My 10 favourite opening tracks

What are your favourite album-opening tracks, asks my colleague Lucy Jones today. I couldn't resist compiling my own list. By wracking my brains and browsing my music collection I came up with the following:

1. Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello (Armed Forces)
Elvis's introduction - "Oh, I just don't know where to begin..." - which begins just slightly before the music comes in is what makes this a priceless opener.

2. Sign o' the Times by Prince (Sign o' the Times)
It's an astonishing song first of all, but that stark, frosty synthesiser loop and Prince's poignant lyric make a disturbing beginning for his greatest album.

3. Debaser by Pixies (Doolittle)
This track builds brilliantly to the point where Black Francis gleefully storms in with his lyric about "slicing up eyeballs" - an homage to Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou. With Tame and Wave of Mutilation to follow, the opening seven minutes of this album are thrilling.

4. Army of Me by Bjork (Post)
Over a sinister industrial beat Bjork delivers an aloof, imperious vocal. It's slightly unrepresentative of what follows but it remains a great first track.

5. Autobahn by Kraftwerk (Autobahn)
It's not just the opening track - at more than 20 minutes, it's the first half of the album. A masterpiece of electronica that remains absorbing and hugely influential.

6. Solid Air by John Martyn (Solid Air)
This is a masterpiece too but it's also significant for its place in Martyn's career. As the opener of his sixth album, it signalled his maturity as an artist and began a run of four stunning albums.

7. The Fear by Pulp (This Is Hardcore)
Not many opening songs summarise the coming album quite so succinctly as this one: "This is the sound of someone losing the plot, making out that they're ok when they're not. You're going to like it but not a lot. And the chorus goes like this..."

8. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan (Highway 61 Revisited)
As far as 'the canon' is concerned, this is the greatest song of all time. Greil Marcus has written an entire book about it. The adoration can be a little off-putting but this truly is a great song and that crack on the drum that opens it may well be the best opening note in popular music.

9. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (Nevermind)
Another one that's easy to take for granted. We've all heard it too much but it's a great first track, especially for the moment - six seconds in - when Dave Grohl enters like a man trying to break his drum kit into tiny pieces.

10. Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind by Yo La Tengo (I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass)
I wanted an odd one for number ten and this is it. It takes nerve to open your album with a ten-minute guitar freakout but I think Yo La Tengo succeed with this hypnotic song.

What do you think? Here's a Spotify playlist of all ten.