TNB Night Owl – Horn Bands

Horn bands, also known as brass rock, can be defined as a group with a horn section as a prominent and permanent feature of the band. Brass rock isn’t a genre or style, IMO, it’s a sound that adds another texture or dimension to the rock music.

The horn section typically consists of a trumpet, a trombone, and a saxophone. There may be multiples of each type of instrument and there may be additional brass instruments as well, such as tuba or french horn. A 1973 recording by Tower of Power (below) includes a 15 second flugelhorn solo (time mark approximately 2:35-2:50). This may be the only time a flugelhorn has been part of a rock band, but it works beautifully.

Undoubtedly, the two best known examples of horn bands are Chicago (originally Chicago Transit Authority) and Earth Wind & Fire, both of which were featured previously on The Night Owl.

Brass can be heard on many tunes from the rock era, but not every band with a brass rock track can be considered a horn band because they don’t use horns in all (or at least most) of their compositions. Here are a few of my favorite horn bands, but this is by no means a comprehensive list — not even close. (The Band isn’t a true horn band IMO, but Don’t Do It rocks enough to earn an honorable mention.)


Hold On, I’m Comin’ (2:36)
Sam & Dave

Soul Man (2:39)
Sam & Dave

I Can’t Quit Her (3:39)
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (4:19)
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Spinning Wheel (4:09)
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

And When I Die (4:05)
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Hi-De-Ho (4:24)
Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Vehicle (2:56)
Ides of March

One Fine Morning (5:20)

Don’t Do It (4:45)
The Band

So Very Hard to Go (3:38)
(2:35-2:50 flugelhorn solo)
Tower of Power

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.