byrne’s big, scary head will STILL get you!)

8. Hey, Judy
Get Trudy
You said to call you up when I was feeling moody

—The Kings: “The Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide”

Like “Lola,” another song guaranteed to get your ass on the dance floor. Did the Kings have any other good songs? One Amazon reviewer said of their CD The Kings Are Here and More: “I was pleasantly surprised that the other songs did not suck.” So there you go.

Wondering where are they now? The Kings Are Here!

9. One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow

—U2: “Pride (In the Name of Love)”

This one gets in because it has special meaning to me. A huge U2 fan, I was walking down Grafton Street in Dublin when I first heard this song. I was too broke to buy the cassette (yes, I said CASSETTE!), so I just stood in the doorway of the shop and listened. And yearned.

And now I can afford to pay $75 for this vintage U2 T-shirt!

10. There was a guy
An underwater guy who controlled the sea
Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge
From New York and New Jersey

—Pixies: “Monkey Gone to Heaven”

OK, now . . . what? This sounds bad. A comment on a lyrics site will illuminate us: “The ‘underwater guy who controlled the sea’ is clearly the Greek god Neptune. ‘Got killed by 10 million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey’ [is] . . . a metaphor for our modern society taking control of the Earth in such a way that we no longer have any use for superstition, myth, and religion.”

I’ll buy that.

Find out how The Pixies Sell Out on their MySpace page.

Which opening lyrics did I leave out? Which do you feel don’t belong on a Top 10 list? Chime in with some of your own favorite opening lyrics!

* Today’s best-opening lyrics are courtesy of Robyn Hitchcock.