Most memorable pop songs are remembered for their catchy lyrics and the glamorous singer who delivers the song. But there have also been many instrumentals that have lit up the charts and stamped their own identity on the modern music scene. Instrumentals obviously have no one person heading up the band, as there is no lead singer front of stage. This can lead to really intricate and complicated songs that don’t just rely on a catchy chorus and make the listener stop and think about the music more. Here are some of the most influential instrumentals that took the world by storm when they were released.
Rumble – Link Wray
Link Wray was an important musician for others that followed in the next two decades. He almost patented the sound of the distorted guitar with the addition of plenty of feedback. This style was copied by bands such as White Stripes and The Who. Surprisingly as an instrumental it was banned from air play by many commercial radio stations who considered it to have ominous overtones.
Green Onions – Booker T & The MG’s
Released on the Stax label in 1962, Green Onions set the tone for a generation. It was almost the soundtrack of the 60’s and crossed over from a predominately white audience to also engage with the black community in America. This was because the brilliant band were an unusual mix of black and white musicians, and each of them was a virtuoso on their instrument. Leading the band was Booker T Jones, ably assisted by Steve Cropper, Steve Potts, Steve Jordan, and Jim Keltner.
Telstar – The Tornados
Released in the same year was Telstar by the Tornadoes. Musically it could not possibly hold a candle to Green Onions, but for its owns reasons was an important instrumental. It was the first really space-age track that was featured in popular charts across America and Britain and was an amazingly catchy tune. In fact, it was the first single made by a British band that topped the U.S charts. The lead instrument was a Clavioline keyboard which had a sound similar to the cheap and nasty Stylophone and was not much better. However, the track was an amazing success and opened the doors for other futuristic sounds later on.
Ain’t It Funky Now – James Brown
Not strictly an instrumental as the track does feature James Brown’s vocals in parts, Ain’t It Funky Now laid down what was expected of the disco era in 1970s. Everything about this track screamed ‘70s disco, from the pulsating beat to the brash horns. And the decade that followed this release was ignited in opulence and sheer fun. Dressing up on the dance floor was just as important as the actual dancing and James Brown was as smart as any of them. Each of these instrumental tracks has its own importance in pop music industry, whether it was championing new sounds or instruments or fusing black and white musicians together. Each piece of music has its own place in music history, and all have contributed to what modern pop music today is all about.