Instrumental Tunes in the Rock Era

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Today I was going to get into something a bit controversial but I need more time to check my facts on that one before I put it out.  Instead, I will stay in the music genre.  While I was jogging this morning, I was listening to a mix of The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, and Deep Purple.  In the mix was Deep Purple’s “Hard Road.”  It is an instrumental tune, so today I thought I would talk about instrumental tunes that were popular during the rock era.

In the early days of rock and roll there were a lot of tunes on the charts with had no vocal component.  Many of them were movie and TV show themes and the king of theme music was Henry Mancini.  He had countless themes and music from the movies and TV that we all whistled or hummed or somehow sang along to.  The list to too long to complete but here are a few and I’ll bet you will remember them, “Peter Gunn”, “The Pink Panther,” “Mr. Lucky”, and “Charade.”  Another movie theme that made the charts was “Jack the Ripper” by Link Ray and the Raymen.

Then there were tunes like Wiggle Wobble by Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers.  No, I didn’t remember the name of the band; I had to look that up.  I do remember the Safaris doing ”Wipe Out” and The Ventures doing all of their great instrumentals including “Walk Don’t Run”, “Pipeline,” “Apache,” and “Bubble Bee.”  Then there were The Tornados doing “Telstar” in 1962.

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There were many more instrumentals in the early years of rock and roll but they became few and far between as rock moved into the seventies.  A theme would make the charts now and then like the theme to “Star Wars” or the theme to “Chariots of Fire,” but it wasn’t a common occurrence.  Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass filled in the instrumental gap somewhat with tunes like “Tijuana Taxi” and “The Lonely Bull.”

There are some bands that seem to love to play music.  The above mentioned Deep Purple was one of those bands.  Every one of their songs is full of music.  Deep Purple also happens to be one of my favorite bands of all time.  I just downloaded their album “When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll”; it’s the best.  I don’t know if album is the right word now days but I don’t know what else to call it.  It’s not a CD or anything else, but I’m digressing.  Lenard Skinner is another band that loves to play music.  They have that good southern fried rock that rolls through all of their tunes.  Their instrumental “Jessica” is played all of the time on the classic rock stations.

Two of my favorite classic rock instrumentals were “Hocus Pocus” by Focus, and “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group.  The final tune I will mention is Pink Floyd’s “Careful with the Axe Eugene.”  The tune was supposed to be about an axe murderer and young people would sit around in the dark listening to it.  It was supposed to be scary.  I think most of the people that were sitting around were smoking a lot of weed because I did it and I didn’t think it was scary, it was actually kind of boring.

Today music has all but disappeared from the tunes that are on the charts.  There is some in the background but many of the tunes used synthesized music; no on with a pulse is actually playing.  That happened in the disco era also.  I hope, like disco, it is a passing phase.  That’s my list.  There are many others that can be mentioned.  Add a comment and list some more.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Entertaiment, Rock and Roll

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