17 Songs with The Most Iconic First Notes in Music History

When it comes to music, the first note frequently establishes the mood for the entire composition, creating an unforgettable experience for listeners. In a recent social media thread, users passionately discussed and debated which song boasts the most iconic first note in music history. Let’s dive into the comments and explore the top contenders.

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#1. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance
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“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, marked by its haunting G on the piano in the opening, is an iconic anthem that instantly resonates with the emo culture. For many users, this powerful first note is not just a musical introduction; it’s a nostalgic portal to the mid-2000s, evoking memories of their youth. The emotional depth of this lyrics, coupled with the anthemic sound, has left an indelible mark on a generation, with some users confessing to listening to the entire album to relive the feelings of their youth once again.

#2. Baba O’Riley – The Who

The Who
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“Piano plays an F. OUT HERE IN THE FIELDS!!!”

The iconic first note of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who, marked by the striking F on the piano, resonates as an enduring anthem for multiple generations. Users fondly reminisce about the song’s rebellious spirit, linking it to the counterculture movements of the ’60s and ’70s. Beyond being a mere musical introduction, this opening note serves as a powerful rallying cry, standing the test of time. Its lyrics paint a portrait of youth culture, freedom, and the quest for individuality, making it a timeless symbol of the era’s defiance and a call for self-expression.

#3. The Lion King Opening

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As suggested by users, the opening notes of “The Lion King” serve as a captivating introduction to the majestic Pride Lands. Hans Zimmer’s masterful soundtrack, marked by its powerful and evocative score, transcends the boundaries of a mere children’s movie. Instead, “The Lion King” becomes a musical odyssey that encapsulates the essence of the African savanna and the profound concept of the circle of life.

#4. Star Wars Main Theme

John Williams
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“I remember when the trailer for The Force Awakens was released. I’m a super casual Star Wars fan but I got goosebumps when the theme started playing.”

The Star Wars main theme’s first note is an indelible mark etched into the memories of fans across the galaxy. Composed by John Williams, the music has become synonymous with the grandeur of epic space adventures, heroic battles, and the timeless struggle between the forces of good and evil. Beyond its musical brilliance, the Star Wars theme encapsulates the essence of the saga—conjuring a sense of awe, excitement, and a journey into the vast and fantastical realms of the Star Wars universe. It stands as a testament to the transcendent impact of a musical score that has become an integral part of the cultural fabric, spanning generations and transporting listeners to a galaxy far, far away.

#5. Somebody to Love – Queen

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Queen’s “Somebody to Love” opens with the unmistakable and soulful “Caaaannnnnn,” marking a distinctive beginning that captures listeners’ attention. While it may not be the most iconic, the first note is undeniably noteworthy. The song, penned by Freddie Mercury, delves into profound themes of loneliness and longing. As the vocals of Freddie Mercury take center stage, the emotive delivery and powerful range add layers of emotion to the narrative.

#6. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles

The Beatles
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“It has to be “A Hard Day’s Night”, because it’s the only first note that’s actually been studied by acousticians for decades.”

“A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles holds a unique distinction—it’s the only first note that has been studied by acousticians and even has its section on Wikipedia. The jangly and distinctive opening chord is instantly recognizable, symbolizing the energy and fervor of the Beatlemania era. Beyond its musical significance, the song captures the essence of youthful exuberance and the excitement of love. The lyrics convey a sense of joy and anticipation, narrating the experience of working hard all day and returning home to a loved one.

#7. Master of Puppets – Metallica

Master of Puppets - Metallica
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Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is a metal powerhouse, and its legendary first notes are a sonic force that commands attention. Users highlight the intensity of the guitar riff that initiates this iconic track, setting the stage for a relentless and thunderous musical journey. As the lyrics unfold, “Master of Puppets” narrates a dark narrative about the consequences of yielding one’s autonomy to external forces.

In brief, the first note serves as a sonic gateway, thrusting listeners into the visceral and powerful world that Metallica has crafted, where the crushing weight of heavy riffs and evocative lyrics explores the complexities of human agency, control, and the struggles against unseen forces.

#8. Tom Sawyer – Rush

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“How about the pulsing synthesizer at the beginning of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”?”

Users in the thread rightly recognized the unique and captivating start of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” marked by the pulsing synthesizer that sets the tone for this rock anthem. The song, celebrated for its intricate instrumentation and thought-provoking lyrics, is more than just a musical experience—it’s a celebration of individuality and non-conformity.

As the lyrics unfold, “Tom Sawyer” paints a portrait of a modern-day warrior navigating the challenges of a fast-paced and changing world. The first note, therefore, serves as an invitation to embark on a musical journey that encapsulates the spirit of independence and resilience.

