Lyrical Cold Open

Most songs start with an instrumental intro before heading into the first verse or chorus. Some even have a fade-in. A Lyrical Cold Open is the musical equivalent of a Cold Open, where the vocalist jumps in with lyrics at the very beginning, either before the music starts or at the same time it does, often adding an element of surprise or impact. Makes the song instantly recognizable to anyone who's heard it before, with the first line often becoming one of the most memorable parts.

A Cappella songs don't count, nor does Studio Chatter, nor do songs that segue immediately from previous music in longer works. Contrast with Epic Instrumental Opener.


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  • Sweeney Todd: "A Barber and His Wife", "Epiphany".
  • Wicked: "Dancing Through Life", "Defying Gravity", "One Short Day", "What is This Feeling?", "The Wizard and I".
  • Little Shop of Horrors: "Feed Me".
  • Cats: "Magical Mister Mistoffelees", "Memory".
  • Hairspray: "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now".
  • West Side Story: Tony begins singing "Maria" on the first bar of music.
  • Fiddler on the Roof: "Matchmaker".
  • The Sound of Music: "My Favorite Things" has only quiet E minor chords on a few downbeats before Maria starts singing.
  • Hello, Dolly!: "So Long Dearie".
  • Mary Poppins: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
  • Oliver!: "Who Will Buy?"
  • In Guys and Dolls, "I'll Know" and "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" begin with a pitch-setting tone, and "Sue Me" and "Marry The Man Today" have the first few lines spoken rather than sung while a pizzicato accompaniment sneaks in. The original cast recording averts this trope with all the aforementioned songs.
  • My Fair Lady:
    • "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" has an opening vamp in the song's softshoe tempo, but the original cast recording deletes it to begin with the A Cappella verse.
    • "With A Little Bit Of Luck," on the other hand, has no opening vamp in the show, but the original cast recording adds one.
    • "A Hymn To Him" pulls the typical trick of seamlessly transitioning from dialogue by having the actor speak instead of sing the first few bars of the verse as the accompaniment discreetly comes in. It's written that way in the score, even though most actors playing Higgins will talk their way through every song.
  • The Music Man (not counting several A Capella quartets and one spoken-word number):
    • "Ya Got Trouble" opens cold from dialogue (as does its reprise), though most of it is spoken or half-sung.
    • "The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl" takes the dialogue-to-spoken-word-to-song transition to an extreme, discarding the music entirely for the first six bars of the first refrain and continuing with six more bars spoken over a few pizzicato chords before full accompaniment sets in.
  • Funny Girl pulls off the speech-to-singing transition rather cleverly with "You Are Woman, I Am Man":
    Nick: I'll be much more direct! You! (Beat with chord) (Sings) Are woman, I am man...
  • "That Was Yesterday" from Milk and Honey, but only on the original cast recording—the show version includes an 8-bar intro. Likewise, "Like a Young Album" gets this treatment on the cast album only.

     Film - Animation 

     Film - Live Action 

     Live Action TV 
  • The Pushing Daisies version of "Morning Has Broken". "Birdhouse in Your Soul" does this as well, although it's also true of the original version.
  • "Philosopher's Song" in one of the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches.
  • "Heart of Gold Montage" from the Firefly soundtrack, which starts with Arabic vocals.
  • The second theme song from Ultraman Leo, used from Episode 14 forward.
  • The first theme song from Ultraman Eighty

