A truly great instrumental song is worth a thousand words. Here are 10 wordless wonders so ubiquitous that we bet you’d instantly recognize every last one of them. These heirlooms have been covered and recovered by generations of artists but haven’t grown any worse for the wear.
“Eruption” — Van Halen
We’re pretty sure this song is on every great guitar solo list ever drafted. Appearing on Van Halen’s eponymous 1978 album, it ushered in classic, indulgent ’80s rock. Engaging in spellbinding two-handed tapping, Eddie Van Halen’s fingers appear as a blur on his guitar strings. For the first 20 seconds, Eddie is accompanied by drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony, but is then left to stir this chaotic cauldron on his own.
“Cissy Strut” — The Meters
“Green Onions” — Booker T. & The M.G.’s
“Jessica” — The Allman Brothers Band
“Moby Dick” — Led Zeppelin
“Rebel Rouser” — Duane Eddy
“Rumble” — Link Wray and his Ray Men
“Sparks” — The Who
“Walk Don’t Run” — The Ventures
“Wipe Out” — The Surfaris