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Lyrical Cold Open

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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, and not even that in the film version, where the number begins as dialogue (though the context is quite different). The second act reprise begins with the children singing unaccompanied for eight bars, though one of the children is allowed to secretly pluck the E string of the guitar on the table to get the starting pitch.
    • The reprise of the title song has the children begin harmonizing offstage without any musical cue, so as to surprise the audience as well as the Captain.
    • "Maria" features the typical ploy of speaking the first line of the verse ("She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee") over music and only starting to sing on the second.
  • Hello, Dolly!: "So Long Dearie".
  • Mary Poppins: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
  • 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 but plays it straight with "If I Were A Bell," whose first lines go from bare dialogue to soft-focus recitative to fully accompanied song.
  • 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, aside from several A Cappella 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 Man" gets this treatment on the cast album only.
  • Company: "You Can Drive A Person Crazy" begins on the original cast recording with close-harmony Scatting. However, in the show, this is preceded by a dozen or so bars of vamp.
  • Paint Your Wagon: "Whoop-ti-ay!" begins immediately after Ben wins Elizabeth in the auction, with the former shouting out the opening line. (On the original cast recording, James Barton's contribution to the number ends right there, with the chorus singing the rest.)
  • I Can Get It For You Wholesale:
    • "I'm Not A Well Man" (both separately-cued verses) and "Miss Marmelstein" each open with only one horn note to set the pitch for the young Barbra Streisand or her equivalent, though the cast album version of "Miss Marmelstein" substitutes a conventional vamp till ready.
    • "Who Knows?" does similarly with the conventional bell chime.
    • "Have I Told You Lately?" and "Eat A Little Something" let the actors talk through the first lines.
  • Gypsy: Rose launches directly into the refrain of "Some People" after only a couple of orchestral stabs at the finish of the preceding dialogue. The original cast recording averts this with a fully scored intro derived from a deleted continuation of the "I had a dream" bridge.
  • In Damn Yankees, Van Buren needs only one dominant seventh chord to begin singing, "You've gotta have heart..." This trope also applies to every reprise of "Heart" except for the one at the Curtain Call.
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown:
    • The first number, "I Ain't Down Yet," has an extremely long spoken patter introduction which the orchestra only begins to play quietly under at bar 27 of the score.
    • "I've A'ready Started In" does without an orchestral introduction because Johnny is providing his own accompaniment for his serenade.
    • "Beautiful People Of Denver" starts immediately from dialogue.
    • "Are You Sure?" has Molly once again beginning with spoken patter and no underscoring at first, though a trumpet does play Molly's Leitmotif very shortly before.
  • Me And My Girl: "The Lambeth Walk".
  • Matilda: "Loud", "Telly".

     Film - Animation 

     Film - Live Action 

     Live-Action TV 

     Music - Alternative 

     Music - Christian 
  • John Elefante - "Where Does Our Love Go"
  • Jordan Feliz - "Next to Me," "The River"
  • Rachael Lampa feat. Toby Mac - "Perfectly Loved"
  • Brooke Ligertwood - "Honey in the Rock"
  • Sandi Patty - "We Shall Behold Him"
  • Jordan St. Cyr - "Fires," "Weary Traveler"
  • Chris Tomlin - "I Will Follow"

