Whistling

Our Top 10 Songs With Whistling in Them

Whistling and dads. They go together like wine and cheese, champagne and horse racing, Lennon and McCartney.

Or they used to, at least. For whatever reason, the modern dad isn’t as partial to whistling as his forefathers.

This scribe’s workmate, writer and dad Jeremy Raine, recalls growing up around men who used whistling as an instinctive expression of mood: “My dad was always a big whistler, he was quite tunefully proficient. And I still remember my grandad rocking around the house whistling up a storm.”

Jeremy says whistling’s decline could be attributed to men not being what we once were in terms of testosterone levels. It could also be that it’s “not cool” anymore, as dads try in vain to stave off grey-flecked stereotypes of middle age.

Whatever the reason, it’s time to bring it back. Here are 10 tunes to get you puckering and blowing in no time. Just like your grandpa used to do.

1. Wind of Change Scorpions

This power ballad celebrating the end of the Cold War defines the German five-piece for many people. But in reality, they’re five-decade, 18-album rock veterans. And that whistling evokes next-level feels.

2. Sissyneck Beck

Beck is a master at transcending musical styles and this ultra-cool track from Odelay — which flicks from a piercing, tuneful whistle to slide-guitar-driven country funk within the first five seconds — is no exception.

3. Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay Otis Redding

Otis Redding’s signature tune is as pure as they come: it truly sounds like he’s sitting in some industrial dock overlooking the water, soulfully belting out what he observes. Redding didn’t originally intend to keep the whistling outro but common sense prevailed.

4. Home Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes 

This quirky Californian many-piece crashed the Indie big-time in 2010 with this whistle-laden hit — and were almost usurped soon after when a version by Spanish father-daughter YouTube sensations, Jorge and Alexa Narvaez, melted hearts across the globe.

5. Jealous Guy John Lennon

Lennon produced some great solo moments but “Jealous Guy” — a tender, cards-on-the-table ballad about how love does bad things to the heart, all rounded out by a sweet whistle — is one of his most under-appreciated.   

6. Patience Guns N’ Roses

Guided by a simple guitar riff and plenty of wistful whistling, this ballad from GN’R Lies is a few minutes of quiet tenderness from one of history’s most raucous, bombastic bands… even if things amp a little in the ‘Just a little patience, yeeaaahhh” outro.

7. Centerfold J. Geils Band

A song so upbeat that it pulls even the most hardened, soft-bellied drinkers off their barstools and on to the dancefloor, J. Geils Band’s moment in the sun remains a staple of pub ‘80s nights. “My blood runs COOOLLLDDD…”

8. Young Folks Peter, Bjorn and John

This Swedish trio seemingly came from nowhere in 2006 to unleash this effervescent, psychedelic pop number on the world. And that insistent whistle really sticks in the head; it’s hard to imagine “Young Folks” without it.   

9. Pennywhistle Augie March

OK, so the whistle actually comes from a penny whistle and not from a human mouth but it’s so catchy (and quite a departure from the Aussie five-piece’s usually moody, but brilliant work) that it demanded an appearance.

10. Walk like an Egyptian Bangles

Roxette’s Joyride had claims to the final spot, but the Bangles’ signature tune just ousts it. The girl-power guitar-rock sound is vintage ’80s but it’s a cleverly crafted pop tune. And who said females didn’t whistle?




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