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Opening lines. (With value-added answer content!)

A day or two I challenged my handful of readers to identify 20 classic-era rock and pop albums, based on their opening lines.

Two of them actually took me up on it. Congratulations to Nick Tavares, who got three-and-a-half, and Tom Nawrocki, who got one. I guess it was harder than I thought.

(If you don’t want the answers yet, and still wanna take the quiz, click here. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200.)





OK; you’re still here. You must want the answers.

Here they are, in the following format — artist first; then album title; then “song title.”



1. “Oh, I just don’t know where to begin.” — Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Armed Forces, “Accidents Will Happen”

2. “With mistletoe and candle green / to Halloween we go.” — John Cale, Paris 1919, “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”

3. “The band’s on stage and it’s one of those nights.” — The Rolling Stones, It’s Only Rock N’ Roll, “If You Can’t Rock Me”

4. (spoken) “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.” — Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Absolutely Free, “Plastic People”

5. “Never been a millionaire / And I tell ya, mama, I don’t care.” — Rod Stewart, Never A Dull Moment, “True Blue”

6. “What do you want? What do you want?” — Chicago, Chicago VI, “Critics’ Choice”

7. “So your girlfriend slammed the door shut in your face tonight but that’s all right.” — Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Re*ac*tor, “Opera Star”

8.  “I ain’t lonesome out on Times Square.” — The Band, Northern Lights-Southern Cross, “Forbidden Fruit”

9. “As I sit and close my eyes, there’s peace in my mind.” — The Beach Boys, Friends, “Meant For You”

10. “This is the age of machinery / A mechanical nightmare.” — The Kinks, Muswell Hillbillies, “20th Century Man”

11. “We’re driving fast from a dream of the past to the brave new world.” — Steve Miller Band, Brave New World, title track

12. “Standing tough under stars and stripes, we can tell.” — Donald Fagen, The Nightfly, “I.G.Y.”

13. “If you were a bird and you lived very high / You’d lean on the wind when the breeze came by.” — Jefferson Airplane, After Bathing At Baxter’s, “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”

14. “Ain’t seen a night things work out right go by.” — Grand Funk Railroad, Closer To Home, “Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother”

15. “Walkin’ down by the river / Water runnin’ through my knees.” — Dennis Wilson, Pacific Ocean Blue, “River Song”

16. “There’s a new sensation/ A fabulous creation.” — Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure, “Do The Strand”

17. “Rather than I wanna hold your hand, I wanna swallow you whole.” — Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Lick My Decals Off Baby, title track

18. “The sky is red, I don’t understand.” — Deep Purple, Burn, title track

19. “I’ve got a pocketful of pretty green.” — The Jam, Sound Affects, “Pretty Green”

20. “Here we are again, the start of the end / But there’s more.” — Todd Rundgren, A Wizard/A True Star?, “International Feel”


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