Dolly Parton Gets Big Buzz, Eminem Lyric Targets Adam Lambert
Dolly Parton Gets Big Buzz, Eminem Lyric Targets Adam Lambert

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

WHEN KAZOOS (AND OTHER UNUSUAL INSTRUMENTS) RULED RADIO

Dear Gary,

I was quite interested in your article in last week's "Ask Billboard" about unusual instrumentation in Billboard Hot 100 hits. Whistling in songs isn't terribly uncommon, although four songs featuring whistling in the top 10 - by Maroon 5 ("Moves Like Jagger"), Foster the People ("Pumped Up Kicks"), OneRepublic "Good Life") and Britney Spears ("I Wanna Go") - certainly is!

Here are some more hits that I can recall that include uncommon pop music instruments:

Organ:
"Let's Go Crazy," Prince (No. 1, 1984)
"Faith," George Michael (No. 1, 1987)
"Like a Prayer," Madonna (No. 1, 1989)

Harpsichord:
"Walk Away Renee," the Left Banke (No. 5, 1966)

Oboe:
"I Got You Babe," Sonny & Cher (No. 1, 1965)

And, my all-time favorite ...

Kazoo:
"You're Sixteen," Ringo Starr (No. 1, 1974). The kazoo in this song was played by Sir Paul McCartney.

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York

Thanks Jeff,

You weren't the only reader to profess an affection for the kazoo and those who play the wind instrument (kazooers? kazooists? And, is a person in charge of a kazoo a ... kazookeeper?)

Read on for more examples of instruments that have stood out in cameo appearances over the course of Hot 100 history. (And, keep more coming by e-mailing askbb@billboard.com and we'll continue the discussion next Friday).

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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