What modern vocal songs have pipe organ?
September 5, 2004 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I've been (intentionally) listening to some songs with pipe organs in them that sound like this [MP3, 0.8MB]. Can anyone recommend modern songs that happen to use these instruments? As in singing, perhaps blues/folk/indie, rather than centuries old church ditties. Thanks.
posted by holloway to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for, Brian Wilson got pretty heavy into organ in the early '70s. Hmm... *digs through MP3s* You might try "Slip on through", "All I wanna do", "Feel Flows" (and maybe "'Til I die" -- great song with organ mostly buried under vocals or "A Day in the life of a Tree" -- utterly bizarre song with prominant organ). Basically stuff off Sunflower, Surf's Up, and Friends.

You might try the Walkmen, too, though they use a lot of distortion.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:51 PM on September 5, 2004

Fats Waller was quite the pipe organist.
posted by y2karl at 9:12 PM on September 5, 2004

(I've been kinda meaning to ask this same question lately.)

You might want to check out another instrument called a wurlitzer, which sounds similar to the instrument in that clip.

Ryan Adams's "Hotel Chelsea Nights" features a wurlitzer and has a cool, summer, dive-bar feel to it.

Belle & Sebastian's "The Boy With the Arab Strap" has a wurlitzer, and is a very groovy song.

As for organ, I'd suggest Medeski, Martin & Wood. They're a contemporary jazz band, and are cool as hell. They have a lot of funky, groovy rhythms. The keyboardist is something of a prodigy, and organ is his main instrument. Songs well-worth mentioning: "Uninvisible," "I Wanna Ride You," and "Pappy Check." Basically anything from their Uninvisible album.
posted by bitpart at 9:17 PM on September 5, 2004 [1 favorite]

Jazz on the Church Organ.
posted by y2karl at 9:17 PM on September 5, 2004

After listening to the clip again, I'm fairly certain that the instrument in the second part is a wurlitzer. Pretty damn sure.

More songs: David Gray's "Wurlitzer," an instrumental; and Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock."
posted by bitpart at 9:19 PM on September 5, 2004

I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking for modern songs featuring organs, or modern songs featuring the instruments found in that sound clip? I don't hear any organs. The extract from the first song sounds like a Rhodes electric piano with a little chorus and tremolo, and the second one sounds like a Wurlitzer electric piano with lots of tremolo.
posted by emelenjr at 9:25 PM on September 5, 2004

Well then I guess songs with instruments from the clip.

Thanks everyone! I've found some of the songs mentioned and will be buying a few of these albums later this week.
posted by holloway at 9:32 PM on September 5, 2004

These are songs, they have wurlitzers and rhodes', and they are lovely:

Josh Rouse - "1972"
Okkervil River - "Red"
Gomez - "Bubblegum Years"
posted by Marquis at 10:44 PM on September 5, 2004

On my favorite Quasi album, Featuring 'Birds', Sam Coomes plays a vintage instrument called a roxichord, somewhat of a hybrid between an organ & a harpsichord. I get a feeling you'd like how it sounds (and plus it's just an excellent album, songwriting-wise). It's pretty rock-ish.

My iTunes just cycled up Belle & Sebastian's "Jonathan David," which also has that sound -- and actually resembles a long-lost outtake from the Zombies' great album Odessey & Oracle, which uses a mix of harpsichord, harmonium and mellotron.

And of course there's Stereolab. I love them too much to even tell you where to begin with them (if you don't know them already), but you'll find lots of great analog keyboards & vintage organs on almost all of their albums.
posted by lisa g at 10:46 PM on September 5, 2004

It's not the main attraction, but there's some lovely organ accompanying Shooby Taylor, The Human Horn.

runs away quickly
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:25 AM on September 6, 2004

Oh hey, I hadn't read this about Shooby before.
posted by holloway at 1:02 AM on September 6, 2004

I second the Beach Boys reccomendation, and add: "Long Promised Road" and "Sail on Sailor."

I have said this before in other music threads: the albums after Pet Sounds and before Holland are amazing, and have been unfairly overlooked by, uh, people. Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, 20/20, Friends, Sunflower, Surf's Up, Carl and the Passions (So Tough), Holland. Doesn't sound anything like the "early" Beach Boys, and are filled with so many great songs.
posted by Quartermass at 7:06 AM on September 6, 2004

Annie Lennox uses something like that on her stuff--especially on the Medusa album.
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on September 6, 2004

See also: Steely Dan (take your pick, but two that come to mind are "Black Cow" and "Third World Man"), Billy Preston ("Will It Go Round In Circles", etc., plus any Beatles song he sat in on) Supertramp ("Bloody Well Right", "Goodbye Stranger", "The Logical Song", etc.)
"Don't Leave the Light On, Baby" is another one by Belle & Sebastian.
posted by emelenjr at 10:36 AM on September 6, 2004

The clip reminds me of the beginning of Beck's "Where It's At" (from Odelay).

For indie-bluesy stuff, Money Mark uses a lot of organs. Also, Neil Michael Hagerty.

As far as organ-heavy Stereolab releases, Mars Audiac Quintet is good for mellow organ sounds. Transient Random... is a little treble-y/edgier.
posted by sad_otter at 10:58 AM on September 6, 2004

Wilco's "She's A Jar" on Summerteeth. Radiohead's "Motion Picture Soundtrack" on Kid A. I'm not sure if either of these organs are exactly what you're looking for, but they're dern close.
posted by josephtate at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2004

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