Songs that Feature an Out-Of Tune Instrument

In the days of analog recording, there was no such thing as autotuned or pitch correction. This meant that out of tune instruments would have to be left on the finished product. There are several reasons why an instrument would be out of tune; bad intonation, bad mixing, or being unable to retake a song. Other people leave in out-of-tune instruments on purpose to create a live feel. Feel free to add more examples; if you do, please tell me which instrument is out of tune.

The Top Ten

1 California Dreamin' - The Mamas & the Papas California Dreamin' - The Mamas & the Papas

This is a great list. I wish there were more lists like this one - lists that contain interesting information. - Metal_Treasure

The flute solo is slightly out of tune with the rest of the song. - Gg2000

2 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Mellotron strings in the second verse are out of tune. This is to be expected, though, since Mellotrons had a propensity to go out of tune. - Gg2000

3 Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan

Not the only out-of-tune track on Highway 61 Revisited; Queen Jane Approximately and Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues also spring to mind. Having said that, the guitar on Ballad of a Thin Man always bugs me, especially on the arpeggios before each chorus. - Gg2000

4 Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

One of the strings during the main riff is out of tune. Having said that, it does give the song its distinctive character. - Gg2000

5 Roxanne - The Police

Depending on which version you listen to, the guitar intro starts slightly out of tune and drifts into pitch. Sounds like a tape speed issue during tracking/mixing. - Gg2000

6 The Singer Not the Song - The Rolling Stones

The original b-side to Get Off of My Cloud in 1965. Both guitars are horrendously out of tune. - Gg2000

7 All Summer Long - The Beach Boys

The flute break on All Summer Long is really bad, even worse than the one on California Dreamin'. I'm surprised it made the final cut. - Gg2000

8 Delaware Slide - George Thorogood & the Destroyers

The last track on George's first album. His slide playing is great, but his A string is painfully out of tune. - Gg2000

9 Snowblind - Black Sabbath

The intonation on Tony Iommi's guitar is off. Still a great riff, though. - Gg2000

10 Baby What You Want Me to Do - Jimmy Reed

Most of the stuff Jimmy Reed recorded would count on this list. His guitar was frequently out of tune during recording sessions. - Gg2000

The Contenders

11 Paper MÂCHÉ - King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
12 In Bloom - Nirvana
13 Something in the Way - Nirvana
14 The Supernatural - John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

One of the lower strings on Peter Green's guitar is out of tune. At the same time, though, it doesn't bother me much because his tone and sustain is awesome! - Gg2000

15 On the Road Again - The Lovin' Spoonful

The guitar is out of tune. You can hear it prominently during the main riff. - Gg2000

16 The Guns of Brixton - The Clash

One of the strings on Paul Simonon's bass is out of tune. I still enjoy the song, though. - Gg2000

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Related Lists

Top Ten Songs With The Best Auto-Tune Top 10 Best Big Shiny Tunes Songs That Released In 1995 to 2000 Top Ten Best "Jazzy Tunes Album" Song Best Swanky Tunes Songs Top Ten Best Tune-Yards Songs

List StatsCreated 29 May 2018

16 listings
1 year, 195 days old

Top Remixes

1. California Dreamin' - The Mamas & the Papas
2. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
3. Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan


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