     Music - Alternative 

     Music - Country 
  • Alabama - The No. 1 hits "Roll On" (the single/radio edit), "Southern Star," "I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" and "Reckless." Their top 5 hit, "The Maker Said Take Her," also was a lyrically cold open.
  • Bill Anderson: "Still" and "For Loving You" (with Jan Howard). Both had backing vocalists do the honors.
  • Eddy Arnold: "Make the World Go Away."
  • David Ball: "Thinkin' Problem," which starts off cold with a "Yes, I admiiiiiiiit…"
  • The Band Perry — "If I Die Young"
  • Garth Brooks – "Longneck Bottle."
  • Jim Ed Brown and the Browns – "The Three Bells (Les Trois Cloches)," the No. 1 country and pop smash. Solo, Jim Ed had "Pop a Top," which in its 1999 remake by Alan Jackson had an instrumental opening.
  • The Buffalo Club: Short-lived 1990s country group whose "Heart Hold On" invoked this trope; the radio edit had the first half of the chorus edited into the open.
  • Carl and Pearl Butler – "Don't Let Me Cross Over."
  • Johnny Cash - "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" (backing vocalists) and "Folsom Prison Blues" (the live 1968 recording where he says, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash"). Also, "Get Rhythm."
  • Mark Chesnutt – "Brother Jukebox."
  • Dave & Sugar – "The Door is Always Open" and "Golden Tears."
  • The Davis Sisters – "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know." Notable as the only chart topper in the career of Skeeter Davis, one half of the Davis sisters, and only single release in their short career (as the other half of the duo died in a cat accident shortly after the song was released and became a hit).
  • Jimmy Dean – "Big Bad John" (the backing chorus singing the title lyrics) and "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (and the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)."
  • John Denver - "Follow Me", "Goodbye Again"
  • Joe Diffie – "Third Rock from the Sun" (album and dance mixes only, which open with an electronic-voiced "Welcome to Earth, third rock from the sun!")
  • Emerson Drive — "Fall into Me", although it was edited out of the radio version.
  • Sara Evans - "Big Cry"
  • Donna Fargo - "Superman."
  • Florida Georgia Line — "Cruise" and "Stay."
  • Janie Fricke - "Please Help Me I'm Falling." This was a ballad remake of a No. 1 country and top 10 pop smash (from 1960) by Hank Locklin, which had a standard opening.
  • Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers – "All the Gold in California."
  • Crystal Gayle – "Why Have You Left the One You Left Me For."
  • Mickey Gilley – "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time" (his spoken word, "Ah 1, ah 2, ah 1-2-3-go!" before the rollicking piano opening).
  • Gloriana - "If You're Leavin'"
  • Jack Greene – "There Goes My Everything," "All the Time" and "You Are My Treasure."
  • Lee Greenwood – "Hearts Aren't Made to Break (They're Made to Love)"
  • Merle Haggard – "Natural High."
  • Emmylou Harris – "Together Again" (where she takes a very audible deep breath before opening) and "Beneath Still Waters." Also, her 1984 top 10 hit "Pledging My Love."
  • Freddie Hart - "My Hang-Up is You" and "Bless Your Heart."
  • Bobby Helms – "My Special Angel" (backing vocalists).
  • Johnny Horton – "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)" and "North to Alaska," both with backing vocalists doing the honors.
  • Ferlin Husky – "Gone" and "Wings of a Dove" (his country gospel No. 1 smash from 1960).
