Music has been a core part human culture since the dawning of time, and most everyone loves to unwind with a good song. Whether it’s a classic like “Happy Birthday,” or something catchy like “I Will Survive,” there’s always room for a little fun. And sometimes, it takes a lot of fun to make a really long song.
With so many different ideas to explore, people can come up with some pretty unique compositions. From the epic “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the playful “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” there’s plenty of material to work with.
But what exactly constitutes a long song? Well, there’s no real consensus on what makes one song longer than another. Some people think that a song needs to be over five minutes long, while others say that ten is the magic number. So today we’ll take a closer look at some of the longest songs ever recorded.
“Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star
Mazzy Star formed in 1988 in Los Angeles, California. They quickly became known for their haunting melodies and ethereal vocals. Their debut album, “Kaleidoscope World” came out in 1990, and included the hit single “Fade Into You.” This track went on to become a staple on college radio stations across America. In 1992, the band released their second studio album, “Seasons of Your Day.” This record spawned hits such as “One More Red Nightmare” and “Candyman.” After several lineup changes, the group disbanded in 1997.
“A Thousand Years” – David Bowie
David Bowie was an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, author, and fashion designer. He rose to fame in the 1960s as lead vocalist and principal songwriter of glam rock band The Spiders from Mars. His musical style incorporated elements of soul, blues, psychedelia, space rock, and electronic music.
“World Without End”
Featured on Momentum, Neal Morse’s seventh solo progressive album, World Without End is the longest song on the album. It is accompanied by five other songs that are much shorter and went over equally well with the album’s fans. While the entire album’s sound was pretty well-received, many people thought that the lyrics were generally unimpressive and at times almost ridiculous.
“The Great Goodnight”
The Great Goodnight is the opening track and longest song on the album Hundred Year Flood, which includes only two other songs. One of the other tracks, Family Jewels, features a lot of symphonic elements including flute pieces played by Ian Anderson. The song World Without End is divided into six parts.
“A Long Day”
Artist:The Polyphonic Spree
This Texan group created quite a stir with their homemade outfits and offbeat style, with some people even going so far as to wonder whether the band was actually a cult. The number of band members has fluctuated a great deal over the years, sometimes reaching as many as 29 people, and the diversity of the band’s instruments is truly impressive..
“Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence”
Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence album is their sixth and second-longest full-length studio album. It’s also a concept album and its tracks explore different themes surrounding lifetime struggles such as loss, different mental conditions, and various forms of addiction. Other themes that pervade the album include the sanctity of life and death.
“Thick As A Brick”
The Thick As A Brick album featured some interesting classical and folk sounds that Jethro Tull skillfully incorporated into the signature progressive rock sound. The album art was equally creative and was designed to look like a mock newspaper with the entirety of the lyrics printed out on the front. Many people misinterpreted it as a religious concept album, much to the irritation of the band.
Genre: Heavy Metal
Catch Thirty three has gotten some truly mixed feedback, with some people thoroughly enjoying it and others calling it trash. This lengthy song was meant to serve as a continuation of the one-song EP “I” which some people saw as completely unnecessary. Catch Thirtythree was also the first album that featured programmed drums and was said to be an experimental piece.
This is a concept album that revolves around the ideas of various paradoxes and was featured in the soundtrack of the movie Saw III. The album was meant to be a spoof piece, in a similar spirit to that of Monty Python.
“Garden of Dreams”
Artist: The Flower Kings
Genre: Progressive Rock
The song Garden of Dreams is what many would consider to be an hour-long song done right. It incorporates a wide enough variety of different elements to keep the piece interesting as it progresses, and some would even say that they wish it were even longer! As is often the case with very long pieces, Garden of Dreams is subdivided into a series of tracks.
“As Slow As Possible”
– Longest Songs Ever Recorded By An Organist”
The “ASLSP” performed by John Cage is one of the longest compositions ever recorded by an organist. In fact, it is the longest continuous recording ever done by an organist.
The piece was written in 1985 for the piano, but it was never actually played. Instead, it was transcribed into the score for an organ by Cage himself. This version of the work was premiered in 1991 by David Del Tredici at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Cage died in 1992, but the organists continue to play the piece every day. For example, the organist of the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York City plays the piece for about five hours each day.
This article goes over some interesting facts about the longest songs ever recorded by an organ player.
1) The first time this piece was ever played on a keyboard instrument was in 1991. It has been played daily since then.
2) The piece was originally written for the piano, but was later transcribed onto the score for an organ.
3) The piece takes up more than 1,000 pages of music.
4) The piece was commissioned by the composer’s wife,