But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
Best/Most Inventive Use of a Non-Traditional Rock Instrument on a Post-Elvis Record!!!
Arbitrary rule: By "non-traditional," we mostly mean any instrument outside the original 50s rock instrumental template -- guitars, bass, drums, piano, organ, and sax. Other non-trad keyboards (mellotron, anybody?) will be vetted at my discretion, but don't try to pull any of that 70s/80s synth shit. Other than that, I think this is wide open.
Okay, that said, my totally top of my head Top Six would be:
6. The Beatles -- Norwegian Wood
George on sitar, natch, and the first and still probably best use of the instrument on a pop song.
5. The Wackers -- Oh My Love
A Japanese koto, appropriately enough, on a gorgeous version of the John Lennon ode to Yoko that first appeared on Imagine. In fact, this sounded so much like a Beatles track that it was widely bootlegged as a John demo; in reality, of course, it's by the excellent Canadian power pop band the Wackers and can be found on their unjustly overlooked Hot Wacks, one of the very best pop albums of 1972. Buy it on CD here; it's actually quite breathtaking in un-scratchy high-fidelity stereo. Or you could just go to iTunes; to my surprise, the entire Wackers catalogue is available there.
4. The Association -- Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies
More koto (Gary Alexander, the guy who wrote and sang this, was of mixed Japanese-American heritage, I belive) on an absolutely fabulous and unjustly forgotten slice of LA psychedelia. Holy crap -- this is on iTunes too!
3. Smashing Pumpkins -- Pomp and Circumstances
Gong and xylophone, proving once again that there is no Listomania topic that can't be used to shoehorn in Billy Corgan's pretentious cueball noggin.
2. The Blues Project -- Flute Thing
The late great Andy Kulberg, first electric flautist of note. A lot of awful hippie shit (not to mention Jethro Tull) followed in the wake of this, but if you ever saw them do it live, the effect was quite mesmerizing, believe you me. According to Kooper, it's based on a riff on an old Kenny Burrell jazz record, BTW.
Okay, and the coolest use of a non-trad instrument (at least on a rock record), there's no question about it so just cut me some slack already about this, obviously is --
1. The Rolling Stones -- You Can't Always Get What You Want
Al Kooper's French horn intro really has no precedent on anything by the Stones. Flawlessly played, too, and it's hardly even his main instrument. The Beatles had the world's greatest living classical horn player -- Alan Civil -- on "For No One," but this is every bit as good.
Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Weekend Cinema Listomania (theme: Great Doggie Films!) is now up over at Box Office. If you could go over there and leave a comment, it would definitely get me in good with management. Thanks!]