More Weird Music Noise – Loving Whistling

I am a failure at whistling. I have tried so many times to learn the technique, but as hard as I try, nothing comes out but air and sometimes saliva if I try too hard. So I greatly admire great whistlers – the kind that can whistle a tune – an entire melody. My father can do this. He can whistle Moon River and it sounds gorgeous. I am so envious of this talent of his.

However, all is not lost. When I sing along to my favorite songs that feature whistling, I can put my lips together and lip sync the whistling so well, that it looks and feels like the whistling in tune is coming from me. This is just one of my weird features. I am a big singer in the car, a real diva. There, I sound great, especially if no one else is in the car, and I am an expert yodeler (see previous blog) AND whistler.

I think whistling is a great effect in music, and there are no shortage of songs featuring this. Since blog length is within certain parameters, I can’t get into EVERY song I love with whistling. There are some good oldies that I am surely leaving out, including The Andy Griffith show theme, which is an entire piece with a whistler throughout. (I have linked it here if you do not remember.) And yes, I used to fake whistle along as a kid watching it, and before the days where I even knew the term lip sync.

As always, after you review my list, feel free to add your own. I know you have some. And all songs are hot linked on the title so you can enjoy the whistles along with me.

Here then are my favorites, not ranked in any order:

  1. Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves: As you may know, I am on this major Kacey Musgraves kick and have been for quite a while, but aside from this being one of the best songs ever, in terms of catchiness, message, and brilliantly clever lyrics (as a wordsmith, this is what I am most fond of in Kacey) – it features an awesome whistle at the end of each verse right before the chorus and a finale one at the end that just ends the song perfectly. (The video is pretty cute too if you look at details) This song was rated one of the best songs of 2013-14 by many music aficionados and critics, so I am not alone in loving it. Most importantly, it was mostly banned from country radio because Kacey’s a rebel and not your typical country artist. In fact, this is more of a pop tune than a country tune anyway. When this song comes on my playlist, I just whistle the heck out of the ending along with Kacey. It is so funny that I sound just like her!
  2. Save Your Heart For Me – Gary Lewis and the Playboys: First of all, I love this song. It evokes a simpler time for me, back to the unfettered and simplistic pop tunes of the mid-sixties before everything became rebellious, political, and fierce. Though I continued to love pop, and rock and roll music even after it became more complicated and complex, when I hear a simple number like this one, it seems extra lovely. I especially love the message a boy is giving to a girl about not forgetting him before she goes away for the summer – a common theme of mid-sixties songs. The intro is all whistling, and more in the middle, and I think that is what sets this song apart from others as it adds depth and musicality in my opinion. Listen and see if you don’t agree.
  3. Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles: I love 80’s pop music and I love The Bangles. This song is extra sentimental for me because my son was just a toddler learning to talk when it came out, but I used to have MTV on a lot in the background (in between Sesame Street) and he loved this song, and danced like the Egyptian dance as shown in the video. He even sang along, “Walk like a Gyption” So when I hear this song, I refer to it still as Walk Like a Gyption. It is a silly tune with a great beat, and a great whistle in the middle. Sometimes a song can be meaningless and just great fun like this one. The video is the best, because they have everyone from Princess Di, to waitresses, to window washers, to the Statue of Liberty walking like an Egyptian. I love it. Take a minute to watch and have some fun here.
  4. Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard – Paul Simon: Don’t you just love Paul Simon? He made every kind of music from folk, to pop, to rock, to gospel for heaven’s sake. He is just brilliant– a true poet and artist. I am particularly fond of some of his songs from the 70’s like this one, Cecilia (I named my goldfish after this one after winning it at a fair while the song was playing) and Loves Me Like a Rock among many others. (Love his sixties just as much actually, it is hard to pick a favorite era with a genius like him.) Love the Latin flair of this song, and yes, the whistling too.
  5. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding (RIP) – What an unbelievably powerful and beautiful and soulful piece of music this is – I can’t get enough of it and I am so sad that Otis Redding’s life was cut short in his prime. The loneliness he evokes with his singing and whistling gives me chills.

Hope you have fun with this. I would actually pay someone to teach me to whistle! I want to that bad! What are your favorites?

2 comments

  • Trish Lane Anderson

    Love your blog. Can’t find the list of songs with girls names

  • Sherry Lassin

    My favorite whistles come from Shepherds! When I was in Wales, I watched a shepherd make whistling sounds with his two fingers in his mouth. They were just short sounds and didn’t sound like music at all! However, I thought he was extremely talented because he was able to teach several small dogs to herd sheep…to bring them forward, to take them backwards, to bring them left, to bring them right to make them zigzag. It was a sight to behold…a really fun experience!!

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