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Outstanding Instrumental Songs

Updated on February 9, 2019

These instrumental songs will keep a place in the listeners’ hearts

In the years that I grew up there were a lot of instrumental songs that were major hits. It seems today we don’t hear very many of them anymore. I am glad that these songs entered my life because when I hear them now it takes me back to those magical days of my youth. Here are some instrumental songs that will spark memories for those who listen. Maybe a listener who has heard one of the songs for the first time will include it in their song memory because they are guaranteed to bring a smile.

The Ventures-"Walk Don't Run"

I was a baby when this song was released, but I always enjoyed the surfing era songs by Jan and Dean, and The Beach Boys even though I never surfed or skateboarded. The Ventures released this song in 1960. I love all the different guitar sounds and the drumming. Rolling Stone magazine rated Walk, Don't Run number 82 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. This is a great summer song.

The Edgar Winter Group–"Frankenstein"

This song was released in 1973 by Edgar Winter an albino. Edgar was memorable enough, but his song really stays on the mind. It is jamming with synthesizers, drums, and electric guitar. There was no disco in this tune and it has a blend of rock and jazz. It has sold over a million copies and the song still holds up today.

Booker T and the MG’s-"Green Onions"

This song has soul. It came out in 1962 and it seems to always find a new audience. Great bass and Hammond organ sound. It had to have influenced The Doors.

The Surfaris-"Wipeout"

This surf rock song was released in 1963. It was number two on the Billboard charts and resurfaced in 1966 and in 1987 as a remake by Fat Boys and the Beach Boys. No matter when the song resurfaces it finds gold. It is a song that starts out with a maniacal voice saying “Wipeout” then the drums kick in a rolling fashion with the electric guitar and bass joining in to create a magical sound.

Cliff Nobles- "The Horse"

This song was released in 1968. This song wasn’t even meant to be released it was a b side instrumental of the A side of the record with a song called "Love Is Alright". The song wasn’t supposed to be, but it was at number 2 on the Billboard Charts for 3 weeks. I didn’t remember hearing the song at that time it was released, but when I entered junior high school it was played all the time at the pep rallies in the gym. Bring on the horns because this song has plenty of horns all throughout the song. "The Horse" goes fast and has some good hooks in it. There is the electric guitar strumming along to keep up with those great horn sounds and the drummer is working hard too. A song that will get you pumped up and put a smile on your face.

The Ventures – "Hawaii 5 O"

This was the theme show for Hawaii Five 0 and show that was on from 1968 to 1980. What a catchy tune by the Ventures. When I was a kid I would jump off the porch going ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, to the tune of the song. This song is popular with college marching bands it is a great tune to get pumped up and ready for a game.

Paul Mariat-"Love Is Blue"

This song was released in 1968 by the French conductor Paul Mariat. It spent five weeks on the top of the Billboard Charts. I remember hearing that song all the time on the radio when I was a kid. It is a lovely orchestral song that has a classical feel and it has a whimsical almost sad tune to it because you know the title of the song is "Love Is Blue". The song will always hold fond memories for me.

Billy Preston-"Outta Space"

This song will take you to outer space with its funkiness. It was released in 1972 and it is as funky as a song can get. Billy just lets it go in this song and the listener is along for this wild ride. If you have never heard the song before you must give it a listen.

Hugh Masekela-"Grazing In The Grass"

Who knew a cow bell could be cool? This was a number one hit in 1968. It reminds me of summer when life is supposed to be nice and easy. You could picture just sitting on a blanket out on a lawn somewhere.

Santo and Johnny-"Sleepwalk"

A song released in 1959 and it is haunting. It has the steel guitar gliding throughout the song and it has a dreamy style. The song was used in La Bamba and made the scene of news of Ritchie Valen's death more devastating because of it. The song has so much emotion to it.

The Champs-"Tequila"

This sassy song was released in 1958 and it has a Latin feel to it. It is a great party song and it is song that will make you want to get up and dance.

Apollo 100-"Joy"

Debuted in 1972. An update on the Bach classic it has been in numerous movie soundtracks through the years. I think Bach would have liked the update.


This song came out in 1974 and it was the theme song of the show Soul Train. It is said to be the first disco hit song. The song "TSOP" has an orchestra sound, but don’t let that fool you, because this song has soul. It is done in the Philadelphia soul sound and it was done well.

The instrumental songs listed above are so wonderful. A song doesn’t always have to include lyrics to be memorable. These songs have proved that they are truly timeless.


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