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    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.

    Harlem Shake” by Baauer peaked at No. 1, reached Top 40 in February 2013
     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.

    “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band
    No. 6, November 1971
    Coffey was a Motown sessionman who contributed wah-wah guitar to such tracks as the Temptations’ “Psychedelic Shack” and Edwin Starr’s “War.”

    “Midnight Cowboy” by Ferrante & Teicher No. 10, November 1969
    Ferrante & Teichner’s easy-listening piano style seemed out of step with the X-rated Cowboy; they hadn’t had a Top 40 hit since “Tonight” from West Side Story. Another song from the Cowboy soundtrack, Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’,” went to No. 6.

    “Love Theme from ‘Romeo & Juliet’” by Henry Mancini & His Orchestra No. 1, May 1969
    Not just his only No. 1 but his only Top 10 hit, and one of the rare Mancini records that he didn’t compose himself. Mancini graduated from the same high school as Mike Ditka.

    “Time Is Tight” by Booker T. & the MG’s No. 6, April 1969
    The B-side, “Johnny, I Love You,” features a rare vocal turn from Booker T.

    “Hawaii Five-O” by the Ventures No. 4, April 1969
    The original series used a capital O in the title; the 2010 reboot used a zero.

    “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited No. 3, December 1968
    Originally called “Am I the Same Girl,” until a producer erased the vocals and reissued it as “Soulful Strut.” In 1992, Swing Out Sister had a modest hit with the resurrected “Am I the Same Girl.”


    “Hang ‘Em High” by Booker T. & The MG’s No. 9, December 1968
    The first song on this list that was the theme from a Clint Eastwood movie, but not the last. The G’s also took an instrumental version of “Mrs. Robinson” into the Top 40 in 1969.

    “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams No. 2, July 1968
    Williams’ day job was as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Mike Post — who has shown up a lot on this list — not only arranged and produced the record but wrote, uncredited, the fluttering-horn bridge.

    “Grazing in the Grass” by Hugh Masekela No. 1, June 1968
    The last song recorded for Masekela’s album Promise of a Future: “The record took us about half an hour to make and it was just a filler,” Masekela said. A cover by the Friends of Distinction, complete with lyrics, went to No. 3 in 1969.

    “The Horse” by Cliff Nobles & CoNo. 2, June 1968
    Originally the B-side to a solo single by Nobles, a vocalist who doesn’t actually appear on the track at all.

    “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” by Hugo Montenegro & His Orchestra No. 2, April 1968
    The wordless grunting in the background is mostly provided by Montenegro himself; the “wah-wah-wah” sound isn’t sung, but played on a harmonica.

    “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra No. 1, January 1968
    The only song to top the American charts that was recorded in France. Mauriat also composed (under the pseudonym “Del Roma”) Little Peggy March’s 1963 hit “I Will Follow Him.”

    “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” by the T-Bones
    No. 3, December 1965
    The tune was taken from an Alka-Seltzer commercial. The same band later recorded, with a good deal of success (and with vocals), as Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.

    “A Taste of Honey” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass No. 7, October 1965
    The Beatles had recorded this song — much more slowly, and with lyrics — on their British debut LP, Please Please Me, two years earlier.

    “The ‘In’ Crowd” by the Ramsey Lewis Trio No. 5, August 1965
    In addition to Ramsey Lewis, the other members of the trio were Redd Holt and Eldee Young, who went on to form Young-Holt Unlimited and record “Soulful Strut,” which you just read about.

    “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” by Sounds Orchestral No. 10, April 1965
    A jazzy piano tune originally written and recorded by Vince Guaraldi, whose soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas would blow up later that same year.


    Top 100 Instrumentals of the 50s and 60s

    While songs without vocals typically comprise this list, some exceptions fall into place: a few words repeated during a song are acceptable, such as “Tequila,” “Wipe Out” or “Topsy II.” A short phrase, such as ‘Just a little bit of soul now’ from Ray Charles’ “One Mint Julep,” does not disqualify a song. An audience …

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    Rewind The Biggest Instrumental Hits of the Past 50 Years

    Until “Harlem Shake” came along in 2013, it had been more than 10 years since there was an instrumental in the Billboard Top 10. The instrumental was once a mainstay of the pop charts. In 1963 alone, there were 10 instrumentals that crashed the Top 10, from the Chantays’ surf -guitar classic “Pipeline” to the easy listening …

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