Music is a universal language that can express emotions, tell stories, and inspire people. Some songs are short and catchy, while others are long and epic. How long can a song be? Well, it depends on how you define a song, but there are some officially released songs that are over an hour, a day, or even a week long!
In this article, we will explore the top 10 longest songs ever recorded, based on their official duration and release date. We will also look at some interesting facts about the artists and the inspiration behind these songs. Let’s get started!
What are the top 10 longest songs?
10. Mogwai – Mogwai Fear Satan (16:19)
Mogwai is a Scottish post-rock band that is known for creating atmospheric and instrumental music. Their debut album Young Team, released in 1997, features the song “Mogwai Fear Satan”, which is the longest track on the album and one of their most popular songs. The song starts with a quiet guitar melody, then builds up to a loud and distorted climax, before fading out to a gentle flute outro. The song is said to be inspired by the band’s fear of the devil, as well as their love for My Bloody Valentine, a shoegaze band that influenced their sound.
9. SZA – Kill Bill (17:14)
SZA is an American R&B singer and songwriter who rose to fame with her debut album Ctrl in 2017. In 2023, she released her second album Solana, which includes the song “Kill Bill”, a collaboration with rapper Kendrick Lamar. The song is a tribute to the Quentin Tarantino film of the same name, which follows a female assassin seeking revenge on her former lover and his associates. The song samples dialogue and music from the film, as well as other references to pop culture and personal experiences. The song is divided into five chapters, each with a different mood and style.
8. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up (11:52)
Marvin Gaye was an American soul singer and songwriter who is considered one of the most influential artists of all time. He is best known for his hits such as “What’s Going On”, “Let’s Get It On”, and “Sexual Healing”. In 1977, he released his live album Live at the London Palladium, which features the song “Got To Give It Up”, a disco-funk anthem that was recorded in one take at his studio. The song was inspired by Gaye’s reluctance to dance at parties, as well as his admiration for Johnnie Taylor’s song “Disco Lady”. The song became a huge success and sparked a lawsuit from the family of Robin Thicke, who claimed that his song “Blurred Lines” copied its groove.
7. Flowered Up – Weekender (12:53)
Flowered Up was an English indie rock band that emerged from the Madchester scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were known for their psychedelic and danceable music, as well as their rebellious attitude and drug use. Their most famous song is “Weekender”, released in 1992 as a single and accompanied by a short film directed by Wiz. The song is a commentary on the hedonistic lifestyle of young people in Britain at the time, who would spend their weekends partying and taking ecstasy. The song features various samples, loops, and vocals that create a chaotic and euphoric atmosphere.
6. Orbital – Chime (12:46)
Orbital is an English electronic music duo composed of brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll. They are regarded as pioneers of the rave culture and techno genre in the UK. Their debut single “Chime”, released in 1989, was one of the first rave anthems that crossed over to the mainstream charts. The song was recorded in their home studio using a cheap synthesizer and a four-track recorder. The song has a simple but catchy melody that repeats over a pulsating beat and various effects. The song was inspired by the sound of Big Ben chiming in London.
5. Bob Dylan – Desolation Row (11:18)
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter and Nobel laureate who is widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time. He is known for his poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, and influential music that spans various genres and eras. His sixth album Highway 61 Revisited, released in 1965, features the song “Desolation Row”, which is the final and longest track on the album. The song is a surreal and allegorical depiction of a dystopian society, populated by various historical and fictional characters, such as Einstein, Cinderella, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song is accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a violin, creating a contrast with the rest of the album, which is mostly electric.
4. The Doors – The End (11:43)
The Doors were an American rock band that formed in 1965 and became one of the most influential and controversial bands of the 1960s. They are known for their psychedelic and experimental music, as well as their charismatic and provocative frontman Jim Morrison. Their debut album The Doors, released in 1967, features the song “The End”, which is the closing track on the album. The song is a dark and dramatic epic that explores themes of death, love, and madness. The song was originally written as a farewell to Morrison’s girlfriend, but evolved into a free-form improvisation that included references to Greek mythology, Oedipus complex, and nuclear war. The song was famously used in the opening scene of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
3. David Bowie – Station To Station (10:14)
David Bowie was an English singer-songwriter and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and innovative artists of all time. He is known for his constant reinvention of his music and image, as well as his exploration of various genres and themes. His tenth album Station To Station, released in 1976, features the song “Station To Station”, which is the opening and longest track on the album. The song is a fusion of funk, rock, and krautrock, that reflects Bowie’s transition from his soul-inspired persona of the Thin White Duke to his Berlin-inspired persona of the Low era. The song is divided into six sections, each with a different musical and lyrical motif. The song is influenced by occultism, Nietzscheanism, and cocaine.
2. Primal Scream – Come Together (10:21)
Primal Scream is a Scottish rock band that formed in 1982 and became one of the most influential bands of the alternative rock scene in the UK. They are known for their eclectic and experimental music that incorporates elements of rock, dance, pop, and psychedelia. Their third album Screamadelica, released in 1991, features the song “Come Together”, which is one of the highlights of the album. The song is a gospel-inspired anthem that celebrates unity, love, and music. The song features samples from various sources, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, and a sermon by Reverend C.L. Franklin. The song was remixed by DJ Andrew Weatherall, who added a house beat and a bassline.
1. The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold (9:53)
The Stone Roses were an English rock band that formed in 1983 and became one of the most influential bands of the Madchester scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are known for their melodic and jangly guitar music that blends elements of indie rock, pop, and dance. Their debut album The Stone Roses, released in 1989, features the song “Fool’s Gold”, which is one of their most popular songs. The song is a funky and groovy tune that showcases the band’s rhythmic skills and John Squire’s wah-wah guitar solo. The song is inspired by the band’s fascination with alchemy, gold mining, and Ian Brown’s trip to Morocco.
These are some of the longest songs ever recorded, but they are not the only ones. There are many other songs that are longer than these ones, but they are either not officially released or not widely recognized as songs. For example, according to Guinness World Records , the longest officially released song is “Shri Ram Charit Manas” by Dr. Jagadeesh Pillai (India), which lasts for 138 hours 41 minutes 20 seconds! That’s more than five days!
However you define a song, there is no doubt that these long songs are impressive feats of musical creativity and endurance. They challenge our attention span and our expectations of what a song can be. They also show us how music can express complex emotions, stories, and ideas in different ways.
What do you think of these long songs? Do you have any favorites? Do you know any other long songs that deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Most Asked Questions And Answers
Q: What is the longest song ever recorded?
A: According to Guinness World Records, the longest officially released song is “Shri Ram Charit Manas” by Dr. Jagadeesh Pillai (India), which lasts for 138 hours 41 minutes 20 seconds!
Q: What is the longest song in the Billboard Hot 100 chart history?
A: The longest song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart is “American Pie” by Don McLean, which peaked at No. 1 in 1972 and has a duration of 8 minutes 36 seconds.
Q: What is the longest song to win a Grammy Award?
A: The longest song to win a Grammy Award is “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, which won the Best Rap Performance in 1980 and has a duration of 14 minutes 35 seconds.
Q: What is the longest song to be performed live?
A: The longest song to be performed live is “In C” by Terry Riley, which is a minimalist composition that can last for any length of time depending on the performers’ choices. The longest recorded performance of “In C” was by the Shanghai Film Orchestra in 2009, which lasted for 4 hours 32 minutes.
Q: What is the longest song title?
A: The longest song title is “I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues” by Hoagy Carmichael, which was recorded in 1945 and has 68 letters.
Q: What is the longest song lyric?
A: The longest song lyric is “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Iron Maiden, which is based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and has 1564 words.