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Pop and Rock Chart Archive
and Music Encyclopedia

All Instrumental Top 20 Songs

All the best instrumentals since 1960 including every Pop Top 20 popular instrumental song since 1960, and more, on four pages.
December 1959 through June 1962, page one


Dec 1959
through
Jun 1962
Sep 1962
through
Oct 1966
Oct 1966
through
Jun 1973
Nov 1973
through
present
Hit Rock
Instrumentals

Tune Timeline of Hit Instrumentals


blue # = pop chart

  1 In The Mood 5   Dec 1959  
  Ernie Field's Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  In The Mood was originally made popular in 1940 by Glenn Miller And His Orchestra. Ernie Fields followed-up his version with other instrumental remakes, but his version of In The Mood was a top 20 one hit wonder.  

  2 Smokie - Part 2 19   Jan 1960  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Smokie was broken up into parts one and two on the single record. Part two was the famous part. This song was written by Bill Black.  

  3 The Theme From A Summer Place 1   Feb 1960  
  Percy Faith And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Well into the rock era, band leader Percy Faith brought this orchestra instrumental to number one. The song became the top song of the year 1960, top song of the decade, and won Grammy Awards for both Song and Record Of The Year. The song also became a Christmas classic. There were many instrumental and vocal versions, including some by Percy Faith himself. This song was from the movie A Summer Place. This song was written by Max Steiner.  

  4 Tracy's Theme 12   Feb 1960  
  Spencer Ross  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Tracy's Theme was an instrumental from the television production of Philadelphia Story. Spencer Ross took his stage name from the characters. The song was featured as the back side of the single The Theme From A Summer Place by Percy Faith. Spencer Ross became a top 20 one hit wonder. Tracy's Theme was written by Robert Ascher.  

  5 Beatnik Fly 16   Mar 1960  
  Johnny And The Hurricanes  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Jimmy Crack Corn was an American folk song from before the US Civil War. The song was repopularized in 1948 by Burl Ives And The Andrews Sisters as Blue Tail Fly. Johnny And The Hurricanes updated the song for the rock era, removing the words and changing the title. The writer of this traditional song is uncertain.  

  6 White Silver Sands 13   Apr 1960  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Bill Black took his instrumental remake of White Silver Sands to number 13. The vocal version of White Silver Sands was a 1957 number 11 hit for Don Rondo.  

  7 Because They're Young 3   Jul 1960  
  Duane Eddy  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was from movie Because They're Young. It was written by: Don Costa, Wally Gold, Aaron Schroeder.  

  8 Josephine 11   Jul 1960  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by: Burke Bivens, Gus Kahn, Wayne King.  

  9 Look For A Star   Aug 1960  
  Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This instrumental version of Look for A Star was a top 20 near miss here, but made #13 Cashbox and #19 Billboard both of which included sales data. The song was from the movie Circus Of Horrors. This song was written by Tony Hatch.  

  10 Walk--Don't Run 2   Sep 1960  
  The Ventures  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Instrumental song Walk--Don't Run was released in 1959. It became popular the next year. This song was written by John Smith.  

  11 Theme From The Apartment 9   Sep 1960  
  Ferrante & Teicher  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Theme From The Apartment was originally titled Jealous Lover. The name was changed when the instrumental song was used for the movie The Apartment. This song was written by Charles Williams.  

  12 Never On Sunday 15   Oct 1960  
  Don Costa  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Never On Sunday was an instrumental from the movie Never On Sunday. It was a top 20 one hit wonder. A few weeks earlier, Don Costa had a top 20 near miss with another instrumental movie score, Theme From The Unforgiven (The Need For Love).  

  13 Don't Be Cruel 11   Nov 1960  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Don't Be Cruel was an instrumental remake of the 1956 song by Elvis Presley. The song was written by Otis Blackwell. and from album Solid And Raunchy.  

  14 Last Date 2   Dec 1960  
  Floyd Cramer  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Floyd Cramer.  

  15 Blue Tango 19   Dec 1960  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Blue Tango was a popular 1952 song by Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra. This song was written by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parrish.  

