From Arctic Monkeys to Bjork, Blur, Oasis and more who got it right from the word go
Hywel Roberts and Esin Huseyin
15:59 23rd October 2013

This week marked 8 years since the Arctic Monkey's first released their debut single  'I Bet That You Looked Good On The Dancefloor'. The track propelled the Sheffield band to the top of the list when thinking of great indie bands. So, this got us thinking; what bands/artists chose the right first single to establish themselves in the industry?

We have taken a look back through the years, and through the genres; covering disco, hip-hop, R&B, and even touch upon post-rock. Of course we'll have the big names like Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, The Beatles, and Prince - but, you might be surprised by a few names on the list. We personally think these are some of the greatest, have a look through and see what you think. 

  • Bjork - 'Human Behaviour' (1993): Inspired by David Attenborough, this song reflects upon human nature from the point of view of an animal. We think this set the tone for her career, nicely.

  • Arctic Monkeys 'I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance floor' (2005): 9 years on this still sounds as fresh and relevant as ever.

  • Jimi Hendrix 'Hey Joe' (1965): The legendary guitarist was a paratrooper before releasing this classic single.

  • Chic - 'Dance, Dance, Dance' (1977): The group's first single which was a hit, making #1 on the dance charts; still making people want to dance years later.

  • Blur 'She's so High' (1990): Named NME's single of the week, they certainly got this one right first time.

  • Deftones - '7 words' (1995): First single off of their Adrenaline album. The band hit the nail on the metal-head with this track; We're pretty sure there are people that still mosh to this one.

  • Kate Bush 'Wuthering Heights' (1978): The first time the world came face to face to the beautiful insanity of Kate Bush.

  • Fischerspooner - 'Emerge' (2001): Taken from their #1 album; we think it's a pretty memorable start to the electroclash duo, with it's mesmerising electronic beats.

  • George Michael 'Careless Whisper' (1984): Any lingering doubts over whether there was life after Wham were emphatically banished with with sax driven classic.

  • Foo Fighters - 'This Is A Call' (1995): Reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart. The lyrics "This is a call to all my past resignation" is Grohl's way of saying thanks to past musical ventures. This song really was the first glimpse in to Foo Fighters' style that grew to be world famous.

  • Oasis 'Supersonic' (1994): They may have made some mediocre records in their later years, but this was a real punch in the face when released. In a good way.

  • Britney Spears: ...Baby One More Time (1998): Overshadowed at the time by the slightly creepy video, we can all appreciate now that this is a sublime slice of pop genius.

  • Green Day - 'Longview' (1994): The band's first single to top the Modern Rock charts in the US, was named after the city they first performed it in, and with its memorable bass line, this a song you'll never forget.

  • Michael Jackson 'Got To Be There' (1971): Listening to this makes the personal and professional tailspin the superstar went into seem unbearably sad.

  • Kanye West 'Through The Wire' (2003): Back when Kanye West was good, he was so good he could even rap with a smashed jaw.

  • Joy Division 'Transmission' (1979): A thrilling and mesmerising start to the seminal band's career, having changed their name from Warsaw.

  • Interpol - 'Obstacle 1' (2002): Taken from their Turn on the Bright Lights albums; there are several variations on the meaning of this song, but all we know is that this is a great start to the rock band's career, it really encompasses their sombre tone.

  • The Undertones 'Teenage Kicks' (1978): John Peel's favourite song, and he knew a thing or two about music.

  • Bloc Party - 'She's Hearing Voices' (2004): From their debut album Silent Alarm; hearing voices is never a good sign, but if it's front man Kele's famous vocals then I guess it's okay. A great first track from the British band, that we always seem to find our way back to.

  • Sugababes 'Overload' (2000): This was such a fantastic record everyone thought Sugababes could a classic pop band. Sadly in-fighting and mediocrity took over, but the quality or 'Overload' is undeniable.

  • The Smiths 'Hand In Glove' (1983): For many this changed the musical landscape in the UK forever, you can't ask much more than that of your first single.

  • Velvet Underground 'Sunday Morning' (1966): Released with Femme Fatale, it was a tender moment that belied some of the more 'difficult' songs the band had up their sleeves.

  • Lady Gaga - 'Just Dance' (2008): Gaga's debut track spent a long five months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; love or hate her, it's catchy and has paved the rest of the way for her career, and the present pop industry.

  • LCD Soundsystem - 'Losing My Edge' (2002): It made NME's list of 150 Best Tracks of the past 15 years - James Murphy being repeatedly slapped in the face in the video goes hand-in-hand with the music; this really is a dance-punk gem.

  • The Libertines 'What a Waster' (2002): A sublimely sweary racket that blasted the ill-fated rockers onto the scene with a flourish.

  • Eminem 'My Name Is' (1999): 14 years on everyone of a certain age can sing along with every single word of this -which says it all really.