  • Alan Jackson – "Don't Rock the Jukebox" and "Someday."
  • Sonny James - "You're the Only World I Know," "Behind the Tear," "Need You," "Only the Lonely" and "Empty Arms." Also, the backing vocalists on "I'll Keep Holding On (Just to Your Love)."
  • George Jones: "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Also his 1961 top 10 hit "The Window Up Above."
  • Cristy Lane: "One Day at a Time," the perennial country gospel No. 1 hit. The original Marilyn Sellars version, which was a No. 37 pop and No. 19 country hit, also had a cold open.
  • Little Texas — "Life Goes On"
  • Love and Theft - "Don't Wake Me"
  • Tim McGraw — "Last Dollar (Fly Away)"
  • Willie Nelson – "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" (his spoken word, "1, 2, 1-2-3-4" before the opening guitar chord) and "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground."
  • The Oak Ridge Boys - "Trying To Love Two Women"
  • Buck Owens - "My Heart Skips a Beat," "Together Again," "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail," "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line" and "Your Tender Loving Care."
  • Dolly Parton - "Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That?"
  • Johnny Paycheck – "Take This Job and Shove It."
  • Kellie Pickler - "Best Days Of Your Life"
  • Webb Pierce – "In the Jailhouse Now."
  • Elvis Presley – "Heartbreak Hotel." Other remakes — including one done in 1979 as a duet by Willie Nelson and Leon Russell — have a standard instrumental opening.
  • Charley Pride – "I'll Be Leaving Alone."
  • Collin Raye – "My Kind of Girl."
  • Rascal Flatts' "Bob That Head" begins with a Title Scream.
  • Jim Reeves – "I Guess I'm Crazy" (which went No. 1 shortly after his 1964 death).
  • Restless Heart — "Let the Heartache Ride"
  • Marty Robbins – "Among My Souvenirs."
  • Johnny Rodriguez – "Love Put a Song In My Heart."
  • Carl Smith – "Hey Joe." When redone in 1981 by Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley as a duet ("Hey Joe (Hey Moe)"), it had a standard instrumental opening.
  • Joe Stampley - "Soul Song" and "All These Things."
  • The Statler Brothers – "Elizabeth."
  • Wynn Stewart – "It's Such a Pretty World Today."
  • Tanya Tucker - "What's Your Mama's Name" and "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)."
  • Pam Tillis - "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)"
  • The Tractors — "Baby Likes to Rock It" (album version only; the single and radio edits go into a standard instrumental opening).
  • Randy Travis - "I Won't Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)" and "I Told You So"
  • Trick Pony's cover of Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heartache" uses one, although the original doesn't.
  • Shania Twain - "No One Needs To Know." Also, her top 10 hit "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under."
  • Conway Twitty - "Hello Darlin'" and "I Can't Stop Lovin' You."
  • Jerry Wallace - "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry (The Tune in Dan's Cafe)."
  • Kitty Wells – "Heartbreak U.S.A."
  • Hank Williams, Jr. – "Mind Your Own Business"
  • Tammy Wynette - "Run, Woman, Run" and "Bedtime Story."
  • Dwight Yoakam – "Always Late (With Your Kisses)" (the remake of the 1951 Lefty Frizzell hit). Incidentally, while his original 1951 hit version had an atomic guitar opening, Frizzell's 1959 stereo remake had a cold lyrical opening. (At the time of the Yoakam remake of 1988, Frizzell's remake the only version in print and was the far more played version on radio as an "oldie.")

