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First Album, First Song: The 150 Best Lead-Off Tracks

Albums clockwise from upper left: Crosby, Stills & Nash <em>self-titled</em>, Fleet Foxes, <em>self-titled, </em>Patti Smith, <em>Horses,</em> Stevie Wonder, <em>The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, </em>Brandi Carlile, <em>self-titled</em>, Run-D.M.C., <em>self-titled.</em>
Courtesty of the artists
Albums clockwise from upper left: Crosby, Stills & Nash self-titled, Fleet Foxes, self-titled, Patti Smith, Horses, Stevie Wonder, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, Brandi Carlile, self-titled, Run-D.M.C., self-titled.

Over the years, some bands who've released recording debuts have launched their careers with a single from the album that, in many cases, was the first song on the first side of their record. In the business, these songs are called "lead-off tracks," denoting the first in a series of songs on an album. Many of these tracks spawned major hits: from Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love," "Chuck E's In Love" by Rickie Lee Jones and Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why," to Foo Fighters' "This Is A Call" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Still others, while not major radio hits, have had lasting influence on pop music. "Radio Free Europe" by , "Illegal Smile" by John Prine, "Push It Along" by A Tribe Called Quest and "Sunday Morning" by The Velvet Underground come to mind.

From rock and soul to R&B and rap, we've collected 150 of these lead-off tracks into one playlist. Listen below.

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Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.