  16 Wonderland By Night 1   Dec 1960  
  Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  

  17 Wonderland By Night (Wunderland Bei Nacht) 18   Jan 1961  
  Louis Prima  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Louis Prima and Bert Kaempfert both had top 20 versions of Wonderland By Night in 1961.  

  18 Exodus 2   Jan 1961  
  Ferrante & Teicher  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was from movie Exodus. It was written by Ernest Gold.  

  19 Calcutta 1   Jan 1961  
  Lawrence Welk  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  The full artist title for Calcutta was Lawrence Welk And His Orchestra Featuring Frank Scott On Harpsichord. It was performed on the popular TV program The Lawrence Welk Show. This song was written by: Hans Bradtke, Heino Gazel, Lee Pockriss, Paul Vance.  

  20 Pepe 20   Feb 1961  
  Duane Eddy  
    YouTube    
  This song was written by Daniel Langdon and Hans Wittstatt.  

  21 Wheels 7   Mar 1961  
  The String-A-Longs  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Number 7 hit instrumental song Wheels was a top 20 one hit wonder for The String-A-Longs. The group followed-up with other instrumentals that received moderate airplay. Wheels was written by Richard Stephens and Jimmy Torres.  

  22 Hearts Of Stone 19   Mar 1961  
  Bill Black's Combo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Rudy Jackson and Eddy Ray.  

  23 Apache 2   Apr 1961  
  Jorgen Ingmann & His Guitar  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  In 1960, The Shadows had a UK number one instrumental song with Apache. Jordan Ingmann brought the song to the US, and reached number 2. He became a top 20 one hit wonder, but followed up with many instrumentals that received airplay, including Anna. This song was written by Jerry Lorden.  

  24 On The Rebound 11   Apr 1961  
  Floyd Cramer  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Floyd Cramer.  

  25 Asia Minor 10   Apr 1961  
  Kokomo  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Instrumental song Asia Minor was based on Piano Concerto in A Minor by Edvard Grieg. Kokomo was actually Jimmy Wisner, hiding his identity from other classically trained musicians. Kokomo was a top 20 one hit wonder, but Jimmy Wisner received some airplay with other songs as Jimmy Wisner Trio also. The 1970s group Kokomo was unrelated.  

  26 One Mint Julep 6   Apr 1961  
  Ray Charles  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Ray Charles had an instrumental hit with this cover of the 1952 song by The Clovers. This song was written by Rudy Toombs.  

  27 Bonanza 16   May 1961  
  Al Caiola  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was from TV show Bonanza. It was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.  

  28 You Can't Sit Down 19   Jul 1961  
  Philip Upchurch Combo  
    YouTube    
  You Can't Sit Down was an instrumental top 20 one hit wonder. The 45 RPM single had parts one and two on its sides. Part two was more famous. This was the most popular song by Philip Upchurch Combo, later known as Phil Upchurch. He received slight radio airplay with other songs, like Softly, and played guitar on many records for decades to come.  

  29 San Antonio Rose 14   Jul 1961  
  Floyd Cramer  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Bob Wills.  

  30 Yellow Bird 10   Jul 1961  
  Arthur Lyman Group  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Keith, Norman Luboff.  

  31 Last Night 5   Aug 1961  
  The Mar-Keys  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  The Mar-Keys were a Memphis instrumental band who had a top 20 one hit wonder with Last Night. A few other songs by the group received some airplay.  

  32 Mexico 13   Oct 1961  
  Bob Moore And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Although instrumental song Mexico was a top 20 one hit wonder for Bob Moore, he received some airplay in 1963 with another regional instrumental, Kentucky. This song was written by Boudleaux Bryant.  

  33 Take Five 17   Oct 1961  
  Dave Brubeck Quartet  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was from album Time Out Featuring Take Five. It was written by Paul Desmond.  

  34 Tonight 15   Dec 1961  
  Ferrante & Teicher  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  The Ferrante & Teicher version of Tonight was mostly instrumental. This song was written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.  

  35 Let There Be Drums 9   Dec 1961  
  Sandy Nelson  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Sandy Nelson and Richard Podolor.  

  36 Moon River 16   Dec 1961  
  Henry Mancini And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This instrumental version of Moon River won the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year. The song was from the album Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes, and from the movie Breakfast At Tiffany's. This song was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.  

