[I first posted this one in 2009, but given my attendance the other night at a concert by a certain piano guy who will remain nameless, I thought it was relevant enough to shake the dust off of it. I have, as is my wont, done a little general re-writing, and in one case sort-of substituted a new selection; you know -- just to keep my hand in, if not actually doing any real work. -- S.S.]
And so, without any further ado:
Most Memorable Post-Elvis Song or Record Referencing a Musical Instrument in the Title or Lyrics!!!
No arbitrary rules this time, except if anybody nominates "Piano Man" I will come to their house and taunt them mercilessly.
Okay, just kidding about that. Seriously -- no arbitrary rules. Anything goes as far as I'm concerned.
And my totally top of my head Top Seven is:
7. Jimmy Silva and the Goats -- A Tin Whistle and a Wooden Drum
I know very little about Silva except that he was involved with the whole Young Fresh Fellows axis of Northwest coolness and that apparently he died not too long after making the absolutely gorgeous 1991 album this particular ecstatically Byrdsian song appears on. The rest of the album's really great, too, BTW...if you're curious you can download the whole thing free right here.
6. Tom Waits -- The Piano Has Been Drinking
Waits in '77, toward the end of his initial Beatnik period, and pretty damned funny.
5. The Tokens -- I Hear Trumpets Blow
I must confess to having a soft spot for these guys that goes way beyond "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (get me drunk sometime and I'll bore you with my theory that their gorgeous Carole King-penned "He's in Town" is a major stylistic influence on the sound of Springsteen's E-Street Band). This one, one of the very best Brill Building blue collar romantic ballads of the 60s, is another of my real faves.
I should also add that if I ever run into Music Mike, whoever the fuck he is, in the flesh I will definitely be taking him as a hostage. Thank you.
4. Mike Oldfield -- Tubular Bells
Is it cool to admit liking this again? I've lost track. In any case, Philip Glass and all his subsequent minimalist stuff can frankly bite me.
4. Joni Mitchell -- For Free
A great song about a clarinet player, as unlikely as that sounds. Truly gorgeous, but it has much to answer for, perhaps, when you consider she later hired the appalling Tom Scott and the fricking L.A. Express to back her up.
3. The Aliens -- Theremin
Because, you know, we like to include a track recorded in this century. Seriously -- a pretty cool tune, even if it doesn't feature the titular instrument.
2. Cheap Trick -- Mandocello
Rick Nielsen's ode to the theoretically obsolete title instrument, and one of the very best songs on their epochal debut album.
And the numero uno "A Tinkling Piano in the Next Room" tune obviously is --
1. Roy Montrell-- That Mellow Saxophone
I first heard this song on a late 80s/early 90s album featuring the great Lou Witney and D. Clinton Thompson bass & guitar team doing business as The Morells; it's a great album, btw, although long out of print. You can find copies over at Amazon HERE, however, and I can't recommend it highly enough. You're welcome.
In any case, it's now fairly clear to me that the Morells version, which they learned from the original Fifties record above, was at least partly done tongue-in-cheek; Montrell's original, however, simply rocks like a mofo -- dollars to donuts, that's the great Earl Palmer on drums -- and I can't believe I never heard it till yesterday. (I'm informed the Stray Cats also did a cover version at some point in time, but as the guy says in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- there's no need for that).
Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?