Top Rock Instrumentals
Channel 3

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  Al Hirt Cotton Candy
  Average White Band Pick Up The Pieces
  Barry White & The Love Unlimited Orchestra Love's Theme
  Bert Kaempfert Wonderland By Night
  Booker T. and the MG's Green Onions
  Booker T. and the MG's Time Is Tight
  BT Express Express
  Chris Barber Petite Fleur
  Cliff Nobles and Co. The Horse
  Cozy Cole Topsy II
  Dave Baby Cortez The Happy Organ
  Dick Dale and the Del-Tones Misirlou
  Don Robertson The Happy Whistler
  Duane Eddy Because They're Young
  Eddy Heywood Soft Summer Breeze
  Emerson, Lake and Palmer Hoedown
  Ernie Fields In The Mood
  Ernie Freeman Raunchy
  Ferrante and Teicher Theme from the Apartment
  Floyd Cramer Last Date
  Focus Hocus Pocus
  Henry Mancini Baby Elephant Walk
  Henry Mancini Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet
  Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass A Taste Of Honey
  Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass Tijuana Taxi
  Horst Jankowski A Walk In The Black Forest
  Jack Nitzsche The Lonely Surfer
  Kenny G Songbird
  Lawrence Welk Calcutta
  Mongo Santamaria Watermelon Man
  Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra Love is Blue
  Preston Epps Bongo Rock
  Pyramids Penetration
  Ray Anthony Peter Gunn Theme
  Roger Williams Autumn Leaves
  Roger Williams Near You
  Sandy Nelson Teen Beat
  Santo and Johnny Sleep Walk
  The Fireballs Bulldog
  The Mar-Keys Last Night
  The Rockin' Rebels Wild Weekend
  The String-A-Longs Wheels
  The Surfaris Wipe Out
  The T-Bones No Matter What Shape
  The Ventures Slaughter On Tenth Avenue
  The Virtues Guitar Boogie Shuffle
  The Viscounts Harlem Nocturne
  The Who Overture From Tommy
  The Who Overture
  Van McCoy The Hustle
  Young-Holt Unlimited Soulful Strut

An Interesting Development....

After these stations went on the air, a number of Radio George listeners emailed to ask about other hit instrumentals that were favorites of theirs, that did not appear on the channels. Somehow, these tunes slipped by Radio George....but we got 'em and added them to the lineup. If you remember one that's not here, Contact Us and if we can dig it up, we'll add it.

Strange Notes

The titles of many instrumental rock hits seem to fit the sound of the music, while others are catchy, but not really related to the song. Maybe they were something one of the musicians thought up on the spur of the moment. Or, like the hit Green Onions, the song was named after a pet cat whose way of walking inspired the song. But there are two instrumental hits in particular that have truly "far-out" stories behind their titles.....


"I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman"
Whistling Jack Smith

What kind of title is this? Who Was Kaiser Bill? Where's the Boy Wonder?


...a remarkable UK pop tune from 1967 performed by Whistling Jack Smith. There are no vocals, just instrumental backing to a great deal of jocular whistling. The whistling is apparently the work of the Mike Sammes Singers and the record producer. A cheery, almost militaristic number that could only have been made in Britain in the sixties. The record was the brainchild of two Rogers: Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. It reached #20 in the Billboard charts and #5 in the UK charts. Following its success, an artist was appointed to 'be' Whistling Jack Smith, and an album was released, but the success of 'Kaiser Bill' was never repeated.

So what's with this Batman stuff?  To the rescue:

A batman (or batwoman) is a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. A batman's duties often include: acting as a "runner" to convey orders from the officer to subordinates; maintaining the officer's uniform and personal equipment as a valet; driving the officer's vehicle, sometimes under combat conditions; acting as the officer's bodyguard in combat; other miscellaneous tasks the officer does not have time or inclination to do. The action of serving as a batman was referred to as "batting." In armies where officers typically came from the upper class, it was not unusual for a former batman to follow the officer into later civilian life as a domestic servant.

