10 Epic Rock Songs Featuring the Accordion

The Rolling Stones

The instruments that are chosen to play a song make a significant difference to the overall sound. In the case of rock music, the instruments that are usually involved in creating songs are guitars, bass, and drums. Occasionally, a band will employ other instruments for a track, such as keyboards or percussion instruments. An unusual instrument that is not often heard in rock songs is the accordion, although there are some brilliant examples of this. Here are 10 epic rock songs that feature the accordion.

10. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Bruce Springsteen (1973)


This track is a celebration of fun summer nights, such as the 4th of July. Throughout ‘4th of July, Astbury Park (Sandy),’ musician Danny Federici from the E Street Band plays the accordion. When Federici played his final live performance in 2008, this song was the only one that he requested to perform. The song featured on the 1973 album ‘The Wild, the Innocent& the E Street Shuffle.’

9. The Boy in the Bubble, Paul Simon (1986)


‘The Boy in the Bubble’ was written and performed by Paul Simon, and it was the third single from his seventh studio album ‘Graceland,’ which was released in 1986. In the United States, ‘The Boy in the Bubble’ peaked at number 15 on the Album Rock Tracks chart. Elsewhere, it was a top 30 hit in the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium. Forere Motloheloa played the accordion on this track. Other instruments featured include the acoustic guitar, synthesizer, guitar synthesizer, bass, drums, and percussion.

8. How Can I Be Sure, The Young Rascals (1967)


‘How Can I Be Sure’ was written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. It was recorded by The Young Rascals for their 1967 album’ Groovin’.’ It peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the fourth top ten hit for the group. Although the group was a rock band, ‘How Can I Be Sure’ leaned more towards the pop genre. The song features an accordion, trumpets, drums, bass, strings, and the piano, which gives the track a cabaret feel.

7. We Can Work It Out (Live), Paul McCartney (1991)


‘We Can Work It Out’ was originally released by The Beatles in 1965, and Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote it. In the original version, the song did not feature the accordion. Paul McCartney continued to perform this song throughout his solo career, and his version featured the accordion. McCartney re-released it on the 1991 live album ‘Unplugged (The Official Bootleg).’

6. Squeeze Box, The Who (1975)



‘Squeeze Box’ was the first single released from the 1975 album ‘The Who by Numbers.’ It topped the charts in Canada, peaked at number 11 in the UK, and reached number 11 on the US Cash Box charts and number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Pete Townshend, and the B-side to the single was ‘Success Story.’ Roger Daltry provided the lead vocals for the track, with Pete Townshend and John Entwistle providing backing vocals. Keith Moon played the drums and Entwistle the bass, while Townshend played the guitar, banjo, and accordion.

5. Bail You Out, Dave Edmunds (1982)


‘Bail You Out’ is the third track on the 1982 album ‘D.E. 7th.’ It was Welsh rock musician Dave Edmunds’s highest-charting album in the United States, as it reached number 46 on the Billboard 200. In the UK album charts, it peaked at number 60. The song was written by Chris Rees, and it featured an accordion section.

4. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Bob Dylan (2009)


Ultimate Classic Rock lists Bob Dylan’s ‘Beyond Here Lies Nothin” as one of the best rock songs featuring the accordion. It was the lead single from the 2009 album ‘Together Through Life.’ Dylan co-wrote the song with Robert Hunter, and it is a love song. It differs from other songs written by Dylan, as it has a blues-rock style.

3. When I Paint My Masterpiece, The Band (1971)


The Band is a Canadian-American folk-rock band that is known for including unusual tones in their music. In their single ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece, the use of the accordion stands out. It was played by Gareth Hudson, who is better known for being a master of the keyboards and woodwind instruments. The track appeared on the 1971 LP’ Cahoots,’ although it was not released independently as a single.

2. Back Street Girl, The Rolling Stones (1966)


The Rolling Stones are known for their hard-hitting rock songs and anthemic tunes. However, they also have a softer side, and this was displayed by the song ‘Back Street Girl.’ This track makes the accordion the hero, and the effect is a rather folksy sounding sound that is very different from the band’s usual rock ‘n’ roll style. Although Brian Jones played the most diverse range of instruments on The Rolling Stones’ songs, he did not play the accordion for this song. Instead, that privilege went to a session man called Nick De Caro.

1. Road to Nowhere, Talking Heads (1985)


According to Happy Mag, one of the best rock songs featuring the accordion is Talking Head’s 1985 single ‘Road to Nowhere,’ which appeared on the album ‘Little Creatures.’ The song, which David Byrne wrote, also appeared on ‘Best of Talking Heads,’ ‘Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites,’ ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ and ‘Brick.’ The song peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and reached number six in the charts in the UK< South Africa, and Germany.

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