Any band can record a catchy tune with lyrics and an unforgettable hook, but it’s a true testament for a band to create a memorable song that’s just completely instrumental.

There are an infinite amount of instrumentals recorded over the years, it’s hard to choose just ten, but we’ve picked some of our favorite instrumentals that are so unforgettable, you’ll be humming these melodies all day long!

1. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Booker T & The MGs[/lastfm] – “Green Onions” (1962): According to guitarist Steve Cooper, it was Green Badger’s cat named Green Onions, whose way of walking inspired that unforgettable organ riff.

2. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Surfaris[/lastfm] — “Wipeout” (1963): A staple surfing jam, it’s impossible not to feel the beach breeze through your hair as you hang ten on the crashing waves.

3. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mason Williams [/lastfm]– “Classical Gas” (1968): This song gained huge popularity after Williams debuted it on The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour, where he worked as the head writer at the time. Funny and talented, was there anything Mason couldn’t do?

4. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Ventures[/lastfm] — “Hawaii Five-O” (1969): The Ventures’ surf-pop hit became synonymous with the classic TV show of the same name.

5. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Santana[/lastfm] — “Oye Como Va” (1970): Okay, okay, technically there is still some singing on this mostly instrumental hit, but only to reminded us to check out his incredible rhythm and enjoy!

6. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Percy Faith[/lastfm] — “Theme From A Summer Place” (1959): Written for the film of the same name, this light, airy instrumental is equally as popular as film. So popular in fact, it spent nine consecutive weeks at No. 1, which still remains as the longest run on top of the charts by an instrumental.

7. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass[/lastfm] — “Tijuana Taxi” (1965): It’s just impossible not to hum and dance along to this song from the jazz icon!

8. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Santo & Johnny[/lastfm] — “Sleepwalk” (1959): Brothers Santo and Johnny hit chart topping success with this dreamy steel-guitar instrumental that really sets the lovers’ mood.

9. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Edgar Winter Group[/lastfm] — “Frankenstein” (1973): One of the most memorable classic rock jams ever recorded, and Edgar Winter himself first handedly created the new movement of strapping a keyboard around his neck during live performances.

10. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Champs[/lastfm] — “Tequila” (1958): A must have tune to play while out with friends at a bar and a great song to do the Pee-Wee Herman dance to while waiting to shout the single line, “Tequila!”

Vote on your favorite below!

Comments (11)
  1. Bobby L. in Austin says:

    How about “Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny and “A Summer Place” by Percy Faith.

  2. Mike Tessier says:


  3. Bernie says:

    What about Barry White’s Love’s Theme? It’s awesome as well.

  4. phil wilms says:

    jimmy dorsey’s instramental (so rare 1959???) and elvis rock song of the 20th century would have to be hound dog 1956
    hope you guys get this lisa your just to cool
    please play so rare at 730 am tommarow thanks
    phil w.
    fontana,ca 92335

  5. dansolo says:

    oye como va doesn’t even come close to being an instrumental.

  6. Warren Mells says:

    Y’all forgot The Lonely Bull and Telstar…remember them?

  7. KG says:

    A few omissions…
    Henry Mancini – Pink Panther
    Booker T & MGs – Time is Tight
    (?) – Theme from Peter Gun

  8. Warren Mells says:

    Don’t forget Mr. Lucky!

  9. DR David N Penton says:

    I agree with # 1- 4 after that I dont know. Dr. David N Penton Thursday 08-04-2011 USA Central Time Zone 9: 25 AM

  10. Lloyid says:

    What about Love is Blue? There was also a piano song with jungle sounds. I’ve hunted for it for since Napster was legal but could never find it.

  11. Susan/Los Alamitos says:

    Samba Pa Ti Santana Excellent!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From K-EARTH 101

K-EARTH Surf Pig
28 Free Things To Do in L.A.
Totally 80s Friday Night

Listen Live