After watching the now-iconic Saturday Night Live Blue Oyster Cult “cowbell” skit, I suddenly started noticing cowbells in rock and pop songs and was surprised by how frequently they were used. Thus a new musical montage idea was born – Name That Cowbell. This one took much longer to compile than I anticipated. Although cowbells are in many songs, they are rarely played alone and are almost always in the background. That’s why this montage doesn’t include the obvious cowbell song – Don’t Fear The Reaper; although the cowbell is played throughout much of the song, it is barely audible over the rest of the instruments. In order to make this a challenge, I’ve included as many isolated cowbells as I could find, and cowbells with minimal percussive accompaniment.
These samples are from popular songs from the 1970s and 1980s – try to guess as many titles and artists as you can, and then list your guesses in the Comments section, below. Also, let me know which ones you find easy or difficult. As always, there are two versions of the montage: the second one contains one second of silence between each audio sample, and the first version doesn’t, which makes it a little more challenging, but a lot more fun!
Cowbell Montage (with gaps):