Dec 102020

I can only think of one example, but I trust you will keep this from being the shortest Last Man Standing ever! As there may be only one example of this phenomenon – a hit instrumental by an artist known for vocal-driven hits – I won’t prime the pump with an initial entry. I will say, however, that songs like The Beatles’ “Flying” DO NOT COUNT. Unless you can show me evidence of that instrumental charting in Nambia or wherever.

As always, don’t Bogart this thread. Please limit yourself to ONE ENTRY PER POST.


  58 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Instrumental Hits by Artists Known for Their Vocals”

  1. H. Munster

    Albatross by Fleetwood Mac.

  2. cherguevara

    Edgar Winter – Frankenstein

  3. Whammer Jammer by J Giels Band.

  4. trigmogigmo

    “Regatta de Blanc” by the Police

    Maybe it doesn’t meet the criteria as it was not a single and did not chart. But it won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Surprisingly, the following year they won again with “Behind My Camel”, which is ridiculous especially since that song was up against “YYZ” which is iconic.

  5. Fingertips, Pt 2?

  6. Does Eruption by Van Halen count? I don’t know if it charted but it’s very well known.

  7. misterioso

    So put me down for Billy Preston, “Outta Space”! Enjoy this live (or is it “live”?) version:

    I had no idea the Police won a Grammy for “Regatta de Blanc”! Nor “Behind My Camel”! As for “YYZ” which I had to look up, and then figured since it is “iconic” I must know it without knowing the title, I have to say: Never heard it.

  8. H. Munster

    Jessica by the Allman Bros.

  9. Wow, you’re blowing this out of the water! “Fingertips, Pt 2” was the only example I had in mind. I’ll give you credit for songs like “Eruption,” which may not have charted but are ubiquitous.

    Keep ’em coming, if you dare, but please, I believe there’s an instrumental on the first McCartney solo album: I will not only NOT accept that as an entry, I will send you to the RTH Penalty Box!

    Speaking of the first McCartney solo album, if we lived in a world in which we could not buy singles or download a single song, would there be any album more essential for ONLY ONE SONG than McCartney’s first solo album, just so you could own the original home studio ditty version of “Maybe I’m Amazed”? I haven’t tried listening to that turd of an album in ages, but I’m glad I own it for that one song.

  10. misterioso

    In fact there are several instrumentals on McCartney’s (very good) first record. The best of the instrumentals is the terrific Momma Miss America. Obviously Maybe I’m Amazed towers over the rest of the record, but the whole thing has a great sound to it and I love its casualness.

    Traffic, “Glad,” from John Barleycorn Must Die. Not a single or anything but used to get a lot of radio play.


  11. cherguevara

    I’m not fully prepared to defend the McCartney album but it’s not that bad, is it? The ragtag nature of it is intentional, as you know. “Junk” is a beautiful song. The other day my son asked me what was the most disappointing follow-up album of all time. As a first solo foray from a Beatle, maybe it was best to put out an album that defied expectations. I couldn’t come up with a good answer for my son – I said maybe “Kid A,” just because it felt like a punt after “OK Computer,” but loads of people loved that album. The McCartney II album is worse, and III is imminent, I’m curious to hear it. Interesting that the two arguably best songs on I and II were both released as superior live versions.

  12. I don’t agree with reviewing Mac I and Mac II as his solo albums. Everything in between is a solo McCartney album too. He had hired guns all the time. Wings had a revolving door. No one really considers Denny Laine any kind of foil for Paul. The fact that he plays all the instruments is just the gimmick part on his two “solo” albums.

  13. cherguevara

    Chaos and Creation is almost a solo album and it’s a good one. But it seems that having another person in the room helps him somehow, maybe it gives him perspective. Unless that other person is Michael Jackson.

  14. Misterioso, you are LMS with “Glad,” one of my childhood favorites. Now, go join Cherguevara in the penalty box! 🙂

    I don’t know, to me, that first McCartney album is the best evidence of Paul’s death.

    Chickenfrank, good point re: our characterization of his “solo” albums and the role Denny Laine played as his “foil.” I’m sure, however, that you wouldn’t diminish the role that curly-haired Scottish guy from Average White Band played in his Flowers in the Dirt-era output. So sad that those two had that falling out!

