Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

Now in our 29th year (1986-2015) — Over 2,900 Questions Answered
Most recent column here — 17 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 27, 2015

DEAR JERRY: As a collector of instrumental hits, one of your columns last year really hit home with me.

A California reader requested a list of hit songs of the 1950s and '60s, released as both an instrumental and a vocal.

With limited space, you managed to list dozens of examples. But what would it take for you to reveal the rest?
—Woody Truppner, Abilene, Texas

DEAR WOODY: Nothing more than a massive amount of research.

It also required a huge assist from our friend Bill Oakey, who is also fascinated by this topic. Thank you Brother Bill!

Obviously we can't include every song, but we will try to include as many of those we find where one or both versions charted.

Instrumentals are always listed first and are alphabetical by title, followed by the artist. If that year differs from the vocal, it will be before the hyphen, but when both have the same year it appears once at the end of the line.

When we have a title after the hyphen, preceding the vocal release, it means that title is not identical to that of the instrumental, however slight the variance may be. Next is the vocal credit and year, for either the vocal or both.

Other versions exist for nearly all of these songs, but we are listing only one in each category. As for which ones, it simply boils down to those that seem most appropriate.

Of course, both the instrumental and the vocal must have come out in the 1950s or '60s.

Opinions will vary as to when a commonly regarded instrumental has too much singing to qualify as an instrumental, but for this project, we will allow occasional words, grunts, shrieks, or sound effects, but not full verses. Ergo, "Topsy," "Zambezi," "Watermelon Man," "Tequila," and "Quiet Village" are all okay, but "So Rare" (Tommy Dorsey) and "Tonight" (Ferrante & Teicher) have way too much singing. You get the idea.

We'll start with A-H, and over the next two weeks compile I-R and S-Z. Then we will make all three columns complete from A to Z:


