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Any Major Whistle Vol. 2

April 19th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

And here is part 2 of the whistling mixes, following Any Major Whistle Vol. 1, which was also recycled from 2009. As before, I’ve tried to mix the obvious (and avoiding some of the more notorious candidates) with the unexpected. As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CR-R (hence two bonus tracks). Home-blown covers included.* * *

1. Beach Boys – Whistle In (1967)
Yes, the Beach Boys feature twice. You can’t have a whistling collection and not begin it with a song called Whistle In, can you?
Whistletastic moment: 0:01 Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum and whistle.

2. Peter, Bjorn And John – Young Folks (2006)
I have avoided the inclusion of many an obvious song. No Scorpions. No Don’t Worry Be Happy. No apartheid-boycott-busting Roger Whitaker. But this one had to be included. It’s Swedish, it’s cheerful, it’s earwormy.
Whistletastic moment: 0:08 Everybody purse your lips and whistle along! Or play the percussion bit on your thigh.

3. David Bowie – Golden Years (1976)
I cannot hear this song without thinking abut the bizarre dance sequence with Heath Ledger and Never-heard-from-again Actress in the quite wonderful medieval caper A Knight’s Tale.
Whistletastic moment: 3:03 Chameleon-like, the former Ziggy trades his guitar for lips and air.

4. Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream (1966)
The Lovin’ Spoonful really covered about every genre in popular music, and then mashed them up. Here we have a bit of 1920s pop and a bit of blues. Gotta love the Spoonful.
Whistletastic moment: 1:14 Chirpy whistle solo, which returns at 2:06 to see the song out.

5. Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (1968)
The last song Otis Redding recorded before getting on that plane, apparently. Otis didn’t whistle on here; the job was done by a session man of whom Redding inquired after a poor first take whether he knew what he was doing. We know he did.
Whistletastic moment: 2:19 Perhaps the best ever whistle solo in pop.

6. Simon & Garfunkel – Punky’s Dilemma (1968)
This is Simon & Garfunkel 201 — the sort of song you get into once the many great hits have become boring.
Whistletastic moment: 1:50 A breezy whistle solo, not by Paul Simon (whom we hear talking in the background), takes us to the song’s end.

7. The Beatles – Two Of Us (1970)
Recorded during the turbulent Let It Be sessions, this is one of the rare (and I think last) post-mop tops era occasions when John and Paul duetted. How nice then that the song ends with a cheery whistle solo before I Dig A Pony kicks in.
Whistletastic moment: 3:14 I suppose this is Lennon whistling, as was his wont some of his solo tracks.

8. Bobby Bloom – Montego Bay (1970)
Anyone remember Amazulu’s cover in the 1980s? That probably had no whistling (nor showtune segment). Bobby Bloom’s original has a recurring whistle hook.
Whistletastic moment: 0:01 The hook kicks off the song.

9. Earl Hagen – Theme of the Andy Griffith Show (1960)
As doubtless whistled across America once upon a time while washing-up, sweeping the driveway, doing the paper round or constructing a skyscraper. Whistletastic moment: 0:01 The whole thing consists of whistling.

10. The Steve Miller Band – Jungle Love (1977)
Underrated ’70s rock band which deserve to be remembered for more than The Joker and Abracadabra.
Whistletastic moment: 2:46 Freestyle whistling!

whistling11. The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir (2006)
Jangly guitars recall the early ’70s. Irresistibly catchy.
Whistletastic moment: 2:26 Whistle interlude

12. Liliput – Die Matrosen (1980)
Neue Deutsche Welle with ska sensibility searching for the young soul rebel, in English.
Whistletastic moment: 0:52 Song-defining communal whistle interlude, repeated 50 seconds later, and again at 2:32 and 3:33.

13. The Flaming Lips – Christmas At The Zoo (1995)
Let’s go slightly weird: what do you think Coyne and his gang are doing in a zoo at Christmas?
Whistletastic moment: 2:27 Whistle solo comes in helpful when you have no lyrics but the music still goes on.