     Music - Country 
  • Trace Adkins - "The Rest of Mine"
  • 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 10 hits "T.L.C. A.S.A.P.", "Here We Are", and "The Maker Said Take Her" do so too.
  • Bill Anderson – "Still" and "For Loving You" (with Jan Howard). Both had backing vocalists do the honors.
  • Eddy Arnold – "Make the World Go Away."
  • Atlanta - "Atlanta Burned Again Last Night"
  • David Ball: "Thinkin' Problem," which starts off cold with a "Yes, I admiiiiiiiit…"
  • The Band Perry — "If I Die Young"
  • Boy Howdy - "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore"
  • Garth Brooks – "Longneck Bottle", "Rodeo or Mexico"
  • 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: "Heart Hold On". In an inverse of how this is usually handled for radio edits, the album version did not have one, but the radio edit (also used in the music video) dubbed the first half of the chorus into the intro as a cold open.
  • Carl Butler and Pearl – "Don't Let Me Cross Over"
  • Cam - "My Mistake" and "Diane"
  • Glen Campbell — His 1970 cover of “It’s Only Make Believe.” (Conway Twitty’s 1958 original and subsequent remakes began with a short three-note guitar chord at the beginning.)
  • Deana Carter - "Did I Shave My Legs for This?"
  • 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", "The Lord Loves the Drinkin' Man".
  • Luke Combs - "When It Rains It Pours"
  • 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 car accident shortly after the song was released and became a hit).
  • Billy Dean - "Only Here for a Little While"
  • 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!")
  • The Chicks - "Tonight the Heartache's on Me"
  • Emerson Drive — "Fall into Me", although it was edited out of the radio version.
  • Sara Evans - "Big Cry"
  • Jace Everett - "Bad Things", the Real Song Theme Tune to True Blood.
  • Donna Fargo - "Superman."
  • Florida Georgia Line — "Cruise" and "Stay." The latter is a cover of Black Stone Cherry, whose original version features a couple guitar chords first.
  • Radney Foster - "Hammer and Nails"
  • 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," which hit No. 1 in 1979. Among non-No. 1s, "Broken Lady," "Statues Without Hearts," "Love Is Just a Game," "Nothing But Your Love Matters" and "She Used To Be Somebody's Lady" were all top-10 hits with cold opens.
  • 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," also where she takes a deep breath before the open.
  • 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)."
  • Carolyn Dawn Johnson - "Georgia"
  • George Jones: "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Also his 1961 top 10 hit "The Window Up Above."
  • The Kentucky Headhunters - "Rock 'n' Roll Angel" begins with a "Ya da da da..."
  • 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" (begins with an a cappella rendition of the chorus)
  • Love and Theft - "Don't Wake Me"
  • Mac McAnally's "Down the Road" begins with him singing "When I was a boy..." The more famous cover by Kenny Chesney with McAnally on duet vocals follows suit.
  • Tim McGraw — "Last Dollar (Fly Away)". Also cut from the radio edit.
  • Midland - "Make a Little" and "Burn Out"
  • David Lee Murphy - "Party Crowd"
  • 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" from 1989, a No. 1 hit. Among non-No. 1 hits, "My Tennessee Mountain Home" was probably the most famous.
  • Johnny Paycheck – "Take This Job and Shove It"
  • Danielle Peck - "Findin' a Good Man". Edited out of the radio edit, which instead began with a guitar solo.
  • Kellie Pickler - "Best Days Of Your Life"
  • Webb Pierce – "In the Jailhouse Now." Applies to the 1955 hit version; Pierce's 1960 rockabilly remake has a standard electric guitar opening.
  • 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."
  • Rascal Flatts' "Bob That Head" begins with a Careful with That Axe-level Title Scream.
  • Collin Raye – "My Kind of Girl."
  • Jim Reeves – "I Guess I'm Crazy" (which went No. 1 shortly after his 1964 death); also, "Snowflake," his No. 2 hit from 1966 where backing vocalists do the honors.
  • Restless Heart — "Let the Heartache Ride"
  • Charlie Rich — “I Don’t See Me In Your Eyes Anymore” (backing vocalists); this was a song originally recorded in 1963 but released in 1974 to become a No. 1 country hit and a minor pop hit.
  • Marty Robbins – "Among My Souvenirs"
  • Johnny Rodriguez – "Love Put a Song In My Heart"
  • Kenny Rogers - "Sweet Music Man". Most covers of the song omit the opener entirely ("I wouldn't listen / But I couldn't see / That all I have left now / Are words you sang to me.").
  • Runaway June - "Lipstick"
  • Ashton Shepherd - "Takin' Off This Pain"
  • 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.
  • Sons of the Desert - "Everybody's Gotta Grow Up Sometime"
  • Joe Stampley - "Soul Song" and "All These Things"
  • Chris Stapleton - "Broken Halos"
  • The Statler Brothers – "Elizabeth" and “Don’t Wait On Me.”
  • Wynn Stewart – "It's Such a Pretty World Today"
  • Marty Stuart - "Burn Me Down"
  • 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." Subsequent cover versions, including the 2009 hit by Carrie Underwood, had a standard opening.
  • Trick Pony: "Just What I Do", their only single not sung by Heidi Newfield, opens with a Title Drop. Their 2005 cover of Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heartache" also uses one, although the original doesn't.
  • Travis Tritt - "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" (duet with Marty Stuart)
  • Shania Twain - "No One Needs To Know." Also "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?."
  • Conway Twitty - "Hello Darlin'" and "I Can't Stop Lovin' You." His 1971 duet with Loretta Lynn, "Lead Me On," also has a cold lyrical open.
  • Keith Urban - "Blue Ain't Your Color". Also the radio edits of "I'm In" and "Somewhere in My Car"
  • Jerry Wallace - "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry"
  • Steve Wariner - "Every Little Whisper"
  • Kitty Wells – "Heartbreak U.S.A."
  • Hank Williams Jr. – "Mind Your Own Business"note . Earlier recordings by Hank Williams Sr., Jimmy Dean and Charley Pride each used a standard opening. There was also an electronically created duet from the mid-1960s where Hank Jr. added new vocals to Hank Sr.'s original recording of "...Business" (for the album Father And Son), and in its original honky-tonk style although updated for the time (instead of the hard-driving country rock version from 1986, some 20 years later); the Jr./Sr. duet also had a regular standard open.
  • Tom Wopat - "Susannah"
  • Chely Wright - "Shut Up and Drive"
  • Tammy Wynette - "Run, Woman, Run" and "Bedtime Story."
  • Yankee Grey - "All Things Considered"
  • Trisha Yearwood - "Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love"
  • Dwight Yoakam – "Always Late (With Your Kisses)" (Covered Up Lefty Frizzell; the 1958 re-recording of his original is also an example, although the 1951 original version was not), "The Pocket of a Clown"

