“The Xylophone of Rock.” Sounds like a Tenacious D song or something, right?
I got to thinking about rock songs that had a xylophone prominently played in them. I came up with 5, but I’m sure there are more.
1. “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix. This is one of my favorite songs by Jimi. No other Hendrix songs have a xylophone in them, that I know of anyway. Why this one?
I don’t think the presence of the xylophone does anything for the song- to make it better or worse. In fact, Sting’s awesome cover version of this song has no xylophone and is still incredible.
2. “I Will Follow” by U2 (from the album, Boy). This is one of my least favorite U2 songs, because of the xylophone. It’s kind of distracting- if it were further back in the mix, maybe I’d feel differently about it.
I’d prefer to listen to that song in a live version, such as the one found on “Under a Blood Red Sky.” That version has no xylophone, blessedly. And it magically transforms into one of my favorite U2 songs!
3. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. This is by far my favorite Bruce Springsteen song and one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. I think the presence of the xylophone adds to the anthemic, majestic feel of this classic song.
“I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul.” Incredible lyric.
4. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day. I think Green Day added the xylophone to this song for the very reason it’s prominently heard in “Born to Run.” It adds an anthemic tone to the song. This song absolutely jams.
5. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. This song has extroardinarily dense production value, excellent musicianship, and the xylophone adds to the anthemic value of the song, as discussed in the above entries.
But what is it about? I don’t get it. I guess I’m disgruntled with My Chemical Romance due to their lazy use of the “F” word at the end of their otherwise cool song “I’m Not Okay.”
To sum it up, if you want to record the next big rock anthem, how about sprinkling in some xylophone?