14. Grizzly Bear – Deep Blue Sea (2007)
This sounds so like a country song. It was recorded at home by Grizzly Bear Daniel Rossen.
Whistletastic moment: 2:41 Whistle bridge.

15. Guster – All The Way Up To Heaven (2003)
Guster toured and performed with Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright. This song, vaguely reminiscent of Sgt Pepper’s and Pet Sounds, is very lovely indeed.
Whistletastic moment: 0:50 You almost think they are about to break out into the Colonel Bogey March.

16. Cat Power – After It All (2005)
One of the songs that make me appreciate 2005’s The Greatest album. And, I noticed only now, the only woman in the mix.
Whistletastic moment: 0:06 The piano and a couple of guitar chords set up the song for the recurring whistle hook.

17. Sammy Davis Jr. – Mr Bojangles (1972)
The song that Sammy took over. As we covered in The Originals series, the song was written by Jerry Jeff Walker.
Whistletastic moment: 0:20 Sammy whistles (unlike the other performers of My Bojangles) and does so again later to see the song out.

18. Gene Pitney – Only Love Can Break A Heart (1963)
Gene Pitney Fun Fact 1: He wrote Hello Mary Lou for Ricky Nelson, Rubber Ball for Bobby Vee and He’s A Rebel for The Crystals. Gene Pitney Fun Fact 2: The Crystals’ version of He’s A Rebel kept Pitney’s version of Burt Bacharach Only Love Can Break A Heart from reaching the US#1. Gene Pitney Fun Fact 3: He was the first singer from the rock idiom of pop to sing at the Oscars, performing Town Without Pity in 1962.
Whistletastic moment: 0:16 Tremelo whistle.

19. Roxy Music – Jealous Guy (1981)
Roxy Music”s cash-in “tribute” released double-quick after John Lennon’s murder. Hunting Tory greaseball Bryan Ferry whistled better than Rolls Royce socialist Lennon.
Whistletastic moment: 3:25  Ferry cross the whistle.

20. Leonard Cohen – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (1967)
Don’t dig Cohen? Gentlemen, remember this: when Cohen sings about love and sex, it is intensely sensual. If you want to impress a poetry-loving girl, don’t forget to include Leonard Cohen on your mixtape. This song, for example.
Whistletastic moment: 3:19 Laughing Len affords himself a bit of levity by seeing the song out with a (less than accomplished) whistle solo, backed by recorder and the sound of singing hangers-on presmably being interrogated by the Spanish Inquisition..

21. Tom Waits – Green Grass (2004)
As I am playing this song, Any Minor Dude inquires: “What the hell is this?” I reply: “Son, it”s an acquired taste, like Gin, Brussels sprouts or the philosophy of Sören Kierkegaard.”
Whistletastic moment: 2:29 Tom stops groaning to sweeten the song with a melancholy whistle solo.

22. Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)
It all starts so prettily until the cynical guitars kick in to introduce Billy’s cynical ruminations on the alienation of the self, or something. When he’s done, he reprises the pretty part, just to show that he’s not all cynical, as he’ll soon demonstrate on the LP with a soppy love song imploring Elizabeth not to go changing her hair or trying some new fashion, only to dump her a few years later for a fashion model with lovely hair. Clearly he didn’t let her see the stranger in himself.
Whistletastic moment: 0:26 The whistle joins the pretty intro until the cynical guitar comes in. It returns later, with the pretty outro.

23. Glen Campbell – Sunflower (1977)
Nothing cynical in Campbell’s sunshiney, optimistic song; a catchy number even if you hate it.
Whistletastic moment: 2:15  Just in case we didn’t catch in just how a good mood Glen is, he sees the song out with a jolly whistle.

24. Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side of Life (1979)
You didn’t think I could avoid including this, did you?
Whistletastic moment: 0:30 The first whistled response to Eric Idle’s appeal to buoyancy.



