Songs Featuring a Count-Off at the Beginning

When performing with a band, a count-off is used to help set the tempo and make sure everyone in the group starts at the same time. Most of the time in the studio, the count-off is edited from the final version in the record. However, the count-off is sometimes kept on the final product or added to it in order to give an impression of a live performance or for some other reason. Most of the time, a standard count-off is "one-two-three-four", but it is not always this way. As always, feel free to add some other interesting examples.

The Top Ten

1 I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles

This song lifts me up just thinking of it. So Fun. - Billyv

"One, two, three, FOUR! ". George Martin wanted the song to sound like a live performance, so he took Paul McCartney's count-off from Take 9 and edited it to Take 1. The result is one of the most famous count-offs in music history. - Gg2000

Great list idea. I actually made this list long ago but my list title was Top 10 Songs that Start with a Count-In. You can see it on the "Related Lists". - Metal_Treasure

Sorry about that, Metal Treasure. It didn't show up at all when I typed in the title. No harm intended, I promise. - Gg2000

2 Vertigo - U2

During the intro, Bono shouts "Uno, dos, tres, catorce! ". This is Spanish for "One, two, three, fourteen! ". - Gg2000

3 Waiting for the Worms - Pink Floyd

The count-off for the song is "Ein, zwei, drei, alle! ", which is German for "One, two, three, everybody! ". The reason they added this on there is because this song is during the phase of the album where Pink, the main character, visualizes himself as a fascist dictator whose concertgoers are his subjects. - Gg2000

4 Wooly Bully - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs

Wooly Bully uses two languages in its count-off, English and Spanish. The count-off is "Uno, dos. One, two, tres, cuatro! ". - Gg2000

5 The Masterplan - Oasis

During the intro, Noel Gallagher and another bandmate (I presume it's his brother Liam) do the count-off together, very slowly. - Gg2000

6 Taxman - The Beatles

Another Beatles song. The song features a slow count-off with a lot of coughing, and the real count-off (the one which sets the actual tempo) can be heard in the background. - Gg2000

7 Le Freak - Chic

The song opens with a quick "One, two- Aw, freak out! ". Nile Rodgers, the band's guitarist, said they did this to attract the listener's attention. - Gg2000

Was going to add this great song. As it's already here, I'll vote for it instead. - Britgirl

8 Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine - James Brown

The song starts off with a short famous dialogue between James and his band. At the end, he says "Can I count it off? One, two three, four! ". - Gg2000

9 The Ocean - Led Zeppelin

The song starts off with John Bonham saying, "We've done four already, but now we're steady, and then they went- one, two, three, four". It was a reference to the fact that they had already tried four takes of the song before getting it together. - Gg2000

10 Rockaway Beach - The Ramones

Dee Dee Ramone, the group's bass player, was famous for starting out nearly every Ramones song in concert with a loud and fast "One Two Three Four! ". Rockaway Beach is one of the more notable examples where the count-off is kept on the studio version. - Gg2000

The Contenders

11 This is It - Michael Jackson
12 Drive - R.E.M.

You can hear someone very faintly counting off the song. I didn't notice it until listening to it a few times. - Gg2000

13 Patience - Guns N' Roses
14 Leper Messiah - Metallica
15 Losfer Words - Iron Maiden
16 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - The Beatles
17 Lean Woman Blues - T. Rex

You can hear Marc Bolan say "One, two, buckle my shoe! " before the whole band comes in. - Gg2000

18 Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ed King (the guitarist who wrote the main riff) does the count off. Al Kooper (who produced the album) would always leave the count off on the first track of each album he produced. That was his "trademark", if you will. - Gg2000

19 R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. - John Mellencamp

The song begins with a false start, and someone counts off the tempo to guide them back in line. - Gg2000

20 Still Alive and Well - Johnny Winter

The bassist comes in at the wrong time, and Johnny says, "Don't hit it now, hit it on four! " Then he counts them off and they start for real. - Gg2000

21 Can't Get Enough - Bad Company

It sounds to me like the drummer (Simon Kirke) is doing the count off. - Gg2000

22 Turn It on Again - Genesis

You can hear Phil Collins (I presume) doing a count off in the middle of the intro to mark where the keyboards come in. - Gg2000

23 Sway - The Rolling Stones

It sounds like Mick Jagger is doing the count off. - Gg2000

24 Boys Keep Swinging - David Bowie

You can hear someone count off the tempo while the drums are playing. - Gg2000

25 Clampdown - The Clash

You can hear the count off faintly amidst the feedback in the intro. They also threw in a count off in "White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)". - Gg2000

26 St. Anger - Metallica
27 Sleeping on the Sidewalk - Queen

Brian counts off the tempo before playing the guitar opening. Makes sense, considering that they recorded the instruments live in one take. - Gg2000

28 The Debt Collector - Blur

An instrumental song. Graham Coxon (the guitarist) counts off the tempo by saying "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi, Four Mississippi". - Gg2000

29 John the Fisherman - Primus

One, Two (One, Two Three) - JoLeKosovo

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