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48 Songs About Musical Instruments

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Celebrate drums, pianos, guitars, and other musical instruments with this playlist of pop, rock, and country songs. Where would we be without the ability to strum a few chords?

Celebrate drums, pianos, guitars, and other musical instruments with this playlist of pop, rock, and country songs. Where would we be without the ability to strum a few chords?

Music Making Is Good for the Brain

Playing an instrument is good for not only your soul but also your brain. If you play the guitar, the piano, or even the drums, then you probably know that. If you don't, then you're never too old to learn an instrument.

Musicians benefit from both larger white matter in their brains and larger grey matter areas that correspond to the intensity of their lifelong musical training. Such training improves long-term memory and can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills.1 It also reduces anxiety and depression and boosts one's ability to multitask.

Even if you don't play an instrument, celebrate drums, guitars, and other musical instruments with a playlist of pop, rock, and country tunes about them. We have a long list to start you out.

1. "Trumpets" by Jason Derulo

Imagine being so in love with someone that every time they're nearby you hear symphonies in your mind. That's the experience of the lovesick man in this 2014 pop song, an international hit. The narrator gushes that he hears a barrage of trumpets when his lady friend turns him on, particularly when she undresses. Violins play when she's gone. At other times he hears drums and a choir of angels. Her body reminds the highly sexed-up up guy of songs by Katy Perry, Coldplay, Kanye West. That must be quite a love affair they have!

2. "Piano Man" by Billy Joel

This 1973 autobiographical rock classic has become one of Billy Joel's signature songs. It's based on the musician's early experience as a piano player at a Los Angeles bar and references several real people, including a wannabe actor bartender named John, a real estate novelist named Paul, and a waitress who practices politics. The bar where they regularly gather has become like a home away from home for them all. Rolling Stone was moved to name "Piano Man" to their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

3. "This Is Love" by will.i.am (featuring Eva Simons)

Love is bouncing off both the walls and the rafters in this energetic 2012 electronic dance number. The worldwide hit expresses love for one another and for the music:

This is love for the bass, and love for the treble
Love for the orchestra, violoncello,
Love for computer beats, harder than metal
House beats housing, bouncing in the ghetto
We sip 'til we smashed up, feeling alright.
And we rock the ghetto blaster, rocking all night.

4. "What Do I Know?" by Ed Sheeran

While the world falls apart around him, the narrator at the center of this 2017 pop song simply seeks to honor the advice of his father by staying out of other people's politics and religion. He may not have a formal education, but he does know that he can spark a revolution with a piano and his song. He notes that love can change the world in a moment and he seeks to spread what his family has given him: love, understanding, and positivity. What a legacy.

5. "Teardrops on My Guitar" by Taylor Swift

In this 2007 country crossover ditty, Taylor Swift namechecks a classmate from her high school days whom she had a crush on. The object of her unrequited love was a male friend named Drew. He already had a girlfriend. (Can you say "friendzoned?") Taylor describes shedding tears on her guitar because she is unable to turn his head and win his affection. (No one can have everything they want.) Unfortunately, the real Drew was arrested for child abuse in 2015.

6. "Grand Piano" by Nicki Minaj

If you suspect that all rapper Nicki Minaj can churn out is hip hop music, then this lonely love ballad from 2014 will set you straight. The narrator in this sorrowful song has heard the gossip. Others believe her cold-hearted partner is playing her like a grand piano, and she comes to the sad realization that she is indeed a fool. Her vocals impress, and they reveal raw emotion as if Minaj has truly felt the personal sting of betrayal.

7. "Bang The Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren

You have to admire the honesty of the guy in this 1983 anti-work anthem. He blurts out that he doesn't want to work, go to school, or even play, he just wants to bang on the drums all day. The contagiously repetitive ditty has been featured at sporting events like Green Bay Packers games and in advertisements for Carnival Cruise Lines. Rundgren now lives in Hawaii off the royalties of this tune. He also has a song with a variation of its lyrics: "Play the Ukulele Daily."

8. "The Guitar Song" by Jamey Johnson

The focal point of this 2010 country number is a rusty, dusty pawnshop guitar that waits for someone to shell out a few bucks and give it a new life. It has a history, if only someone would listen to its song. The guitar has done some 1967 Haggard shows and found a home in tiny smoke room bars. It's sold beers and healed heartaches. Now, however, as it awaits a new owner it just wonders if its days of performing have been cut short prematurely. Its playing days may be numbered but it's not done yet.

