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-   -   Unconvential Music Solos (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=820993)

Dante G 03-07-2017 11:13 AM

Unconvential Music Solos
 
We've all heard great guitar solos, or drum solos, even bass solos, but what other kind of awesome solos can you think of that aren't of the norm?

My first example would be the great harmonica solo by Jon Popper in Blue's Travelers song Hook.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRhJt3PLdUE

Any others? Saxophone? Harmonica? Cow Bell? Flute? As long as it's not guitar, drums or keyboards, I wanna hear it.

DCnDC 03-07-2017 11:27 AM

INXS "Never Tear Us Apart" - a very short, 2 bar saxophone solo, but used to great effect as the climax of the song.

pulykamell 03-07-2017 11:41 AM

Oh, I was gonna chime in with the piano solo for "Aladdin Sane," but you don't mean musically unconventional so much as instrumentally unconventional (though sax & harmonica are pretty common, IMO)

Well, the classics would be:

The ocarina solo in "Wild Thing." (The Troggs)

The bagpipes in "Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock and Roll" (AC/DC)

The spoon solo in "Spoonman" (Soundgard)

Anything with Jethro Tull's flute

There's gotta be a sitar one out there, but all the sitar songs that immediately come to mind don't really have an improvised solo section. I'm sure I must be missing something obvious.

Phish has this weird thing where the drummer occasionally plays a "vacuum" solo.

kayaker 03-07-2017 11:56 AM

Street performers: washboard solo.

Leaffan 03-07-2017 12:05 PM

I don't know about awesome, but that kazoo in the Beach Boys "All Summer Long" is kinda weird.

I see that it's probably a piccolo or a fife. But weird.

burpo the wonder mutt 03-07-2017 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 20049115)
Oh, I was gonna chime in with the piano solo for "Aladdin Sane," but you don't mean musically unconventional so much as instrumentally unconventional (though sax & harmonica are pretty common, IMO)

Well, the classics would be:

The ocarina solo in "Wild Thing." (The Troggs)

The bagpipes in "Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock and Roll" (AC/DC)

The spoon solo in "Spoonman" (Soundgard)

Anything with Jethro Tull's flute

There's gotta be a sitar one out there, but all the sitar songs that immediately come to mind don't really have an improvised solo section. I'm sure I must be missing something obvious.

Phish has this weird thing where the drummer occasionally plays a "vacuum" solo.

BJ Thomas's version of "Hooked on a Feeling" has an electric sitar solo in the middle and another at the fadeout.

Queen's "White Queen" (on "Queen II") has a smokin' sitar solo in the middle.

jtur88 03-07-2017 12:24 PM

Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right" has an awesome 30-second solo on vibes.

burpo the wonder mutt 03-07-2017 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtur88 (Post 20049225)
Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right" has an awesome 30-second solo on vibes.

Righteous! Smokin' solo!

TreacherousCretin 03-07-2017 12:38 PM

Zal Yanovsky shreds a terrific gargle solo in the Lovin' Spoonful's Bald Headed Lena.

The middle of Peter and Gordon's I Don't Want To See You Again has an oboe duet that sounds to me like a seal show.

My favorite kazoo solos and/or flourishes occur in Frank Zappa's You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here.

Joanie Sommers' Johnny Get Angry has a wonderfully incongruous kazoo duet (?).

RealityChuck 03-07-2017 01:07 PM

If you are talking about harmonica solos, it has to be "Whammer Jammer."

The Bonzo Dog Band has plenty:

There's the trouser press solo in "Trouser Press."

The electric shirt collar (and other) in "Shirt."

All sort of things in "Doctor Jazz."

Then, of course, there's Spike Jones....

And P.D.Q. Bach...

Biffy the Elephant Shrew 03-07-2017 01:12 PM

I've always really loved the English horn solo in the Doors' "Wishful Sinful."

drad dog 03-07-2017 01:13 PM

Some early Marvin Gaye singles, including Hitch Hike, had flute solos.

Kimble 03-07-2017 01:24 PM

The ones not mentioned that come to mind:

Vibraphones in the Violent Femme's "Gone Daddy Gone"
Agogo bells (or something similar?) in LCD Soundsystem's "Daft Punk is Playing at My House"

Thudlow Boink 03-07-2017 01:25 PM

How about the "synth tuba" from the Alan Parsons Project's "Pyramid"?