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  1. Evan
    July 21st, 2009 at 15:30 | #1

    I was lucky enough to have seen Peter, Bjorn & John in an in-store performance right after their first album was released in the US–it was just their second or third concert in America, and it was in a small independent record store in Long Beach called Fingerprints. Anyway, though most people there had heard some of the other songs, everyone was waiting to hear “Young Folks,” and without asking us to, the whole audience started whistling along. Truly great.

  2. July 22nd, 2009 at 09:11 | #2

    Another great mix. (I have quite a few of these on my personal whistling mix) But I’m glad you’re spreading the whistling and getting it it to far more people – but as always you have such great rarities mixed in that it takes it to that next level of deep-track mix tape masterpiece. Kudos. Great inclusion of Guster – most of my favorite mixes include a song by them.

  3. soulster
    July 27th, 2009 at 18:32 | #3

    Thanks a lot for the nice mix.
    Monty Python’s is my favourite tune.
    Let me make a suggestion for the next volume:
    One of the whistle masters, Toots Thielemans and his Bluesette.

    All the best

  4. July 28th, 2009 at 16:13 | #4

    Great playlist!
    Except for the Beatles whom I can’t stand and Leonard Cohen.
    By the way, if a woman finds Leonard Cohen sexy, I think she could of the run-fast-to-avoid category! :)
    Interesting commentary, too.

  5. July 30th, 2009 at 16:17 | #5

    the songs are really nice
    it’s my first time to hear songs from some artists,
    thanks for introducing me to them.
    i love your comments also
    esp. the one about Tom Waits
    and Flaming Lips!

    Greetings from Manila, Philippines!

  6. Stu
    July 30th, 2009 at 17:46 | #6

    Thanks for the mix, my favourite here is the Andy Williams Show Theme. I’m sure I’ve heard a more modern version of this, but maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

    If you ever do a volume 3, get hold of – Parliament – “I Just Got Back” from the LP – “Up For The Down Stroke” – my pick for the best whistling track ever!

  7. Brad
    January 5th, 2016 at 12:44 | #7

    This looks great. Any chance of a re-up?

  8. Brad
    April 19th, 2018 at 12:40 | #8


  9. manel c.
    April 20th, 2018 at 20:01 | #9

    Thanks for this amazing collection! I don’t knows the track list of the volume one (the link don’t works). I f you don’t included some fantastic whistle moments as the “No Stayin’ Kind” by Lou Rawls (from “When You Heard Lou, You’ve Hear It All”, 1978 PIR album) and “Little Brother” by The O’Jays (from “Bad” LP, Saru, 1970…. two humble suggestions for a possible “third volume”.

    Cheers and thanks again, from Tarragona (Spain)

  10. Jim
    April 20th, 2018 at 20:26 | #10

    The Whistle Song by Frankie Knuckles
    The Whistler by Jethro Tull.

    Not sure if these were included in volume 1, if not they may make volume 3 :-)

  11. halfhearteddude
    April 20th, 2018 at 23:52 | #11

    Oh, those are good ideas. The first volume is at http://www.halfhearteddude.com/2017/07/any-major-whistle-1/

  12. seuss
    April 24th, 2018 at 21:27 | #12

    No love for John Prine? Surely Fish & Whistle should make your top 48!

  13. SJCarras
    May 28th, 2018 at 07:23 | #13

    Mitch Miller, “colonel Bogey, River Kwai theme”,1958
    Foster the People, “Pumped up Kicked”, 2011
    Fitz & The Tantrums, “I walk to the sound”, 2012
    Les Baxter, “The Poor People of Paris (Jean’s son)(La Goulant Da Pauvres Jean)(Jean’s CHanson),1956
    J.Geils Band, “Centerfold”,1981.
    New Vaudeville Band, “Winchester Cathedral”,1966
    Focus, “Hocus Pocus”,1973

  14. SJCarras
    May 28th, 2018 at 07:24 | #14

    By the way: All of my choices are group whistling.:) Just like Earle Hagen’s famous “Andy Griffith”.

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