Most recognizable song intro

I was listening to the radio today and the DJ introduced The Who’s Long Live Rock as having one of the most recognizable intros in rock. Mm, whut? Don’t get me wrong, I like The Who but that’s not even close.

Off the top of my head I’m thinking of classics like Iron Man, Smoke On The Water, Purple Haze. I’m guessing if I throw it out here I’ll get the phone book but it still might be fun to compile a list of doper faves.

For me, I’ll start with Hot For Teacher. In addition to being recognizable, it has the added bonus of being drum driven and not totally guitar driven. Thinking about it I guess you could say the same for Wipeout.

What have got that’s most recognizable or iconic?

Pretty fly for a white guy, by The Offspring.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is almost the definitive answer.

“Smoke on the Water” was the first thing that occurred to me on seeing the thread title. “Satisfaction” was the second. I really don’t think “Hot for Teacher” is a recognized enough song to have a chance.

“Money” - Pink Floyd
“Money for Nothing” - Dire Straights

To state the obvious, either “Layla” or “Stairway to Heaven”.

Gimme Shelter - has got to be a contender.

Day Tripper has a pretty memorable opening.


I remember when the tv show “Name That Tune” was revived in the '70s. In the debut, the emcee offered a demonstration of how the game works. He said that they would play the beginning of a famous song, but only the very first chord, and that despite the tiny sample, he was confident that 90% of the audience would recognize it. I was watching and listening, and doubted that I’d guess the song, but when they played that long guitar strum from A Hard Day’s Night’s opening, I knew he was right.

This is mine as well, but I would also mention Honky Tonk Women.
(which makes it 3 different Stones songs mentioned in the first 10 posts)

Heck, don’t most songs that were popular have memorable openings to those familiar with the songs? I started a list of songs/links that started out memorably to me but heck, most every song I remembered I could tell by the first 6 notes or so. That being said, The Chord from “A Hard Day’s Night” is the intro everyone familiar with the song can name in one.

Lola. A Hard Day’s Night gets the press, but Lola is also recognizable from a single chord.

Way too many to choose from, but the first one I thought of was Layla.

CCR-Proud Mary

Hold On, I’m Coming - Sam and Dave

Those horns and the driving bassline cut in immediately at the start.

Yes, I was listening to “Same and Dave’s Greatest Hits” in the car while taking the kids to school this morning…why do you ask?

And yes, I was playing that bassline last night. Cool stuff.

pound, pound, clap
pound, pound, clap



I will add the “Da Da Da DUNNNN” of Beethoven’s 5th.

Ultimately I have to go with Hard Day’s Night though. What a chord!

As said earlier, most memorable songs usually start off with something that we remember, because, hey, they’re popular…

Two that come to mind for me (perhaps showing my age).

Old Black Water - The Doobie Brothers

The Devil went Down to Georgia - The Charlie Daniels Band.

“Bennie and the Jets” opening chord!

BTW, there are many of these (and others) in the ongoing thread about Riffs where I have already mentioned a dozen or so.

Links to YouTube (or the like) can help make the point(s) emphatically. :wink:

No way does Hard Day’s Night beat Beethoven. I mean, what other opening bit is used as a code for victory among troops during a war?

I suspect the opening four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are the best-known opening in human history.

The only one I can think of as a runner-up that hasn’t been mentioned are the first five notes of Also Sprach Zarathustra.