The 20 greatest ‘Track One, Side One’ songs – part II

Into the Top 15 we go with the second part of our rundown...

15 - We Will Rock You
Queen - News Of The World (1977)

Comprising just Freddie Mercury´s unmistakable voice and a number of overdubs featuring hand-claps and boots upon a wooden floor, WWRY defined the band post-Bohemian Rhapsody. That such a simple idea could both work and prove captivating to fans around the world is still amazing, and it remains the entry-music of choice for most American sports teams. Add in yet another thoughtful and thus perfectly suited solo from Brian May, and you have a track that proves that less is definitely more.

14 - Aces High
Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984)

Surely the perfect romp from the metal legend´s most compelling album, this parable retelling the perils experienced by fighter-pilots during WWII is Maiden in a nutshell. Huge guitar tones and Steve Harris´ effortlessly galloping bass lines give the perfect platform for messers Dickinson and Churchill to do their thing. Don´t miss the style-defining solos from both Dave Murray and Adrian Smith either. The year-long World Slavery Tour, and global domination, beckoned...

13 - Blackened
Metallica - ...And Justice For All (1988)

Sandman, schmandman... Listening back to this incredible attack may make you wonder what all the fuss is about. So, remember that no band, whether rock or metal, had attempted anything as uniquely brutal as this and the sheer level of melody still impresses. 'Tallica trademarks such staccato riffs, time signature mangling and dear old Lars struggling to keep up are all present and correct, and the band went truly global next time out

12 - I Saw Her Standing There
The Beatles - Please Please Me (1963)

Lennon/McCartney´s ode to infatuation and, no doubt, the desire for a certain amount of horizontal skiing intimately shows that the band were destined for much more than yet another skiffle-inspired also ran. The building vocals and aggressive guitars were a backdrop to all young men and there desire to get their leg over...and why not?

11 - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)

It was this track and subsequently this album that redefined guitar music for ever. From four chords and a clean guitar, the intro segued into a riff that was somehow totally familiar yet brand new at the same time. Driven by Dave Grohl´s drums and Kurt Cobain´s customary delivery, this is a lesson in dynamics: there´s even a guitar solo. Kurt was dead just three years later, but by then nothing would be the same again.

Part III tomorrow

Read part one here...

Simon Bradley is a guitar and especially rock guitar expert who worked for Guitarist magazine and has in the past contributed to world-leading music and guitar titles like MusicRadar (obviously), Guitarist, Guitar World and Louder. What he doesn't know about Brian May's playing and, especially, the Red Special, isn't worth knowing.