Best Rock and Pop Songs with a Harpsichord

Although the harpsichord was developed during the Renaissance and became best known as the keyboard of choice for the Baroque era, some rock and pop artists in the mid 1960s used the harpsichord to gain a suitably baroque-type feel or for the sake of experimenting with different instruments. Feel free to add more examples; they don't have to be Sixties songs, but I can't think of anything from beyond the Sixties off the top of my head.

The Top Ten

1 Fixing a Hole - The Beatles Fixing a Hole - The Beatles

The distinctive intro is played on a harpsichord by, I believe, George Martin.They also used a harpsichord on Piggies and an electric harpsichord on Because. - Gg2000

2 For Your Love - The Yardbirds For Your Love - The Yardbirds

The keyboardist who recorded the session was an organ player who came in and realized that there was no organ or piano in the studio. There was, however, a harpsichord, and he used it, thinking "There's no way a song with a harpsichord on it will become a hit". And sure enough, it actually did become a hit; it was their first number one on the British charts. - Gg2000

Just a great song - AliciaMae

3 Play with Fire - The Rolling Stones Play with Fire - The Rolling Stones

Love this song and love how well the harpsicord goes in and I think you should do more things like this because it has really helped to understand how many of these songs have older instruments like the harpsichord. Thank you.

Jack Nitzsche, who frequently played keyboards on Stones sessions from 1964-1966, played the harpsichord on this one. The Stones also used harpsichord on Dandelion, Sittin' on a Fence, Yesterday's Papers, and Lady Jane. - Gg2000

4 Love Me Two Times - The Doors

Ray Manzarek played a harpsichord solo on the song; he said he did it on purpose to confound the listener's expectations. - Gg2000

5 Walk Away Renee - Left Banke

I bought it when it was first released. One of my favorite bands

One of the most unique singles ever made. One of the first ear worms.

This is probably the first proper baroque pop song, so to give it the right flavor, they used a harpsichord. The end result is fantastic. - Gg2000

6 Scarborough Fair - Simon & Garfunkel

The harpsichord is essential to driving the rhythm and setting the mood of the song. - Gg2000

7 Golden Brown - The Stranglers

The only one I know lol - ilovesugarray

Best in my opinion

8 You Still Believe In Me - The Beach Boys

I'm not talking about the intro; that is a series of plucked piano strings. I'm talking about the keys during the song itself; that's a harpsichord. - Gg2000

9 Some Mother's Son - The Kinks

Ray Davies plays the harpsichord here. They also used a harpsichord on the song "Village Green". - Gg2000

10 Burning of The Midnight Lamp - Jimi Hendrix

Jimi himself played the harpsichord, despite the fact that he himself said he couldn't play keyboards. - Gg2000

The Contenders

11 Madrigal - Yes
12 Skyline Pigeon - Elton John
13 Sunshine Superman - Donovan Sunshine Superman - Donovan
14 Bills Bills Bills - Destiny's Child
15 Clover Over Dover - Blur

also this - ilovesugarray

After remixing the list for Parklife, I realized that this is a good candidate for the list. - Gg2000

16 Isle of Flightless Birds - Twenty One Pilots

This song has an eerie beginning with a chill harpsichord mixed with the beat.

17 The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke - Queen
18 Half a World Away - R.E.M.

You can hear it come in somewhere in the middle of the song. It's not front and center in the mix, but it's still there. - Gg2000

19 Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Graham Nash plays the harpsichord. It's a nice complement to the song's piano part, which he also played. - Gg2000

20 Citadel - The Rolling Stones
21 Baby's Calling Me Home - Steve Miller Band
22 Baby's Callin' Me Home - Steve Miller Band

I believe the harpsichord was played by Ben Sidran

23 Island - Renaissance
24 The Spirit - Magnum

In the two verses after the first chorus there’s a harpsichord in the background.

25 The Red Telephone - Love

The harpsichord was played by session musician Don Randi, a member of The Wrecking Crew. He played all the keyboard parts on Forever Changes. - Gg2000

26 Thick as a Brick, Pt. 2 - Jethro Tull

The harpsichord comes in at the 7:27 mark of Part 2. - Gg2000

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List StatsCreated 3 Jul 2018

26 listings
1 year, 134 days old

Top Remixes

1. Fixing a Hole - The Beatles
2. For Your Love - The Yardbirds
3. Play with Fire - The Rolling Stones


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