Ask Billboard: Chart Moves, Like 'Jagger'
Ask Billboard: Chart Moves, Like 'Jagger'

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

As a longtime Billboard charts fan, here are some more songs that have featured instruments you don't hear too often in pop music.

Max Crook conceived and developed the Musitron organ, a hybrid synthesizer, in 1959. Two years later, it helped Del Shannon rule for four weeks with "Runaway."

In the Bee Gees' "Tragedy" (No. 1, 1979), Barry Gibb made the song's explosion sound with, simply, his mouth cupped.

Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Reflections" (No. 2, 1967, and the first song to feature Ross specifically) was influenced by the rise of psychedelic rock and pop, with its use of an oscillator.

The harpsichord, as heard on "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and other Beatles songs, also symbolizes that era.

Some other notable non-instrument sounds from rock's golden early days:

Frank Wilson, "Last Kiss": broken glass
R Dean Taylor, "Indiana Wants Me": police siren
Bobby Darin, "Splish Splash": water sounds, of course
Buzz Clifford, "Baby Sittin' Boogie": baby gurgling
the Beach Boys, "409": car sounds
Frankie Ford, "Sea Cruise": boat sounds
Cascades, "Rhythm of the Rain": the, well ... rhythm of the rain
Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer in the City": urban sounds, such as traffic

And, from summer to Halloween, which is now just two months away ...

Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, "Monster Mash": dragging chains


Steve Resnik
"RAMP (Radio and Music Pros)" e-newsletter
Los Angeles, California

(FYI, "RAMP" senior editor Kevin Carter, Dave Sholin and Shel Resnik assisted with the list).

Thanks Steve,

It's always a great pleasure to mine your vast knowledge of music, and chart, history. Thanks to your helpers, as well, including Dave Sholin, whose syndicated top 40 radio show, "Countdown USA," I fondly remember listening to in the late '80s!

I'll add one more song, since I'm still replaying in my head the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert I went to two weeks ago at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, Mass.

While she didn't perform the song, "Down at the Twist and Shout" stands as one of her top Hot Country Songs smashes (No. 2, 1991) and, like Billy Currington's current hit, expanded the sonic boundaries of commercial country music.

Have a great "Saturday night" and long holiday weekend!