9. "Bang a Drum" by Chris LeDoux (featuring Jon Bon Jovi)

The narrator in this country song from 1998 approaches his preacher for some Godly advice on how to pray. The result is this snappy love song of faith that endorses banging the drum on behalf of everyone and everything needing a good word sent up to the Big Guy on their behalf:

Bang a drum for the sinners, bang a drum for your sins
Bang a drum for the losers and those who win
Bang a drum, bang it loudly, or as soft as you need
Bang a drum for yourself son, and a drum for me

10. "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn

Singer-songwriter Marc Cohn was facing writer's block when he produced this 1991 rock tune, his only Top 40 hit, by adopting the James Taylor technique of going somewhere he had never been before. Cohn headed to Memphis, a blues, soul and rock and roll mecca. He won a Grammy for Best New Artist for this number and references trip highlights in the song, including:

  • a walk down the city's iconic Beale Street
  • a visit to Graceland, Elvis' estate and eternal resting place
  • listening to a church service at the Full Gospel Tabernacle given by Rev. Al Green (the soul singer famous for "Let's Stay Together" and other hits) and
  • an impromptu sing-a-long with Muriel, an old gospel singer who played the piano at the Hollywood Cafe.

11. "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner

What option do you have as a fan when you can't score a ticket to a sold out rock gig? If you're the determined teen in this 1981 rock song, then you sit outside the concert and listen, mesmerized. Blown away by the music, especially the guitar, the young man takes himself to a pawn shop the very next day for his own guitar. He uses it to launch his dream of stardom and that day becomes a juke box hero with stars in his eyes.

The classic song was inspired by Foreigner's interaction with a fan in Cincinnati many years ago. The teen waited in the rain for the band for five hours and was later invited backstage for his dedication.

12. "Guitar Man" by Kip Moore

This 2017 country song describes the hollow life of a guitar man, a struggling musician who travels from one nameless venue to another in his rusted out truck. He offers up his one-man show for tip money and has one-night stands because his steady girlfriend got tired of coming second to his dreams. Eventually, he hopes it will all pay off.

13. "Bang a Gong" by T. Rex

"Get it on, bang the gong, get it on!" In 1971, the British glam rock group T. Rex had their only US hit with this sultry song about the narrator's lover. He describes the fetching young woman in seductive terms, vaguely comparing her to a car. Then he suggests both sexual and drug activity, further invoking the imagery of banging a gong (which could mean either). You decide.

14. If You're Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band) by Alabama

This well-loved 1984 country ditty celebrates the necessity of the good ole fiddle in any band that plays in Texas. Without it, something's missing. The song recounts a band's attempts to wow a Houston crowd with only a lead guitar, but they were set right by a man from Louisiana in the crowd who was eager to hear the fiddle sound he was accustomed to.

15. "Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds

Although Bob Dylan penned this song, The Byrds' 1965 folk rock cover prompted Rolling Stone magazine to designate it as one of the 500 Best Songs Ever. The meaning of the tambourine man symbol has been disputed to be one's inner muse, mind-altering drugs, time/space travel, Jesus, or death. What do you think?

16. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band

The dastardly devil was looking for a soul to steal in this classic 1979 country ditty, and Johnny the prideful Georgia fiddle player was ripe for pickin'. This song tells the story of how Satan squares a high-risk deal with the talented young Johnny. Tempted by pride and greed, the fiddle player can't refuse, so he puts his soul on the line for the golden fiddle.

Johnny ends up beating the devil in a fiddle-playing battle. However, in winning the contest he has committed two of the seven deadly sins of pride and greed. Will the devil be back?

17. "Long Time Gone" by Dixie Chicks

Although the Dixie Chicks are female artists, this 2002 country hit is performed from a male perspective. It describes a guitar picking narrator who leaves his family and piano-playing sweetheart, making a journey from Indiana to Nashville and back in pursuit of a music career. When a record deal eludes him and he gets tired of living in his car, the guitarist returns to his hometown, disenchanted with the country music industry.

18. "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley

The King of Rock 'n Roll had 18 amazing #1 hits, and this was one of them. The ditty, "Jailhouse Rock," was used in connection with an Elvis movie by the same name, although its movie lyrics varied somewhat.

In the song, the county warden throws a party and the prison band is a-thumpin' with their saxophones, trombones, and drums. Most people (including censors at the time) probably missed the homosexual reference in this 1957 song:

Number forty-seven said to number three
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see
I sure would be delighted with your company
Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me."

The tune has been declared by Rolling Stone magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Songs, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it as one of The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

19. "Bang Your Drum" by Dead Man Fall

Everyone has a purpose in life. It's just a matter of finding yours. This enthusiastic folk-pop song from 2014 expresses support for anyone trying to discover their individual uniqueness. The narrator encourages you to keep banging your drum loud and proud so others can hear. Don't leave this world with unfinished business. Your day will come.