     Music - Electronic 
  • Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close" and "I'm Not Alone".
  • Daft Punk - "Technologic", "Doin' It Right" and "Daftendirekt" (The "Da funk, back to the punk, c'mon" Madness Mantra is repeated several times at the beginning of the song, going from heavily distorted to really easy to hear).
  • "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," "Watch the Tapes," "Drunk Girls," and "Sound of Silver" by LCD Soundsystem
  • "Expialidocious" and "Jiminy" by Pogo.
  • Joy Electric: “The Otherly Opus”, “The Memory of Alpha”, “Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver”. All three of these come from the album The Otherly Opus, which has more of a focus on vocal harmonies than any other JE album.
    • Also "Whose Voice Will Not Be Heard" from Dwarf Mountain Alphabet.
  • On Covenant's Modern Ruin, "Kairos" is a cold open to "The Beauty and the Grace".

     Music - Metal 

     Music - Pop 
  • 3OH!3 - "Don't Trust Me"
  • Anna Nalick - "Breathe (2 AM)"
    • Anna does this again in "Shine" and in "Cat Crash" with one of her characteristic unusual metaphors ("I think I love you like a cat crash, dear")
  • Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven is a Place on Earth"
  • Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - "I've Had the Time of My Life" (as mentioned under Film above)
  • Billy Joel - "The Longest Time"
  • Céline Dion - "Because You Loved Me"
    • Also "The Power of Love" ("The whispers in the morning...")
    • From Celine Dion's early French-language days, "La Religieuse" (The Nun), which starts with "Même à genoux, même en prière..." (Even kneeling, even in prayer...), a line repeated at the start of every verse in the song.
  • Charlie Dore - "Pilot Of The Airwaves"
  • Cher Lloyd - "Want U Back" and With Ur Love"
  • The Corrs - "Breathless"
  • Demi Lovato - "Heart Attack"
  • Don McLean - "American Pie"
  • D Ream - "Things Can Only Get Better"
  • Eric Clapton's version of "I Shot the Sheriff"
  • Fleetwood Mac - "Monday Morning"
  • Florence + the Machine: "Kiss with a Fist", "I'm Not Calling You a Liar", "Cosmic Love", "Falling", "Addicted to Love", "Bird Song", and "Shake it Out".
  • fun. - "Some Nights", "At Least I'm Not as Sad as I Used to Be" and "Benson Hedges"
  • Gary Puckett and the Union Gap - "Young Girl"
  • Harry Belafonte - "Banana Boat Song", better known by its first line "Day-o, day-O, daylight come and me wan' go home..."
  • B'coz I Love You by Hitomi Yaida
  • Gonna be here, by Junko Noda
  • Kitto Wasurenai, by ZARD
  • Kerli - "Chemical".
  • Kesha - "TiK ToK".
  • Lucky Soul - "Could It Be I Don't Belong Anywhere"
  • One-Hit Wonder Nine Days and their hit "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)", which launches right into the hook/chorus. Todd in the Shadows called this "a damn good move" because of how strong the hook is.
  • Marina & the Diamonds: "Obsessions", "I am Not a Robot", "Hollywood", "Numb", "Teen Idle" and "Primadonna".
  • Maroon 5: "Daylight", "Payphone", "Won't Go Home Without You" and "One More Night".
  • Nickelback - "How You Remind Me" and "Rockstar"
  • *NSYNC: "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "I Want You Back"
  • Oasis: "I'm Outta Time"
  • Pat Benatar: - "Shadows of the Night"
  • Peter Schilling - "Only Dreams" and its German counterpart "...Dann Trugt Der Schein"
  • Phil Collins - "One More Night" and "Separate Lives"
  • Plain White T's - "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)"
  • The Playmates - "Beep Beep"
  • P!nk – "Perfect" (and its f-worded variant).
  • The Righteous Brothers: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" and "Unchained Melody"
  • Rihanna - "Where Have You Been", "S&M" and "Don't Stop The Music"
  • Savage Garden - "Promises"
  • Seal - "Future Love Paradise", which launches straight into its distinctive opening verse:
    But if only you could see them, you would know from their faces, there were kings and queens, followed by princes and princesses...
  • Serena Ryder - "Stompa" (the radio version, however, cuts out the opening lines)
  • Smash Mouth - "All Star"
  • t.A.T.u. - "Stars"
  • Tegan and Sara - "Closer"

     Music - Punk 
  • The Clash: "London's Burning", "Know Your Rights", "The Sound of Sinners"
  • Green Day, "Basket Case"
  • FEAR - "I Love Livin' In the City"
  • The Offspring, "Self-Esteem", "All I Want" (though it's Scatting in both cases), "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (a bubbly-voiced man saying "Gunter glieben glauten globen", sampled from Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages") and "Why Don't You Get A Job?"
  • "I Went Out With A Hippy" & "Now I Love Everyone Except For Her" by Frenzal Rhomb
  • "Killing Away" and "Panic Attack" by OFF!
  • Motion City Soundtrack:
    • Delirium
    • Stand Too Close by
  • Rancid - "Roots Radical"

     Music - Rap 
  • Beastie Boys: "Paul Revere", "Slow And Low", "Time to Get Ill", "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" (all from Licensed to Ill), "Intergalactic" (though it's heavily distorted)
  • Boogie Down Productions - "Criminal Minded"
  • Kanye West - "Gold Digger" (albeit it's Jamie Foxx doing the singing), "Dark Fantasy", "All of the Lights" (if not counting the album's interlude)
  • LL Cool J - "Rock the Bells"
  • Nicki Minaj - "Roman Holiday", "Pound the Alarm".
  • Pitbull loves this trope. "Give Me Everything", "Feel This Moment", "Don't Stop the Party", "Back in Time", etc.
  • Public Enemy - "Rightstarter"
  • Run-D.M.C. was fond of this trope early on. To wit: "My Adidas", "Peter Piper", "Run's House", "King Of Rock", "It's Tricky"
  • U.T.F.O. - "Roxanne, Roxanne" and the Answer Song "The Real Roxanne"
  • Will Smith - "Will 2K"
  • Eminem - "Who Knew?", "I'm Back", and "Not Afraid".
  • Big Daddy Kane - "Set It Off".