  • Metallica - 'Fade To Black' (1984): There aren't many songs where within the first 10 seconds of a guitar riff you can name that tune - Metallica burst in to the metal scene with this powerful ballad. It was ranked 24th in Guitar World's Best Guitar Solo charts, we definitely agree

  • D'Angelo 'Brown Sugar' (1995): Pretends to talk about a woman when actually talking about drugs, but when the song's this good who cares?

  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 'In The Ghetto' (1969): This track reached #84 on the UK Singles Chart, and was never actually released on an album - only in 2009 when From Her to Eternity was remastered, was the song included on the album.

  • Radiohead 'Creep' (1992): Hated by the band, loved by pretty much everyone else.

  • The Beatles 'Love Me Do' (1962): The first song in the most respected body of work the world has ever seen, and a very important part of it.

  • Notorious B.I.G - 'Juicy' (1994): His solo debut single and is still considered to this day as one of the most iconic hip-hop songs of all time, and was even made into a tribute for him when the rapper died.

  • Pixies - 'Gigantic' (1988): From their first album Surfer Rosa, this song encapsulates their rock sound - the same bass line is held throughout the whole song, we love it.

  • Prince - 'Soft and Wet' (1978): Taken from his debut album For You, the first sound we had of Prince's famous funky disco beats - there certainly hasn't been anything like it since.

  • Queens Of The Stone Age - 'If Only' (1998): Taken from their first album, named after themselves of course, it features Josh Homme's instantly recognisable vocals and their world famous riffs, the band dubbed them as "robot rock" songs, which they're still famous for -personal favourite of ours.

  • Roxy Music - 'Virginia Plain' (1972): Only made it to #4 in the Top 10 Hits in the UK; this song definitely deserves more recognition, it was the first of many great songs from this glam rock band.

  • Christina Aguilera 'Genie In A Bottle' (1999): Another one with slightly creepy undertones for such a young artist, but it's just so damn good.

  • Sigur Ros - 'Svefn-g-englar' (1999): Although taken from their second album, it is their first single that was released in the UK. This famous Icelandic band have transformed the post-rock world since their first single, with clever song titles, incredible music videos, and beautiful sounding songs - who cares if we don't understand what they're saying?

  • Blondie 'X Offender' (1976): Sexy, stylish and very catchy, this set the template perfectly for Blondie's music.

  • Simon & Garfunkel - 'Sound of Silence' (1965): One of the duo's most prominent songs, and was originally titled 'The Sounds of Silence'. The duo were propelled in to the mainstream with this song, we can understand why.

  • Suede - 'The Drowners' (1992): Their debut song made it to #49 on the UK's Single Chart, and is considered by many to be the origins of the Britpop movement during the 90's; it's definitely one of our anthems of that decade.

  • Missy Elliot 'Supa Dupa Fly' (1997): An explosive start to an exceptional career.

  • The Strokes - 'Hard To Explain' (2001): The band's first single was released first in the UK and then a year later in the US, but it only reached #16 on the UK's Singles Chart; still, a great start for the band, we think.

  • The Knack 'My Sharona' (1979): The epitome of one-hit wonders, but what a hit it was.

  • Wu-Tang Clan 'Protect Ya Neck' (1992): In the early nineties hip hop was starting to get stale and mainstream, but Wu Tang brought it back to its roots with this fantastic first track.

  • Patti Smith 'Hey Joe' (1974): The song's second appearance on the list, but Smith's version is something special. Backed up by the magnificent 'Piss Factory'

  • Massive Attack 'Unfinished Sympathy' (1991): The trip hop pioneers had it all from a young age, as this superb debut shows.

  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' (1983): Wonderfully sleazy and grandiose opening gambit from the band.

  • Eric Clapton - 'After Midnight' (1970): Clapton covered JJ Cale with this song, and released it on his self-titled album Eric Clapton. This song made it's way to #18 in the charts, and steamed through the industry, making Clapton a legend.

  • Jay - Z - 'Dead Presidents' (1996): This track was released at the height of the 90's hip-hop movement, and was voted About.com's #16 in the Top 100 Rap Songs chart. It's the first glimpse in to his style as a rapper, much of which we still see today.

  • Phil Collins - 'In The Air Tonight' (1981): Taken from his first solo album Face Value, this song reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart - even making it big in the US charts. This song is renowned for its drums, starting his solo career off with a bang.

  • Franz Ferdinand 'Darts Of Pleasure' (2003): Thrilling, punchy debut from the Scottish Art-Rockers.

  • Azealia Banks - '212' ft Lazy Jay (2011): 212 is the area code for Harlem , New York, where Banks grew up. A catchy track, taking it back to where her life, and career, began.

  • The Clash 'White Riot' (1977): Released 37 years ago, it still sounds angry, shambolic, essential. Punk doesn't get any better than this.

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