5 Great Pop and Rock Songs With Mandolins

5 Great Rock Songs With Mandolins

Just in case you thought it was just for romantic, Italian classical pieces, here’s 5 great rock songs with mandolins

Despite being from a predominately classical background, the mandolin is one of those instruments that creeps into songs, of all genres.

Jimmy Page was a fan, as was Rory Gallagher- in fact, you’d be really surprised at where mandolins crop up. Aside from the usual, folk influenced stuff, of course.

So, if you’re a guitarist and you’ve been looking for a new flavour to add to your work, a mandolin can be just the thing.

To get you inspired, here are five great pop and rock songs with mandolins. And not a Mumford in sight…

Rory Gallagher – I’m Not Surprised

The mandolin has long history with blues music, so I’m not surprised (ho, ho, ho…) that Irish guitar legend occasionally put down the Strat, in favour of one. A fine job he does with it, too (unsurprisingly).

Led Zeppelin – The Battle Of Evermore

Not content with writing and playing some of the most memorable guitar riffs ever committed to tape, Jimmy Page decided he’d pick up a mandolin and repeat the trick.

The mando features on several of Zep’s tracks, but ‘The Battle of Evermore’ is perhaps the most well known.

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

Another band that have several songs contending for a place in this list, R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion’ has, perhaps the most well known mando lick of any in this list. Peter Buck’s playing was always understated and effective, rather than ‘showy’, and here, he does the same with a mandolin, the hook underpinning the entire song.

Muse – Blackout

Muse’s Matt Bellamy is no stranger to multi instrumentalism (sometimes within the same song, live- check out some of the live performances of ‘Sunburn’ to see what I mean…)

Here, he grabs a mandolin, and effortlessly throws out one of the band’s most beautiful songs. Some people are just show offs…

The Kinks – Supersonic Rocket Ship

As one of the UK’s greatest ever songwriters, with a career that stretches back to the ‘60s, there was always a good chance that Ray Davies had employed a mando on one of his creations at some point.

Here, he uses some mandolin to add a bit of homely, folk feel to his delightfully skewed songwriting.

If you’ve never considered a mandolin before, why not? If you’re a guitarist already, it shouldn’t take long to nail the basics, and just listen to what it can add to a track. A full range of mandolins can be found on our website. Stay away from the tweed, though- it won’t end well… 😉

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  1. Ralph Notaro says:

    Thanks for posting this, however, I do not hear mando on the Rory Gallagher tune.

    • Hi Ralph,

      It appears first around first around 40-seconds, doubling the ascending riff 😉

      Thanks for your comment,