Ah, the count-in – 1, 2, 3, 4! Beyond The Ramones, who used it for most every one of their joyous bubble punk thrashes, many others have found the need to demonstrate their numeracy skills while recording.

Ostensibly intended to make sure everybody comes in at the right time, some count-ins become favourite parts of recordings. Here are 12 great examples…

 

The Beatles
I Saw Her Standing There
Time: 0.00

Not just content with one 1, 2, 3, 4 on this early track, George Harrison’s later hatchet job on the British Taxman also featured the classic count-in – with a bonus 1, 2 to boot.

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Foo Fighters
Wheels
Time: 0:00

A wholesome, laconic, just the facts ma’am example of the 1, 2, 3, 4 – as you’d expect from Dave and the boys.

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Kaiser Chiefs
Na Na Na Na Naa
Time: 0:00

Another variation on the classic theme, with a bonus 1,2 at the start – and stick clicks, too!

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Bad Company
Can’t Get Enough
Time: 0:00

Ooh, recycling time! Another variation on the classic theme, with a bonus 1,2 at the start – and stick clicks, too!

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The Modern Lovers
Roadrunner
Time: 0.00

Why count to 4 when you can count all the way up to 6? Way to confuse the band, Mr Richman!

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The Offspring
Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
Time: 0:03

Have you ever wondered what “Gunter, glieben, glausen, globen” meant – other than being a stand-in for the classic 1, 2, 3, 4? Well, it means nothing, it’s just gibberish made up by Def Leppard producer Mutt Lange for their song Rock of Ages, which was duly sampled by The Offspring.

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Prince
Raspberry Beret
Time: 0.04

Prince – whose favourite colour was actually orange, according to his sister Sharon – does a classic 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4 on this ace track – although this extended intro version kind of throws us.

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Outkast
Hey Ya!
Time: 1:07

They make us wait for the hearty count-in when watching the vid, so obviously that time we’ve listed is completely up the spout if you’re listening to the single – where it starts neatly at 0:00. No hunting necessary.

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Matthew Sweet
Girlfriend
Time: 1.44

Moving away from his R.E.M. associations and hooking up with the likes of Lloyd Cole, this 1991 album title track rocked so hard that it should have had a warning label on the cover. This is one of our all-time fave shout-along count-ins, with an accompanying “Ooooooh!” for good measure.

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Green Day
St. Jimmy
Time: 2:58

OK, it’s nearer the start if you play the track separately, but why not get more American Idiot bang for your buck?

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Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run
Time: 3.03

Who doesn’t have this post-breakdown bit of The Boss’s best song indelibly planted in their brain? Shout it one more time for Brucie – 1, 2, 3, 4!

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The Saints
Erotic Neurotic
Time: 3:19

Stuff your standard by-the-beat count-in, exemplary punk innovators The Saints did things their way – as evidenced on this mind-blowing track with a lead-out that counts bars. Just like Chris Bailey likely did when they were touring… Respect!

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