The Long & Short of it: Best in Popular Music

Let’s post and gab about our favorite long or short songs.


  • Era? Let’s say the era of popular music starts with the phonograph and radio, around when they get into homes and become a big part of our entertainment lives - around 1900 and up?

  • Longest - They have to run at least 6 minutes, and using the rules of charting, they have to be a continuous song, they can’t be broken into chapters, they have to have one single title.

  • Shortest - Mmm, bop, how about a minute, a minute and half max (don’t hit the 2 min mark)

  • Any genre and style is welcome

  • Lastly: I’m not saying you can’t dislike a song and express that, but let’s try and keep the thread upbeat and have fun with this.


I’ll get started with the predictible.

Na Na Na Na… Hey Jude, the song puts chills down my spine, and big crowd singing always gives me a jolt, so that ending? Sublime - 7:11 in length

The song that wasn’t supposed to be on the LP but wound up there on accident anyway - at 23 seconds, Her Majesty. Nice guitar picking, perfect, quirky close to Abbey Road, you think the LPs finished, but…


my short/long…


Nice! I like what I’m hearing from TheBindingPolymer and Editor

Another of my lengthy ones - There are several versions, a 6, a 10- and 12-min version, but I prefer the nearly 15-minute song, which sometimes goes to a half hour in my world because I often play it again right after.

Mother Sky from Can


Most of my noms for short song are not Family Friendly (think NOFX or The Descendents) so instead I nominate: Laser Eyes

(The video is 1:40 but the song itself starts at the 0:42 mark)

For long song… ignoring the classical stuff, I nominate Sinnerman at 10:19

Runner-up: Bat Out of Hell at 9:53


Speaking of sublime, Nina Simone… phenomenal.

The thing I like about longer songs is the energy, the energy build-up, and how I get drawn into that and lose myself, even if they take little side paths, it’s like I’m in a trance that I don’t want to wake from.

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Favorite long song? I’m a huge fan of Lateralus by Tool. I’ll admit that part of the reason for that is all the fancy rhythms they put in. The lyrics use the Fibonacci sequence during the verses. The time signature is insane with something like 3/7 and the overall experience is just a fascinating one. This is one song that really is enhanced by listening to it with headphones.

Short song? How about They Might Be Giants?

Or the glory that is the series of very short Fingertips songs from Apollo 18? It’s like they couldn’t think of real complete songs so they just recorded the snippets.


Here’s a couple for the long song category.

First, I present Deliverance by Opeth, from the album of the same name.

Here’s a great live version. And don’t quit early. It gets even better at the 10:13 mark.

Next, Octavarium by Dream Theater (another title track)

Thirdly, When You Feel It Grunt If You Can by the JB’s. This was essentially their audition track for James Brown.

Short song will take me longer, especially with the one-minute minimum (meaning I can’t use Napalm Death’s You Suffer)


Hmmm. I’ll start out with the “over 20 minutes” category. Winner is “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk. Close runner-up: “The Heavenly Music Corporation” by Fripp & Eno.


Can’t talk about long songs without mentioning MacArthur Park


My favorite song under one minute.


LOL Any time someone says something like that it always reminds me of this bit from The Mighty Boosh.


Really we got this far and no one has mentioned Alice’s Restaurant yet? (18 minutes and change. )


I grew up with that, my uncle, who was into country and folk introduced me to that I believe.

Short one?

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No, that’s a 1 minute, minute and a half maximum - your good to go with that one.

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Favorite short song: Sloan’s The Good In Everyone:

Favorite long song: Sloan’s Forty-Eight Portraits:


Since I have @JakeGittes permission, I present you a short song.


So many good tracks to choose from with Opeth. You could nominate the album Blackwater Park (my favorite Opeth album) and hit both categories, Patterns in the Ivy for short song, and every other song on the album for the long.

I am going a different direction, though…
Long - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 from the album of the same name by Coheed and Cambria:

Short - Milk by S.O.D.:


Focusing on long songs, and where to begin for this classic rock fan?
Humble Pie “I Don’t Need No Doctor” off Rockin’ The Fillmore
Zeppelin “In My Time Of Dying”, “Kashmir” and “When The Levee Breaks”
King Crimson “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “The Court Of The Crimson King”
Vanilla Fudge “You Keep Me Hanging On” (as referenced elsewhere on MSD3K)
The Allman Brothers “Back Where It All Begins”
The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”
Traffic “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys”
Steely Dan “Deacon Blues”
Rolling Stones “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’”
Loggins & Messina “Angry Eyes”

And because somebody has to say it: “Free Bird”