20. "Lucille" by B. B. King

This 1968 blues song is a man's tribute to his guitar. But he's not just any man, and that's not just any guitar. The King of the Blues, B.B. King, named all of his guitars "Lucille." He was inducted into both the Rock and the Blues Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The story goes that in Arkansas in 1949, King was a young musician playing in a club when a fire broke out between two men brawling over a woman. Foolishly, King risked his life when he ran back into the burning building to rescue his guitar. He named not only that guitar but also every one thereafter "Lucille," “to remind himself to never fight over a woman or run into a burning building.”

Today, Lucilles are widely recognized as black-with-gold-hardware Gibson ES-355–style guitars, according to Rolling Stone. As The King of the Blues sings in this classic tune, "Don't nobody sing to me like Lucille. Sing, Lucille."

 "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”- Albert Schweitzer, German-French medical missionary and philosopher

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”- Albert Schweitzer, German-French medical missionary and philosopher

Even More Songs About Musical Instruments

SongArtist(s)Year Released

21. Guitars, Cadillacs

Dwight Yoakum

1986

22. Piano

Cassadee Pope

2016

23. Baby Grand

Billy Joel and Ray Charles

1983

24. Picture Postcards from L.A.

Joshua Kadison

1993

25. Banjo

Rascal Flatts

2012

26. Beat of My Drum

Nicola Roberts

2011

27. 'Cuz I Play Guitar

Big & Rich

2012

28. The Green Tambourine

The Lemon Pipers

1967

29. Ebony & Ivory

Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

1982

30. Different Drum

The Stone Poneys (featuring Linda Ronstadt)

1967

31. Guitar Man

Bread

1972

32. Cry Baby Cry

The Beatles

1968

33. Guitar Slinger

Vince Gill

2011

34. Guitar Hero

Amanda Palmer

2008

35. Bang the Drum Slowly

Emmylou Harris

2000

36. Johnny B. Goode

Chuck Berry

1958

37. Church Bells

Carrie Underwood

2015

38. Play Guitar

John Cougar Mellencamp

1983

39. Drum & Fife

Smashing Pumpkins

2014

40. Piano

Ariana Grande

2013

41. Oboe Concerto

Morissey

2014

42. Pink Guitar

Reba McEntire

2009

43. This Old Guitar

John Denver

1974

44. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

The Beatles

1968

45. Old Violin

Johnny Paycheck

1992

46. Girls with Guitars

Wynonna Judd

1993

47. Hurdy Gurdy Man

Donovan

1968

48. Perfectly Good Guitar

John Hiatt

1993

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 17, 2020:

Rajan - I wish I could play piano, too. Be safe in these challenging times.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 17, 2020:

I like "The Piano Man" by Billy Joel. I just adore the piano as a musical instrument. Wish I could play it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 30, 2020:

Jo - There's always time, especially during this pandemic! Order a guitar online and learn on YouTube.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on April 30, 2020:

Great list again.

One of my regrets in life is I didn't learn to play an instrument. Thought I might take it up during retirement but haven't--yet.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2020:

Heidi - Thanks for the recommendation! I'll add it! At this point in the pandemic I've been locked inside with my young teen nephew and my 20-year-old daughter who would rather be anywhere else. "Bang Your Head" is pretty much what I want to do. I hope things are going well for you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2020:

Dora - Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are doing well and appreciate your comment.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 26, 2020:

My hubby is a huge John Hiatt fan, and we've seen him live a couple times. So you can imagine that "Perfectly Good Guitar" (the "smashing guitars" song) is burnished in my brain.

And does "Bang Your Head" qualify? :-D Just kidding.

Anyway, if I think of anything else, I'll pop back in. Another awesome playlist. Have a beautiful Sunday!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 26, 2020:

This admirable. Loving not only the music but also the instrument. Sounds like real devotion.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 25, 2020:

Nithya - Thanks for stopping by. He'll always be one of my favorites.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 24, 2020:

A great selection of songs about musical instruments. My favorite is "Piano Man" by Billy Joel followed by many others that you have mentioned in this list.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Peggy - That sounds like a lot of fun learning to play the guitar, even if it's just a few chords. Thanks for stopping by!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2020:

Piano Man is the first one that popped into my head. I see many pay homage to the guitar. I once had a guitar that I purchased in Mexico. I learned to strum a few chords on it, but had some fun singing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Richira - Glad you liked this. It was interesting to know how you use music. Stay safe in these troubled times.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Bill - I'm glad you liked the list and appreciate the visit. The meaning of that popular song is probably only known to the songwriter and perhaps was only fleeting understand. You stay safe as well!

