Access To Rock

Access To Rock

Access To Rock

We need more cowbell! Here are some great classic rock songs that feature the instrument made iconic by SNL.

“I’ve got a fever…and the only prescription is…more cowbell!” It depicts the recording of the song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch stars guest host Christopher Walken as music producer Bruce Dickinson, and Will Ferrell as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle. His raucous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson.

The sketch also features Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Bobby Rondinelli, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma, and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.

If you aren’t familiar with the famous skit, make yourself familiar right now:

Now we can continue…

Will Ferrell’s idea for the sketch came from hearing “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” over the years. Hearing the faint cowbell in the back made him wonder…what’s that guy’s life like?

Well now, with the skit that made nearly everyone involved break character, we can fully imagine what recording the song was like.

It was a pretty common trend, though, for classic rock acts to add the instrument for an added level of spice to certain songs. The percussion instrument is featured in a lot of our favorite classic rock tunes.

“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is not the only song that features cowbell. There are some really iconic songs by other classic rock bands that show off the range of the instrument.

(We bet they didn’t have Christopher Walken screaming for more of it during their recording processes, though…)

Don’t forget these tracks when you start to think about the wonder and joy of the percussion instrument (and catchphrase) heard ’round the world.

Here are 5 classic rock songs that feature cowbell:

  • "Honky Tonk Women" - The Rolling Stones

    You don’t typically think cowbell when you hear “The Rolling Stones.” This song will prove that wrong, though. “Honky Tonk Women” features the instrument heavily! You can even see visuals of a cowbell in the video above.

  • "Low Rider" - War

    When you hear “Low Rider” do you notice the horns? Maybe the singer’s deep voice? Do you think of George Lopez’s early-2000s sitcom? We hear cowbell! Give it another listen and really listen out for that cowbell.

  • "Hair Of The Dog" - Nazareth

    The cowbell is the first thing you hear in this song! Before you even hear the deep, raunchy guitar riff, the cowbell is there. That is a cowbell part that cannot be ignored. Check it out!

  • "We're An American Band" - Grand Funk Railroad

    Another song that begins on a cowbell. You simply cannot miss it during the verses of this track. It’s a large part of what makes this song so iconic. Without it, are they even an American band?

  • "Born On The Bayou" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

    This CCR classic is also heavy on the cowbell, which we love! This song has an incredible percussion section, and the cowbell adds that extra sauce. You can really hear it adding to the song later in the track, around 2 minutes in. We love it!

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