A GUEST POSTING (and Invitation) from JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER
I love the sound of a trumpet in rock music. Yes, there are plenty of songs and bands we all love that feature a full brass section, or at least a trumpet accompanied by a sax or whatnot. But I’m not talking about those. I mean just a trumpet, either as part of the instrumentation of a song, or as the featured lead instrument. So here’s an imaginary compilation of my favourite songs with a trumpet. All the tunes are by bands that would typically show up over here at JC’s place. Otherwise, there’d be way too many to list. (So our host will have to do without ‘Penny Lane’ this time out.)
Cake are sort of an acquired taste, but I acquired it. Groovy bassist, solid drummer, ace guitarists, and Vince DeFiore on trumpet. If you’re okay with John McCrea‘s vocals, you’ll probably like the band, too. This is a single from the band’s fourth album, Comfort Eagle, released way back in 2001.
This one’s the only song I know by this band, which was included on some anorak-Postcard-Creation compilation or other. It’s a fun track played in a lovably amateurish way that I still like to listen to almost 40 years on.
Anyone remember Beulah? They’re a forgotten favourite of mine. Kind of the equivalent of Clearlake, whom I thought were genius and no one ever heard of (see ICA #279). Beulah were from San Francisco and released four great albums to no acclaim whatsoever. The idea for this post comes from this song, incidentally. I have it on a playlist and was driving around (that’s what we do in LA) and all of a sudden the trumpet solo erupted out of the speakers. You wouldn’t know it’s coming from the beginning of the tune, and then–bam! Magnificent music.
Bless my cotton socks, it’s the arch-druid and his band’s biggest hit, a non-album single from 1981. I read someplace that the band included the trumpet because they were inspired by Love‘s 1967 psychedelic classic, Forever Changes.
Speaking of which, here’s a version of the lead track from Forever Changes. Calexico are in fine form here. It’s loose, the hand-claps give it kind of a flamenco vibe, and the trumpet solo is perfect. Loads of bands covered this song, including the Damned, but I had other plans for them.
Is this where the Damned went Goth, or was that just the album cover? Not sure, but we’ve moved quite a bit forward from New Rose with a jazzy trumpet solo. This was released as a single in 1984. Christ, I’m old.
Here are some truly insulting lyrics, sung very sweetly. Like our friends Cake and Calexico, Belle & Sebastian had a trumpet player on board for most of their career, including this track from 2006’s The Life Pursuit. Toss up between this song and Stars of Track and Field.
Everyone’s played it straight so far but not, of course, the Heads. This tune, from 1981’s Remain in Light, features fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell on a trumpet solo given the full Eno treatment.
I don’t know too much about Sloan, except that they’re from Canada and have had the same lineup for over 30 years. ‘Everything’ is a straight-up radio-friendly pop tune wearing its trumpet on its sleeve. This song was released in 1996, and I’m beginning to wonder if trumpet is just out of style nowadays?
Another 90’s highlight. This song always seemed to me like an indie Hey Jude. Goes on for a while and ends with a sing-along chorus with trumpets over the top. I only saw the band once, and they were fantastic, but I can’t remember if they did this number.
EC’s best ever lyrics, according to the man himself. Shipbuilding really is a monumental song. It would have been a classic before jazz legend/tragedy Chet Baker got into the studio, but his trumpet part is one of a kind. If there’s a “best trumpet solo in rock” it’s this one.
The ‘oo were my favourite band growing up, and Quadrophenia was and still is my Favourite Album of All Time. This would have been top of the list, except Entwistle‘s playing a french horn, not a trumpet.
A great song by doomed ska-punk luminaries Sublime, with a funky trombone solo.
Oh, man, the Cows were a riot in action. This raucous number typifies their sound, right down to the singer’s trusty bugle.
This was going to be in the mix until I read the liner notes and saw that it’s Dick Cuthell (Specials, Madness, Pogues, Eurythmics) on flugelhorn.
…and now, the Invitation.
It took me ages to narrow this list down to just ten songs. That’s why it’s eleven songs. But I’ve got a whole second set, which I sent to JC. I’m curious to see if anyone else shares my interest in trumpet in rock and, if you do, which songs you’d pick for an ICA. So, I invite the TVV crowd to suggest some songs in the comments. Let’s see if they include the rest of mine or, even better, are trumpet songs I haven’t heard yet.