I think of the Hammond organ as the Whiter Shade of Pale organ. When its sound grabs me in other songs, I say that I like their use of the Whiter Shade of Pale organ.
Of course, the Hammond organ goes back to something like 1934, a little while before A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Here are some of my favorite Hammond organ songs that span a few decades.
A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procul Harum
I wasn’t alive in 1967, but I think this song struck me for the first time in 1989 when I saw New York Stories with my mom.
Spider – White Snake
This one’s good for emotional detoxing.
Toussaint McCall – Nothing Takes the Place of You
I’m eternally grateful to my friend Becky for turning me on to this song during a Hammond discussion.
Booker T and the MGs – Fuquawi
Booker T’s famous for his Hammond playing, and this jam bares his talents as much as Green Onions and Homegrown.
Toussaint McCall – Shimmy
Booker T and Toussaint: Dueling Hammonds. Becky recommends the B-side to Nothing Takes the Place of You:
The Charlatans – Come in Number 21
This was part of the soundtrack to my first trip to England.
The Zombies – Time of the Season
All my life, anytime I’ve heard the first nanosecond of the opening bass line of this song, I’ve lost my mind with joy. What I love is the bass, and the “ahh,” and the vocals … and the organ is pretty groovy too.
Other Awesome Organs
I’m on Fire – Bruce Springsteen
The first and most prominent sound in this spectacular song could sort of be a Hammond B-3 but is, well, not a Hammond B-3.
Simon Dupree and the Big Sound – Kites
This does not, my research indicates, involve a Hammond, but rather a Mellotron. Still, I felt like including this one because it’s so completely weird and I love it.
Top image: I think it’s a Hammond organ. By Flickr user David DeHetre.