Sleepwalk - Santo & Johnny (1959)
I was exposed to this, the finest of the rock era's instrumental hits, through the ending montage of 1987's biopic of Ritchie Valens, La Bamba. It haunted me for years before purchasing the Billboard Book of Number One Hits and finding all about Santo and Johnny. Man, these guys had international staying power! While "Sleepwalk" was their only US number one, they hit that spot in Mexico with a cover of "And I Love Her" by The Beatles in 1964, and stayed at the top the Italian charts for 21 weeks in 1973 with a cover of The Godfather's Theme. George Harrison even acknowledged that he used the track as a reference point for his slide guitar solo in the Beatles' "comeback" single "Free As A Bird". I think we need a definitive career-spanning compilation of these guys here in the states. It would make for perfect late night entertaining mood music.
Covers abound, even one with lyrics written by the boys, though never recorded by them!