1. "Young Folks" - Peter, Bjorn & John
There couldn't be a list without this one. It was everywhere in 2006 and 2007, in fact most people didn't even know it's title, simply referring to it as 'the whistle song'. Sweden's Peter, Bjorn & John (PB&J) were relatively unknown until this song blew up overseas. They initially wanted to replace the whistling with another instrument but realized the whistle was the song.
2. "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" - Otis Redding
I know i've sung his praises on The Void before, but Otis deserves every ounce of credit he gets. This song is one of those liberating musical experiences. Enjoying life as you let it slowly pass you by. The whistle break conjures the image of a man happily being at peace with himself, not needing anything else but his own mind and soul.
3. "Don't Stop" - Foster The People
The newest song on the list. Foster The People's smash "Pumped Up Kicks" also had a whistling part, but this one features it right out of the gates! Also I used that other song on my best of 2011 list.
4. "Ganja Babe" - Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti is an American artist who sings lead and is the driving force behind Spearhead. His group mixes hip-hop with reggae, jazz, poetry and spoken word. "Ganja Babe" is a chill song about jammin' and having a good time. The occasional whistle almost sounds like that old sting frequently used in the shoot out scenes from old western movies.
5. "Games Without Frontiers" - Peter Gabriel
"..whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside..." such a great song that truly stands out among the typical riff raff one encounters on generic classic rock radio. Not only is there much debate about what this song is about (Olympics, global politics), but long before the internet people everywhere were trying to decipher what is being said in the refrain...of course we all know now that it is Jeux sans frontieres the french translation of the title...
6. "Home" - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
Another song that practically blew up over night. It's got a great vibe and the whistling intro really suits the song well. This song has been used in television shows, movie trailers and covered in countless pubs and coffee shops all over the globe. It was released in 2009.
7. "Mr. Bojangles" - Sammy Davis Jr.
"Mr. Bojangles" is one of those songs that has been given a life of it's own through various recordings and versions. I liked Sammy Davis Jr.'s version...something about the way his voice goes with the song, he really capture's the pain expressed there in. Also the whistling breaks give you a sense of hope that Bojangles is going to be alright, despite all his troubles. The song starts around the 1 min mark in the video, but it's worth watching the whole thing. If you aren't familiar with why Davis Jr was so popular...a simple, propless performance like this can help with that.
8. "Jealous Guy" - John Lennon
If you haven't heard of John Lennon, first of all WHAT'S UP CAVE MAN????? Secondly, he was possibly the most important piece of one of rock and roll's greatest acts: The Beatles. After their split he enjoyed a successful solo career. Spawning many great hits like "Imagine", "Woman" and "Watching The Wheels". Most people forget about "Jealous Guy" but it gets a shot in the limelight here...because hey...whistle break!
9. "Engel" - Rammstein
Going to take a left turn right about here. Rammstein actually had 2 songs I could've included on this list, the other being the sombre "Roter Sand". "Engel" though had a different vibe. Instead of bringing the mood down or on the level with the whistling I feel in 'Engel" is offers an ethereal feel. Whistling in the middle of an industrial rock song is evidently awesome!
10. "Patience" - Guns 'n Roses
What better way to end than with a little "Patience"? Sure Guns 'n Roses have been somewhat of a punchline in the last few decades, but there was a time when they ruled the world. Axl and the boys were unstoppable with songs like this. Relatable, soothing and endlessly listenable "Patience" has that touch of magic that later GNR albums just didn't have. I will get to Chinese Democracy on another list. For now though, enjoy...
Whistle on friends