A few weeks ago, Sound Opinions tackled the subject of great short songs-- songs that get in, get out, and get it done in under two minutes. While as usual, Messrs. DeRogatis and Kot had excellent picks (though no Guided by Voices, for shame), it got me thinking about the opposite situation. I'm a sucker for the short-but-sweet format, but long, epic songs rarely hold my attention. I guess I never went through a classic rock period. It takes a certain kind of band to record an extremely long song that is equally arresting and deserving of attention throughout. Here are my nominations for the best songs over ten minutes long, no filler edition.
10. Sonic Youth, "Trilogy"
While some instances of Daydream Nation separate this fourteen-minute epic into three individual songs, it's best when listened to all together.
9. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Babe, I'm on Fire"
A twisted love song from the king of twisted love songs.
8. The Sugar Hill Gang, "Rapper's Delight"
Can you believe they recorded this in just one take?
7. The Wipers, "Youth of America"
This ten-minute-long track from the innovative album of the same name has been covered by The Melvins and Mission of Burma. Proof that punk doesn't have to be short.
6. Destroyer, "Bay of Pigs (Detail)"
Kaputt was one of my favorite albums of last year, not the least for this "ambient disco" track that tells the story of the 1961 invasion of Cuba.
5. Yo La Tengo, "The Story of Yo La Tango" (sic)
From the great 2006 album I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, "The Story of Yo La Tango" proves that YLT is equally compelling at any length.
4. Neu!, "Für Immer"
The archetypal Krautrock song. I could listen to it forever.
3. The Velvet Underground, "Sister Ray"
The Velvets regularly closed their live sets with versions of "Sister Ray" that could run 40 minutes long, but the classic 17-minute album version was recorded in just one take. Lou Reed has said the recording engineer walked out while they were playing, unwilling to listen to their killer jam.
2. Kraftwerk, "Autobahn"
A four-minute long radio edit made it to #25 on the Billboard charts, but the original version took up one full side of Kraftwerk's fourth LP.
1. Television, "Marquee Moon"
Let's face it, this is the greatest long rock song of all time.
Got a song you love that's over ten minutes? Add it in the comments!