Long songs are rare in rock & roll. Prior 1969, most hits were about 2 and a half minutes long. In the 70s, the advent of album rock, particularly in prog rock, exploded and brought us a plethora of long tunes. To be clear, this is not a list of the longest songs in rock; this list ranks the best songs that clock in over 10 minutes long from albums that hit the charts. Out of all the long songs, these are the best. 10 minutes or longer. Here we go...
1 - Thick As A Brick by Jethro Tull tops our list as the longest song and the only song to reach #1 on the Billboard Charts. The album topped the charts for 7 weeks that year. It's essentially a single song in two parts equaling 43 minutes and 46 seconds. Passion Play followed this up and was also over 43 minutes.
2 - 2112 by Rush 20:25 is a single song covering an entire album side. And it's perfect.
3 - Dogs by Pink Floyd from the Aniumals LP 17:05
4 - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys by Traffic 11:42
5 - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. 17:05 on the album but live versions exceeded 21 minutes.
6 - Song for America by Kansas 10:04 An incredible song about native lands from the album of the same name.
7 - The End by The Doors 11:43
8 - Close to the Edge by Yes 18:42 and a special nod to Nous Sommes Du Soleil from Tales from Topographic Oceans.
9 - Don't Wake the Lion by Magnum 10:34 Often overlooked, this band rocked many long songs.
10 - Scarecrow by Avantasia 11:11 Avantasia is a project and band that is underrated and also often overlooked.
11 - My Time is Dying by Led Zeppelin from 1975's album Physical Grafitti. Just over 11 minutes.
12 - Supper's Ready by Genesis from 1972's Foxtrot. It takes up one whole side.
13 - Kuiama by the Electric Light Orchestra from their debut ELO album.
14 - Echoes by Pink Floyd from the Meddle LP 23:34
15 - Sister Ray by the Velvet Underground 17:28
16 - Voodoo Chile by Jimi Hendrix, the full version is 14:50
17 - Autobahn by Krafwerk 22:43 it takes up one whole album side.
18 - Elegia by New Order 17:30
19 - Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts by Manowar. It was the song Master of the Wind that hit the charts from their album Triumph of Steel, but the Achilles song clocks in longest at 28 minutes.
20 - 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. 13 minutes
Also check out:
Jefferson Airplane's Hey Frederick just missed it by a minute. It nearly rounds 9 minutes.
Guns n Roses November Rain also came close at 9 minutes.
There you have it. The longest rock songs that made a splash in the 60s, 70s and beyond. Current hits seemed to have gone back to the shorter format. Time will tell if long tunes make a comeback.