Friday, March 23, 2007

Top 10 Classic Rock Instrumentals


1) Black Mountain Side - Led Zeppelin

This is the instrumental version of a traditional folk song titled Blackwater Side. It appeared on the group's self-titled first album, and showcases guitarist Jimmy Page's considerable skills. The arrangement is reminiscent of "White Summer" which Page wrote when he was in the Yardbirds. Zep often combined the two in their live performances.

2) Jessica - Allman Brothers

More so than most Classic Rock bands, the Allmans weren't shy about working instrumental tracks into their albums and live shows, with titles usually containing a woman's name (Little Martha being another example.) Jessica, from the group's Brothers and Sisters album captures the slide guitar, piano and percussion combination that defined their sound.

3) Frankenstein - Edgar Winter Group

Their 1973 album They Only Come Out At Night features one of their best known vocal hits, Free Ride. It also contains something of a rarity: an instrumental that was a commercial success. Frankenstein showcases Winters on keyboards, Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose on guitars, Dan Hartman's bass guitar and Chuck Ruff's amazing percussion. You'll have to listen several times to catch everything that's going on in this classic.

4) Steamer Lane Breakdown - Doobie Brothers

The Doobies were a hybrid of Southern Rock and Heavy Metal, but it is their Southern side that dominates here. This cut is on 1978's Minute By Minute and features the use of fiddle, banjo, and slide guitar elements that were characteristic of Southern Rock. I defy you to listen to it without tapping your feet, hands, fingers, or all of the above

5) Anji - Paul Simon

As a kid trying to learn to finger pick an acoustic guitar, I heard this cut and decided that if I could ever play it, I could consider myself hot stuff. I never came close. Anji was written and recorded by guitarist Davey Graham in 1963, then recorded by Bert Jansch in 1965. Simon & Garfunkel's second album, 1966's Sounds Of Silence, contained Simon's flawless arrangement of this haunting, multi-layered melody. It is a testament to his virtuosity.

6) Toad - Cream

Ginger Baker is why kids daydream about how cool it would be to play drums. Then they discover the intense physical and musical demands that are required and opt for something easier, like bench pressing 500 pounds. Baker's solo on this live version of Toad leaves no doubt as to his ranking as one of rock's greatest drummers.

7) Wring That Neck - Deep Purple

Also known as "Hard Road," this cut first appeared on the band's Book of Taliesyn album, and was a fixture in their early live performances. It was composed by, and features, all of the band's members.

8) Soul Sacrifice - Santana

Carlos Santana electrified the crowd at Woodstock with his performance, which featured this song from the band's first album, 1969's Santana. The CD includes both the studio and Woodstock performance versions.

9) Outa Space - Billy Preston

He collaborated with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton, to name a few. This track shows why he has long been a highly sought after keyboard virtuoso.

10) Glad - Traffic

The opening track on their 1970 John Barleycorn Must Die album is cited by many Traffic fans as their favorite song of the group's fairly extensive catalog.


Anonymous said...

peaches en regalia?

no phish?

WeightStaff said...

Credit for this list goes to I'm not familiar with all of these tracks, but I'll definitely be checking them out.

Peaches is a great song, but I don't think its top 10 material.


WeightStaff said...

uh...what about "Any Colour You Like" and/or "On The Run" from Pink Floyd's Dark Side???

D.S., Weightstaff

Anonymous said...

I would have put bran-y-aur, but what do I know.


Erik said...

Although it's not an "instrumental" per se, the guitar solo from Guns N' Roses November Rain should be up there. I mean, shit, the song is long enough that the solo could be it's own track.