     Music - R&B 
  • Betty Everett - "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"
  • Beyoncé - "If I Were a Boy"
  • Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine" note 
  • The Coasters - "Searchin' ", "Yakety Yak", "Charlie Brown".
  • Clarence "Frogman" Henry - "Ain't Got No Home"
  • Four Tops - "Standing in the Shadow of Love"
  • Otis Redding - "These Arms of Mine"
  • Rotary Connection - "Silent Night Chant"
  • R. Kelly - "Bump N' Grind"

     Music - Rock 
  • "Banana Co." by Radiohead
  • The Beach Boys - "Barbara Ann"
  • The Beatles were fond of this trope, doing it in "There's a Place", "All My Loving", "It Won't Be Long", "No Reply", "If I Fell", "I'm A Loser", "Help!", "You're Going To Lose That Girl", "Wait", "Nowhere Man", "Girl", "Eleanor Rigby", "I'm Only Sleeping", "Paperback Writer", "Yellow Submarine", "Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and "The Long and Winding Road".
    • And solo as well: Paul McCartney on "Another Day", "Bluebird", "Junk", and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". John Lennon on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", "How?", and "(Just Like) Starting Over".
  • Bon Jovi - "You Give Love a Bad Name"
  • Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City"
  • Cheap Trick's version of "California Man" by The Move, where Robin Zander sings the first four words of the song A Cappella before the rest of the band comes in. The original song, however, is not an example.
  • Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • Fats Domino - "Ain't That a Shame"
  • Foo Fighters - "Best of You", "Breakout", "This Is a Call", and "Lonely As You"
  • Genesis - "Looking for Someone", "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and "Supper's Ready"
  • The Guess Who - "Star Baby"
  • Jefferson Airplane - "Somebody To Love"
  • Journey - "Any Way You Want It" and "Anytime"
  • Kansas - "Carry on Wayward Son"
  • Lita Ford - "Kiss Me Deadly"
  • Little River Band: "Lonesome Loser" opens by asking if you've heard about the titular loser.
  • Marillion - "Script for a Jester's Tear"
  • The Mars Volta - "Inertiatic ESP" (aside from the four split second guitar chords),"Cassandra Gemini", and "The Widow".
  • Nick Cave has "And No More Shall We Part", "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow", "Oh My Lord", "Sweetheart Come", "The Sorrowful Wife", "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?", "Train Long-Suffering", "Black Crow King", "The Good Son", "Sorrow's Child", "Brother, My Cup Is Empty", "Loom of the Land", "Loverman", "Lay Me Low", "The Lyre of Orpheus", "There Is a Town"... He sure loves this trope.
  • Ozzy Osbourne - "Crazy Train"
  • Papa Roach - "Last Resort"
  • Pavement "Gold Soundz" and "Stop Breathin'"
  • Peter Gabriel - "Big Time"
  • Pink Floyd - "Mother", "Young Lust", "A New Machine" parts 1 and 2.
  • Many Queen songs have this. Some loudly announce themselves with an opening chorus ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Bicycle Race", "It's A Hard Life", "I Want It All") while others open with a quiet fade in of Freddie's vocals ("We are the Champions", "Save Me", "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy"). "Somebody to Love" does a bit of both ("Can...any-bo-dyyyy...").
  • The Rolling Stones - "Ruby Tuesday"
  • Roxy Music - "Do the Strand"
  • Sparks - both halves of the medley "Propaganda" and "At Home, At Work, At Play"
  • Starship - "We Built This City"
  • Styx - "Renegade"
  • Twisted Sister - "I Wanna Rock" (ROCK!)
  • Van Halen - "Tattoo" and the Incoming Ham intro of "Good Enough" ("HELLO BABY! YEEEEEAAAAH!")
  • Yes - "I've Seen All Good People", "Leave It", and "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)" (although the last of these averts this trope on the 2003 remaster, which adds an instrumental intro that wasn't present on any previously released version of the song).

     Music - Other 

     Video Games 
  • Portal's credits song, "Still Alive", which opens immediately with GLaDOS singing the unexpected line "This was a triumph..."
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series, being very prolific in terms of vocal songs, has a few songs of that kind.
  • Tekken 5's opening song, "Sparking".
  • Thousand Arms opener "Depend on You".
  • The remix of the main theme of Persona 3, "Burn My Dread", used for the final battle, opens with Yumi Kawamura singing the first couple words of the refrain acapella. It syncs nicely with the on-screen action, as the acapella part is displayed on a black screen with the game coming back into view when the instruments kick in.

     Web Animation 
  • "Shine" from the RWBY soundtrack.

     Western Animation