Another Top 10 for The Smiths...RS best debut single

Rolling Stone placed The Smiths "Hand In Glove" at the number 10 spot on their list of best debut singles EVER!

Why are they in not in the Rock Hall?
Only a matter of time now. I do wonder how they would collect the honour.

It’s an old RS list btw
Last edited:
Discussion at the time:

So, Britney’s Baby One More Time is the greatest debut single of all time? Better than Elvis? Better than Michael Jackson? Better than Bowie? Pistols? Dylan? Smiths? Rolling Stone hates music.
From the artists Gregor listed we can immediately rule out half of them. If David Bowie's first single under the name 'David Bowie' was Space Oddity then he should be #1 on the list. But no, his first single under that name was Do Anything You Say. If Bob Dylan's first single was Blowin' In the Wind he should be #1, but it was Mixed-Up Confusion. And if Michael Jackson's first was Rock With You he should be near the top of the list, but it was Got to Be There. They all went on to bigger and better things musically but I believe it goes without saying that none of those debut singles belong at #1 on a greatest debut singles list.

I think Hand In Glove at #10 on this list is more than generous considering how little The Smiths mean to a wide American audience. You could make a case for 'That's All Right' by Elvis or 'Anarchy in the U.K.' by The Sex Pistols placing at number 1, but I could see Elvis falling under the aforementioned category of "went on to bigger and better things" (Heartbreak Hotel would surely have been #1 if that was his first single), and I could also see a song about anarchy in the U.K. not being an adequate choice for #1 on a list in an American publication, although it made #3 (could they justify putting a song that never charted in the U.S. higher on a list of greatest debut singles above a song that went to #1 in at least 20 countries?).

Britney Spears had plenty of other hits but Baby One More Time probably remains her best known song; its cultural impact was massive and it was inescapable in 1999. Some people apparently don't appreciate how difficult it is to construct and record a song like Baby One More Time. I would never be able to get anywhere close to it. You only need to be playing the guitar for a year or two before you can start writing songs in the style of The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, The Ramones, etc. But to this day I wouldn't know where to start with something like Baby One More Time. What's that quote, "Wagner's music is better than it sounds"? Well, Baby One More Time is more sophisticated than it sounds. Points that people might make against it such as 'it's lyrics don't move me', for example, don't stop it being a great debut single --- and besides, the vast majority of rock and pop songs lack lyrical depth. The lyrics to That's All Right are no better than Baby One More Time's. Nor do the lack of guitars stop it being a great single since the song obviously doesn't need them and...wait for it...there are other instruments available.

Would I personally have it at #1 if I were to make a list such as this? More than likely no (looking through their full list I'd possibly give it to Break On Through (to the Other Side) or West End Girls). But considering the level of success it achieved and its enduring popularity, Baby One More Time's position at #1 is valid (even if its lyrics don't touch your soul and you only find live instrumentation appealing!).
Last edited:
Top Bottom