The first and last lyrics sung on record by 20 legendary bands

A montage of Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and Jim Morrison
(Image credit: Pete Still/Redferns/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Chris Walter/WireImage)

Everything must begin and end somewhere, and bands are no exception. At the start of their career, they’re full of energy, awe and wonder at the promise of what the future might hold. By the time their race is run, they’re older, wiser, often richer and in some cases dead. But hopefully in between they manage to say something meaningful, memorable, entertaining or all three.

That got us wondering: what are the first and last lyrics to be sung on record by rock’s biggest bands and solo artists? Cue a dive into the back catalogues of everyone from The Beatles and Queen to Van Halen and Nirvana.

Hearing what the likes of Lennon and McCartney, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and more had to say when they were starting out compared to their final utterances as the curtain came down is both fascinating and poignant, charting their development as artists and as people. Unless you’re Van Halen-model Dave Lee Roth, in which case you ended pretty much where you started.

We do need rules, otherwise it would be messier than a night out with Ozzy Osbourne in 1981. Firstly, we’re dealing with bands who have definitively split up. This rules out Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys and others who might be inactive but are technically still together.

Secondly, we’re looking at songs that were recorded while the band were still in existence - or at least written with the intention of being recorded by the band in question. So, posthumous songs by Queen, The Doors and Nirvana all count, but The Beatles’ Now And Then (a John Lennon solo demo) and Thin Lizzy‘s Dedication (written for Phil Lynott’s post-Lizzy band Grand Slam) don’t. We’re also discounting unfinished studio outtakes, bonus tracks added long after the original albums came out, and songs from posthumous live albums.

Additionally, the songs have to have actually appeared on an album or single – sorry, fans of Kiss’s barbershop-style Don’t Touch My Ascot, which featured in 2015 animated movie Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock And Roll Mystery but tragically never made it record. And we’re ignoring the endless pile of studio scrapings that makes up Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous discography, otherwise we’d be here all week. Hey, we don’t make the rules. Actually, we do, so you’ll have to suck it up.

So here, they are - the first and last lines sung on record by 20 legendary bands and artists.

Ronnie James Dio

“An angel is missing/From heaven tonight” An Angel Is Missing (Ronnie Dio And The Red-Caps single A-side, 1960)

“We’ve just found the keys and we’re breaking into heaven” Breaking Into Heaven (Heaven And Hell, The Devil You Know, 2009)

The Beatles

“Love, love me do/You know I love you/I'll always be true/So please, love me do” Love Me Do (single A-side, 1962)

“Get back, get back/Get back, oh yeah” Get Back (Let It Be, 1970)

David Bowie

“Well, I got a girl that‘s so good to me/Whoah, little Liza!” Liza Jane (Davie Jones and The King Bees single A-side, 1964)

“I was off my head/I was filled with truth/It was not god's truth/Before I met you” When I Met You (No Plan EP, 2017)

Jimi Hendrix

“Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?” Hey Joe (single A-side, 1966)

“We got to live together, yeah” We Gotta Live Together (Band Of Gypsys, 1970)

The Doors

“You know the day destroys the night/Night divides the day/Tried to run, tried to hide/Break on through to the other side” Break On Through (To The Other Side) (The Doors single A-side, 1967)

“I will not go/Prefer a feast of friends/To the giant family” A Feast Of Friends (An American Prayer, 1978)

Pink Floyd

“Arnold Layne had a strange hobby/Collecting clothes/Moonshine washing line/They suit him fine” Arnold Layne (single A-side, 1967)

“The sum of our parts/The beat of our hearts/Is louder than words/Louder than words” Louder Than Words (The Endless River, 2014)


“The silent sun that never shines/She is the warmth of my lonely heart” The Silent Sun (single A-side, 1968)

“Hard as I might try/I've run of luck, I've run out of time” Run Out Of Time (Not About Us single B-side, 1998)

Led Zeppelin

“In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man/Now I've reached that age I've tried to do all those things the best I can) Good Times, Bad Times (Led Zeppelin, 1969)

“All of my love, all of my love/All of my love to, to you, you, you/I get a little bit lonely” All Of My Love (In Through The Out Door, 1979)

Black Sabbath

“I've seen a look of evil in your eyes/You've been filling me all full of lies” Evil Woman (single A-side, 1970)

“Dear Father, forsaken/You knew what you were doing/In silence your violence/Has left my life in ruin” Dear Father (13, 2013)

Thin Lizzy

“Sure do appreciate y'all coming/Especially you, Skinny Lizzy” The Farmer (single A-side, 1970)

“Mama, I'm dying/Oh Papa, I'm dying, dying, dying, dying” Heart Attack (Thunder And Lightning, 1983)

Tom Petty

“Sally's up in Mississippi tonight/With a man she hardly knows” Up In Mississippi (Mudcrutch single A-side, 1973)

“He catches fish and I sit all day” The Old Man And Me (The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, 2014)


“Well, I’m going to show you how it’s going to be/You’re going to give your love to me” Not Fade Away (single A-side, 1973)

“It’s a measure of a life” The Garden (Clockwork Angels, 2013)

Queen (with Freddie Mercury)

“I was told a million times of all the troubles in my way/Mind you grow a little wiser, little better every day” Keep Yourself Alive (single A-side, 1973)

“Yeah!” Yeah! (Made In Heaven, 1995)


“I know a thing or two about her/I know she'll only make you cry/She'll let you walk the street beside her/But when she wants, she'll pass you by” Strutter (Kiss, 1974)

“Come on now, get your dress on/Place your wig on straight/We can’t be late/C’mon, we got a date/We’re going to the rock show” Venus And Mars/Rock Show (The Art Of McCartney, 2014)


“Hey ho, let's go!” Blitzkrieg Bop (single A-side, 1976)

“Maybe I was born to die in Berlin” Born To Die In Berlin (Adios Amigos, 1995)

Sex Pistols

“Right now… I am an antichrist/And I am an anarchist” Anarchy In The UK (single A-side, 1976)

“Well I was never wrong/I wrote all the songs/The same old motor runs/I ain't no rolling stone” Here We Go Again (Black Leather single B-side, 1980)

The Clash

“White riot, I wanna riot/White riot, a riot of my own” White Riot (single A-side, 1976)

“Life is wild, life is free/Ain't no rock or stone gonna grind down me” Life Is Wild (Cut The Crap, 1985)


“We can move around now/You know it's so good/But I know you wouldn't come clean now, baby/Even if you could” White Line Fever (Leaving Here single A-side, 1977)

“What's my name?/What's my name?/Lucifer/That's my name baby” Sympathy For The Devil (Bad Magic)

Van Halen

“I said girl, you really got me now/You got me so I don't know what I'm doin'” You Really Got Me (single A-side, 1978)

“Cos I’m red hot/Baby like it or not” Beats Workin’ (A Different Kind Of Truth, 2012)


“Would you believe me when I tell you/You're the queen of my heart” Love Buzz (single A-side, 1988)

“You know your rights/Hey” You Know You’re Right (Nirvana, 2002)

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.