4 Classic Rock Songs that Feature Wild Violin

Classic rock is perhaps the most explosive of all the genres of music. Thinking about it, it’s easy to picture amplifiers spontaneously combusting thanks to the volume of electric guitars, giant drum kits and screeching vocalists.

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But the music, as any hardcore listener knows, is not without its subtleties. There are small moments that wow, not just bombastic ones. There is delicate playing, not just TNT blasts. And there are sublime instruments, like the violin, not just unabashed guitars and drum smashes.

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We wanted to dive into four classic rock songs that feature expert violin playing. Music that may get a little wild at times but music that soothes in it’s own way, none the less. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. “Eleanor Rigby,” The Beatles

One of the Beatles‘ most famous songs, “Eleanor Rigby” is built on the forlorn violin rhythms penned by Paul McCartney. The instrument creates such sad emotions that the track has come to be known as a soundtrack of regret. Released on the group’s 1966 album, Revolver, the sounds were later sampled by cerebral rapper Talib Kweli for the excellent song, “Lonely People.”

2. “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” The Verve

This song, released on the band’s 1997 album, Urban Hymns, is all violin. In fact, the sound comes from a sample of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” (performed by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra). The use of that sample caused The Verve much trouble as they had not received clearance to adapt it, leading to a costly lawsuit. But court proceedings aside, this track has become part of the zeitgeist and appears in myriad TV shows, movies and more. It’s immediately recognizable and has been called one of the most important songs from the 1990s—all because of a few violin notes.

3. “Hurricane,” Bob Dylan

This 1976 song from the Bob Dylan album, Desire, is about the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and his wrongful imprisonment. In the song, Dylan sings—underscored by a memorable violin line—about the wrongful conviction of Carter and the racist police behavior that led to his incarceration. Dylan wrote the song after reading Carter’s memoir; he later visited him in prison.

4. “Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin

The violins in this song were so strong and propulsive that they inspired Puff Daddy to sample them and create the rap song “Come With Me” decades after “Kashmir” had been released. One of the tracks on the 1975 Led Zeppelin album Physical Graffiti, this track is as epic as it gets from the British rockers. The lyrics for the song were inspired when frontman Robert Plant was driving through an arid stretch of Morocco. The resulting sound fits, resembling madness.

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