Saturday, November 7, 2015

Top 100 American Instrumentals

1. Introduction
The 100 Best Instrumentals by Americans of the Elecrofied Era*.  These great instrumentals are not restricted by genre.  Big Band, Jazz, Rock, Country, Disco and so on are all here.  This list is based on recordings by American artists, not when the song was composed or who composed it. The word "electrofied" is coined to point out the artists, record producers, sound engineers and inventors did much more than just add and use electricity in the music industry. They unleashed a whole new creative spirit, an "Oh Wow" effect. Electrified cannot be used to define the new studio production capabilities or the diverse means of how music is disseminated. The dissemination of popular music has changed and continues to expand since the beginning of the Electrofied Era.  The advent of television, (Black and white TV was invented before 1940 and color TV in 1940, but did not find general usage until after World War II) the satellite, and the Internet changed how music is created and disseminated and how people receive and use popular music.  New art forms sprung out of the technology bringing us Rock'n' Roll, modern Soul, Disco, and the Music Video to name just a few. Technology changed where, how,and when we use music in our daily lives.  It has also impacted how, where, and size of space we store our music.  The transistor radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM recordings, CD's, television, computers, the Internet, the Walkman, mp3 players and i-pods are just some of the changes impacting the music industry.

2. Site Contents
Scroll down to reach each of the following on this site.
       1. Introductiion
       2. Site Contents
       3. Electrofied Era Definition
       4. Top 100 Instrumentals
           Top 25 Instrumentals with videos and info
       5. About The List
       6. Honorable Mention

3. Electrofied Era Definition
 *The "Electrofied Era" is the result of the profound impact of electricity and electronics on the writing, creation, performance, recording, dissemination, and storage of music. It transcends all  genres by encompassing them.  The Eectrofied Era spans the years 1940 to the present.  

45 label of In The Mood by Ernie Fields

4. Top 100 Instrumentals

100. One Mint Julep by Ray Charles
           For more on Ray Charles Click
           1. Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
           2. 100 Most Important American Songs
           3. Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians
 99. Lets Go by The Routers
 98. Yakety Sax by Boots Randolph
 97. In The Mood by Ernie Fields
45 of Mission Impossible by
Lalo Schifrin
 96. Theme From A Summer Place by The Ventures
           For more on The Ventures Click
            100 Most Important American Songs
            100 American Pop Standards
 95. Baby Elephant Walk By Henry Mancini
 94. Mission Impossible by Lalo Schifrin
        For more on this artist and song CLICK
        100 American Pop Standards 
 93. Route 66 Theme by Nelson Riddle
 92. Bumble Boogie by B. Bumble & The Stingers   Video - Bumble Boogie
 91. Take Five by Dave Brubeck
 90. Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini
45 label of Rumble by Link Wray
 89. Wade In The Water by Ramsey Lewis
 88. Reveille Rock by Johnny And The Hurricanes
 87. Soul Twist by King Curtis & The Nobile Knights
 86. Shangri - La by Robert Maxwell
 85. Rumble by Link Wray & His Ray Men
        For more on this song Click 
        100 Most Important American Songs
 84. Silhouette by Kenny G.
 83. Beatnik Fly by Johnny And The Hurricane
 82. Theme From Love Story by Henry Mancini
 81  Peter Gunn by Duane Eddy
 80. A Swingin' Safari by Billy Vaughn
 79. Perfidia by the Ventures
 78. Fly Me To The Moon - Bosa Nova by Joe Harnell And His Orchestra
 77. Zorba The Greek by Herb Alpert
 76. Moon River by Henry Mancini
 75. Dance With the Guitar Man by Duane Eddy
 74. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by Cannonball Adderley
 73. Don't Be Cruel by Bill Black
 72. Theme From The Apartment by Ferrante & Teicher
 71. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue by the Ventures
          For more on The Ventures Click
          100 Most Important American songs
 70. Hang On Sloopy by Ramsey Lewis
 69  Near You by Roger Williams
 68. Cast Your Fate To the Wind by Sounds Orchestral
 67. Rinky Dink by Dave "Baby" Cortez
 66. Midnight Cowboy by Ferrante & Teicher
 65. Forty Miles Of Bad Road by Duane Eddy
 64. Hang 'Em High by Booker T. & The MG's
 63. Raunchy by Billy Vaughn
 62. White Silver Sands by Bill Black
 61. Walk Don't Run 64 by The Ventures     Video - Walk Don't Run 64
          For more on The Ventures Click
           100 Most Important American Songs  Scroll down to song #6 also see index at the end of blog
 60. Tonight by Ferrante & Teicher
 59. San Antonio Rose by Floyd Cramer
 58. Nadia's Theme (Theme from the Young And The Restless) by Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin Jr
 57. Let There Be Drums by Sandy Nelson
45 label of Peter Gunn by Ray Anthony
 56. Asia Minor by Kokomo
 55. Wild Weekend by the Rebels
 54. The Peter Gunn Theme by Ray Anthony
 53. A Taste Of Honey by Herb Alpert
 52. Born Free by Roger Williams
 51. Rebel Rouser by Duane Eddy
 50. The Lonely Bull By Herb Alpert
 49. Time Is Tight by Booker T. & The MG's
 48. Shifting Whispering Sands by Billy Vaughn
 47. Guitar Boogie Shuffle by The Virtues
 46. The In Crowd by Ramsey Lewis
 45. Memphis by Lonnie Mack 
 44. Red River Rock by Johnny And The Hurricanes
 43. Sail Along Silvery Moon by Billy Vaughn
 42. Because They're Young by Duane Eddy
 41. Pipeline by The Chantays
 40. Hawaii Five-O by The Ventures     Video - Hawaii Five-O
          For more on The Ventures Click
           100 Most Important American Songs Scrfoll sown to song #6 and also see the index of blog.
 39. Songbird by Kenny G.    Video - Songbird
 38. Teen Beat by Sandy Nelson
 37. Soulful Strut by Young Holt Unlimited
 36. No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach Is In) by the T-Bones     
 35. Wheels by the String-A-Longs
 34. Dragnet by Ray Anthony     Video - Dragnet
 33. Last Night by The Mar-Keys
 32. Out Of Limits by The Marketts
 31. Green Onions by Booker T & The MG's
 30. Frankenstein by Edgar Winter
         For more on this song, video and artist Click
         1. Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
         2. Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians
 29. Raunchy by Bill Justice
 28. Honky Tonk by Bill Doggett
 27. Classical Gas by Mason Williams  VIDEO - Classical Gas  
 26. The Horse by Cliff Nobles & Company