#9. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd
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Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” begins with a mesmerizing guitar riff, earning nods from users for its iconic first notes. This psychedelic masterpiece explores the theme of emotional detachment and numbness. As Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s haunting vocals unfold, the song narrates a profound journey into the psyche, delving into the complexities of the human experience.

The first note acts as a sonic doorway, inviting listeners into Pink Floyd’s dreamlike realm, where the atmospheric soundscapes and introspective lyrics create an enduring and immersive musical.

#10. Head Over Heels – Tears for Fears

Tears for Fears
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For Tears for Fears fans, the opening notes of “Head Over Heels” are instantly recognizable, and users in the thread rightly emphasized the infectious quality of this ’80s synth-pop gem. Beyond its nostalgic appeal, the song explores the intricate landscape of romantic relationships, capturing the emotional highs and lows of falling in love. The first note’s upbeat melody sets the tone for a track that remains enduring and timeless, a testament to its ability to resonate across generations.

#11. Beat It – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
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Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” kicks off with a powerful guitar riff, earning praise from users for its iconic first note. More than just a musical introduction, the song is a timeless anthem of defiance and courage. Its lyrics tell a narrative of standing up against violence and peer pressure, urging individuals to find the strength to walk away from potentially harmful situations. The first note acts as a musical declaration of independence, setting the stage for a track that encourages resilience and the refusal to succumb to external pressures.

#12. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple

Deep Purple
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“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple is catapulted into the rock hall of fame with a riff that’s universally recognized and celebrated. Users in the thread rightly emphasized the raw energy and simplicity of the first notes, cementing them as iconic in the world of rock music. Adding another layer of intrigue, the song’s historical context is rooted in a real-life incident—the fire at the Montreux Casino. The lyrics vividly recount this experience, making the opening riff more than just a musical introduction but a sonic encapsulation of a dramatic moment in the band’s history.

#13. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf

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“I’ll nominate Magic Carpet Ride,” said one user, and rightfully so. Steppenwolf’s classic kicks off with a dynamic guitar riff that instantly commands attention. The song, a psychedelic rock masterpiece, takes listeners on a journey that transcends the ordinary. The lyrics of “Magic Carpet Ride” complement this sonic adventure, describing a sense of liberation and freedom. The first note serves not just as an introduction but as an invitation to buckle up and immerse oneself in a musical escapade, transcending the boundaries of reality and inviting listeners to enjoy the ride.

#14. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
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The enchanting opening notes of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” become a ubiquitous and joyous sound, creating a festive atmosphere that resonates with listeners worldwide. This modern Christmas classic is more than a song—it’s a spirited anthem that encapsulates the joy, love, and togetherness of the holiday season. Mariah Carey’s iconic vocals, paired with the catchy melody, convey a simple yet heartfelt desire for the warmth of companionship during this special time of year. The song’s enduring popularity makes it a timeless soundtrack to festive celebrations, and its first notes serve as a herald for the festive cheer that defines the holiday season.

#15. La Grange – ZZ Top

ZZ Top
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ZZ Top’s “La Grange” may not boast instant recognition by name, but its unforgettable intro is universally acknowledged. As users in the thread rightly emphasized, not everyone may know the song or the artists, but the distinctive bluesy guitar riff ensures instant recognition.

This iconic opening serves as the perfect prelude to a Southern rock masterpiece that beautifully captures the essence of Texas. Inspired by the legendary Chicken Ranch, the song’s lyrics weave a narrative of seeking companionship and revelry, adding a layer of storytelling to its rhythmic allure.

#16. Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers
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“That very first note, I recognize it all the time. Especially when the second note comes in.”

“It has to be ‘Under the Bridge,”’ as users rightly noted, marking the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit with a very first note that echoes across time. Beyond its immediate musical recognition, the song ventures into poignant themes of loneliness and yearning, with Anthony Kiedis’ soulful lyrics providing a heartfelt exploration of personal experiences.

The memorable guitar riff, coupled with Kiedis’ emotive storytelling, transforms the first note into a musical landmark. “Under the Bridge” stands as an enduring anthem, resonating with listeners across generations, as it captures the universal emotions tied to the search for connection amidst the vastness of life.

#17. Jump Around – House of Pain

House of Pain
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Closing the list is House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” a hip-hop classic that kicks off with opening notes that serve as a dynamic call to action. Encouraging listeners to get on their feet and dance, the infectious energy of the first note has made it a staple at parties and sporting events alike. Beyond its musical appeal, the song boasts boastful lyrics, inviting people to join in the revelry and let loose. The first note, with its lively and upbeat quality, acts as a sonic catalyst, establishing “Jump Around” as more than a hip-hop classic; it’s a musical invitation to embrace the joy of the moment and revel in the infectious rhythm that has made it a timeless anthem of celebration.

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