10 Legendary Rock Songs That Feature Weird Instruments

Putting down the six string.

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Volcano Entertainment

People are more than familiar with the basic setup that goes into making a rock and roll band. You have drums, bass, guitar, and maybe a piano on some days if we're feeling fancy. That hasn't stopped the connoisseurs of music though. There's a lot more instruments out there, and there have been some acts that play with the idea of what you can use as an instrument.

That's not to say that all of these songs are completely guitarless or anything. Throughout most of these songs, you still have the basic structure of a rock tune, but that one little element ends up sticking out that much more once you notice it. Sometimes it's muffled in the background, but most of the time it's the one part of the song that you can barely turn away from, always having that strange quality that keeps you coming back for more.

While it might have seemed like a gamble to use some of these at the time, they ended up going over surprisingly well, either becoming a trend that went mainstream, or those rare once in a lifetime sounds that never were heard from again. If anything, this just adds to the anything goes side of rock and roll. There are no rules, so you can throw anything into the mix and it might stick.

10. Big Bad Bill - Van Halen

For all of the hair metal bands that they spawned, Van Halen always seemed to be more on the rock and roll side of the spectrum. Though the intensity was always dialed up to 10 every time they took to the stage, these were the kind of guys that were looking to give you one big party every time they kicked into one of their classic songs. When they needed one more album on Diver Down though, they decided to keep it in the family for some of the covers.

Aside from their favorite artists like the Kinks and Roy Orbison, Big Bad Bill is the kind of old jazz standard that seems tailor made for David Lee Roth's voice, telling the story of a man named Bill getting put in check by his wife after being the most dangerous man in town. And right where you think a guitar solo would be, we actually have a clarinet added into the mix that was played by Alex and Eddie's father in the studio.

Seeing how this is supposed to be a kind of throwback, the solo works surprisingly well for the Van Halen formula, giving a bit of a ragtime feel to the rest of the song. Since this was the album that also has a version of Happy Trails to close out everything, this song has the kind of spirit of the boys messing around in the studio and just seeing what happens. The record itself may have been made out of obligation, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't have some fun along the way as well.


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