Top 25 Instrumentals
 25. So Rare by Jimmy Dorsey
Video - So Rare
        Doo Wah - That's right, the Doo Wop sound is found in this Big Band classic.  The Chorus does essentially Doo Wop backing vocals on this song.  The Alto Sax comes very close to having that early Rock 'n' Roll sound.  In the end, though, this was a real Big Band hit by one of the great Big Bands.  Clearly, however, the arrangement and recording of the song was heavily influenced by the early years of the Rock Era.

 24. Last Date by Floyd Cramer
Video - Last Date
        This song emerged from Country Music, but Cramer was one of the most sought after session men in Nashville.  He worked with the greatest names in music, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, The Everly Brothers and Jim Reeves. He played piano on Elvis Presley's classic hit "Heartbreak Hotel". He is in the Country Music Hall Of Fame and The Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame.

 23. The Hustle by Van McCoy
Video - The Hustle
        Some have called it the first "Disco" song, but that honor rests with "Loves Theme" by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra. This song, however, was instrumental (pun intended) in the birth of "Disco/Electronic Music".

 22. Canadian Sunset by Hugo Winterhalter
Video - Canadian Sunset
        As Rock 'n' Roll was conquering the airways this song threw a roadblock in the path of the Juggernaut. It has been covered by a multitude of artists, Santo & Johnny, Floyd Cramer, Andy Williams, Sounds Orchestral, Lawrence Welk and Earl Klugh to name just a few.  

 21. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly by Hugo Montengro, His Orchestra And Chorus
Video - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
        This is from the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western of the same name. He also did music for another Eastwood film, "For A Few dollars More".

 20. Exodus by Ferrante And & Teicher
Video - Theme from Exodus
        Their cover of the "Theme from Exodus" was a monster hit. It does not seem to be a likely hit, but the dynamic power of the song did have an appeal to enough of the early Rock 'n' Rollers to make it a hit. The twin pianos made for a very rich and powerful sound. The most interesting cover of the song may very well be a vocal version by Pat Boone who wrote the lyrics to the song.

 19.  Walk Don't Run By The Ventures

The Ventures
For more about this photo visit
     This song is acclaimed by many as the first Surf Rock song. It launched the career of the most successful instrumental Rock band in the world. The Ventures first drummer was George Babbitt who would latter become a four star general in the United States Air Force. The Ventures are better known outside of the United States. Their popularity in Japan matches or surpasses that of the Beatles and Elvis Presley. There are dozens of very successful Tribute bands performing in Japan. The Ventures have a large following in Europe, all over Asia, and in Latin America. Their Global record sales exceed 100 million, making them one of the most successful recording acts of all time. They are among the elite American performers that are true Global Artists. For more on this song and The Ventures -- Click
100 Most Important American Songs see song #6
Bob Berryhill co-composer
of "Wipe Out" and guitaris
with the Surfaris
performing in Las Vegas

 18. Wipe Out by the Surfaris
Video - Wipe Out (Long silent intro) 
   It was a monster "Surf Rock" hit that helped to establish the genre. It has been covered by a multitude of artists.  One of the best covers is by The Ventures off their "Ventures On Stage" recorded in Japan.