  37 Afrikaan Beat 7   Mar 1962  
  Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra  
    YouTube    
  This song was written by Bert Kaempfert.  

  38 Tuff 20   Mar 1962  
  Ace Cannon  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Tuff was a top 20 one hit wonder instrumental for Ace Cannon. The follow-up, Blues (Stay Away From Me) was fairly popular too. Ace Cannon was a saxophone player for Bill Black's Combo, whose group played on solo records by Ace Cannon too. The song Tuff was from album Tuff-Sax. This song was written by Ace Cannon.  

  39 Midnight In Moscow 2   Mar 1962  
  Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Midnight In Moscow was an instrumental adaptation of a famous Russian traditional vocal tune. The song was from album Midnight In Moscow.  

  40 Percolator (Twist) 11   Mar 1962  
  Billy Joe & The Checkmates  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Instrumental song Percolator (Twist) was a top 20 one hit wonder for Billy Joe And The Checkmates. He followed-up with Rocky's Theme, which received slight play.
Billy Joe was actually Lew Bedell, a record producer, a New York radio and TV star, and comedian. The Checkmates here are not related to the Emile Ford Checkmates nor to The Checkmates, Ltd. This song was written by Lou Bideu and Ernie Freeman.
 

  41 Soul Twist 8   May 1962  
  King Curtis And The Noble Knights  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  This song was written by Curtis Ousley.  

  42 Stranger On The Shore 3   May 1962  
  Mr. Acker Bilk  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  Stranger On The Shore was originally named Jenny after Acker Bilk's daughter. The song was written by Acker Bilk and Leon Young. and from album Stranger On The Shore.  

  43 The Stripper 1   Jun 1962  
  David Rose And His Orchestra  
    YouTube download at Amazon  
  The Stripper lived for years in Noxema commercials. The song was written by David Rose. and from album The Stripper And Other Fun Songs For The Family.  


Related Song Features for All Instrumental Top 20 Songs


Top 100 Instrumental Songs

Overall top 100 best instrumental songs since 1960 in popularity order

Top Instrumentals Of The 1960s

1The Theme From A Summer Place
 Percy Faith And His Orchestra
2Wonderland By Night
 Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra
3Exodus
 Ferrante & Teicher
4A Taste Of Honey
 Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
5Love Is Blue (L'amour Est Bleu)
 Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
6The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
 Hugo Montenegro
7Last Date
 Floyd Cramer
8Calcutta
 Lawrence Welk
9Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet
 Henry Mancini, His Orchestra And Chorus
10The Stripper
 David Rose And His Orchestra
11Grazing In The Grass
 Hugh Masekela
12Telstar
 The Tornadoes
13Green Onions
 Booker T. & The MG's
14Wipe Out
 The Surfaris
15Walk--Don't Run
 The Ventures
16Stranger On The Shore
 Mr. Acker Bilk
17The In Crowd
 Ramsey Lewis Trio
18Midnight In Moscow
 Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen
19Washington Square
 The Village Stompers
20Apache
 Jorgen Ingmann & His Guitar
21Hey, Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You
 Jimmy Castor
22The Horse
 Cliff Nobles & Co.
23Soulful Strut
 Young-Holt Unlimited
24Java
 Al Hirt
25Last Night
 The Mar-Keys
26Classical Gas
 Mason Williams
27Time Is Tight
 Booker T. & The MG's
28Because They're Young
 Duane Eddy
29Cast Your Fate To The Wind
 Vince Guaraldi Trio
30Soul Finger
 The Bar-Kays
31No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)
 The T-Bones
32Desafinado
 Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd
33Wheels
 The String-A-Longs
34Memphis
 Lonnie Mack
35One Mint Julep
 Ray Charles
36Soul Twist
 King Curtis And The Noble Knights
37Theme From The Apartment
 Ferrante & Teicher
38Watermelon Man
 Mongo Santamaria Band
39Afrikaan Beat
 Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra
40Out Of Limits
 The Marketts

Instrumental Downloads

Click on the album covers to go
15 best instrumental songs of the 1950s and 1960s. 12 of these were top 20 songs. The other three were big instrumentals too.
 
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18 best instrumental songs of the 1970s. 14 of these best instrumentals are original top 20 hits listed here.