A great debut single is the opening line in a conversation you never want to end, and hearing a band or artist get it right on their first try is one of the greatest thrills in music.
But singles by new bands that happened to include established artists like Public Image Ltd were fair game, as were bands that had released music under a previous name or in an earlier form, like the Grateful Dead, CCR, and New Order. A mi-mi-mi-mind-blowingly awesome blast of New Wave guitar lust, full of sha-sha-sha-shameless sex yelps. The Knack blew out of L. But the song was written from the perspective of a year-old boy.
But she knew she was born to be a rock star. She started performing her songs at poetry readings, with Lenny Kaye on guitar and Richard Sohl on piano. London punk at its fiercest and funniest, from a band led by a biracial teen rebel with braces named Poly Styrene.
Up Yours! Grand introductions are rarely inspired by inevitable obsolescence. I shit you not. Every goddamn time. Not the cleverest move in the world, surely. It felt like much more than punk. Every boy band has a song about reminding a girl that she is special and beautiful to them.
It was the ideal introduction to these particular five boys, a heavenly, playful, guitar-and-cowbell-driven anthem that is built to be sung back at the boys by thousands of screaming girls in a stadium. Even though One Direction have separated to pursue solo careers, this unimpeachable debut is still beloved by the former members, most of whom have performed the song at solo shows to the thrill of their longtime stans. Eddie Vedder was living in San Diego and working as a security guard in when a tape containing three instrumental tracks by members of defunct Seattle band Mother Love Bone came in the mail.
Their frontman, Andrew Wood, had died of a heroin overdose earlier that year, and mutual friend Jack Irons a former drummer in Red Hot Chili Peppers said that Eddie might be a good fit for their music.
As soon as the band heard his mighty growl and anthemic tale of survival in the light of a horrifying personal revelation, they knew they had their man. Before long, he was traveling up to Seattle and they were cutting even more music.
The song recalled Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone, and it was catchy enough to notch it a spot on the lower half of the Top — an impressive feat for a year-old who produced, arranged, and performed the song himself, with only a little help on the lyrics from a friend. For such a critique of excess, the song sounds absolutely luxurious, with Lorde making her lifestyle sound like the type of makeshift glamour that anyone her age could relate to. A slice of Sunset Strip psychedelia, the song sounds as vibrant today as it did in It also gave the Manchester, England, lads the boost they needed.
Four days before Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis hanged himself, the band entered a recording studio to cut a haunting new song that reflected his fragile mental state.
It maps out all the American bayou country CCR would spend the next few years exploring. The whole band choogles into the abyss. Missy Elliot built an impressive track record in the Nineties, writing and rapping on songs by artists like Aaliyah and Total.
Buddy Holly was just 20 in the summer of , when he and his drummer Jerry Allison went to the movies in their hometown of Lubbock, Texas. It hit Number One in September Barely more than a year later, Holly was killed in a plane crash, only The devastatingly short career of Otis Redding kicked off with this heart-wrenching ballad, a song so intense and relatable that Stax Records co-founder Jim Stewart offered him a record contract upon hearing it. If you think debut novelty singles with kooky visuals becoming massive hits was a phenomenon born in the internet age, think again.
English synth-pop narcissism, with disco beats and all the bittersweet pathos of a doo-wop ballad. Depeche Mode were just beginning to learn the stylistic potential of leather suspenders and handcuffs, but they had the sound down. Years before he fronted the groundbreaking Seventies power pop band Big Star, Alex Chilton was a year-old kid singing lead in the Memphis-based soul outfit the Box Tops. In , they entered the studio with producer Dan Penn to record a new tune written by songwriter Wayne Carson.
The one minute, 52 second song complete with airplane sound effects shot to number one and was covered by everyone from Joe Cocker to country singer Sammi Smith. Despite all the brilliant music Chilton created in Big Star, this remains his most well-known song. When the group released their debut album the following year, label head L.
They still occasionally play it live, although very begrudgingly. Pass the tanning butter! On August 31st, , months after forming the Clash, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon found themselves in the middle of a riot in Notting Hill, England, when longtime tensions between the black youth of the neighborhood and the police boiled over into violence. The experience inspired Strummer to write a song about the incident and the need for white people to join the battle against oppression.
Taylor Swift began writing this ballad in math class her freshman year. Elvis Presley was a dirt-poor Mississippi hillbilly kid, but he was cocky — he even wore a pink suit to his audition. Though maybe a bit of Manchester or Boston. So down-home, yet so far out. A couple of years later, every town in America had a few of these bands. In , Chuck Berry was a hairdresser with a side hustle as a guitar man, already pushing 30 with no acclaim or loot to show for it.
But he had a vision: What if you took country music and tricked it up with the blues? And then — most importantly — sped it all the way up? The stance was the star. C leading the way. At the very end of the Sixties, Berry Gordy was determined to put the whole Motown empire behind a hit to define the new decade. Every moment is perfect, from the opening piano swirl to the seven-note bass hook.
It hit Number One in January One of those pop manifestos that announces a new sound, a new era, a new century. But most of all, a new star. In the great tradition of debut singles, it was a divisive statement that drew a line between past and future.
Nothing was ever the same. Load Previous. View Complete List. Christaan Felber for Rolling Stone. Close the menu. Rolling Stone. Advertise Submit a Tip Submit an op-ed Submit a video.