11 best opening songs from debut albums

Some bands and artists get it right on the first track of their first album.
Manic Street Preachers London 1991
Manic Street Preachers London 1991 / Martyn Goodacre/GettyImages
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For every masterful debut that expertly expresses a band’s style there’s another debut that offers up bad songs with poorly thought-out musical decisions. Other debut albums are maddeningly inconsistent and, while they might be home to a good song here or there, they don’t deliver the goods the way other future albums in an artist’s discography do.

However, some debut albums are almost perfect, and the opening songs on those albums are automatic classics that perfectly encapsulate a group or artist – or at least provide a template for triumphs that may await the group or artist in the future.

With so many amazing opening songs from debut albums, there was always the possibility that some songs would get forgotten along the way. This list represents the 11 best songs that were forgotten in the creation of the other lists in this series.

These 11 tracks represent a terrific cross-section of opening songs from debut albums

Note: This list does not include EPs or first singles, as it is strictly limited to the first song featured on the track list of the group or artist’s debut album – simple as that. As such, this list also doesn’t count first tracks on a group or artist’s first “major label” album, discounting their “independent” releases.

“School Days” – Chuck Berry – After School Session (1957)

If there’s one thing Chuck Berry knew, it was how to write a terrific song with as few chords as possible. As one of the progenitors of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, Berry was a master of concise songwriting, and he also happened to be a storyteller par excellence. Of course, the legendary singer and guitarist did reuse his melodies and chord sequences liberally, but when you have something as catchy as this opening song from his first album, you can’t really blame him for reusing it multiple times throughout his career!