Here's one of my top five fave 'Reens songs, from 1988 (and Green Thoughts, their fabulous sophomore album) -- "Only a Memory."
This was a big radio hit, at least in NYC, and at the time it was getting a lot of airplay, I was toiling at the late lamented Video Review, a rag where it only seemed that all my colleagues were rock critics. "OAM" itself was a big staff fave, but I distinctly remember that after it first got played on the office radio, it took us all at least a day or two to specifically identify what earlier song the opening guitar figure was
A coveted PowerPop No-Prize, of course, will be awarded to the first reader who nails the identity of said song in comments.
A postscript: A year or two before this came out, head Smithereen Pat DiNizio asked another musician friend of mine (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of the story) if he wanted to try writing a song together. My friend jumped at the chance, and a bit later the two of them were in Pat's living room, guitars in hand, doing what songwriters do when trying to collaborate. Finally, at some point, Pat hit upon a riff that made his eyes light up.
"Hey," he said. "Listen to this -- isn't it great? It's like 'Ticket to Ride'."
My friend absorbed it for a moment.
"Uh, Pat," he replied, "it IS 'Ticket to Ride'."