  15. misterioso

    Denny Laine. Somehow being the second most talented member of Wings wasn’t good enough.

  16. Ah, excuse me. 2nd? Cook of the House?

  17. cherguevara

    “Solo” is a different level for Macca. For most, it means their name is on the front, and various people played instruments, produced and engineered. The Mccartney albums are different because he played and recorded it himself, though he hires a mix engineer. There is a difference between Wings/solo and the 3 Mccartney albums. You know all this…

    Why am I in the penalty box? I named a hit instrumental that was actually a hit!

  18. Happiness Stan

    Egyptian Reggae by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, number 5 over here in 77.

  19. BigSteve

    “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” by Gary Glitter

  20. BigSteve

    Night Train by James Brown

  21. I was really hoping the Theme from SWAT would qualify, but I don’t think Rhythm Heritage was known for anything at all.

  22. Cher, was “Junk” a hit of some degree? If so, my apologies. We’ll erase that infraction from your record.

    Big Steve, funny, it never occurred to me that Gary Glitter sang or did anything but filled out a jumpsuit. I don’t think I have ever heard another song by him!

    Big Steve is currently LMS with “Night Train”!

  23. mockcarr

    Bouree by Jethro Tull didn’t chart as a single but it’s on their best of album and got classic rock airplay. The album it cam from, Stand Up, was also #1 in England.

  24. H. Munster

    If “Glad” and “Bouree” qualify, so does “Interstellar Overdrive”.

  25. Happiness Stan

    Mr mod, Gary Glitter was HUGE over here. At the height of his popularity he played in our local park for the carnival celebrations. Working on the principle that otherwise I’d have left home, scaled the railings to be there and either injured myself or got arrested, mum and dad took me and my sisters to see him. It was my first gig. The Glitter Band did a set first, then The Leader arrived by helicopter overhead and was lowered to the stage on a silver harness. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. We went to his comeback shows in the late seventies and in the early nineties to the Gary Glitter Gang Show in Birmingham every year, where he was supported by T Rextasy, who have now been going for longer than Marc Bolan was alive.

    And then, of course, his past caught up with him. Such was the betrayal I find it impossible to listen to any of his songs without getting agitated and distressed, emotions which don’t usually trouble me. His songs are simply never played anywhere any more, although the Christmas song, appearing on many festive compilations prior to his conviction and imprisonment for child molestation, survived in most shopping centres until streamed versions superseded them. A couple of years ago, I went into a charity shop staffed by East Europeans who clearly didn’t get the memo and were playing his greatest hits CD. That was deeply weird. I have mixed feelings about at created by evil people being airbrushed from history. I don’t, however, think Britain, with its proud history of turning a blind eye to entertainers who, by rights, should have been banged up rather than given their own TV and radio shows, is quite ready for the return of someone currently serving another sentence for further offences, with a stretch in jail in Thailand punctuating the two.

    Rick and Roll Part 2 was his first hit, flipped by the radio who preferred it to the vocal version in the other side. Strictly speaking, therefore, he was an instrumental star who became known as a singer, but that would feel like a harsh judgement.

  26. cherguevara

    Gotcha – Junk wasn’t meant as an entry, I was just digressing on the Macca thing. But Wikipedia shows an Italian 45 of Led Zep’s “Moby Dick,” so I submit that for LMS.

  27. H. Munster

    If “Glad”,“Bouree”, and “Interstellar Overdrive” qualify, so does Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner”.

  28. misterioso

    Pink Floyd, “One of These Days.” It was a single in Canada, Italy, and Japan: Must have charted in one of those places. LMS!

  29. The supergroup, supersnooze “Rockestra Theme,” credited to Wings, was released as a single in France.


  30. cherguevara

    I was supposed to see Madness last May, but alas show cancelled along with everything else. But it reminds me of their British hit, Return of the los Palmas 7. LMS!

  31. H. Munster

    “Beck’s Bolero” — The Jeff Beck Group

  32. That’s a tricky entry, H. At first I thought, “But Jeff Beck almost never sings!” Then, I realized your entry is valid, because Rod Stewart was singing for the Group. Duh! You are LMS!

  33. mockcarr

    Do I have to go into the penalty box if I suggest Sparks by The Who?

