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
- At Top2040 also check out the Best Dance Songs of the 80s.
Honorable Mention: The Snow Goose (1975) by Camel, another album rock FM station hit
Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band by Meco was a disco version of the movie theme with the cantina band section in the middle. It was odd, but it landed in the Top 10 back in 1977.
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.
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.ReplyDelete
Super super useful thank you!! :)ReplyDelete
Fleetwood Mac albatross or the chain (F1 tune)ReplyDelete