What happened to the great instrumentals of the past? Consider (all #1 Pop hits):
1956 - Lisbon Antigua (Nelson Riddle - 4 weeks); Poor People Of Paris (Les Baxter - 4 weeks, replaced by Elvis, 'Heartbreak Hotel'):
1958 - Tequila (Champs - 5 weeks):
1959 - The Happy Organ (Dave "Baby" Cortez - 1 week); Sleepwalk (Santo & Johnny - 2 weeks):
1960 - Theme from "A Summer Place" (Percy Faith - 9 weeks)
1961 - Wonderland by Night (Bert Kampfert - 3 weeks); Calcutta (Lawrence Welk - 2 weeks)
1962 - Stranger on the Shore (Acker Bilk - 1 week); The Stripper (David Rose - 1 week)
1962-1963 - Telstar (Tornadoes - 3 weeks)
1963 - Sukiyaki (Kyu Sakamota - 3 weeks) - a vocal, but in Japanese, making it akin to an instrumental in the U.S; Pipeline (The Chantays - ? weeks); Wipe Out (The Surfaris - ? weeks)
You get the idea - back then it wasn't just Mantovani playing instrumentals for old people. And, who can forget the dozens of chart instrumentals that didn't make it to #1 - A Swingin' Safari, Raunchy, That Happy Feeling, O Mein Papa (my favorite trumpet number, by Eddy Calvert), Woodchoppers Ball, Music Box Dancer, A Walk in the Black Forest, Bilitis, Wheels, The typewriter, Apollo 100s "Joy," Red River Rock, Diamonds, Shangri-La, Born Free, Calcutta, Alley Cat, Cast your Fate to the Wind, Exodus, Love is Blue, Mule Skinner blues . . . . not to mention Dick Dale and the other 'zillion' surfin' instrumentals.
Anyone who thinks the instrumentals of forty-five to fifty years ago are 'blase' doesn't know what he is talking about. Mantovani made a living out of taking popular songs and performing wonderful instrumental renditions of them. So did many other great orchestras.
Why not today? How do you 'instrumentalize' rap, or punk, or most of the other monotone, nasal 'music' of the past couple of decades? Until today's songwiters write MELODIES, we'll just have to keep replaying these great tunes of the past.