7. David Bowie: ‘It’s No Game (Part 1)’ from Scary Monsters (1980)
Weird doesn’t cover it. We hear tape spooling around the reels and the machine being turned on, followed by drummer Dennis Davis whirling around a football rattle and counting us in in his best Cyborg voice. After this, Robert Fripp’s deranged solo and Michi Hirota’s strident Japanese outbursts sound almost normal.
6. De La Soul: ‘Intro’ from 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
A whole generation of pop kids hadn’t heard anything like this before, and yet somehow it bears repeated listening. It’s just as fresh and original as anything The Small Faces or The Beatles tried 20 years before and arguably started off the whole ‘intro’ concept on hip-hop albums.
5. Genesis: ‘Behind The Lines’ from Duke (1980)
In musical theatre, I believe it’s called an overture. This bombastic piece previews many of the themes that will reverberate through the album. Tony Banks’ keys and Phil’s drums have seldom sounded brighter or tighter.
4. Lil Louis: ‘I Called U’ from From The Mind Of Lil Louis (1989)
This classic piece of bunny-boiler house is funny and arresting (sorry about the sound quality).
3. It Bites: ‘Positively Animal’ from Eat Me In St Louis (1989)
Watch that volume dial. The underrated four-piece jolt you out of complacency with a flashy, these-go-to-11 opener. Audacious and very un-English.
2. The Police: ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ from Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
Another moody classic. A brooding Oberheim bass-throb, a fudged Andy Summers chord, a hint of click track and then that brilliant, patented half-time groove. This full-length version hints at the darker themes of the lyric.
1. Talking Heads: ‘And She Was’ from Little Creatures (1985)
Hope you enjoy our new direction (though Little Creatures is probably my least favourite Heads album). Leaving behind the art-funk of Speaking In Tongues, this sprightly opener introduces a new stripped-down pop sound in no uncertain terms.