10 Best Harmonica Songs That Are G.O.A.T
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The beginning of the 1800s witnessed the growing demand for the Harmonica played by famous musicians and singers. The instrument successfully made its remarkable place in the world of music by being added to classic songs. Some of the most popular solo tracks like, ‘rock ‘n roll’ and ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ holds some crazy stories behind the scenes.
You know every band needs a bass, guitar, and drums in almost every rock song you hear but do not forget about the little instrument that sprinkles magic in creating a remarkable song. Anyone who wants to learn music and start with something that is not really difficult to handle and affordable at the same time, then what can be better than a Harmonica!
We feel that reed instruments like Harmonica have been eliminated from live performances and movies because digital instruments can produce the sound that was originally produced by these reed instruments. Harmonica was a featured background instrument on any of the Beatles’ songs like, ‘Please Please me’, ‘Little Child’, Rocky Raccoon, and many others. Well, another astonishing sight during a live performance is the Harmonica solos. Whether it is rock or acoustic performance, Harmonica tune can leave the audience mesmerized. Harmonica is a tricky instrument, if not played right, the output is like a screaming cat.
Here is the list of the best harmonica songs that are truly the greatest of all time.
Let’s delve further to know more about the most amazing and jaw-dropping harmonica-inclusive compositions in the world.
The Promised Land
‘The Promised Land’ is like most Springsteen poems, where a man is hoping to find more life as he goes further. The song begins with two drumbeats as the Harmonica is played along, it certainly alarms the audience to go crazy about the lyrics. The song consists of a sax part from Clarence Clemons but it was Springsteen’s harmonica that left everyone awestruck. This song by Bruce Springsteen was a part of his album Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978; later it was also a part of the compilation album the Essential Bruce Springsteen. This song has been included in several concert videos and albums on a global platform.
Springsteen was highly influenced by Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan who initially evoked his interest in music. His music will hit differently as he prompts people to think about their lives and situations that are arising in contemporary America. This song talks about the hope to reach a land where he and his fans can go to, ‘A land free from slavery, oppression, and suffering’. When played along with harmonica, this song is the one where you can’t stop shaking your legs and bang your head!
If you really want to enjoy harmonica tunes, Blues Traveler is the one you should definitely listen to! This song and harmonica go hand in hand, as it makes you feel live and playful. The showstopper of the band John Popper is a master in playing the best tunes of diatonic harmonic played in every Blues Traveler song. Popper puts the stage on fire every time with two harmonica belts on, and his chocks packed with the harmonica in about every key. Popper himself is a huge fan of the Blues Harp and the Hohner Special 20 harmonicas. What really makes his sound stand out is his special Shure harmonica microphone. Currently, he is very fond of the signature series by Fender. Something that can lift your mood is definitely this song!
Popper being the founder member of Blues Traveler has composed the majority of lyrics and music with lead vocals, harmonica, and tin whistle on some of his recordings. The band was going for tours and concerts for almost 300 days a year and soon gained popularity in the Jam Band in the 1990s. The success of the album Four in 1994, grabbed a lot of attention from common men and media houses. Later, it was appreciated with the Grammy Award for the best rock performance of 1996. A lot of credit for this goes to Popper for outshining in his craft of producing the best tunes from a diatonic harmonica.
- Mr. Tambourine Man
When it comes to harmonica, how can we forget the one who influenced Springsteen!
Talking about famous harmonica solos, Bob Dylan is the one who is the godfather of this instrument. This Nobel Prize Awardee began his career fifty years ago and he still can be the most charming artist just creating history with nothing more, other than his guitar, a harmonica, and his mesmerizing voice. Dylan has been writing songs for so many years but he never had a harmonica holder but he managed with a clothing hanger. He makes sure he never forgets to feature his harmonica in any of those songs. But when we talk about something remarkable ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ , this songs holds a special place in everyone’s heart. Dylan in his recent career has used a Hohner Marine Band harmonica and Dylan has his signature harmonica model with Hohner. Undoubtedly, it’s a composition worth listening to soothe your ears and musical soul!
Love Me Do
‘Love Me Do’ is one of the most prominent songs by the Beatles, who are an expert when it comes to featuring harmonica in various ways. In this song, the credit goes to John Lennon for an amazing dockside solo. The main conflict is his audiences are unaware about whether Lennon used a chromatic harmonica or he is just playing a diatonic harmonica. But in our opinion, he used an Echo Super Vamper E. Unfortunately, this harmonica model is no longer available in the market, but the Marine Band 364 along with 12 holes is the best in the line.
