Top 10 Edgar Winter Songs

Edgar Winter Songs

Photo: By Carl Lender (originally posted to Flickr as Edgar Winter) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Edgar Winter Songs list looks at a rock and roll blues musician who is easily one of the most underrated artists of the classic rock era. This past summer, I stood in line during a Joan Jett and Boston concert at Jones Beach Theater, waiting to buy your typical overpriced food. While standing in line, I  noticed a large sign promoting the upcoming Deep Purple / Alice Cooper concert. At the very bottom of the sign, in small print, was a promotion claiming that the Edgar Winter group would also be appearing. Now, not to take anything away from Deep Purple or Alice Cooper, but in the early to mid-nineteen seventies, the Edgar Winter Group was one of the most famous bands in the world. Their album, They Only Come Out At Night, reached number three on the Billboard Top 100 Albums chart. The album also featured the instrumental “Frankenstein,” which hit number 1 on the U.S. Top 100 singles charts.

So, in the end, seeing the Edgar Winter Group promoted on that concert poster in small type at the bottom was a bit upsetting. These guys deserved equal billing with Deep Purple and Alice Cooper. Edgar Winter has released an extraordinary body of work and has put together some of the most exciting rock ensembles of the classic rock era. This artist has had Ronnie Montrose and Rick Derringer as the guitarist in his band. His lead vocalist for a point in time was Dan Hartman. Edgar has recorded albums with his brother Johnny Winter, who is regarded as one of the most terrific blues guitarists ever to live.

Edgar Winter released his first album in 1970 entitled Entrance. He quickly followed up that album one year later with Edgar Winter’s White Trash in 1971. Edgar Winter released eight more albums throughout the 1970s. Edgar Winter continued recording into the 1980s but only released two albums during his 1980s period: Standing On A Rock in 1981 and Mission Earth in 1986. In the 1990s, Edgar Winter returned with a more consistent musical output, releasing four albums: Not A Kid Anymore (1994), The Real Deal (1996), Live in Japan (1998), and Winter Blues (1999)

In the 2000s, Edgar Winter continued to record as he issued Jazzin’ the Blues ( 2004), The Better Deal (2006), Rebel Road (2008), and Reach For It in 2009.

# 10 – I Got News For You

It’s so fitting to start out our Edgar Winters Songs list with this great blues track from the Edgar Winter White Trash album. Right out the start, the listener is greeted by Edgar Winter’s soulful saxophone playing. The song features a fabulous horn section that sets the song’s groove and is featured halfway through with heart-stomping, soul-infused licks. Released on an album of standout tracks on Edgar Winter’s sophomore record, “I Got News For You” is our favorite track on this excellent record. The recording also featured Johnny Winter on guitar.

# 9 – Jump Right Out

Coming in at number 9 on our Edgar Winter Songs list in the excellent track “Jump Right Out.” The song was released on Edgar Winter’s first album, Entrance. That album was released in 1970. Edgar and Johnny Winter wrote eleven of the album’s twelve tracks. The sole exception was the incredible cover of “Tobacco Road,” which shows up later on our list of top 10 Edgar Winter songs. A song that the David Lee Roth Band featuring Steve Vai also recorded a fantastic version of.

# 8 – Easy Street

While Edgar Winter wrote and recorded many classic-sounding blues and rock songs, he also had an incredible knack for soulful pop-oriented songs. The reason behind the release of these pop nuggets was none other than the band’s guitarist, Dan Hartman. The great songwriter, singer, and guitarist was responsible for many of the great tracks the Edgar Winter Group released. Dan Hartman would also have a mega smash hit later on with the number-one single “Instant Replay.” The outstanding track “Easy Street” was also recorded by David Lee Roth of Van Halen for his first solo EP in 1984.

# 7 – We All Had A Real Good Time

One of my favorite albums I purchased in the 1970s was The Edgar Winter Group’s They Only Come Out At Night. Every song on the album was great, and of course, it featured the band’s biggest hit of their career, “Frankenstein.” Nonetheless, the song I used to love listening to the most was the tremendous party-themed song “We All Had A Real Good Time.”  At the point in the song when the music breaks a bit, you can hear some very happy people in the background who seem to be haveing a grand time.

# 6 – Tell Me In A Whisper

Dan Hartman’s influence in the band is prominent on the track “Tell Me In A Whisper.” It’s hard to believe that this is the same artist who has released some of the loudest and hardest rock and roll of the classic rock era. “Tell Me In A Whisper” is smooth jazz, Herb Albert, and Michael McDonald, it’s all symbolic of a turning point in 1970’s popular culture. The year 1975 would become the year in which disco would begin to creep out of the underground clubs where it had begun about five years earlier and become a mass cultural phenomenon. It was an exciting time. In the end, while “Tell Me In a Whisper” may be representative of the changes going on, it’s still just a great piece of music.

# 5 – Rebel Road

Edgar Winter’s “Rebel Road” is the most recent song of Edgar Winter’s career to appear on our top 10 Edgar Winter Songs list. “Rebel Road” was released on Edgar Winter’s 2008 Rebel Road album. The record featured some of the best musicians in the music business. It’s a fantastic record and one of Edgar Winter’s best albums. The excellent track “Rebel Road” also featured lead guitar work by Slash of Guns N’ Roses.

# 4 – Dying To Live

The beautiful song “Dying To Live” was released on the Edgar Winter White Trash Album. That album, which was released in 1972, was Edgar Winter’s second record. The song was written by Edgar Winter and featured a mesmerizing opening piano part that defined Edgar Winter’s talent as both a songwriter and a musician.

# 3 – Free Ride

One of Edgar Winter’s biggest hits was released on the Edgar Winter Group’s most successful album, They Only Come Out At Night. The song “Free Ride” was released as a single and reached the number 14 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Edgar Winter Group guitarist, singer, and composer Dan Hartman wrote the song. Great rock songs always contain either a great verse, a great chorus, or a great guitar lick. The song “Free Ride” contained all three.

# 2 – Tobacco Road

Edgar Winter’s version of “Tobacco Road” is a much slower version of the song than most other versions of this classic song. There is a slow, steady build-up from the start of the song to the end, but it creeps slowly, wrapping its arms around you as the vocal hypnotizes you to the last note. And it’s on the last screaming vocal note that you realize this was one for the ages. The song was released on Edgar Winter’s first album, Entrance, and it still stands as one of the greatest Edgar Winter songs in his spectacular musical catalog.

# 1 – Frankenstein

If we were going to choose the greatest guitar riffs in classic rock history, there are a few that come to mind rather quickly. Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water,” and of course, hands down one of the greatest ever, Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.” However, Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein,” was so much more than a rock instrumental that contained a classic guitar riff. “Frankenstein” was one of the first songs to use the early synthesizer as a lead instrument. A song filled with drum solos and duets, synth breaks, and multiple changes became one of the most original and exciting rock instrumentals ever released.

Out of all the Edgar Winter songs written on this list, “Frankenstein,” was the most successful. It was the only number-one song of Edgar Winter’s solo career. We only say solo because Edgar Winter, as a musician, has been involved in many projects that led to number-one songs, such as Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me” and many others. But under the name Edgar Winter, “Frankenstein” was the artist’s commercial peak.

Updated January 25, 2024

Top 10 Edgar Winter Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com©

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