 17. A Fifth Of Beethoven by Walter Murphy
Video - A Fifth Of Beethoven
        This song is based on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, but is pure Disco.  It is from the "Saturday Night Fever" movie soundtrack.

 16. Delicado by Percy Faith
Audio - Delicado
        This Canadian/American had several monster hits.  His success bridged the Pop Standard Era and the Rock Era.  This was recorded before the Rock Era in the early fifties.

 15. Rhapsody In Blue by Leonard Bernstein
Video - Rhapsody In Blue (Pt. I)   Video - Rhapsody In Blue (Pt II)
        This American masterpiece was pinned long before the Electrofied Era, but this recording was done well into the era.  Dozens of orchestras and recording artist have recorded or performed the song. It has been for years the theme for United Airlines and other businesses have used it in marketing.  Bernstein's version is one of the very best. renditions of the song. Some have likened the song to a musical portrait of New York City, but that is too parochial.  It is a mirror image of the American spirit. Is it modern classical music or is it Jazz?. Who knows, who cares, the debate still rages over the question.  What it certainly is, is just great music.

 14. Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet by Henry Mancini
Video - Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet
        He was famous for writing for both the large and small screen.  He also took other composers music and arranged it to meet the needs for television and motion pictures.  This was just such a song.  He had other hits such as "Love Story" and "Moon River" both from films.

 13. The Stripper  by David Rose
Video - The Stripper
        This song is very closely associated with strip clubs and strippers.  When it was first written it went untitled.  While it was not written for any Television or motion picture it has been used in numerous productions.  David Rose was married several times and two of his wife's were famous motion picture stars, Martha Raye and Judy Garland.

 12. The Happy Organ by Dave 'Baby' Cortez
Video - The Happy Organ
        This song helped to popularize the organ as an instrument in Rock 'n' Roll.

 11. Loves Theme by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra
Video - Loves Theme
        This is one of the most important songs of the Electrofied Era.  It is the first big Disco hit song, as such it is the grandfather of Electronic Dance Music of today. There is much less difference between this Disco song and contemporary Electronic Music and the music of Elvis Presley and that of contemporary Rockers. For more on this song and Barry White -- Click
100 Most Important American Songs

 10. String Of Pearls by Glenn Miller
Video - String Of Pearls
        Glenn Miller Band was one of the most popular bands of the Big Band Era.  During the war years (World War II) his music reached its peak.  This was one of the most popular songs of the time.

   9. Rise by Herb Alpert
Video - Rise
        This tune was a blend of Jazz, Dance (Disco) and Rock.  It was one of the very biggest hits for Alpert who was the "A" in A & M Records.  He was the true renaissance man in the music business. He just did it all.

   8. Calcutta by Lawrence Welk
Video - Calcutta by Lawrence Welk
        This was Welk's biggest hit and it came during the Rock Era.  He had found success in television broadcasting Polka and Big Band music.  In some respects he was seen as a hold over from the Big Band Era, but even the Rock 'n' Roll youth found this song acceptable. His show still airs in reruns which appeals to some of those early Rock 'n' Rollers.

   7. Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny
Video - Sleep Walk
        The steel guitar never sounded so good as did on this song. It has been used in numerous movies and television shows.  Others have covered it, but never have mastered it the way these guys did it. The best cover is by the Ventures with guest Jeff Baxter on Steel Guitar  Video - The Ventures - Sleep Walk The Great Les Paul (inventor of the Electric Guitar) does a great version Video - Les Paul - Sleep Walk

   6. Autumn Leaves by Roger Williams
Audio - Autumn Leaves
        The rolling keys of the piano tells the full story of Autumn.  Roger Williams played a painting of the melancholy fall season.  He would have other hits but none to match this one. He was one of a handful of artists that manged to cross from the traditional Pop Standard Era to the Rock Era with great success.

   5. Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle
Video - Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle
        This Portuguese song was arranged and performed by Nelson and his orchestra. It was an important hit for Nelson Riddle. He had many other hits, but is perhaps best remembered by the Rock 'n' Rollers of the Rock Era for his work on Linda Ronstadt's Pop Standards albums.

