Instrumentals were once a major part of the pop charts but until the Harlem Shake in 2013, almost a decade had passed since the last instrumental took its place on the Top 10 Billboard. Although the musical form has now almost vanished, instrumentals were no doubt very entertaining and amusing to listen to.
Allow us to take you through a rewind of the top instrumental songs of the last five decades:
“Harlem Shake” by Baauer, 2013 topped the charts at number one. Although the song did not get an official video by Baauer, it went viral on YouTube.
“Auld Land Syne (The Millennium Mix)” by Kenny G, 2000 ranked 7th on the charts and was up for a short while of just 2 weeks.
“Theme from Mission Impossible” by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, 1996 ranked 7. The time signature of the piece was changed from the original 5/4 to a more pop-style 4/4.
“Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer, 1985 was the first TV theme song to get ranked as number 1 after the 1976 “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian. Before Disney’s High School Musical, Miami Vice had been the best selling soundtrack from TV.
“Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis, 1982 took first place on the charts. However, Vangelis himself considered his soundtrack for Mutiny of the Bounty to be more impressive than the Chariots of Fire.
“The Theme from Hill Street Blues” by Mike Post, 1981 ranked at number 10. Post claims to have created the theme in half an hour after watching the pilot episode and Steven Bocho, the series creator, approved it right away.
“Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills, 1979 was positioned at number 3. Funnily, the soundtrack was meant for the easy-listening market but it mistakenly landed with a pop station in Ottawa that was immediately impressed by the Mill’s music.
“Star Wars (Main Title)” by John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra, 1977 took its place at the 10th position. Two versions of the star wars theme stayed in the top 40 for five weeks that summer!
“Star Wars Theme/ Cantina Band” by Meco, 1977 topped the charts that August. Meco produced the disco version of the theme after watching the movie five times in two days after its release!
“Gonna Fly Now” (Rocky’s theme) by Bill Conti and His Orchestra, 1977 took first place in the May of 1977. Conti did indeed compose the music but the lyrics were written by two writers.
“A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band, 1976 ranked first in July. Murphy is now known to write music for shows like Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad.
”Dynomite (Part 1)” by Tony Camillo Bazuka, 1975 was placed at number 10 in June of that year and was inspired by the catchphrase of Jimmie J.J. Walker from Good Times.
“Express” by B.T. Express, 1975 ranked number 4th and was the last big hit for the Sceptor Records before it shut down the following year.
“Love’s Theme” by Love Unlimited Orchestra, 1973 was number 1 on the charts that December. Future pop-musicians like Kenny G. and Ray Parker Jr. were featured in the 40-piece orchestra which was originally meant to just support the girl-trio, Love Unlimited.
“Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band, 1971 ranked number 6th that November. Coffey made guitar contributions to tracks like Temptations’ “Psychedelic Shack” and Edwin Starr’s “War”.
“Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, 1969 ranked number one in May of that year. It was the only number 1 and top 10 hit of Mancini, who graduated from the same high school as the famous American football player, Mike Ditka.
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