The Accordion in pop music

Grace Jones playing the accordian

One of the reasons for the launch of The Big Squeeze was to change people’s perception of the instrument. Most people associate it with traditional music and annoying the neighbours! We know we are biased, being lovers of all things accordion, but it may surprise you to learn that the humble accordion has been used in some of the most famous pop songs in history.

The Beatles

The Beatles used it in We Can Work It Out. John Lennon was an aficionado and plays the accordion throughout the entire song. In fact there are lots of historical photos with all members of the band playing our hero instrument.

Grace Jones

Was there ever a cooler person to play accordion? We were disappointed she didn’t play it at her fantastic set at the Electric Picnic last year (2015) but we forgive her. Here she is playing it on Libertango (I’ve seen that face before).

Bruce Springsteen

The Boss has the accordion played on lots of his songs. Danny Federici played it for his E Street Band for over 30 years. It was used on 4th of July, Asbury Park – Sandy – O’ Mary Don’t You Weep.   The latter is actually easy to play on an accordion. In this video you can see Danny playing the accordion in solo around 2:03.

Talking Heads

David Byrne and Talking Heads famously used the accordion on lots of their songs. The most famous one is probably Road to Nowhere. It actually features in the video, being hauled up a mountain.

We’ve had great fun compiling this little lot, if you’d like to hear the accordion for real, don’t miss The Big Squeeze 12th – 14th August.

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