Originally released in the UK on 5 October 1962, the song soon became a number one hit after its release in the United States in 1964. What made it even more popular was Lennon’s and Paul McCartney duet and Lennon’s harmonica being played at ease. I am sure, every fan must have heard ‘Love Me Do’ once in their lifetime.
‘Piano Man’ has been hitting the top charts for decades and what more can you expect out of Billy Joel’s creativity. It was first released as a single in 1973 but it did not hit the mark to be included in an album. The song soon became popular because of the catchy melodious harmonica solo where Hohner Marine Band in the key of C is used in the music album and Hohner Special 20 Classic C is used in Joel’s live performances.
On a harmonica playlist, why do you even need a piano song? Who can be better to take the spot other than Billy Joel? Well, this song is all about the people he encountered as a part-time musician performing in the executive room in LA. The harmonica plays the tones of sadness from Davy in the Navy, Paul, the real estate worker, a novelist, and a waitress who practices politics. A song that can allow you to relive your emotions, what are you waiting for, just play Joel’s harmonica along!
Once Upon a Time in the West (The Man with the Harmonica)
When you talk about the classic film ‘The Man with the Harmonica’, this song has played an important part in shaping the upbringing in many people’s life. First released in 1968 and directed by the man himself, Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West is truly a great composition. When people recall the melodious tune of harmonica, this is the first thing that pops up in their heads. In this heroic tale, Charles Bronson is seen playing his harmonica dramatically, which connects the dots of every plot running in the story. The tune is efficiently played on a Hohner Marine Band harmonica but it can also be played on mere comprehensive tunes Hohner Chromonica 48, quite similar to the Chromonica 40. The only difference is that Chromonica 48 comes with two additional blow holes for eight extra tones.
Blue Sky Mine
The song that went high as 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 is Blue Sky Mine by Midnight Oils. The third instrument that can be heard very prominently on the track is the harmonica and when played along with the drums, it is just impossible to stay seated in one place. The song describes a situation in Australia, where he mixes up some politics and the harmonica rock song describing the Wittenoom asbestos mines and workers affected by the disease. If you are looking for something that comes with great lyrics and an excellent tune, then this song is the one. With great coordination of guitar and harmonica, Blue Sky Mine was a naturally lead-off song to be played in famous tours and concerts.
You Don’t Know How it feels
This list would be incomplete without Tom Petty and Springsteen from Tom’s album Wildflowers- ‘You Don’t Know How it feels’. The harmonica blends in well with the song and we get a laid-back Petty’s harmonica than a hyped-up instrument. The melodious harmonica blends in really well with the tune of the song as Petty goes back and forth between the lyrics and the harmonica. Played by two geniuses, this song will make you encounter the deadly duo mastering their musical notes with Hohner Marine Band harmonica. What are you waiting for? Go watch their videos to experience something that you have never heard of it.
Bluesette – Toots Thielemas
When you look for records of famous harmonica artists in the world, Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans is the one name that is on the list of the best ones. At the age of three, this Flemish-born boy started playing accordion and eventually learned to play harmonica and guitar as well. After moving to America, and worked with several world-famous artists like Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, and everyone’s favorite Billy Joel. ‘Bluesette’ is amongst those popular songs that provided Thielemas with recognition as he observed using a Hohner Chromonica chromatic harmonica. The Hohner Toots Thielemmans Mellow Tone and the Hohner Toots Thielemans Hard Bopper are the two signature models after his name. This beautiful song reminds us of how talented Toots was!
Long Train Runnin’- The Doobie Brothers
Last but not least! How can we forget to mention a song by The Doobie Brothers?
‘Long Train Runnin’ is the signature song by The Doobie Brothers from the album The Captain and was released in the year 1973. After it was released as a single, it got featured several times and continued to remain everyone’s top pick for over a decade. But what makes this song so special? It is the harmonica solo at the 1:00 mark that has always been the reason. This was performed by the star performer and lead vocalist, Tom Johnson who played miraculously on something like a Hohner C Blues Harp. Something we got from the best of the best is none other than Johnson himself.
These 10 best harmonica songs are truly a creation of musical geniuses. While a harmonica tends to be one of the easiest and soothing musical instruments, the sounds produced aren’t any less magical. Call upon your inner music soul and enjoy these harmonica compositions to the fullest!
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