   4. Tequila by The Champs
Video - Pee Wee Herman does the Tequila by the Champs
        One of the early Latin influenced Rock songs of the Rock Era.  It along with La Bamba by Ritchie Valens opened the door for more Latin music integration into Rock 'n' Roll.  The song experienced a revival in the mid 1980's due to the motion picture, "Pee-wee's Big Adventure", where the lead character did a unique dance to the song. This led to a campy cult following and Mobile DJ's played it at parties and wedding receptions for years to come as an activity event.

   3. Tuxedo Junction by Glenn Miller*
Video - "Tuxedo Junction"
        The Electrofied Era began as the Glenn Miller Band was reaching its zenith. During the war years (World War II) the Miller band was synonymous with the American spirit. His music and other Big Bands were a morale bull-work for the soldiers and the American people on the home front. This song along with others by Miller exuded energy and movement.  They helped to provide hope in the heart of Americans during the darkest days of the war.

   2. Theme From A Summer Place by Percy Faith 
Video - Theme from "A Summer Place"
        This is a cover of the original from the movie of the same name. It has been recorded by many artists and one of those versions by The Ventures,( The Ventures - Theme from "A Summer Place" ) which is heavily electric guitar based but remains true to the original, is also on this list. This was a hit during the Rock Era whereas the other songs on this list by Percy Faith were before the Rock Era.
Glenn Miller in his WW II

   1. In The Mood by Glenn Miller*
Video - In The Mood
       This was the first great hit of the Electrofied Era and remains the top instrumental of the era. The tune has witnessed continued popularity by being recorded by a variety of artists.  Ernie Fields version is also on the list. ( Ernie Fields "In The Mood" ) Like several other songs on this list it is one of the most important songs of the Electrofied Era. It has left a lasting impression on the dance music of the 20th. century. Even though it is clearly a Big Band song it foreshadowed the coming of Rock 'n' Roll. Glenn Miller more than most of the Big Bands is continuing to find a following. For more on this song -- Click
100 Most Important American Songs
Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans  For more on this song scroll down to Honorable Mention and onto Joesph Manone.

*Songs  recorded in 1939 but found their greatest popularity in 1940 and the war years

     Songs before the Rock Era dominate the top 20 because instrumentals were much more a part of the music scene from 1940 to 1955, with the latter year being the beginning of the Rock Era. Early Electronic Music (Disco) also put several songs on the list. By far the most dominate are theme songs or songs from the score of television and motion pictures. Big Bands have a dominate roll in the Top Ten, or should it be said Glenn Miller has a dominate roll with three songs in the Top Ten including the number one song. The instrumental success of Big Bands had a huge impact on early Rock helping artists such as Duane Eddy, The Ventures, Johnny and the Hurricanes and Sandy Nelson find an open reception to their music. Surf Music from the Rock Era placed more than a few songs on the list.  "Wipe Out", Walk Don't Run", "Pipeline",  and "Out Of Limits" all speak to the influence of this sub-genre. Jazz artist and the Jazz genre also placed a number of songs on the list. From "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck to "Rhapsody In Blue" by Leonard Bernstein and in between are artists such as Booker T. & the MG's, Cannonball Adderley, and Ramsey Lewis. There is a strong Jazz footprint because that genre is more open to the instrumental. Several songs, such as "Hawaii Five-O", and "The Horse" have found a home with pep bands and marching bands.  Classical Music has also left it s mark here with "Bumble Boogie" (Flight of the Bumble Bee), Fifth of Beethoven (Beethoven's Fifth Symphony) and "Rhapsody In Blue".  The last song can be debated as to whether it qualifies as Classical Music, but there is no debating the profound influence of Classical Music on the work.

Many great foreign artists are not on the list.  This is a list of United States artists.  There is no disrespect meant in regards to the great international stars that have left their mark in the hearts of the American People.  Hugh Masekela (South Africa), The Tornadoes and Acker Bilk (U.K.), Perez Prado (Cuba/Mexico), Bert Kampfert (Germany), Yello (Switzerland) and Bond (Australia/U.K.) plus others are not here, and not for lack of musical greatness. 

6. Honorable Mention
Songs that did not make the top 100 but are worthy of note

Love Potion #9 by Herb Alpert
Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller (Predated the Electrofied Era)
Mrs' Robinson by Chet Atkins
Love Is A Many Spendored Thing by David Rose
Dixie by Duane Eddy
Bolero by Ferrante & Teicher
Teen Beat 65 by Sandy Nelson
Mexican Hat Rock by the Applejacks
Caravan by the Brian Setzer Orchestra