Rock and roll, for all of its memorable riffs and heavy beats, is really a lyric-based medium. That’s why Bob Dylan is a Nobel laureate and Jimmy Page isn’t. It’s why guys like Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, and Jim Morrison, all of whom had marginal voices, are remembered as exceptional singers. The words are the thing. They’re what we hum in the car, turn into memes, and crib for our love notes.
Lyrics are such an integral part of classic rock that the casual listener probably doesn’t know that some of the biggest bands in the genre included instrumentals on some of their albums. It was bad enough in the days of terrestrial radio, where one could be forgiven for thinking that Led Zeppelin only records four songs during their entire career. In today’s on-demand world of streaming services, the chances of ever catching one of those deep instrumental cuts in the wild is virtually zero.
So this one is for the former Guys In Black Tee Shirts Who Jam, who will appreciate hearing these nuggets again, but it’s also for those of you who would never give somebody like Uncle Ted a chance to show off his chops because you can’t stand listening to him flapping his obnoxious gums.
Here we go, classic rock instrumentals:
“Fractured Mirror,” Ace Frehley.
“Switch 625,” Def Leppard.
“Hibernation,” Ted Nugent.
“Fluff,” Black Sabbath.
“Black Mountain Side,” Led Zeppelin.
“Flying,” The Beatles.
“Penny For Your Thoughts,” Peter Frampton.
There you have it: Eight instrumentals from classic artists better known for their wordy songs. What did I miss? I’m listening.