By Bruce Warren, WXPN
Over the years, some bands who’ve released recording debuts have launched their careers with a single from the album that, in many cases, was the first song on the first side of their record. In the business, these songs are called “lead-off tracks,” denoting the first in a series of songs on an album. Many of these tracks spawned major hits: from Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love,” “Chuck E’s In Love” by Rickie Lee Jones and Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why,” to Foo Fighters’ “This Is A Call” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Still others, while not major radio hits, have had lasting influence on pop music. “Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M., “Illegal Smile” by John Prine, “Push It Along” by A Tribe Called Quest and “Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground come to mind.
From rock and soul to R&B and rap, we’ve collected 150 of these lead-off tracks into one playlist. Listen below.