Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Whatever Happened to Instrumental Songs?

Yesterday we looked at trends in novelty songs over the past several decades....  Today, let's look at instrumentals:

Again, my perception is that there simply aren't as many instruments as there used to be.  So, what does the data say??  Note: This listing is songs by performers classified as "Instrumental". It is not actually instrumental songs. So, all Herb Alpert songs are included, even though at least 1 of his 39 wasn't instrumental. But I think the trends are still valid...





Wow.  I'd say the trend is even clearer than yesterday.  Almost 93% of the songs from Instramental artists were relaeased in the 50's 60s and 70's.  And there were 90x as many songs in the 60's as in the 70's.  Which brings me back to my original question:  Has popular music simply lost it’s diversity?  Or are the youths of today simply hung up on words?

And the top 10 instrumental artists, based on Song Database's ranking system?  See below, with their top hit, and number of Top 40's songs:

  1. Herb Alpert - Rise #1 in 1979, 19 Top 40 Hits
  2. Billy Vaughn - Melody Of Love #2 in '54, 13 Top 40 Hits
  3. Booker T. & The MG's - Green Onions, #3 in '62, 7 Top 40 Hits
  4. Bill Black's Combo - White Silver Sands #9 in '60, 8 Top 40 Hits
  5. Henry Mancini & His Orchestra - Love Theme fro Romeo & Juliet #1 in '69, 7 Top 40 hits
  6. Ventures - Walk Don't Run #2 in '60, 5 Top 40 Hits
  7. Kenny G - Songbird #4 in '87, 6 Top 40 Hits
  8. Floyd Cramer - Last Date #2 in '60, 4 Top 40 Hits
  9. Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra - Wonderland By Night #1 in '61, 4 Top 40 Hits
  10. Ferrante & Teicher - Exodus #2 in '61, 5 Top 40 Hits


In an effort to be more accurate, I decided to look at actual songs.  Becasue of the sheer volume of data, and the format in which it is available, i"ll be looking at just the biggest hits.  Stay tunde to see how it compares.

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