The question I am about to pose… I wonder if you have ever asked yourself this?

It is definitely something you’ll have a view on.

I also think that you may come up with an immediate answer, and then have a battle with yourself about whether your gut-response is in fact right for you.

You’ll probably do that scrunched-up-face thing as you think.

My question is:

What song has the best opening lines?

Please comment on this below if you don’t mind. I am interested. It’s not necessarily the best song you know. And it’s very personal to you.

The words will hook you in every time though. And make you feel something.

For me it’s Kinky Afro, the Happy Mondays 1990 tune:

Son, I’m 30
I only went with your mother cos she’s dirty
And I don’t have a decent bone in me
What you get is just what you see yeah

I was 22 in October 1990 when it was released. I’d recently graduated. It always makes me smile.

It makes me think of my birth city – Manchester – and all the madness I didn’t see because I left when I was 13. I missed, and was probably a bit young for, the Hacienda days.  The drugs and the crazy times.

I wish I had seen it all. I may be a bit cooler if I had. But then again as I am quite an obsessive guy I may never have recovered.


I like the swagger and the confidence of the lyric. Or my interpretation of the lyric.

I like that he’s speaking his mind too. Cheeky and raw. Unmeasured.

Apparently the song was conceived on the back of two weeks of smoking opium. I tend to stick to freshly ground coffee for my highs these days. It is, I hope, marginally safer.

Anyhow. Let me know yours please. And why.

PS For the real music geeks out there, you could argue that the first line of this song is, ‘You go spooky in a band’ – because that’s what Shaun Ryder says quietly at the beginning. Either way. It’s all very cool.

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Image: Paul Husband


  1. For me it is Violet Femmes “Blister in the Sun”

    The fact that there was actually a punk band that came from the American heartland in Milwaukee Wisconsin is odd enough…

    “When I’m out walking I strut my stuff And I’m so strung out
    I’m high as a kite I just might stop to check you out….”

    I was in college living with a really interesting mix of people and it reminds me of a really happy time when we were having fun trying to figure out who we were going to become

  2. “Like a desert needs the rain
    Like a town needs a name
    I need your love.

    Like a drifter needs a room
    I need your love

    Like a rhythm unbroken
    Like drums in the night
    Like sweet soul music
    Like sunlight
    I need your love

    Like coming home
    And you don’t know where you’ve been
    Like black coffee
    Like nicotine
    I need your love.”

    Apologies for delivering more than the first stanza. But these words have the effect on me that spinach has on Popeye.

    They make me think of my wife.

    From a massively underrated U2 track called Hawkmoon 269. It’s buried on Rattle and Hum and even though I haven’t missed a tour since 1984, I have never seen them play it live.

    • I think I pre-ordered Rattle and Hum. It made me feel like a grown up doing that.

      Can you guess the only other recored I ever put a deposit down for Shaughn? I think I paid £3 towards the full price.

      It’s not what you may guess so think weirdly. I just loved it’s theatre and adventure and clearly different approach.

      The only clue I’ll give you is: Trevor Horn.

  3. Either ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ by Grace Jones, or more likely, ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

    I am riddled with anticipation.

    • Bloody heck Shaughn. You’re right!

      “Welcome To The Pleasuredome.”

      1984. I was 17 I think.

      I was ecstatic when I got it. It was on tape.

  4. It was so hotly anticipated after the “Frankie Says” summer of 1984. The summer when you are 17 seems to be a memorable one. Black and white checked shirts, espadrilles, pleated trousers that had buttons at the bottom of each leg, so you could tighten them around your ankles – a t-shirt that said ‘Relax’.

    The album didn’t disappoint. Brilliant Trevor Horn production, ‘The Power of Love’. We were blessed to have lived through that. The Unforgettable Fire was released in October – another groundbreaking album, this time steered by the production genius of Brian Eno.

    You should take a listen to Slave to the Rhythm – try the ‘Hot blooded’ version on Spotify. You can hear the DNA that links it to WTTPD. There was a whole album dedicated to the same song, mixed by TH in lots of different ways. It really opened my mind to how the same melody and lyrics can be interpreted so differently, even by the same artist. Certainly indulgent, but brilliant none the less.

    • I was very skinny back then Shaughn. So I used to layer up. To pretend I was bigger.

      I never listened to Grace Jones… but I will now!

  5. Just Googled. 1984 was a vintage year. Amongst many others these classics saw the light of day:
    • Thriller: MJ
    • Diamond Life: Sade
    • Alf: Alison Moyet
    • Born in the USA: Springsteen
    • The Smiths: The Smiths
    • Purple Rain: Prince
    • Sparkle in the Rain: Simple MInds
    • The Age of Consent: Bronski Beat
    • Cafe Bleu: Style Council
    • The Crossing & Steeltown : Big Country

    • Holiday & Like a Virgin: Madge
    •Careless Whisper: George M

    So much incredible stuff.

    • • Thriller: MJ Yes; I had that. I used to play the Vincent Price bit to scare my younger brother, Sam.
      • Diamond Life: Sade. I bought this… On Tuesday this week! On vinyl. £10.
      • Alf: Alison Moyet. Yes; superb voice. In Yahoo too as you know. Now super tiny.
      • Born in the USA: Springsteen You may never speak to me again but I’m not a big fan. I understand he is doing some cool little concerts these days though which sound good.
      • The Smiths: The Smiths. Yes, adore them. Even though Morrissey told AWR to bugger off when I asked to weave the lyrics to This Charming Man into silk.
      • Purple Rain: Prince. Yep; genius. Pioneer.
      • Sparkle in the Rain: Simple MInds. Yes I am a fan though I felt I had to choose U2 or them to work out whose gang I was in. I chose U2.
      • The Age of Consent: Bronski Beat. I can sing Small Town Boy really well. Well it sounds great in the shower.
      • Cafe Bleu: Style Council. Wasn’t into Weller back ten. Am now. Of course.
      • The Crossing & Steeltown : Big Country. I used to play drums in a band at that point and can still remember the drum bits in Look Away. I later played guitar a bit and sang. For a moment in time.
      • Holiday & Like a Virgin: Madge. She’s 60 this year isn’t she? Yep. fancied her. But was also scared of her.
      •Careless Whisper: George M. The last person I saw live. Then he died. Disastrous. I recently looked at buying Symphonia on vinyl. cheapest I can find it is £1,500. Amazing.

      Thank you Shaughn.

  6. We never spoke again today, she’s gone to bed.
    I’d smoke myself to death,
    But I don’t like cigarettes.

    These are the favourite lyrics of my pal Pete Zulu.

    I am not sure where they’re from, as it goes!

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