  34. Madness, eh? Say, that reminds me: Guns! …of Navarone (the Specials)

  35. Have at it, mockcarr! The refs will swallow their whistles.

  36. H. Munster

    Love Is Blue — The Jeff Beck Group

  37. A bit of a cheat, but The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd. That’s the one where the woman just does her whoa whoa wailing over the track. Consider that a vocal if you want, but it seems like an instrumental to me. I still hear that one on classic rock radio.

  38. H. Munster

    I’m taking a chance on this one. “The Ox” by The Who.

  39. cherguevara

    Santana – Samba Pa Ti


  40. BigSteve

    I think half of U2 hitting the charts with the Mission Impossible Theme should count, but I throw myself on the mercy of the judges.

  41. Sorry, I’ve been swamped with work. There are some questionable entries here – but I admire your creativity.

    H. Munster, I can’t give you that second Jeff Beck Group instrumental, because I don’t think it was a single or a well-known number. Let me know if I’m wrong. On the other hand, “The Ox” was a B-side of a successful single and the nickname of its writer. I’ll grant you that one.

    chickenfrank, I’ll grant you that stretch of the Pink Floyd song because I wouldn’t know it by the title, but your reference to the woman’s whoa-ing is akin to identifying “Wipeout” by the tom-tom fills.

    cherguevara, would we know that Santana song? Even though Santana usually features vocals, I think of them as an instrumental band. I’m going to allow you to serve as your own judge on this one. You are known for your integrity.

    BigSteve, was it the U or the 2 behind that movie theme? Assuming that Bono had nothing to do with it, I don’t think we can count it. If so, either cher or H Munster is currently LMS. Something tells me whichever Townsperson it is, their stay at the top will be short.

  42. Happiness Stan

    Dave Edmunds – Sabre Dance, number five over here in 1968

  43. Great one, Happiness Stan! You are currently LMS.

  44. cherguevara

    Not that it matters at this point but:
    “”Samba pa ti” is an instrumental by Latin rock band Santana, from their 1970 album, Abraxas. In English, the title means “Samba for You.” It was released as a single in 1973.[1] The song charted at #11 in the Netherlands,[2] #43 on the German charts,[3], and #27 on the UK Singles Chart, Santana’s first single to chart in the United Kingdom.[4]”

  45. H. Munster

    Mr. Mod — “Love Is Blue” hit #23 on the British charts in 1968.

  46. H. Munster

    “Maggot Brain” — Funkadelic

  47. Hey, no fair. I thought Maggot Brain got a single release, but could find no evidence or I would definitely have posted it. So…

  48. H. Munster

    As far as I know, it did not get a single release, but I submitted it because it’s a classic rock standard, and those are apparently eligible. I’m willing to share The Championship Belt with you, if it gets to that.

  49. BigSteve

    I know I got a 7″ of Maggot Brain included as a bonus with some Funkadelic album, One Nation Under Groove album, I believe.

  50. I appreciate the teamwork and detail-sharing we’re seeing as we get deep into the gray area on this Last Man Standing! Keep ’em coming.

  51. Yeah, Now that you mention it, I think I have that here somewhere. I think it was a Michael Hampton take. But a hit? I don’t thinks so. I got the impression from the original post that we were looking for instrumental hits from vocal groups, meaning actual chart action. I guess we’re pretty far from that now.

  52. I forget where we first veered off, geo, but it might have been my allowance for my beloved childhood favorite “Glad,” by Traffic, which may not have been a single but is known to most music fans with ears.

  53. H. Munster

    The Amboy Dukes — “Scottish Tea” It was the B side of “You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire” which made it up to #114 on the American charts in 1968.

  54. Okay, bear with me as I climb way out on the limb: Dog on Fire written by Bob Mould and performed by They Might Be Giants. It’s the Daily Show theme song, heard nightly by millions of people for over two decades.


  55. Why the hell not?

  56. H. Munster

    “Cleo’s Mood” by Jr. Walker and the All Stars. Released as a single but did not chart. Does that count?

  57. misterioso

    The Who, Dogs, part 2 (b-side of Pinball Wizard).


  58. H. Munster

    “Zoo Gang” — Wings. British flip side of “Band on the Run”.

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