20+1 Longest Classic Rock Songs
Make yourself comfortable, this one’s gonna take a while.
Voodoo Chile by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
This 15-minute blues jam from the Electric Ladyland is Hendrix’s longest studio recording. It was recorded at the Record Plant in New York City after a late night jam session with Hendrix, Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, organist Steve Winwood, and bassist Jack Casady.
April by Deep Purple
This song, written by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore about his birthday month, is the longest ever studio recording by Deep Purple. It was later augmented with a long middle section of classical music written by Lord, becoming the album's 12-minutes final track.
The End by The Doors
Jim Morrison originally wrote a long rock song about breaking up with his girlfriend Mary Werbelow, but later it evolved into a nearly 12-minute track on the band’s self-titled debut album.
Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan
First released on the album Blonde on Blonde in 1966, the song lasts 11:22 and occupies the whole of side four of the double album.
This song influenced many artists, from Joan Baez to George Harrison to Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. Critic Clinton Heylin has described "Sad Eyed Lady" as both "possibly the most pretentious set of lyrics ever penned," but also "a captivating carousel of a performance."
Tom Waits once said, "It is like Beowulf. This song can make you leave home, work on the railroad or marry a gypsy."
Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground
At 17:29, this is the longest song on ‘White Light/White Heat’ album, as well as the longest song in the Velvet Underground's studio discography. It takes up most of the second side of the record.
Telegraph Road by Dire Straits
The 14-minute-long opus "Telegraph Road", which became a staple of the band's setlists and Mark Knopfler's once he became a solo artist, as well as becoming an FM radio staple around the world. Knopfler used his 1937 National steel guitar, an Ovation twelve, and six-string acoustic guitars during the recording.
I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) by Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad's longest-running 10-minutes-plus studio recording is of the 1970 "Closer to Home" album. This is one of the band's best-known songs.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The song has been recorded by a range of musicians including Creedence Clearwater Revival, who made an 11-minute interpretation of the track for their 1970 album, Cosmo's Factory.
Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd
This is 26 minutes long Pink Floyd composition written by David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and Rick Wright. It appeared on Pink Floyd's 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here.
Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John
After the two tracks were recorded back to back, it was decided to merge them into an 11:09 song. The song became the opening track of Elton's 1973 double-album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
In My Time of Dying by Led Zeppelin
This 11:08 track from the 1975 double-album "Physical Graffiti" is a Led Zeppelin version of an old gospel hymn. Jimmy Page said: "We were just having such a wonderful time. Look, we had a framework for In My Time of Dying, OK, but then it just takes off, and we're just doing what Led Zeppelin do. We're jamming. We're having a ball. We. Are. Playing."
Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
On their 1973 debut album, the Southern rockers' signature power ballad goes on for 9:09. It is used as a finale during the band’s live performances and is their longest song, often going well over 14 minutes when played live.
The Gates of Delirium by Yes
This is the first track on Yes’s 1974 album, Relayer. It is based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace. This was the longest officially released studio recording by the band with almost 22 minutes, taking up the entire first side of the LP.
Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull
This 1972 single-song release is a continuous piece of music 43:46 minutes long, split over two sides of an LP. Thick as a Brick was crafted as a general parody of the genre. The original packaging claims the album to be a musical adaptation of an epic poem by the fictional 8-year-old genius Gerald Bostock. The lyrics were actually written by the band's frontman, Ian Anderson.
2112 by Rush
This track being 20:33 long, is the longest song or suite in Rush's library. It is a seven-part suite with lyrics written by drummer Neil Peart telling a dystopian saga set in a future with no music.
Supper's Ready by Genesis
Nearly 23 minutes in length, the song is divided into seven sections. A number of musical and lyrical themes do re-appear throughout. Peter Gabriel summed up Supper's Ready as "a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible....I'll leave it at that".
Karn Evil 9 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
The song was written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and former King Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield. It is the fifth and final track on Brain Salad Surgery with a running length of 29 minutes and 37 seconds. The initial release of the album on vinyl found "Karn Evil 9" split between the two sides due to its length.
Mountain Jam by The Allman Brothers Band
An improvised instrumental jam, 33:41 in length in its March 1971 Eat a Peach performance, the song features solos from all of the band members. Duane Allman starts with a guitar solo, after which Gregg Allman solos on Hammond organ, followed by a guitar solo by Dickey Betts.
The Turn of a Friendly Card by The Alan Parsons Project.
The title piece, which appears on side 2 of the LP, released in 1980, is a 16-minute suite broken up into five tracks listed as sub-sections.
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly
This 17-minute title track eats up the entire B-side of Iron Butterfly's 1968 breakthrough album. The lyrics are simple and heard only at the beginning and the end. The song marks the early transition from psychedelic music into heavy metal.
(+1 Heavy Metal)
Empire of the Clouds by Iron Maiden
From their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, at 18 minutes in length, is Iron Maiden's longest song to date, overtaking "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" from their 1984 album, Powerslave. The track tells the story of the R101 airship, which crashed on its maiden voyage in northern France on 5 October 1930.
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