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Top 40 Instrumental Songs: Best Songs Without Lyrics

Best pop and rock instrumental songs that topped the charts or had significant radio play -- the most memorable instrumentals.
Songs are not always dependent on words. Some songs don't even have lyrics, and a few of these have emerged as memorable instrumental hits. It's rare for an instrumental to become big or even break the Top 20 Billboard charts, and even harder to reach #1, but a few unusual instrumentals made it to the top. Here are the Top 40 Rock and Pop instrumental songs: the best songs without words.

1 - Fire On High by ELO Electric Light Orchestra, an indelible instrumental from the "Face the Music" CD, few songs have as much power without any vocals.

2 - Frankenstein by Edgar Winter Group reached #1 in 1972, featuring an unforgettable riff and psychedelic sound.

3 - One of These Days by Pink Floyd, also one of the earliest animated music videos

4 - I, Robot by Alan Parsons Project

5 - Funeral for a Friend by Elton John

6 - A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy & the Big Red Apple Band. This classical disco hit topped the Billboard Charts in 1976. Walter also did Flight '76, a new version of Flight of the Bumblebee on the same album.


7 - Seven Seas of Rhye by Queen from their debut LP, it rocks even without Freddie Mercury's strong voice.

8 - Speed of Life by David Bowie from Low (1977)

9 - Tequila by the Champs, made famous a 2 nd time by Pee Wee Herman

10 - Fanfare for the Common Man by ELP Emerson Lake & Palmer

11 - Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin

12 - Third Stone from the Sun by Jimi Hendrix

13 - TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) by MFSB featuring The Three Degrees, was a big #1 hit in February of 1974

14 - Warm Sporran by Jethro Tull from the Stormwatch LP

15 - Wipe Out recorded by the Safaris, the most memorable #1 instrumental hit.

16 - Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer, on the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop.

17 - Miami Vice Theme from Jan Hammer went to #1 in 1985

18 - Buried Alive in the Blues by Janis Joplin

19 - Pick Up the Pieces by Average White Band was a #1 hit in 1974 and stayed on top for several weeks.

20 - Fritz the Blank by Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1980)

21 - Express by B.T. Express (1975)

22 - Walk, Don't Run from the Ventures

23 -The Entertainer (1974) Marvin Hamlisch, theme song from the movie "The Sting"

24 - Hocus Pocus by Focus, a top-10 hit in 1973

25 - Song for America by Kansas, progressive rock FM hit

26 - Telstar, a spooky Top-10 hit from the the Tornadoes

27 - Icarus Dream Suite by Ingwie Malmsteen

28 - Unidentified Flying Object (1970) UFO was spacy before they became progressive & hard rock

29 - Eve by Dream Theater

30 - La Villa Strangiato by Rush from their Hemispheres CD

31 - The Rockford Files Theme by Mike Post cracked the Billboard Top 10 in 1975

32 - Arrival by Abba

33 - Soul Sacrifice by Santana

34 - Toad (1967) from Cream

35 - Tangerine (1976) by The Salsoul Orchestra

36 - Freewheelin' by Bachman Turner Overdrive

37 - The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Rick Wakeman

38 - Wot Gorilla? (1976) Genesis from Wind & Wuthering

39 - Careful With That Axe, Eugene -- a trippy hit from the early days of Pink Floyd

40 - Embryonic Journey by Jefferson Airplane, a hit without words from Surrealistic Pillow

Honorable Mention: The Snow Goose (1975) by Camel, another album rock FM station hit



I guess sometimes the music is enough. After all, how often can we understand the words anyway? Instrumental pop songs are just special by themselves, without all the chatter.

3 comments:

  1. cool list, thanks! I only know a handful of them, so I've got homework to do. I love those surf rock tunes - Pipeline by The Chantays and Apache by The Shadows are both amazing too.

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  2. Super super useful thank you!! :)

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  3. Fleetwood Mac albatross or the chain (F1 tune)

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