     Music - Electronic 
  • 4 Strings - "Turn It Around".
  • Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close" and "I'm Not Alone".
  • Crazy Frog - "Axel F".
    A ring ding ding ding d-ding baa aramba baa baa barooumba
  • 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).
  • Erasure - "Oh L'amour"(album version).
  • Gigi D'Agostino - "Bla Bla Bla".
  • "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," "Watch the Tapes," "Drunk Girls," and "Sound of Silver" by LCD Soundsystem
  • Olive - "You're Not Alone".
  • "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".
  • Sash!: "Encore une Fois", "Ecuador", "Stay".

     Music - Metal 
  • Architects (UK)- "Dethroned"
  • Behemoth - "Slaves Shall Serve"
  • Black Sabbath - "Valhalla"
  • Bride - "Dust Through A Fan"
  • Death Angel - "EX-TC"
  • Delain - "The Gathering"
  • Deliverance - "Happy Star" and "Belltown"
  • DragonForce - "Soldiers of the Wasteland"
  • Edge of Sanity - "Crimson"
  • Iron Maiden - "Can I Play With Madness" (the Title Drop, no less)
  • Judas Priest - "Ram It Down", even if it's just a Metal Scream. "All Guns Blazing" too.
  • The Kennedy Veil - "Ad Noctum"
  • Lamb of God - "Boot Scraper"
  • Manowar - "Sleipnir"
  • Metallica has both "Fuel" and "The Memory Remains” from Reload plus "Chasing Light" from 72 Seasons.
  • Nightwish does it in "I Wish I Had An Angel."
  • The Ocean for their whole Anthropocentric album. Happens again on "Heaven TV" on the same album.
  • Rammstein has several songs that use this trope:
    • Herzeleid off of Herzeleid.
    • Ich Will of Mutter
  • Riot V - "Until We Meet Again"
  • Sabaton - "Primo Victoria," "Attero Dominatus" and "Night Witches"
  • Slipknot - "Lech"
  • Tardigrade Inferno - "Execution Is Fun!"
  • tool - "The Pot"
  • van Canto - While technically every song qualifies (van Canto being an a Capella band), their cover of the aforementioned "Primo Victoria" is the only one to follow the spirit of the trope.
  • White Lion - "Wait"

