The Best instantly recognisable intro

Superstition was a good call. All Along The Watchtower is stonkingly good.

Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello and The Attractions is a fave of mine.

The most recognisable should be evident in only a second or two - 5 is a long time! The quickest are likely to be those with unique sounds, like the the exhale of breath in Whole Lotta Love, which might take only a second to register. Without a unique sound as such, but needing a pattern of notes, chords or drums, it might take maybe a bar or so, perhaps 2-3 second. The question in the context of this thread is what constitutes “best” - fastest recognition, or recognition by the largest number of people before the piece of music gets going fully?

AC/DC - Thunderstruck


:small_blue_diamond:Innocent_Bystander,…I agree with you,…the one I suggested, “Smoke On The Water” I recognize on the first guitar-chord.


Peder - is this not on your list? I know the intro to Smoke on the Water but didn’t know who it made it famous. This one I do (another Knopfler song):

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

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I think this is a really difficult question. It heavily depends on the music that you personally have heared over and over again. For me there are many Prince songs that start very uniquely like Sign O The Times or Let’s Go Crazy and certainly Purple Rain etc.

Generally the Beethovens 5th is a really good one IMHO.

I kind of disagree – I would say most people recognise The opening bars of Beethoven’s 5th. They might not know the title but the intro is universally known. Copied in popular music so many times too…

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Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony is recognizable fro the first note, unlike Beethoven’s 5th.

For me, it’s the easiest question. If an intro doesn’t blow you away, don’t post it here.

All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople.


A few have already answered with a Hard Days Night, which I think is prefect. Straight to the point, short and sweet, instantly recognisable. Another fav of mine is Five Years- Bowie, that drum beat unmistakably Mr Bowie and a great track as well.

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Perfect in a way- except with A Hard Day’s Night, it isn’t actually an intro at all, but straight in with the song itself…

… with a small but perfectly formed intro. :grin:

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…”


Money for Nothing, surely! Just listen to the crowd’s response when played live:



Not sure which is best, but a one note starter must be Lou Reed And Walk on the Wild Side.
Others -
Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry
Cowboy Junkies - Walking After Midnight
Aaron Copland - Fanfare For The Common Man


Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols


That first G major chord and it’s instantly recognized as Wish You Were Here!

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