"Al Di La": Al Hirt - Emilio Pericoli (1962)
"Alabama Jubilee": Ferko String Band (1955) - Red Foley (1951)
"Alfie": Eivets Rednow (Stevie Wonder) (1968) - Cher (1966)
"All My Loving": Hollyridge Strings - Beatles (1964)
"Alley Cat": Bent Fabric (1962) - Peggy Lee (1963)
"Am I the Same Girl": see "Soulful Strut"
"Amor": Roger Williams (1962) - Ben E. King (1961)
"Andy Griffith Theme": Earle Hagen and His Orchestra - "The Fishin' Hole" Andy Griffith (1961)
"Anna": Jorgen Ingmann (1961) - "Anna (El N. Zumbon)" Silvana Mangano (1953)
"Apache": Jorgen Ingmann - Sonny James (1961)
"April in Portugal": Les Baxter - Vic Damone (1953)
"Armen's Theme": David Seville and His Orchestra (1956) - "Yesterday and You (Armen's Theme)" Bobby Vee (1963)
"Around the World": Mantovani and His Orchestra - Bing Crosby (1957)
"Autumn Leaves": Roger Williams - Mitch Miller (1955)
"Baby Elephant Walk": Lawrence Welk - Pat Boone (1962)
"Baby the Rain Must Fall": Elmer Bernstein - Glenn Yarbrough (1965)
"Ballad of Paladin": Duane Eddy (1962) - Johnny Western (1958)
"Bandit (O'Cangaceiro)": Eddie Barclay and His Orch. (1955) - "Bandit (O Cangaceiro)" Domenico Modugno (1959)
"Beautiful Obsession": Sir Chauncey [Ernie Freeman] and His Exciting Strings (1960) - Johnny Walsh with Sir Chauncey and His Orchestra (1961)
"Because They're Young": Duane Eddy and the Rebels - James Darren (1960)
"Bewitched": Bill Snyder and His Orchestra - Doris Day and the Mellomen (1950)
"Beyond the Sea (La Mer)": Roger Williams (1956) - "Beyond the Sea" Bobby Darin (1960)
"Bilbao Song": Percy Faith and His Orchestra - Andy Williams (1961)
"Blowin' in the Wind": Stan Getz (1964) - Peter, Paul & Mary (1963)
"Blue Hawaii": Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra (1959) - Elvis Presley (1961)
"Blue Moon": Ventures - Marcels (1961)
"Blue Star": see "Medic"
"Blue Tango": Leroy Anderson "Pops" Concert Orchestra (1950) - Gisele MacKenzie (1958)
"Bonanza": Al Caiola and His Orchestra (1961) - Johnny Cash (1962)
"Born Free": Roger Williams - Matt Monro (1966)
"Calcutta": Lawrence Welk - Four Preps (1961)
"Canadian Sunset": Hugo Winterhalter with Eddy Heywood - Andy Williams (1956)
"Can't Buy Me Love": Hollyridge Strings - Beatles (1964)
"Caravan": Ralph Marterie and His "Down Beat" Orchestra (1953) - Nat King Cole and His Trio (1957)
"Casanova (Your Playing Days Are Over)" Wayne Bennett - Ruby Andrews (1967)
"Casino Royale": Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass - Michael Redway (1967)
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind": Vince Guaraldi Trio (1963) - Shelby Flint (1966)
"Charade (Main Title)": Henry Mancini and His Orchestra - "Charade (Vocal)" Henry Mancini with His Orchestra and Chorus (1963)
"Chariot": - Franck Pourcel (1961) - "I Will Follow Him" Little Peggy March with Sammy Lowe and Orchestra (1963)
"Charmaine": Mantovani (1951) - Vaughn Monroe (1952)
"Chattanooga Choo Choo": Ernie Fields (1960) - Harpers Bizarre (1967)
"Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White": Perez Prado - Alan Dale (1955)
"Chinatown My Chinatown": Bobby Maxwell and His Swinging Harps (1952) - Al Jolson (1950)
"Chop Sticks": Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra (1959) - "The Chop Stick Rock" Four Esquires (1960)
"Ciao, Ciao Bambina": Jacky Noguez and His Orchestra - "Ciao Ciao Bambina (Piove) (Chiow Chiow Bambeena)" Domenico Modugno (1959)
"Classical Gas": Mason Williams (1968) - "Classical Gas" (with "Scarborough Fair" lyrics): Alan Copeland Singers (1969)
"Comancheros": Claude King - Hollyridge Strings (1961)
"Come September": see "Theme from Come September"
"Comin' Home Baby": Herbie Mann - Mel Torme (1962)
"Crystal Blue Persuasion": Billy Mitchell Group - Tommy James and the Shondells (1969)
"Danke Schoen": Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra - Wayne Newton (1963)
"Day the Rains Came" - Raymond Lefevre and His Orchestra - Jane Morgan (1958)
"Days of Wine and Roses" - Henry Mancini and His Orchestra - Henry Mancini with His Orch. and Chorus (1962)
"Delilah Jones": see Themes from The Man with the Golden Arm
"Delicado": Percy Faith and His Orch. (with harpsichordist Stan Freeman) - Dinah Shore (1952)
"Desafinado": Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd - Pat Thomas (1962)
"Detour": Duane Eddy and the Rebels (1959) - Patti Page (1951)
"Diamond Head": see "Theme from Diamond Head"
"Dixie": see "Theme from Dixie"
"Don't Be Cruel": Bill Black's Combo (1960) - Elvis Presley (1956)
"Down Yonder": Del Wood - Champ Butler (1951)
"Ebb Tide": Frank Chacksfield and His Orchestra - Vic Damone (1953)
"Enchanted Sea": Islanders (1959) - Browns (1960)
"Eternally": see "Terry's Theme from Limelight"
"Evening Rain" (Piano Solo): Earl Grant - Earl Grant (Vocal) (1959)
"Every Beat of My Heart": James Brown and the Famous Flames (1963) - Pips (Featuring Gladys Knight) (1961)
"Exodus": Ferrante and Teicher - "The Exodus Song" Pat Boone (1961)
"Faithful Hussar": Ted Heath and His Music (1956) - "The Faithful Hussar (Don't Cry My Love)" Vera Lynn (1957)
"Flamingo": Earl Bostic (1951) - "Flamingo L'Amore": Gaylords (1958)
"Fly Me to the Moon": Joe Harnell and His Orchestra (1962) - Frank Sinatra with Count Basie (1964)
"Forever": Floyd Cramer (1974) - Little Dippers (Anita Kerr Singers with Floyd Cramer) (1960)
"Games People Play": King Curtis - Joe South (1969)
"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky": Ramrods - "Ghost Riders in the Sky" Johnny Seay (1961)
"Gidget Goes Hawaiian": Duane Eddy - James Darren (1961)
"Goldfinger": Billy Strange - Shirley Bassey (1964)
"Goofus": Les Paul - Phil Harris (1950)
"Grazing in the Grass": Hugh Masekela (1968) - Friends of Distinction
"Green Leaves of Summer": Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen (1962) - Brothers Four (1960)
"Green Onions": Booker T. and the M.G.s - "Help Me" Sonny Boy Williamson (1963)
"Groovin'": Booker T. and the M.G.s - Young Rascals (1967)
"Guaglione": Perez Prado and His Orchestra (1958) - "The Man Who Plays the Mandolino (Guaglione)" Dean Martin (1957)
"Guns of Navarone": Joe Reisman Orch. & Chorus - Mitch Miller and the Gang (1961)
"Hang on Sloopy": Ramsey Lewis Trio - McCoys (1965)
"Happy Whistler": Don Robertson (1956) - Glenn Yarbrough (1965)
"Hard Day's Night": George Martin and His Orchestra - Beatles (1964)
"Harlem Nocturne": Viscounts (1960) - Mel Torme (1963)
"Harry Lime Theme": see "Third Man Theme"
"Hawaii Five-O": Ventures (1969) - "You Can Count on Me (Theme from Hawaii 5-O)" Sammy Davis Jr. (1976)
"Hawaiian War Chant": Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra (1959) - Ames Brothers (1951)
"Heart and Soul": Johnny Maddox and the Rhythmasters (1956) - Cleftones (1961)
"Heartaches": Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen (1963) - Marcels (1961)
"Hearts of Stone": Bill Black's Combo (1961) - Fontane Sisters (1955)
"Hernando's Hideaway": Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians - Archie Bleyer and Maria Alba (Castanet Soloist) (1954)
"High and the Mighty": Les Baxter and His Orchestra - Johnny Desmond (1954)
"Hi-Lili Hi-Lo": Dick Hyman Trio (1956) - Richard Chamberlain (1963)
"Honky Tonk (Part 2)": Bill Doggett - Bill Doggett Featuring Tommy Brown (1956)
"Horse": Cliff Nobles & Co. - "Love Is All Right": Cliff Nobles (1968)
"Hot Canary": Florian Zabach - Ella Fitzgerald (1951)
"Hot Toddy": Ralph Flanagan and His Orchestra (1952) - Julie London (1963)
"Hucklebuck (Twist)": King Curtis (1962) - Chubby Checker (1960)
"Hungry for Love": San Remo Golden Strings (1965) - "I Love the Life I Live (And Live the Life I Love)" Tony Michaels (1966)

IZ ZAT SO? Comments for this section will appear all at once when the list is complete.

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