Ike Witt 03-07-2017 02:10 PM

There is kind of a theremin solo in Oxygene 10 by Jean Michel Jarre.

jtur88 03-07-2017 02:13 PM

Here's a bizarre number where (starting at 1:12) Daniele Vidal harmonizes her voice over an electronic machine, to make it sound weirdly like a voice synthesizer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-O...4046A4B9425E66

An almost hypnotic effect

burpo the wonder mutt 03-07-2017 02:26 PM

Queen, again: "Night at the Opera" has "Seaside Rendezvous," which has a verse-long solo by Freddie and Roger (playing kazoos?). Roger sings so high it makes my nether regions ache.

jtur88 03-07-2017 02:30 PM

I can only thnk of two times I've heard a duet of harmonizing saxophones, one of thme the classic bridge in Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic' . The other, deliciously, in Ibrahim Ferrer's "Aquellos Ojos Verdes" (at 2:15)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbMe...4046A4B9425E66

blondebear 03-07-2017 02:33 PM

Binary solo from FOTC's "Robots":

Quote:

Zero zero zero zero zero zero one
Zero zero zero zero zero zero one one
Zero zero zero zero zero zero one one one
Zero zero zero zero zero one one one one

kenobi 65 03-07-2017 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20049550)
Queen, again: "Night at the Opera" has "Seaside Rendezvous," which has a verse-long solo by Freddie and Roger (playing kazoos?). Roger sings so high it makes my nether regions ache.

They were allegedly not even using instruments -- it was apparently Freddie and Roger imitating instruments using only their voices.

Also, the "tap dancing" in that verse was the two of them tapping on the mixing desk with thimbles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasid...ezvous#Details

jtur88 03-07-2017 02:45 PM

Some nice solo trombone work in "Efemera" by Tulipa Ruiz (starts at 1:15, them more throughout)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo8Gg6dGIIQ

In live prformances, she does that part with a comb and paper.

DrCube 03-07-2017 03:12 PM

Mexican restaurants around here often have a feed from some mariachi version of MTV playing, and I've noticed those guys love their accordions. Almost every song has an accordion solo, with the squeezebox player looking like a Mexican Jimi Hendrix playing Accordion Hero or something. It's inspiring, and makes me want to learn to play the accordion.

Shoeless 03-07-2017 03:13 PM

Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" - I'm not even sure what the instrument is that is being played in the solo. To me it sounds like a sax being run through an effects box of some sort, but it could be keyboards, or I don't know what.

Sir T-Cups 03-07-2017 03:15 PM

This song by the band Eluvite has a pretty awesome Violin and Flute solo in it.

Another one of theirs has a pretty good bagpipes one in it too.

What a weird-ass band...

RealityChuck 03-07-2017 03:33 PM

Dueling Tubas.

zimaane 03-07-2017 03:40 PM

Interesting topic

The French chanteuse ZAZ plays something like a kazoo at about 2:10 in this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm88...A&spfreload=10

Kazoo or no, it's a cool tune

Thudlow Boink 03-07-2017 03:51 PM

If we're listing kazoo solos, we mustn't forget Ringo Starr's version of "You're Sixteen" (which may or may not have involved an actual kazoo).

jtur88 03-07-2017 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrCube (Post 20049647)
Mexican restaurants around here often have a feed from some mariachi version of MTV playing, and I've noticed those guys love their accordions. Almost every song has an accordion solo, with the squeezebox player looking like a Mexican Jimi Hendrix playing Accordion Hero or something. It's inspiring, and makes me want to learn to play the accordion.


There's an interesting background to that. In the 1800s, a bunch of eastern European workers came to Mexico to work in the mines, and some brought their instruments with them. They sat around in the evening and played polkas, and the Mexicans fell in love with it, and it is still the central theme of the music of northern Mexico.

burpo the wonder mutt 03-07-2017 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 20049581)
They were allegedly not even using instruments -- it was apparently Freddie and Roger imitating instruments using only their voices.

Also, the "tap dancing" in that verse was the two of them tapping on the mixing desk with thimbles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasid...ezvous#Details

Thimble solo--very cool. Might tie "More cowbell" on the slick-o-meter.

Doug K. 03-07-2017 05:15 PM

Randy VanWarmer's Just When I Needed You Most has an autoharp solo.
Jakcyl's The Lumberjack has a chainsaw solo.

Aspidistra 03-07-2017 07:01 PM

Flute solo - California Dreaming. Love that song.

Quite famously, there's also a neat flute solo in Men at Work's "Down Under"...

digs 03-07-2017 07:26 PM

You don't expect a trombone solo in folk music, but Jeb Loy Nichols has always used fun-yet-funky trombone in haunting reggae-tinged songs like "As The Rain". At 2:25 he mutters "Now let it rain..." and trombone ensues.

And his old band Fellow Travellers did a lot of early funk/folk/roots/dub music, like the sparse "Big Mistake" (mostly just drums and trombone... and great lyrics*).


*Well, they got married/
And that was Big Mistake...

4d3fect 03-07-2017 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20049199)
BJ Thomas's version of "Hooked on a Feeling" has an electric sitar solo in the middle and another at the fadeout.

Queen's "White Queen" (on "Queen II") has a smokin' sitar solo in the middle.

Eh, that's an altered electric guitar (think Boxtops' Cry Like a Baby) on the BJ Thomas tune, not a sitar, right?

