41 basic pop/rock songs with accordion

No popular musical instrument has been offended more than the accordion. Although she gained hipster music in the ’90s, her role in pop music is still underestimated and misunderstood. Carried like a guitar and best unaccompanied ability to summon a band or lead a dance, piano, studs, accordions and their relatives are popular forms all over the world, from Vallenato (Colombia), Foro and Payao (Brazil), Tango (Argentina), Conunto and norteño (Mexican) /Texas), merengue (Dominican Republic), Cajun and Zedico (Louisiana) in the Americas to Funana in Cape Verde, Celtic and Irish, Celad (Scotland) and Bal Mousset (France), polka and its relatives in Central Europe, to the music of Jarmon in Russia and Central Asia.

That’s nothing like the exhaustive roster, not to mention the talented singles players in variations not defined by the accordion. For example, Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly) first recorded blues on an accordion. It was Paul McCartney’s first instrument, and he is said to have long favored it for composition. Whether associated with ABC-TV’s Lawrence Welk or Nigerian maestro jùjú IK Dairo, with schmaltz, or with cool, the accordion is the quintessence of popular culture.

Even if we acknowledge the accordion’s dominance of music outside of Anglo-American pop, it is more likely that the nooks and crannies of the typical audio memory of pop/rock from the 1960s through the 1980s bear no conscious trace of stress. But they are there if you listen to them. Sometimes it’s to call the music halls, the older generations, or the suburbs of New York City on Long Island and Jersey Shore. Sometimes it’s to invoke traditions outside of pop and rock. And sometimes it’s just because there’s nothing else quite like an accordion. The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Tull, The Who all have accordion songs. So did Elton John, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, ELP, and Styx. The Dead once toured with an accordion player. So did Fleetwood Mac. The more you look and listen, the more you find. And since the ’90s, they’ve become almost ubiquitous.

This list of basic songs is extensive but by no means exhaustive. To keep it manageable, I’ve only included artists and bands that thrived sometime between the 60’s and 80’s, even if some songs date from much later. After this era, there will be a different and even longer list, spanning everything from country to hip-hop. The current list is arranged in chronological order by release or performance date.


The Beatles – “We Can Work It Out” (1965)

Most of the Beatles’ accordion is on white albumwhich brings a subtext of ‘Rocky Raccoon’ and old kitsch to Cry dear Cry. But in this #1 single, which was released as a double A side with “Day Tripper,” they made it a pop instrument, like the sitar George Harrison would play. norwegian wood during the same year. Although Paul McCartney was the band’s resident accordionist, it’s John Lennon who sits here on the organ. Also check out McCartney’s 1991 movie not connected Performing with Paul “Wix” Wickens on the accordion.


Beach Boys – “God Only Knows” (1966)

Accordion filler by self-proclaimed “World’s Most Recorded Accordionist” by Carl Fortina, is an integral part of the densely layered chamber of this landmark recording. “I want you in all my sessions,” Fortina remembers what Brian Wilson said. “Every time you play, my records become golden. You are my good luck charm.” Among those recordings – some of which have already gone by – are “It Wouldn’t Be Nice”, “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “Tears in the Morning” and Van Dyke Parks’ collaboration “Cabinessence”.


Little Rascals – “How can I be sure” (1967)

Led by blue-eyed heartthrob Felix Cavalier and first of many New Jersey artists on this list, Young Rascals released a series of timeless and often covered singles during the late 1960s. This whirl song draws from the atmosphere of a Paris café from an anonymous concertina player.


The Fairport Convention – “Forbidden Land” (1969)

Of the first three albums invented by British folk rock, “No Man’s Land” precedes the Fairport Convention’s renewal of music by British roots and composer/guitarist Richard Thompson’s enduring partnership with accordionist John Kirkpatrick. He’s a Thompson on the instrument, and the influences are more American than British. But in treating the accordion as the main instrument in a rock band rather than the background, Thompson and his colleagues set a model for the future pop/rock accordion.


Band – “Rocking chair” (1969)

The first and one of the few talented accordionists in the rock band, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson floats longing on this song from their second self-titled album. At the same time, Hudson also evokes the country landscape that is so easily longed. Accordion vocals match the high notes of Richard Manuel’s lead vocals and the harmony of the other members.


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “Mr. Bojangles” (1970)

The emotional pop counterpart to “Swinging Chair,” this cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s tribute to New Orleans street performers was a top-ten single of 1971. Walker claimed to have met a homeless white man in prison. The man explained that he borrowed the name from famous African American actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to conceal his identity under the law. Regular band member Jimmy Ibbotson carries a laid-back country rock vibe. In the live performance of the video linked here, later member Bob Carpenter plays the accordion.


Band – “When I Draw a Masterpiece” (1971)

Bob Dylan recorded his version earlier in 1971, there’s a live version with the band and Bob Dylan from 1972, but the version from Cahoots is my favourite. Hudson’s carnival styles join the Arkansas tone in Levon Helm’s lead voice to evoke self-deprecating lyrics for an American abroad. Jerry Garcia’s Squad and the Grateful Dead have covered this film multiple times; Some of the best ones, unsurprisingly, were when keyboardist Bruce Hornsby tied his own accordion for the occasion.


Harry Nelson – “Gotta Get Up” (1971)

The B side of “Without You”, the biggest single of Harry Nelson’s career and the opening on his most successful album, Nelson Schmelsonthis poem to getting old on partying all night and standing up early the next morning is a caffeine-driven, pacing complement to stone psychedelic pop. pet sounds. Accordion by English legend Henry Keren, most likely during the album sessions in London rather than the Hollywood sessions.


Bruce Springsteen – “4The tenth In July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” (1973)

A founding member of the band E-Street, Jersey’s Dani Federici learned to play the accordion as a child from watching Lawrence Welk Show. His play on this post-war Jersey Shore Schmaltz channels homage to Bruce Springsteen’s voice just as the lyrics salute her culture as vulgar and condescending at the same time. Federici was so closely associated with this song that he played it with Springsteen before his death from cancer in 2008. Don’t miss Charles Giordano’s great later Springsteen work, especially 2006 Seeger جلسات sessions.


Bob Dylan – “On a Night Like This” (1974)

Lead on the track Planet waves (1974), Bob Dylan’s first collaboration with the band since 1967 Sessions which produced basement bars (It was officially released after 2 years Planet waves), “On a Night Like This” is a well-rounded, zydeco-infused exercise with an intense closing duet of Garth Hudson’s accordion and Dylan’s harmonica. Dylan would work with veteran Dominic Cortez on Desire, but it wasn’t until his multi-album work, first with David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and then with multi-instrumentalist Donny Heron after 2005 on “Endless Tour”, that he featured prominently in What We Would Call It has old antique music for its late style.


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