Top 10 Longest Songs in the World
Since the inception of the UK Singles Chart in 1952 there have been various records to break, including most chart toppers, longest run at number one, biggest selling single etc. All the records have changed hands over the years, some more than others and many have certain reasons as to why the records have been held by a certain act. Here are some of the longest song in the world:
10. Stairway to Heaven
There will certainly be many people doubting the credibility of any list of “Longest Songs” that isn’t headed up by “Stairway to Heaven”. There is such a weight of affection for Led Zeppelin’s 1971 epic, that it typically tops any such list. In fact, many music lovers would place “Stairway to Heaven” in their Top 10 of all time, and with good reason. Plus it was composed by a fellow Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, the great Robert Plant, so it would make it on to my list for this reason alone.
9. Bohemian Rhapsody
Managed to reach 18 years of age without ever hearing it before. Such was the impact that Queen’s bemusing anthem had. Surely the hallmark of a truly great song is its ability to halt you dead in your tracks. At just under 6 minutes long, “Bohemian Rhapsody” makes about as much sense as marshmallow shoes, but who cares?
8. Hotel California
Which came first – “Hotel California” or the jukebox? The jukebox was created before this stonker by The Eagles, but surely no song ever sounded so good blaring out of one. It is humanly impossible to hear this track without joining in with the famous chorus. Released in 1977, this allegorical masterpiece examines the glamour and excess of LA at the time, alluding to a darker, more sinister side to the so-called American Dream. Irrespective of the undertone, this is a great sing-along song.
In truth, the pioneering music video for “Thriller” had a bigger impact on me than the song itself when it came out in 1982. Quincy Jones’s stunning production has got so much going on. It was always going to be tough to follow the legendary “Off the Wall” album, but Michael Jackson thrilled and amazed with this equally impressive offering. In 2009, we lost a true genius. RIP MJ.
6. Money for Nothing
The catalyst for buying the second album was “Money for Nothing” – a pioneer of MTV Europe and a genuine tour de force. It has one of the greatest build-ups in rock and roll, and when Mark Knopfler finally drops that guitar solo near the beginning, it gives me chills. “Money for Nothing” was the 1980s for me. No other track evokes so many memories of the time, and its video still looks fresh today.
5. Hey Jude
There isn’t a soul on the planet who would question its inclusion on this list. Thanks largely to its utterly infectious and elongated fade out (“na na na naaa – hey Jude”) in recent years it has become a staple of karaoke bars around the world. This has in no way diminished its importance and credibility though, and if Paul McCartney had written “Hey Jude” today, it would still have been light years ahead of its time. God knows what they made of it in 1968.
4. No Woman, No Cry
It says a lot about this track, and the artist that sang it, that the most popular version of it is recorded completely live. Bob Marley’s flawless rendition of “No Woman, No Cry” is one of the most heartfelt performances. Ably supported by The Wailers and some note-perfect female backing singers. So for a genre-crossing, behemoth of a long song, look no further.
3. To Be In Love
Lists of “Long Songs” usually comprise the seminal rock tracks that we’re all familiar with, and that’s fine. But it’s crucial not to ignore other important genres, and in my case the most important being house music. “Masters at Work” were precisely that. Pioneering exponents of the house scene in 1990s New York, they rose above basic DJ status to become world-beating music producers. “To Be In Love” showcases the beautiful vocal talents of “India”.
2. Champagne Supernova
A criticism often levelled at Oasis is that their music wasn’t really original. There was an argument that Noel Gallagher merely aped his musical heroes and contemporaries, but this argument fell flat on its face when “Champagne Supernova” was released in 1995. As with many of the great songs, its nonsensical lyrics defy explanation, since its writer was narcotically charged when it was conceived. So don’t analyse it, just enjoy it for the ground breaker that it is.
1. November Rain
No contest really. The other 9 entries on my list required very careful consideration in determining their eventual positioning, but the top spot was never in doubt. A confirmed Guns N’ Roses fan ever since the release of the seminal “Appetite for Destruction” album. Every straining word uttered by Axl, and every note beautifully crafted by Slash, brims with guts and emotion. Released in 1992, “November Rain” is 9 minutes of musical genius, backed-up by one of the great longest song music videos.