Ruchira from United States on April 24, 2020:

Such a well researched article, Flourish. I'm gonna bookmark it since I need it every now and then when I'm working on my manuscripts. I love music and I always center my characters around music...it helps to heal.

Also good for these times too!

Sharing it across.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 24, 2020:

Great list of songs. There are some oldies here that I really like, "Piano Man" by Billy Joel is a classic and "Mr Tambourine Man" by the Byrds, which I have no clue to the meaning. is just one of my favorite 60's songs. Great job as always. Stay safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Linda - I'm glad you recognized some of the songs and liked the quote. Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Patricia - That's really sad. Thanks for sharing your memories. I hope you and your family are doing well during this lockdown. Stay safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2020:

Genna - You're so kind. Have a wonderful day flourishing at home in lockdown! Stay healthy!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 23, 2020:

I knew some of the songs in this article. It was very nice to hear them again. The Albert Schweitzer quote is lovely.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on April 23, 2020:

Flourush, another great selection. Its a pleasure to listen and Billy Joel is one of my favorite. Take care.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Clive - Thank you so much. You have a beautiful day, my friend.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Linda - Thank you!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 23, 2020:

Music gets me up and over the tough spots that I may face once in a while. I am emailing this to myself so I can enjoy each song again and again.The Taylor Swift song took me back to high school...I was that girl ...and while my tears did not fall on my guitar they did fall. My heart throb considered me his bestie...always sitting by me on the bus and confiding about HER. As always enjoyed this visit. Hoping you are safe and well. Angels headed your way this evening. ps

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 23, 2020:

Hi Flourish...

I love the caption title, Music Making Is Good for the Brain. Another comprehensive and remarkable list. Thank you for the music!

Clive Williams from Jamaica on April 23, 2020:

I know when you pass on you must be on the heavenly choir. You know music.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 23, 2020:

P.S. I love the kitty.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Linda - You had me on that, but I looked it up then added the song here and Donovan to the article about Scottish and Irish musicians and singers who made it big in America. I missed him. Thank you! Hope you are well.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Devika - Thank you for reading and for your support. I hope you continue to stay safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Unmesh - You are a kind soul.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Pamela - Where would we be without cats? I always have to work them in if I can.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Liz - Especially when you're tired of board games and you are tired of the same news coverage, listening to music is a wonderful escape during the pandemic. Add a dance and some snacks (or drinks) and you have a little party.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Ann - Thank you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Ann - Thanks for that song suggestion by The Monkees. I recall watching a goofy tv program they had when I was a kid, along with my siblings. I think it was called, "Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees." It's odd what you remember. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 23, 2020:

Piano Man was the first thing I thought of (and of course, you included it). What about a hurdy-gurdy? Does that qualify as an instrument? I'm thinking Donovan.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Kyriaki - Glad to see you back here. You've been a long time gone yourself! Thanks for stopping by!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2020:

Bill - Ahh, they're not ranked, only listed. You have yourself a sweet old day, my friend. Love you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 23, 2020:

Hi FourishAnyway I like your list of songs. I am familiar with most and enjoyed another read. You inform us of songs I have forgotten about. I am glad to have read an update on this list. Hope you well and keeping safe.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on April 23, 2020:

Excellent compilation. Well presented. Stay blessed and flourish.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 23, 2020:

There are great songs in this group that spans several decades. I like most of them and there are a few that I had not heard before. I like Schweitzer's quote as well. Nice job, Flourish!

Liz Westwood from UK on April 23, 2020:

This is an original and interesting collection. Lockdown is an idea excuse for listening to music.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 23, 2020:

Listen to the Band is by The Monkees but I'm sure there's another version too.

Ann

Ann Carr from SW England on April 23, 2020:

Love 'Piano Man' and 'Mr Tambourine Man'! There are so many about instruments, aren't there? I was amazed at how many, when you stop to think about it.

You've done your usual great job in listing appropriate songs, Flourish. The link is a bit tenuous but there's "Listen to the Band" by (I can't remember but will go to look it up!). It cheers us all up to listen to the music.

Ann

Kyriaki Chatzi on April 23, 2020:

"Long Time Gone" is a favorite of mine. It's been awhile since I heard it. I also can't resist to the "Banjo" by Rascal Flatts. Ah, sweet nostalgia! :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 23, 2020:

Shame on you for putting my favorite at #44. lol At least I had two guesses this time...Piano Man was a no-brainer as well.

Stay safe my friend!

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