     Music - Pop 
  • 3OH!3 - "Don't Trust Me"
  • America - "I Need You"
  • Anna Nalick - "Breathe (2 AM)"
    • Anna does this again in "Shine" and in "Car Crash" with one of her characteristic unusual metaphors ("I think I love you like a car 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"
  • Blue Swede - their cover of B.J. Thomas' "Hooked On A Feeling" begins with the "hooga chaka" chant.
  • Bonnie Tyler - "Goin' Through The Motions"
  • 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"
  • Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro - "Stumblin' In"
  • The Corrs - "Breathless"
  • Culture Club - "Miss Me Blind", "Mannequin", "Boy, Boy (I'm The Boy)", "Reasons", "Move Away", and the album version of "Sexuality".
  • Demi Lovato - "Heart Attack"
  • Don McLean - "American Pie" and "Vincent"
  • Dream - "Things Can Only Get Better"
  • Duran Duran - "Is There Something I Should Know", "Notorious", and "None Of The Above"
  • Elton John - "Blue Eyes"
  • Eric Clapton's version of "I Shot the Sheriff"
  • Fleetwood Mac - "Monday Morning"
  • A Flock of Seagulls - the 1995 version of "Magic" from The Light At The End Of The World
  • 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"
  • George Michael - The album version of "Fastlove" from Older begins with "Got to get up to get down".
  • 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
  • The Jonas Brothers - "Sucker"
  • 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.
  • Mariah Carey - her cover of Journey's "Open Arms"
  • Marina Diamandis: "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", "Maps", and "Animals."
  • Meghan Trainor's "No".
  • Nena - "99 Luftballons", and its Translated Cover Version, "99 Red Balloons".
  • Millennium - "Day After Day"
  • *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"
  • Robbie Nevil - "Wot's It To Ya"
  • 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...
    • As well as "Bring it On"
  • Serena Ryder - "Stompa" (the radio version, however, cuts out the opening lines)
  • Smash Mouth - "All-Star" has become one of the most well-known examples due to its memetic status. All together now: "Some... BODY once told me—!"
    • Trivia note: it was directly inspired by "One Week"'s cold open.
  • Spunk Adelic - "9.95"
  • Squeeze's "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)"
  • t.A.T.u. - "Stars"
  • Tegan and Sara - "Closer"
  • Troye Sivan - "BITE"
  • Whitney Houston - her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You"

     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"
  • Lagwagon - "Bombs Away"
  • 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?"
  • "Killing Away" and "Panic Attack" by OFF!
  • Motion City Soundtrack:
    • Delirium
    • Stand Too Close by
  • Rancid - "Roots Radical"
  • Descendents - "Suburban Home"
  • Sublime - "Wrong Way"

