Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Opening Line

Certainly a lot of literature has memorable opening lines:
Call me Ishmael. -- Moby Dick

These are the times that try men's souls. -- The American Crisis

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. -- A Tale of Two Cities

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. -- Anna Karenina

But as I was listening to my iPod today, it struck me that there aren't a helluva lot of great opening lines to songs. The proximal cause for this thought was the opening line of the White Stripes song You Don't Know What Love Is:
In some respects I suspect you've got a respectable side.
Good lyric. Sounds good, but also has some meaning behind it, as opposed to, say, Springsteen's opening to Blinded by the Light:
Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat.
which sounds good, but the Boss will readily admit doesn't mean anything.

Now that it was on my mind, I paid attention to the next few songs, and the opening lines were immediately forgettable (indeed, I now don't remember what those songs were). So now I'm trying to think of other good opening lines, without the use of the internet. The only one I can come up with is from The Who:
I woke up in a SoHo doorway. A policeman knew my name.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious great openers, but it has been about an hour and nothing has sprung to mind. Nominations, anyone?