Grammy Preview: The 40 Best Opening Lines
They don’t give a Grammy for the best opening line in a song, but if they did, fun.’s “We Are Young” would be a prime contender this year: “Give me a second/I need to get my story straight.” The Kelly Clarkson hit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” also has a compelling opening line: “You know the bed feels warmer/Sleeping here alone.” These opening lines draw you in; they command your attention right from the start.
Both of these songs received Grammy nominations for Song of the Year. fun. co-wrote “We Are Young” with their producer, Jeff Bhasker. Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin and Ali Tamposi wrote Clarkson’s smash.
A grand total of 260 songs have been nominated for Song of the Year over the past 55 years. Many have vivid, memorable opening lines. I played them all over the weekend. Here are 40 of the very best. I tell you who had the highest-charting Hot 100 hit with the song, who wrote it and whether it won for Song of the Year or was just nominated. They’re listed in reverse chronological order.
“Easy come, easy go/That’s just how you live/Oh, take, take, take it all/But you never give.” Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” (which he co-wrote with Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine and Andrew Wyatt). 2011 nominee.
“I used to rule the world/Seas would rise when I gave the word/Now in the morning I sleep alone/Sweep the streets I used to own.” Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” (which the band members wrote). 2008 winner.
“Head under water/And you tell me to breathe easy for awhile.” Sara’ Bareilles’ “Love Song” (which she wrote). 2008 nominee.
“Forgive, sounds good/Forget, I’m not sure I could/They say time heals everything/But I’m still waiting.” Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready To Make Nice” (which the trio co-wrote with Dan Wilson). 2006 winner.