     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), "Can't Tell Me Nothing", "Dark Fantasy", "All of the Lights" (if not counting the album's interlude)
  • LL Cool J - "Rock the Bells"
  • MC Hammer - "U Can't Touch This", "This Is What We Do"
  • 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", "You Talk Too Much".
  • Tupac Shakur - "Ambitionz Az A Ridah", "California Love" (Although sung by Roger Troutman.)
  • U.T.F.O. - "Roxanne, Roxanne" and the Answer Song "The Real Roxanne"
  • Will Smith - "Will 2K"
  • Eminem - "Kill You", "Who Knew?", "I'm Back", "Not Afraid", "Asshole", "The Monster", "Desperation", and "Wicked Ways".
  • 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"
  • Janet Jackson - "Nasty" ("Gimme a beat!")
  • 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 
  • "Head over Feet" by Alanis Morissette.
  • " week since you looked at me!" - Barenaked Ladies' "One Week", as quoted atop the page.
  • Asia - "Rock And Roll Dream", "Too Late", "Are You Big Enough", "Valkyrie", and "Till We Meet Again".
  • 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", "Hey Jude". "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", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", and "No More Lonely Nights". John Lennon on "Gimme Some Truth", "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", "How?", and "(Just Like) Starting Over".
  • Bon Jovi - "You Give Love a Bad Name"
  • Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City"
  • Bullet - "White Lies Blue Eyes"
  • 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.
  • Daughtry: "Asylum" opens straight with Chris singing the first two lines before the rest of the band joins in.
  • Elvis Costello is fond of this trope: his first three albums open with lyrical cold opens, "Welcome to the Working Week", "No Action", and "Accidents Will Happen", respectively.
  • Def Leppard - "Rock Of Ages" and some versions of "Pour Some Sugar on Me"
  • The Doors - "The Crystal Ship"
  • 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"
  • Foreigner - "Say You Will"
  • Genesis - "Looking for Someone", "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and "Supper's Ready". Many live versions of "Firth of Fifth" open this way as well, omitting the piano of the studio version.
  • The Guess Who - "Star Baby"
  • INXS - "Mystify"
  • Jefferson Airplane - "Somebody To Love"
  • The J. Geils Band - "Freeze Frame"
  • Journey - "Any Way You Want It" and "Anytime"
  • Kansas - "Carry On Wayward Son"
  • Kenny Loggins - "I'm Alright (Theme from Caddyshack)"
  • KISS - "I Just Wanna". Also, when performed live, "Lick It Up" (as heard on Alive III).
  • Led Zeppelin - "I Can't Quit You Baby", "What Is and What Shall Never Be"
  • Lita Ford - "Kiss Me Deadly"
  • Litfiba - "Santiago"
  • Little Richard - "Long Tall Sally" and "Trutti Frutti"
  • Little River Band: "Lonesome Loser" opens by asking if you've heard about the titular loser.
  • Måneskin - "Coraline" and "I Wanna Be Your Slave"
  • 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.
  • Nickelback - "Figured You Out", "How You Remind Me" and "Rockstar"
  • Ozzy Osbourne - "Crazy Train"
  • Papa Roach - "Last Resort"
  • Pavement "Gold Soundz" and "Stop Breathin'"
  • Peter Gabriel - "Big Time" starts with a cheerful "Hi there!" before the music kicks in.
  • 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..."). From Freddie Mercury's solo work, there's "Living On My Own" from both the 1985 Mr. Bad Guy album and the later dance remix from The Great Pretender.
  • Red Vox - "From the Stars"
  • Rodney on the Roq - "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls"
  • The Rolling Stones - "Ruby Tuesday"
    • "You Can't Always Get What You Want" starts with the London Bach Choir singing the first verse.
  • Roxy Music - "Do the Strand"
  • Saving Abel - "Addicted"
  • Sparks - both halves of the medley "Propaganda" and "At Home, At Work, At Play"
  • Starship - "We Built This City"
  • Styx - "Renegade"
  • Talking Heads: "Road to Nowhere" begins with a lengthy a capella intro before the instruments kick in. According to frontman David Byrne, this was a last-minute addition made to vary up what he felt was an otherwise repetitive song.
  • Trio - "Da Da Da".
    Aha aha aha... *Casio VL-1 starts playing*
  • Thousand Foot Krutch - "Courtesy Call"
  • Twisted Sister - "I Wanna Rock" (ROCK!)
  • Van Halen - "Tattoo" and the Incoming Ham intro of "Good Enough" ("HELLO BABY! YEEEEEAAAAH!")
  • The Warning like to do this
  • 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.
    • The opening of Persona 3's PS2 Updated Re-releasenote  Persona 3 FES starts with a woman singing in Japanese before switching to Lotus Juice rapping with background instruments and clips of the game coming in
  • The track "Ride the Fire" from Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, the Theme Music Powerup for one of Sol Badguy's super moves, opens with the bombastic READY ORRR!!!!.
  • "All Hail Shadow" by Magna-Fi from Shadow the Hedgehog begins right away with the chorus; the version by Crush 40 from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) averts this trope, adding an instrumental opening not present in the original.
    • Powerman 5000's "Almost Dead" from the same game is also an example of this trope.

     Web Animation 
  • "Shine" from the RWBY soundtrack.

     Western Animation 
  • The television adaption of The Annoying Orange.
  • The Lilo & Stitch: The Series theme song "Aloha, E Komo Mai" starts with Stitch shouting, "Tookie bah wah bah!", a phrase in his native Tantalog language meaning, "Let's get started!"
  • The song "What's a Tamagotchi?" from Tamagotchi Video Adventures begins with a male vocalist speaking rather than singing a set of lyrics, with noticeable buildup in the Background Music, before the main part of the song begins.
    This just in, a space news flash
    Fourteen small distant neighbors dropping in for a bash
    They've got hip technology and like a good snack
    But they'll need your assistance to find their way back
    They're here on a mission of a cultural sort
    To bring back an Earth object of great import
    If your mom can't find her slippers or your dad's lost his socks
    Don't be alarmed to find the house is full of rocks!
    They're not rocks at all, but eggs of purest gold
    And here's a big secret you're about to be told
    It's no fairytale goose that left them, you see
    But out-of-town critters known as Tamagotchi!
    [different vocalists take over from here]
    What's a Tamagotchi? (A Tamagotchi)
    Have you seen them go-tchi? (Go go go-tchi)


Video Example(s):


"Road to Nowhere" intro

Talking Heads' 1985 song "Road to Nowhere" begins with an a capella intro before the instruments kick in. According to frontman David Byrne, this was a last-minute decision done to add some variety to what he felt was an otherwise repetitive song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LyricalColdOpen

Media sources: