Old heroes and new talents. Real sound artists and great sound magicians. Instrumental Radio is a melting pot of people who have one thing in common: the love of instrumental music. Experience the hits of yesteryear with Yello, Mike Oldfield, Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Rondo Veneziano, Tangerine Dream, Enigma, Vangelis and many others, complemented by well-known and lesser known titles of today.
The greatest orchestras, bigbands and instrumentalists non-stop on Instrumental Radio, your internet-only radiostation with instrumental music.
Instrumental Pop Songs
“Harlem Shake” by Baauer peaked at No. 1, reached Top 40 in February 2013
Billboard revamped its charting methodology to include streaming data, in part because of the viral success of this song, allowing it to debut at No. 1. Although the song blew up on YouTube, Baauer himself never made a “Harlem Shake” video.
“Auld Lang Syne (The Millenium Mix)” by Kenny G No. 7, January 2000
Talk about a short shelf life. Despite bouncing all the way up into the Top 10, this very much of-the-moment record spent just two weeks on the charts.
“Theme from Mission: Impossible” by Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen
No. 7, June 1996
U2’s rhythm section dumbed it down from the original, changing the time signature from 5/4 to a more pop-friendly 4/4.
“Songbird” by Kenny G No. 4, May 1987
Then-candidate Bill Clinton named G as one of his favorite fellow saxophonists back in 1992, and they have now become golfing buddies.
“Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer No. 1, September 1985
The first TV theme song to top the charts since John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” in 1976. The original Miami Vice album was the best-selling TV soundtrack of all time — until Disney’s High School Musical came along.
“Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer No. 3, April 1985
Although this was Faltermeyer’s only solo hit, he co-wrote Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” and Glenn Frey’s “The Heat Is On.”
“Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis No. 1, February 1982
Vangelis himself wasn’t impressed: “I think of my soundtrack for Mutiny on the Bounty as endlessly more interesting than Chariots of Fire,” he said in 1991.
“Hooked On Classics” by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
No. 10, November 1981
The last dying gasp of 1981’s medley craze, which had been kicked off in May by Stars on 45. This was successful enough to spawn the sequel Hooked on Classics 2 — Can’t Stop the Classics.
“The Theme from ‘Hill Street Blues’” by Mike Post No. 10, October 1981
Post says he watched the pilot episode, went home, and pounded out the theme on his piano in half an hour. Series creator Steven Bochco heard it and said, “Do that. Exactly that.”
“Rise” by Herb Alpert No. 1, August 1979
Alpert went into the studio to record a disco version of his 1962 hit “The Lonely Bull,” and when that sounded predictably awful, the band turned to “Rise.” Alpert hadn’t even had a Top 40 hit since 1968’s “This Guy’s in Love With You,” which also went all the way to No. 1. Sampled by Notorious B.I.G. for “Hypnotize.”
“Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills No. 3, March 1979
Intended for the easy-listening market, Mills’ label mistakenly sent the record to a pop station in Ottawa, which liked it enough to turn it into a Top 40 hit.
“Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione No. 4, March 1978
Chuck’s one regret about the song was that he wished he had written it in a different key, so he wouldn’t have to hit that high D night after night.
“Star Wars (Main Title)” by John Williams & the London Symphony Orchestra No. 10, August 1977
For five weeks in the late summer of 1977, there were two version of the Star Wars theme in the Top 40.
“Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” by Meco No. 1, August 1977
Meco watched Star Wars five times in the first two days the film was out, then went and produced his disco version of the title theme. He went on to play the trombone solo in Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”
“Gonna Fly Now (Theme from ‘Rocky’)” by Bill Conti & His Orchestra No. 1, May 1977
Although Conti composed the music, there are also two writers credited for the lyrics, which consist of “Trying hard now/It’s so hard now/Getting strong now/Won’t be long now/Gonna fly now/Flying high now.” Two writers.
“Nadia’s Theme (‘The Young & the Restless’)” by Barry DeVorzon & Perry Botkin, Jr. No. 8, October 1976
Nadia Comaneci, the 14-year-old Romanian darling of the 1976 Olympics, never actually did a routine to this song; it became identified with her when ABC produced a highlight reel of her gymnastics performances with this as the background music. It had been the theme to the soap opera The Young and the Restless since 1973.
“A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band
No. 1, July 1976
The follow-up was a disco version of “Flight of the Bumblebee.” More recently, Murphy has become the house composer for Seth MacFarlane, writing music for Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad.
“Theme from ‘S.W.A.T.’” by Rhythm Heritage No. 1, January 1976
Written by Barry De Vorzon, the instrumental king of 1976. Adding Sammy Davis Jr. on vocals, Rhythm Heritage also did “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow,” the theme from Baretta, which peaked at No. 20 in spring of ’76.
“The Rockford Files” by Mike Post No. 10, June 1975
Post described his approach to composing TV theme songs as “Let’s make one-minute hit records.” The single version of The Rockford Files was stretched out to 3:06.
“Dynomite (Part 1)” by Tony Camillo’s Bazuka No. 10, June 1975
Inspired by Jimmie “J.J.” Walker’s catchphrase from the sitcom Good Times, which had debuted a year earlier. Camillo was also the producer of such hits as Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
“The Hustle” by Van McCoy No. 1, May 1975
McCoy had written “Baby I’m Yours” for Barbara Lewis in 1965 and put together the R&B duo of Peaches and Herb in 1966 before finally finding a hit of his own. He would be dead of a heart attack within five years.
“Express” by B.T. Express No. 4, February 1975
The last big hit for the legendary Scepter Records, home to such acts as the Shirelles, the Isley Brothers and Dionne Warwick before closing up shop in 1976.
“Pick Up the Pieces” by the Average White Band N0. 1, December 1974
James Brown’s band recorded an answer song, “Pick Up the Pieces One by One,” under the name Above Average Black Band.
“Love’s Theme” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra No. 1, December 1973
Originally intended to be nothing more than a backing group for his female vocal trio Love Unlimited, Barry White’s 40-piece orchestra featured such future pop stalwarts as Kenny G., Lee Ritenour, and Ray Parker Jr.
“Space Race” by Billy Preston No. 4, October 1973
Became the commercial intro music on American Bandstand for the last 15 years of that venerable show’s run.
“Hocus Pocus” by Focus No. 9, April 1973
According to the “Big Country” rule, it’s never a good sign when your first hit plays off your band’s name.
“Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group No. 1, April 1973
Named by Edgar’s drummer, after the band stitched together parts of several different jams to create one massive, lumbering song.
“Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from ‘2001’)” by Deodato
No. 2, February 1973
Inspired by the use of Strauss’s composition in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but otherwise unrelated to that 1968 film.
“TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” by MFSB featuring the Three Degrees No. 1, March 1974
The house band for Gamble & Huff’s Philly soul operations, MFSB also backed up the Stylistics, the Spinners, the O’Jays and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
“The Entertainer” by Marvin Hamlisch No. 3, April 1974
The theme song from The Sting, which was set in the late 1930s — 35 years after “The Entertainer” was written, and 20 years after ragtime had died out.
“Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell No. 2, February 1973
Long before its appearance in Deliverance, this song made its TV debut on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, as performed by the hillbilly jug band the Darlings.
“Rock and Roll (Part 2)” by Gary Glitter No. 7, August 1972
The rarely heard “Rock and Roll (Part 1)” features such lyrics as “Can you still recall in the jukebox hall when the music played?”
“Popcorn” by Hot Butter No. 9, August 1972
This naggingly infectious synth ditty has since been covered by artists ranging from Muse to Aphex Twin to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.
“Outa-Space” by Billy Preston No. 2, May 1972
Originally the B-side to the title track from Preston’s debut album, I Wrote a Simple Song.
“Jungle Fever” by the Chakachas No. 8, February 1972
Possibly the only Belgian funk record to ever hit the charts. The heavy-breathing vocals were done by Kari Kenton, also known as Mrs. Tito Puente.
“Joy” by Apollo 100 No. 6, January 1972
The songwriting was credited to one “J.S. Bach.” The band Jigsaw — best known for their 1975 hit “Sky High” — had put out a similar version of the same composition two years earlier.