B List: 10 Most Memorable Whistling Songs

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9. Peter Bjorn & John – Young Folks

We don’t know what it is that has made whistling in songs unfashionable, but Peter Bjorn & John’s 2006 classic Young Folks is the only song on this list less than 19 years old. Somebody has to write another great song that includes whistling soon. Regardless, this tune propelled PB&J to fame a few years ago thanks in part to the ultra-catchy whistling segment.

8. Monty Python – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Eric Idle wrote Always Look on the Bright Side of Life for the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian. While Idle wrote the tune, it was his Python troupemate Neil Innes who came up with the memorable whistling part. moe.fans might remember this song as the the last tune the group played at moe.down 9 in 2008 before setting off for an indefinite hiatus that only wound up lasting a few months.

7. Phish – Reba

C’mon, did you really think this tune wouldn’t be on a list? You can lead a jam fan to water but you can’t make him stop listening to noodle jamz. This Phish original with ridiculous lyrics features a whistling section that leads to the final chorus which the band may or may not perform live. Occasionally, the band members would go off script screwing with the pacing and tone of the whistling as they do on the Phish at the Roxy version from February 20, 1993.

6. Billy Joel – The Stranger

My personal favorite Billy Joel song, The Stranger was the title track for the Long Island-bred artist’s breakthrough 1977 album. Joel came up with the memorable whistling part of the tune and hummed it to producer Phil Ramone asking him what instrument should play the melody. Ramone told Joel he should just keep it as a whistle and the rest is music history.

5. Guns ‘N Roses – Patience

G’NR made big names for themselves with the hard-rockin’ tunes that make up Appetite For Destruction, so it was pretty shocking when you first heard Patience from the group’s follow-up Lies EP. Such a sweet and mellow tune, Patience was written by Izzy Stradlin but is made by Axl Rose’s Jekyll and Hyde vocal performance and, of course, the contagious whistling part.

4. Paul Simon – Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard

Two years after parting ways with Art Garfunkel, Simon put out a self-titled debut album that went to #4 on the charts in the U.S. One of the best tunes on the album, Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard, showed a different side of Simon’s writing and features a super-catchy whistling section.

3. John Lennon – Jealous Guy

During the sessions that produced The Beatles’ White Album, John Lennon penned a tune called Child of Nature that didn’t wind up making the double-LP. Lennon reworked the song into Jealous Guy for his Imagine LP adding new lyrics along with a kickass whistling part.

2. Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

Released shortly after his tragic death, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay showed what a major loss music endured when Otis Redding passed away. Co-written with guitarist Steve Cropper, the song contains a stellar whistling outro.

1. Hagen/Spencer – Theme to Andy Griffith Show

You can’t make a list of the most memorable songs that feature whistling without including the grand-daddy of ’em all – The Theme to the Andy Griffith Show. This tune actually was written with lyrics as The Fishin’ Hole but the producers of the TV show went with a version that includes whistling instead of words and that’s the only version most people know.

Honorable Mention: The Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian, Plenty of Andrew Bird songs, Beck – Sissyneck, Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy, Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream, Beatles – Two of Us, Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers,

So, what are you favorite tunes that feature whistling?

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27 thoughts on “B List: 10 Most Memorable Whistling Songs

  1. ginz Reply

    thanks jerks…..now i cant stop whistling 😉

    and where’s the original guyute?

  2. Greg Reply

    Where is Joyride by Roxette????? hahaha

  3. P2G Reply

    that’s an awesome list right there

  4. Tim Reply


  5. Greg Reply

    Where can I find the lyrics to the Andy Griffith theme???? haha

  6. ohkeepah Reply

    Great List! and thanks for the shout out!

  7. dave Reply

    sorry, but a list like this without professor longhair’s mardi gras in new orleans, cannot be taken seriously.

  8. jozzer Reply

    Driving home last night with my music on shuffle and on came Centerfold be J. Geils Band.

  9. Ben Reply

    also, if this list is up-to-date, andrew bird NEEDS to be on it somewhere… maybe ‘a nervous tic motion of the head to the left’

  10. Ben Reply

    oh. there he is.

    yeah, great list all around.

  11. Greg Reply

    Nice list as usual. I do, however, disagree with Reba. Hearing the whistle means skip to the next track. I much prefer Guyute, Bathtub Gin, or even Dirt. I also second the Sweet Georgia Brown!

  12. Alex Reply


  13. uvm98 Reply

    home – edward sharpe magnetic zeros

  14. Martha K Reply

    Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People

    Awesome song

  15. Dave B Reply

    Check out Bad Sun by The Bravery. You’ll be whistling it in no time!

  16. Kyle Reply

    Great list but dont worry be happ needs to be on the list

  17. Peabo Bryson Reply

    BTW, it’s Bobby McFerrin’s Birthday today (3/11). I think a great gift for him would to be include him on this list. Just sayin’.

  18. shemrah Reply

    C’mon guys…Big Chief by Prof Longhair! The original whistlin’ song.

  19. Glacier D Reply

    If you *really* want to hear the lyrics to Fishin’ Hole (Andy Griffith theme), Henry Kaiser has a version on his “Those Who Know History Will be Doomed to Repeat It” CD. Looks like it’s not available for download, but you can hear a sample on Amazon. The whistled version is much, much catchier.

  20. Dan DeVos Reply

    Great list but I would have included Jethro Tull’s “The Whistler” & “Hocus Pocus” by Focus. Not at a lot of whistling in the later but still memorable.

  21. Garrett Reply

    Phish – Dirt

    I love it!

  22. Steve Reply

    How about the theme to The High and The Mighty?

  23. Tomapella Reply

    Not that I really disagree with much of your list, but Air, “Alpha Beta Gaga” is one of my favorites, with a really catchy whistle part.

  24. stuart Reply

    big chief?

  25. Accelerator Reply

    Best song with whistling – Bob Sinclar (feat. Steve Edwards), “World, Hold On (Children of the Sky)” (2006)


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