Otis Rush. I really like the intros he plays on guitar. Any Place I'm Going has numerous examples of this.
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"over the Hills and Far Away" - Led Zeppelin
When I first heard this I thought "this is great! Really new!" Unfortunately (to me) the song is not developed but collapses into some kind of rompin' stompin'.
"Pick up on my Mojo" - Johnny Winter
Don't get your steak to close unless you like it well done...
"Crossroads" - Cream
Very compelling (What was this Clapton kid eating?)
If we are talking rock:
Queen "Fat Bottom Girls", "Another One Bites the Dust", "Under Pressure", "We Will Rock You/We are the Champions"
David Bowie: "Space Oddity" Probably any song off of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I love this album so much, I named one of my dogs Ziggy.
Pink Floyd: "Money", "Dogs of War", "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", and others that are too numerous to name...
Jimi Hendrix: Nearly any song he ever did.
Chess: "One Night in Bangkok" It is off of the musical Chess. Extremely clever lyrics with a beat that is so right and enticing. I love this entire musical.
Dave's True Story: "Trollop" Any song that starts with vocals about famous authors and literary works, I cannot turn away from.
-Beethoven: Sym #5 (the whole first movement),
-Beethoven: Fur Elise
-Arthur Pryor: "Blue Blues of Scotland" (I love that trombone intro, I've played it countless times on my horn)
-Nine Inch Nails: "Head Like a Hole"
-Metallica: "Enter Sandman" (This was a milestone for me. This was the first pop/rock song that I actually liked. Before that, I primarily listened to classical music exclusively. There was just something about this song that drew me into it. I think it was the less agressive guitar intro that made it paletable)
-Gorefest: "From Ignorance to Oblivion" (the intro in this just explodes). I first heard this as an mp3 called 'gorefest.mp3' on the college campus network back in '97. I just had to find out what band/song/album that was. Man I loved that intro.
-Cannibal Corpse: "Hammer Smashed Face"
-???: "Sweet Home Chicago"
-Simon and Garfunkel: "Mrs. Robinson"
-Guess Who: "American Woman"
-the music of Gloria Estefan, although I can't think of a specific song at the moment.
Panufnik: "Sinfonia Sacra"
The Who: "Pinball Wizard"
XTC: "River of Orchids"
Guns 'N Roses: "Sweet Child 'O Mine"
The Band: "Up on Cripple Creek"
Robbie Robertson: "Fallen Angel"
Freedy Johnston: "Bad Reputation"
Luna: "How Long Can This Go On?"
Husker Du: "These Important Years"
Kings X: "Everybody Knows a Little Bit"
I always thought the coolest song intro was to "The Story in Your Eyes" by the Moody Blues. The intro actually had a title called "Procession". It starts with an "outer space" sound representing the creation of the planet and then proceeds forward through time, playing a theme on different instruments through the ages - starting with "caveman" chanting, then drums, moving to some middle-eastern instrument and then a lute, mandolin, pipe organ, full orchestra and finally ending with an electric guitar which plays the first notes of the main song. VERY COOL!
Matter of fact I may need to get a six pack on the way home and give it a spin:-)
Rolling Stones, either "Brown Sugar" or "Start Me Up" (since they're roughly inverses of one another). Guess I give the nod to BS, because I heard it first and SMU loses points for being used in a Microsoft ad.
Second the nomination of Yes "Roundabout." Also, "Siberian Khatru" from "Close to the Edge"
Others that come to mind:
Santana, "Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)"
Hendrix, "Little Wing" and "Purple Haze"
Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth"
Jefferson Airplane, "Volunteers"
Neil Young, "Rockin' in the Free World"
Mountain, "Mississippi Queen" (gotta love The Great Fatsby)
Ten Years After, "I'd Love to Change the World"
Beatles, "Paperback Writer"
Paul Simon, "Late in the Evening"
Eric Clapton, "Layla" (or about half of the other songs on that album...)
And on and on ... isn't music great? Happy listening!
Bob Dylan: Ballad of a Thin Man, Like A Rolling Stone & Positively 4th Street
Schubert: Gretchen Am Spinrade
Mahler: Der Abschied from Das Lied Von Der Erde
Van Morrison: Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Miles Davis: All Blues & So What
Beethoven: 6th Symphony, first bars of first movement
Coltrane: A Love Supreme
And ditto with Crazy4Blues: numerous songs by Otis Rush
Opalchip, great call. A single memorable chord. At the other end of the spectrum, I'd nominate the improvised tenor sax and drum intro to Steely Dan's "Everything Must Go." Glorious playing, and really contributes to the meaning of the song (those guys are brilliant).
On a different note, the intro to Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman." That is _so_ cool.