4d3fect 03-07-2017 08:52 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE3C1bX-6yk

hogarth 03-07-2017 09:40 PM

I like the brief tuba solo in "Go Down Gamblin'" by Blood, Sweat and Tears.

bunyupp 03-07-2017 09:59 PM

Bass guitar solo (starts at @4 minute mark, gets heavy at 6 minute mark) Tim Bogert of Beck, Bogert, & Appice Live Lose Myself With You.

burpo the wonder mutt 03-07-2017 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4d3fect (Post 20050270)
Eh, that's an altered electric guitar (think Boxtops' Cry Like a Baby) on the BJ Thomas tune, not a sitar, right?

I saw BJ Thomas perform that song on one of those PBS pledge-drive shows. Large band with an electric sitar like the one in the YouTube clip. Sounded just like the song, so I'm assuming there was one in use then.

As for "White Queen," I'm not really sure what Brian May is playing; the lead has the twang of a sitar but none of the drone string sound like on a Ravi Shankar or George Harrison tune.

Speaking of which, "Within You, Without You" has a sitar solo as well as sitar throughout.

4d3fect 03-08-2017 12:17 AM

on the subject of sitars wanting to be guitars or vice versa, consider the solos on Face to Face and Mind Ecology (John Mclaughlin on a custom scalloped-fretboard Gibson with drone strings):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUy9SXBQZNM

ETA: It's a whole band, Shakti, ftr

eschereal 03-08-2017 12:23 AM

How about Clare Torry in Great Gig in the Sky? She thought it was a mess, but it really is pretty awesome.

installLSC 03-08-2017 12:29 AM

There are a number of vibes solos on Frank Zappa records, most notably at the 3:23 mark of this song.
And for the all time most bizarre instrument used in a rock solo, ever heard of the theremin? That weird squeaky thing you hear on old horror movies and "Good Vibrations"? Well in the 60s an obscure band called Lothar and the Hand People used a theremin regularly, like 1:30 into this song.

eschereal 03-08-2017 01:00 AM

Oh, just listened to one of my Floating Bridges hash-ups: Clarence Clemmons really shreds the sax in the bridge to Jungleland.

Uniqueorn 03-08-2017 03:39 AM

Parker & Stone's "Hang the Bastard" from the musical "Cannibal". Cowbell solo at 1.20: https://youtu.be/H7Q9ZEdOLSE

Les Espaces Du Sommeil 03-08-2017 04:45 AM

There's the whole "cello metal" genre. Apocalyptica is probably the most famous band in that style. They started out playing surprisingly convincing Metallica covers. Their first album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos can be found on youtube.

There's also 2CELLOS who specialize in pop-rock covers like Smooth Criminal or Thunderstruck.

JKellyMap 03-08-2017 05:46 AM

The kazoo in the Rolling Stones' "Something Happened to me Yesterday."
(Some claim it's some other instrument, but if so, it's certainly meant to sound like a kazoo.)

SigMan 03-08-2017 08:24 AM

Harmonica here. Kick ass song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDU3evB5_K8

Novelty Bobble 03-08-2017 09:39 AM

MANDOLIN! (from 18:00....but it is all worth watching as I think this was the only time is was performed in this way and it is rather lovely and sooooooooooooooo 1973)

OK, pretty much take your pick of multiple weird instrument solo's from the above and I not sure it actually counts but hey........who needs a valid excuse to hear Tubular Bells again?

burpo the wonder mutt 03-08-2017 09:56 AM

For a moment there I thought I heard Viv Stanshall! Silly me.

Annie-Xmas 03-08-2017 10:10 AM

Dueling Banjos, anyone?

And the beginning of Billy Joel's Piano Man, with the piano solo and then the harmonica solo. Probably the easiest song to identify that early in.

Les Espaces Du Sommeil 03-08-2017 10:17 AM

Talking about Billy Joel, there's The Stranger's whistling intro and outro. It works really well, by the way. Very atmospheric.

pulykamell 03-08-2017 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 20049355)
If you are talking about harmonica solos, it has to be "Whammer Jammer."

That's definitely one of _the_ classic blues rock harmonica songs.

I'm trying to think if there's any good examples of Howard Levy playing in a rock/pop context and showing off his harmonica skills, but I can't think of any. The dude's an absolute beast on the diatonic harmonica (the standard 10-hole kind--he makes it sound like a chromatic, one of the pioneers in developing that instrument and technique.) But if instrumental bands were considered, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones has banjo solos, harmonica solos, bass solos, and the occasional "drumitar" solo. (Oh, and sax in other formations of the band.) But none of those are really weird in a jazz/fusion context except for the banjo (and, well, I guess the unique "drumitar.")

Radiohead has a bunch of songs that use the ondes martenot, a rather rare electronic instrument that has a theramin-type of sound. While it has a keyboard, it's often played just with a rang that has a ribbon attached to it that you slide below the keyboard. "National Anthem" has the closest to what I would call a "solo." In most cases, it's just background instrumentation in the arrangement, but here it takes a forward, melodic role, although it's still not quite your typical extemporaneous solo in the middle of a song.


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