Niel Young’s Harvest opens with “Out On the Weekend”. Looking through the rest of that album’s songs, I couldn’t find a weaker, lifeless, simplistic, more “phoned in” number than OOTW.
I get it that the “hits” and “stronger” numbers shouldn’t necessariy kick off an album, but to start off with an IMO clunker like that…
Any slabs out there you thought started off on the wrong foot?
TIL - Never realised that I’ve never, before, heard even one number off the UK pressing.
The first three minutes opening up King Crimson’s Lark’s Tongues in Aspic LP is a boring progression from thumb piano to (I think) violin noodling and then a bunch of ringing that just devolves into an even more annoying fire alarm racket. Sure, the next three minutes is the greatest, heaviest shit ever, but the way the album opens up like that I’ll bet turned off a good share of (admittedly impatient) listeners.
I can testify to that. I lent my CD to a coworker who returned it a couple of days later, saying he was with a couple of friends who complained about how boring it was, so they ejected it and went on to something else after just a minute or so.
One reply might have been to tell him that if they had just hung on, they would have heard some stuff that would peel the paint off the walls. Did I tell him that? Nah. I just shrugged and said “Oh well” and took the CD back. I figured if they weren’t going to give it any more of a chance than that, I had nothing invested in their opinion.
The Who Sell Out opened with “Armenia City In The Sky”, written and sung in part by the immortal Speedy Keen.
True, the album as a whole was wildly variable in quality, while including a couple of great songs (“I Can See For Miles”, “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands”). But it would’ve been understandable if people gave up on it after hearing “Armenia City In The Sky”.
How about Queen’s opener on A Night at the Opera, “Death on Two Legs”? The instrumental intro is okay, but once the lyrics roll in, it’s a real downer. I get it that Freddie wanted to excoriate their old manager somewhere on the album, but why put it right at the top? It does nothing to set the mood of the album.
I think that’s a good opener for what’s on the album.
I wouldn’t open with one of the warhorses like Rhapsody or Prophet’s Song. Not one of the ballads or “fruity” numbers either. You’re My Best Friend did wind up being a single, but that doesn’t really lead into the other material, it’s probably the most innocuous song on the album. What else? 39? I’m In Love With My Car? Do any of those seem like a lead cut? Death On Two Legs was the most appropriate IMO.
Mustapha from Jazz is typically the one that gets more question marks from the fans as a lead cut.
Also, the lead cut on Rumours is Second Hand News, not I Don’t Wanna Know.
This wasn’t a great album, but Dancing With Mr. D on Goat’s Head Soup by the Rolling Stones is terrible. Like the band badly parodying themselves.
I saw Crimso for the very first time when they opened for Steve Miller and was only vaguely aware of Crimson’s music. I was right up front and they opened with Larks’ Tongues. Sure, at the beginning I was kind of “WTF is this?”, but when they took off…with Wetton up front playing his bass like a madman…wow. To say I was blown away would be a major understatement. One of the most memorable moments of my concert-going life.
Worse than weak, a song so bad it put me off the album for decades. The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust (etc) opens with Five Years. It took me a (very) long time to see past Five Years (and Suffragette City) and accept that. these aside, it’s a fine album.