Ok, guys, you all know about the rock songs that pushed the boundaries and set themselves as the most epic pieces of art that defined a whole generation of music by their contribution alone.
But how about the songs that pushed boundaries in terms of sheer length?
Legendary by context and by duration, these beauties will shock your expectations!
1. In My Time of Dying – Led Zeppelin (11:06)
Released on their sixth album, “ Physical Graffiti “ this is the longest track the band has ever made.
It is based on a gospel song that was used and re-imaged by many different artists, with Led Zeppelin’s version being the most famous. The song’s record producer, Rick Rubin, himself commented on the uniqueness of the song’s composition.
2. Desolation Row – Bob Dylan (11:21)
One of the crowned jewels of Bob Dylan’s career with praised lyrics and a fantastic album to match.
The song was credited as his best work up to the date it was released, with the New Oxford Companion to Music accrediting the song with an admirably high level of poetical lyricism.
3. Voodoo Child – Jimmy Hendrix Experience (15:02)
Produced in 1968 for the Jimmy Hendrix Experience ( the band that consisted of Jimmy Hendrix himself, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding) this beautiful piece, alongside three more studio albums, helped create the legacy of this legendary rock band.
The band was characterized by its charisma and skill, all of which could be seen embedded into this production. It emerged from Catfish Blues and was in development for quite some time before, as some early versions included a progressed line of more guitar and vocal lines, as well as new lyrics by Hendrix himself.
The song was a unison of two passions Hendrix shared – science fiction and Chicago blues in an elegantly crafted song that is deserving of every classic rock enthusiast.
4. The end – The Doors (11:43)
An epic coming from the rock band “The Doors” with this version being released with the album “ The Doors”
This song was initially supposed to represent a goodbye song Morrison wrote to a girl he loved and from that, it grew into an almost 12 minutes long
It was well-received. Paul Williams greatly praising both the song and album and made a comparison of its likelihood comparable to the Rolling Stones in setting the building blocks for modern rock.
5. Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd (25:33)
Its purpose was to honor the former member Syd Barrett who was also one of the founding band members of the band, who sadly had to leave the band due to his drug addiction issues that affected all the other members and his ability to manage his work as a musician.
The song was performed in two instances: During the French tour in 1974 and the album “ Wish You Were Here” released a year later.
This long song holds the value that goes beyond the boundaries of artistic genius and speaks volumes on a personal and objective level that only extends the magnitude of its message.
6. The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys – Traffic (11:41)
The title song of the same titular album by the rock band “Traffic”.
It was never released as a single, but that wasn’t a hindrance in taking a special place on American FM radio stations that played rock during the 1970s and is still present on classic rock radio programs.
This song has an interesting start: It starts with a progressive fade in and then finishes with a fade-out, with distinctive additions of solos that are played by members further down the song’s duration, which was noted as an attribute that could make it out that every solo could be a song on its own.
7. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding – Elton John (11:08)
These are two tracks that were made by Elton John when he was thinking about what kind of music would be fitting for his funeral.
The two songs’ merging was initially the idea of Gus Dungeon (a producer with a long-standing partnership with Elton John), which John liked so much he decided it would be a great idea to leave it together.
This song introduces the spotlight to Elton’s most successful album – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, the album that was instrumental to the development and inspirations to countless aspiring musicians.
Bernie Taupin described the lyrics of the second song as a vivid description of the effects of rock and roll on someone’s family life.
8. 2122 – Rush (20:33)
The fourth and most well-sold album the aforementioned band has made, this song has quite the story behind it.
The band was going through financial hardship and their label, Mercury Records (Island Records in the US), was contemplating if the band should be dropped due to their degrading success but was given one more chance and this exceeded the expectations in every way. The song received great scores, with Cashbox giving out a short positive review on its ingenuity and IGN putting it on their “ 10 Classic Prog Rock Albums”
9. Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands – Bob Dylan (11:22)
This song was initially released on the album “Blonde on Blonde” it carried a reputation as the “the most pretentious lyrics to ever be penned” as well as extremely captivating that can leave the audience in a state of just wanting to “ Leave home, marry a gypsy or work on a railroad” by Tom Waits
Rock has, ever since it’s birth, been an induction to countless social movements and culture. It deserves praise for much of our musical institutions and countless genres and sub-genres that have risen from it’s deep and benign roots. Rock has been and will remain a carrier of new ideas and generational fluctuations in our society.
The long classics that have left so much for the music scene are still strong and relevant as the day they were introduced to the public.
Go ahead and take a listen!