I took a quiz on songs that don’t contain the song’s title. One of the questions concerned an entirely instrumental song, which of course meets the criterion.
The question was:
This song is probably the most famous instrumental pop song of the 20th century. Name this song, played in part by the Memphis Grand.
His answer is: Green Onions, by Booker T. and the MGs, which is apparently the abbreviation for “Memphis Grand”.
I never would have thought of that answer as the 20th century’s most famous instrumental. Here’sa blogger’s listing of the top 100 instrumentals. He has “In The Mood” as #1, which I think is a reasonable answer. He also has the answer above as #31, which seems about right. OTOH, a couple of the instrumentals I would have mulled over for the top spot barely make his top 100 - specifically “Take Five”, which he has at a silly #91.
So, what do you folks think is the most famous instrumental of the 20th century?
I’d be more inclined to go with something like Rhapsody in Blue or In the Mood as well, simply because they had more years in the 20th century to be popular than Green Onions.
By the way, Booker T. Jones has repeatedly confirmed that the M.G.'s were named after the sports car – “M.G.” didn’t stand for “Memphis Group” (or “Grand”); the Stax publicity materials stating that “MG” was short for “Memphis Group” were probably an attempt to avoid legal hassles with the sports car manufacturer. Besides, the name of the band would have been “Booker T. & the Memphis Groups” and that just doesn’t make sense.
For 20th century pop song? I mean, I suppose if you bend the definition, but I’m assuming we’re talking a song created/recorded in the 20th century in a popular music context.
“In The Mood” sounds like a good one for me. As much as I love Booker T and the MGs, there is no way “Green Onions” is the most popular. In the US, I would put forth “Linus and Lucy,” but that’s US specific.
The question referenced in the OP asks for the most famous instrumental pop song. That narrows the field consioderably, as well as imposing an arbitrary restriction on what may or may not be considered ‘pop’.
“Here Comes the Bride”, being the “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s Lohengrin, is definitely not a ‘pop’ song. “Rhapsody in Blue” and “In the Mood” might have both in their own times been in the same category that ‘pop’ describes in this day and age, but I don’t think that moniker would have ever been ascribed to either of them.
The first thing I thought of was “Wipeout”, by The Surfaris (along with countless others).
See, I certainly would call at least “In the Mood” pop. Probably “Rhapsody in Blue,” too, but definitely “In the Mood.” How is it not a pop song? It’s at least as “pop” as Green Onions, and maybe even moreso.
Non-music person here. I didn’t know the name, but Green Onions is definitely one of the songs I know best in this thread, along with In the Mood and Wipeout. The hands down most familiar is Chariots of Fire but I don’t think you can count TV and movie songs the same as pop songs.
Rhapsody in Blue is famous, and I’ve heard of it, but when I listened to it on Youtube, it didn’t sound familiar at all.
I probably wouldn’t call them instrumentals (in the context we’re using here) unless they were either originally written or at least originally released as instrumentals - that being their purpose/intent/can’t-find-the-right-word. But I am not a fan of instrumental music, so don’t know if that applies in this case.