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Old 05-26-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Music Note Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Ever since he posted that simple-minded organ track list, Hepcat's been strutting around the alley with his tail held so high you'd think it was he who invented the instrument or something. Well guess what? It's my turn now!

Here then is a list of pop tunes from the Billboard charts which showcase the harmonica:

Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen

Beatles - I'm a Loser

Beatles - I Should Have Known Better

Beatles - Little Girl

Beatles - Love Me Do

Beau Brummels - Just a Little

Beau Brummels - Laugh Laugh

Blackfoot - Train, Train

Black Sabbath - Wizard

Blues Traveler - Runaround

Canned Heat - On the Road Again

Castaways - Liar, Liar

Chi-Lites - Oh Girl

Count Five - Psychotic Reaction

Deep Purple - Lazy

Bob Dylan - Blowin' in the Wind

Bob Dylan - I Want You

Bob Dylan - It Ain't Me Babe

Bob Dylan - Just Like a Woman

Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are a Changin'

Hollies - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Jan & Dean - Little Old Lady From Pasadena

Led Zeppelin - Bring it on Home

Led Zeppelin - When the Levee Breaks

John Mayall - Room to Move

Ennio Morricone - Once Upon a Time in the West

Ozark Mountain Daredevils - If You Want to Get to Heaven

Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Born in Chicago

Pretenders - Middle of the Road

Rolling Stones - Down Home Girl

Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

Rolling Stones - Little Red Rooster

Rolling Stones - Midnight Rambler

Rolling Stones - Miss You

Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away

Rolling Stones - The Spider and The Fly

Romantics - What I Like About You

Standells - Dirty Water

Steve Miller Band - Living in the U.S.A.

Supertramp - Take the Long Way Home

Them - Baby Please Don't Go

Tom Petty & the Hearbreakers - Last Dance with Mary Jane

Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips Part 2

Neil Young - Heart of Gold

I've confined my list to the Billboard pop charts. Bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, Charley Musselwhite, Slim Harpo, John Hammond etc. would otherwise completely dominate the list.

But which tunes have I overlooked?


Last edited by Foxhound : 03-07-2014 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 05-26-2008, 03:11 PM   #2
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

A couple of Aerosmith, maybe, but I have zero notion what might or might not be a Billboard hit.

"Crazy" at least? Haven't listened to that band or the song in a while, so I'm not sure about "showcasing", but I just can't remember which Aerosmith songs has the big harmonica solo...
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:04 PM   #3
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Exclamation Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

I'm not necessarily looking for chart toppers. Just tunes that Billboard would include on its pop list.

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Old 05-26-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Led Zeppelin - Nobody's Fault But Mine

This song has what is essentially a harmonica 'solo' in place of a guitar solo. Plant was a pretty damned good harp player. Never understood why he didn't play more in concert.

James Taylor - Summer's Here

Also has a harp 'solo'.
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:28 PM   #5
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

This isn't exactly a rock tune, but a pop standard nonetheless, John Barry's Theme from Midnight Cowboy as played by chromatic harmonica virtuouso Toots Thielemans:



Thielemans was also an influence on the Beatles (John Lennon would attend George Shearing concerts where Toots played harmonica and a short-necked Rickenbacker, a similar model of which became Lennon's formative instrument):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toots_Thielemans
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

For a more recent one how about Runaround by Blues Traveler....nevermind just noticed you already had that one :)
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:57 AM   #7
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Speaking of Aerosmith ---- "Big Ten Inch Record" oh yes!!

and "Here For A Good Time" Trooper
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:23 AM   #8
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krull View Post
This isn't exactly a rock tune, but a pop standard nonetheless, John Barry's Theme from Midnight Cowboy as played by chromatic harmonica virtuouso Toots Thielemans:



Thielemans was also an influence on the Beatles (John Lennon would attend George Shearing concerts where Toots played harmonica and a short-necked Rickenbacker, a similar model of which became Lennon's formative instrument):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toots_Thielemans
He was also featured on Billy Joel's "Leave a Tender Moment Alone."

Another harmonica song is "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small. The rumor is untrue that Rod Stewart played the harmonica on that song.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:33 AM   #9
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

"Hey Baby" by Bruce Channel...(played by Delbert McClinton)

"My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:03 AM   #10
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Exclamation Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

My pick of the best harmonica player from the tracks listed above would probably be Bob Dylan, quite simply because he was the one who so aptly demonstrated that all that hand cradling and hot dogging isn't the least bit necessary for playing the harmonica.

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Old 05-27-2008, 08:44 AM   #11
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Crazy Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

"In addition to lead vocals, Bruce played bass, harmonica and piano and, along with British poet Pete Brown, wrote the bulk of Cream's original material"


Hmmm ... I can't seem to find any songs where Jack Bruce is playing the harmonica ...
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:09 AM   #12
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Johnny Rivers' version of Help Me Rhonda
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:48 AM   #13
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

The J Geils Band... believe 'Looking for Love' made the Top 40,
and later 'Give it to Me' with Magic Dick on harp.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:06 AM   #14
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Gotta add War to the all-time list...Cisco Kid, All Day Music, Why Can't We Be Friends, Lowrider, Spill Wine (with Eric Burdon), etc. Lee Oskar is the man...

Another already mentioned, Steve Miller Band, but you got to give props to his harpist, Norton Buffalo (Fly Like An Eagle, Book of Dreams, etc.). Not sure who played harmonica on Living in the U.S.A. Perhaps Miller himself since he seems to get credit as harmonica player on some general discographies.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:57 AM   #15
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Springsteen's "The River"
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:06 PM   #16
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Question Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

"John Sebastian (born John Benson Sebastian on 17 March1944, in Greenwich Village, New York City) is an Americansongwriter and harmonica player. He is best known as a founder of The Lovin' Spoonful, a band named in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His tie-dyed denim jacket is prominently displayed there."

On what songs does John Sebastian play the harmonica?

He does get credit for playing a harmonica on "Deja Vu" the song .... not the CRF2 poster ...


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Old 05-27-2008, 12:24 PM   #17
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Romantics - What I like about you........ killer solo.... prob my favorite.
Honoarable Mention
Blues Traveler - Run Around, Hook
Aerosmith - Hangman Jury
Beatles - I should have known Better
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:57 PM   #18
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Re: Top Pop Tunes Showcasing the Harmonica!

Sly and The Family Stone - "I Want to Take You Higher"

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