OK, so just who was this batman? Wikipedia says:

John O'Neill was a professional musician born in County Durham, England to Irish parents. He was famous for his whistling abilities and was also an accomplished trumpeter. He is widely believed to have had a hit single with I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman credited as Whistling Jack Smith (a play on "Whispering" Jack Smith). However the exact nature of who Jack Smith was is unsure; certainly in TV appearances an actor lip-synced whistling to a backing track, and some sources attribute the single to British Decca/Deram producer Noel Walker, as producer and performing artist.

But wait! What about "Kaiser Bill?" says:

Forget stately Wayne Manor. The real question here is why Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany and king of Prussia, would have needed a small-b batman (a British soldier assigned duty as servant to an officer) in the first place. And when that's settled, we can work on the question of "Who was Whistling Jack Smith?"

The name is a send-up of singer Whispering Jack Smith, soft-spoken because of an injury sustained in World War I; many of the noises are made by the Mike Sammes Singers, well-known in Britain but in the USA perhaps best-known for being the parents of the kids chanting on John Lennon's "I Am The Walrus", and the leader of all the whistlers was recording producer Noel Walker.

The tune was originally titled "Too Much Birdseed" (!) and was concocted by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, previously of the Kestrels; their song "You've Got Your Troubles" (also produced by Walker) became a major hit for the Fortunes, and as "David and Jonathan" they did a successful remake of the Beatles' "Michelle" in 1966.

Everyone at Decca, owner of the Deram label, seemed surprised that this little ditty became a hit, and in an effort to keep the hype going, the label designated singer Coby Wells, real name Billy Moeller (brother of Tommy Moeller of Unit Four Plus Two), already signed to Decca, as the "official" Whistling Jack Smith for touring purposes.

Greenaway and Cook would go on to write many other songs. Perhaps their biggest hit was "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress", the Hollies' crunchy Creedence pastiche.

Billed as an instrumental, I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman actually contains one word, uttered by Noel Walker: curiously, it's "Hey!" on the 45 and "Oy!" in the stereo mix.

There. I hope that's clear now.


Link Wray

The song without lyrics
 that was actually banned from airplay in 1958!


A lot of people don't remember the song or the artist. Link Wray and his Ray Men created an overdriven, distorted electric guitar sound for their recordings, and are credited with having invented the power chord, which some say led to heavy metal and punk rock music.

Once again, we turn to Wikipedia for the story behind the title of this unique hit instrumental:

In 1958, at a live gig of the D.C.-based Milt Grant's House Party, attempting—at the urging of the local crowd—to work up a cover sound-alike for The Diamonds' hit, "The Stroll", they came up with an eleven and one half bar blues song titled RUMBLE which -they first called "Oddball". The song was an instant hit with the live audience, which demanded four repeats that night. Eventually the song came to the attention of record producer Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records, who hated it, particularly after Wray poked holes in his amplifier's speakers to make the recording sound more like the live version. Searching for a title that would hit home with radio listeners, Bleyer sought the advice of Phil Everly, who listened and suggested it should be called Rumble, as it had a rough attitude that reminded him of a street gang. Rumble was slang for a "gang fight."

The menacing stalking sound of "Rumble" (and its title) led to a ban on several radio stations, a rare feat for a song with no lyrics, on the grounds that it glorified juvenile delinquency. Nevertheless it became a huge hit, not only in the United States, but also Great Britain, where it has been cited as an influence on The Kinks and The Who, and Jimmy Page among others. Jimmy Page cites the song in the Davis Guggenheim documentary "It Might Get Loud" and proceeds to play air guitar to the song in the movie. Pete Townshend stated in unpublished liner notes for the 1970 comeback album, "He is the king; if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would have never picked up a guitar." In other liner notes in 1974, Townshend said, of "Rumble": "I remember being made very uneasy the first time I heard it, and yet excited by the savage guitar sounds."

The complete story of Link Wray is a compelling one and a good read for any rock fan, regardless of age. You can check it out at this page on Wikipedia.

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