What is it about a song that features whistling that makes it all the more memorable? Probably best to ask Otis Redding or Monty Python for the definitive answer but it may be down to the fact that everyone can do it making the song somewhat more accessible. While air expellation doesn’t always hit the bullseye (‘November Rain’ by GNR being the excretable poster boy in that regard) it tends to pop in many people’s all time favourite tunes. At mp3hugger we’re no exception so we’ve patched together our top 10 songs (in no particular order) that feature the noble art of whistling. If you are more into songs with clapping this is probably a better choice.
This bird dispensed with the tweets a long time ago and appears to have made a conscious decision to incorporate whistling into each and every one of his songs. On ‘Dark Matter’ the decision was made for him because it slots in so seamlessly with the songs’ epic approach.
Andrew Bird – Dark Matter
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Perhaps better known for their day job as Electric President but that didn’t stop them from creating this marching epic. Who needs flutes and drums when the sound of a thousand men whistling into battle is enough to carry the day?
Radical Face – Glory
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The sine wave in this case stands apart from the others because it melds itself seamlessly with the singing. A case of a champion whistler at the height of his/her powers but you’d nothing less from a band signed to a label called Labrador.
More Info: Club 8
This only came out in 2010 and the whistling offers so much to the success of the tune that removing it would take much of the sheen from the glorious opening passages. Suited to intermediate whistlers only as beginners may be flummoxed by the elastic pitch changes.
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Home
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An obvious choice because the whistling is so central to the song’s overall thrust. This London troupe will have to work very hard to top this slice of jollity for it also supplies one of the cutest mandolin lines heard in years.
Noah And The Whale – 5 Years’ Time
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The Happy Mondays were Madchester kingpins who could have skied down the mountains of white stuff they consumed through the years. Their beacon was of course ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ which included about half a dozen baggy classics, chief amoung them this one and the hyperactive sound coming from its resonant chambers.
The Happy Mondays – Step On
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Ferghal McKee gave inexperienced and amateur whistlers the world over some light when he offered the patently out of tune air warbling at the end of this tune from his band’s remarkable debut album ‘Submarine’. He was an angry boy and gnarl’s aren’t conducive to the particular art being discussed today.
Whipping Boy – Bettyclean
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Taken from the equally superb ‘Writer’s Block’ LP the threesome managed to capture the zeitgeist on this particularly obvious choice. Also helped that the video that came with ‘Young Folks’ was as near as we’ve come to a contemporary ‘Take On Me’.
Peter Bjorn and John – Young Folks
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The most contemporary of our top 10 and if anything on the occasion pursed lips are overshadowed by the beefy and wonderfully memorable bass line.
The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing
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Given Gedge’s track record the last thing we’d expect him to be doing is whistling but then this song did come out in 1987 so we’ll put it down to youthful exuberance. And anyway who could be anything other than jolly with choppy chords like this flying around.
The Wedding Present – Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft
More Info: The Wedding Present
What did we miss? [Readers Suggestions Below]
The Black Keys – Tighten Up
Oberhofer – Away Frm U
Goldfrapp – Lovely Head
XTC – Generals & Majors
Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers
The Jam – Set The House Ablaze