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Bands Who Never Topped the First Song on Their First Album

Sugarloaf Never Rose Above The First Song from Their First Album


The sensation music enthusiasts experience when they first place the needle on the phonograph is almost indescribable, as they anticipate the sound that will immediately emerge. This feeling is especially true if the record on the turntable happens to be a debut album, for the listener really has no idea what to expect.

Usually the first song from the first album is merely a hint of how much better the band will become with experience, or whether they might be destined to fade into oblivion. Sometimes, the first song is pretty much the best cut the group will ever make, as was the case exactly fifty years ago.

Northern Ohio introduced a power pop group in 1972, and they would make an immediate impression on the charts and on the radio. Fans who bought the album did not have to wait long to imbibe the song that sent the group soaring, for it was the first cut on the self-titled debut.

“Go All the Way” was a bold song with which to open your first album, for the girl is the one pleading for the title command. Nevertheless, that is exactly how Eric Carmen and the Raspberries began their recording career, as the song reached the Top Ten.

They would have a few follow up hits, such as “I Wanna Be With You” and “Tonight,” but none of them had the success of the opener on the first album. After just a few more releases, Carmen would pursue a solo career that offered softer classics like “All By Myself” and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.”

Here are ten other artists whose first track on their first album turned out to be the best of their careers, although there is plenty of room for debate. For example, the excellent “Take It Easy” starts off the debut of the Eagles, but I feel several subsequent tracks are even better.

The Smiths

Three of their quartet of albums spent a long time on my turntable, especially The Queen Is Dead and Louder Than Bombs, but the very talented songwriting tandem of Morrissey and Johnny Marr never topped opener “Reel Around the Fountain” from the self-titled debut.

Aztec Camera

Not long before the Smiths came Roddy Frame and his British band, whose “Oblivious” opened the stellar first record High Land Hard Rain.


“Sky High” soared to the top of the charts, helping sales of the self-titled debut that also contained solid but inferior cuts like “Love Fire” and “Tell Me Why.”

Kaiser Chiefs

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These British alt rockers are still making great records, but none of them will ever compel attention like Employment's first track “Every Day I Love You Less and Less.”


Magic Christian Music opened with Paul McCartney's “Come and Get It” so, in spite of numerous singles like “Baby Blue” and “No Matter What,” the ill-fated members could never outdo what Sir Paul had given them.

The Sanford-Townsend Band

Kenny Loggins helped introduce the duo's slick jazz-pop, but nothing they ever created came close to the title track that opens their first album Smoke From a Distant Fire.


Most fans had “More Than a Feeling” that the rock band from the capitol of Massachusetts was going to enjoy a fantastic tenure, although none of the ensuing tracks would rise above the opener from the initial disk.

The Byrds

Making us of Bob Dylan's songwriting talent and Roger MCGuinn's unique electric guitar playing, his mates wisely chose “Mr. Tambourine Man” to launch a career that also gave birth to “Mr. Spaceman” and “Eight Miles High.”

Head East

Flat as a Pancake described the vinyl inside the cover, which opens with “Never Been Any Reason” and eight songs that fell far short of the lead off track.


Wolfman Jack adds a nice touch to “Don't Call Us We'll Call You,” but it does not live up to Jerry Corbetta and band's debut opener “Green Eyed Lady.”

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