Thursday, June 24, 2010

Forgotten Music -- Instrumental Hits

When I was a youth, and for many years before that, the Top Ten was often visited by instrumental numbers. The other day I heard one of them on the radio, and I wondered if there'd been one recently. I don't listen to much current popular music, so I'm out of the loop. I had to check the Internet. There hasn't been an instrumental hit since 1999, and that one was by Kenny G. Yikes. Then I found this list. It doesn't include the '50s and the '40s, when there were dozens, but you can see that before the '90s there were a lot of instrumental songs in the Top 20. Now there are none, and there haven't been for a long time. I don't know why. I don't even have any guesses. Anyway, here are a few I like. And a bit of trivia: The first #1 hit in the U. S. by a British group was "Telstar," an instrumental. (UPDATE: That's the third song here. The first is Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser." Second is "Reveille Rock" by Johnny and the Hurricanes.)


10 comments:

Charlie said...

I believe that the last one is "Telstar" but could you identify the other 2?

Bill Crider said...

You're right about the last one. The first is "Rebel Rouser" by Duane Eddy. The second is "Reveille Rock" by Johnny and the Hurricanes. When I was teaching, I'd occasionally take the tape player into my 8:00 A. M. class and play that one.

Fred Blosser said...

"Stranger on the Shore," along with "Loco-Motion," seemed to be on continuous loop at my local swimming pool in early summer 1962. Eric Records has several CD compilations of '50s through '70s instrumental hits. Looks like the first comp, which I bought last year, is about to go OOP. http://www.ericrecords.com/orchestral_1.html

Bill Crider said...

Some good stuff on there. I wonder why the whippersnappers don't like instrumentals.

Todd Mason said...

It's more a matter of the recording and radio industries, I suspect...all sales lists tend to be fiddled with to suit their aims...while most instrumentals these days are on the dance floor or are in other less-popular forms (jazz, new age, world music etc.). Pop and rap lend themselves to vocal recording, and easy listening stations have mostly given way to oldies and adult contemporary formats.

Bill Crider said...

Sounds reasonable, Todd.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I always like instrumentals.

Graham Powell said...

I'm kind of surprised that Joe Satriani has never had a top-20 hit. I know that quite a few of his songs, like "Satch Boogie" and "Summer Song" got airplay.

Richard R. said...

Wow, I remember every one of them. I guess "Tequila" (the very first record - a 45 of course - I bought) doesn't count because they say that one word a few times. It's really an instrumental, though.

I guess these days they gotta have lyrics. There is trance and such stuff out there, but there's not really a top 40 set-up much any more. I think Todd is right on this one too.

Chad said...

I love Duane Eddy. "Rebel Rouser" is sheer badass. Not to mention "Ramrod" and "Cannonball" and his "Peter Gunn" cover.