List me some very long songs.
October 21, 2011 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Help me find very long songs. Preferably 30 minutes or more.

I discovered recently that I kind of enjoy extremely long songs, and want to expand my horizons. It seems like the "song" as a unit of music has been artificially constrained by the capacity of one side of a vinyl LP, so most of what I have in my collection is right around the 30-minute mark, at the very longest.

Examples: In my iTunes collection right now, I've got a 29-minute version of Dazed and Confused, a 31-minute version of Meditations by Mingus, and a pretty fair number of songs of the mid-20-minute variety by Miles Davis (I have the majority of his electric-period stuff already, and will be gathering up the rest, soon) and Yes. I also have the Allman Bros. At the Fillmore East, which has the Platonic ideal of the long rock song, with Whipping Post clocking in at 23:05.

The recent post about the 6-hour song by The Flaming Lips got me thinking about this, but it doesn't appear to be commercially available as a single track anywhere.

For the sake of clarity, let's leave classical symphonies off of this list. Other than that, I'm open to all genres -- ambient stuff that can just go in the background forever fits the bill just fine, but also for the sake of clarity, let's skip DJ "mixes" that are a bunch of individual songs cobbled together.

I'd like to be able to actually acquire these, so let's leave out theoretical art pieces, like the folks who are currently recording a multi-year-long song.
posted by Devils Rancher to Media & Arts (74 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The live version of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is 19 minutes long.
posted by jedicus at 8:57 AM on October 21, 2011

I like to call these "value songs" at the jukebox.

"Crazy Game of Poker" on O.A.R.'s live album is super long. (And pretty awesome.)
posted by inigo2 at 8:59 AM on October 21, 2011

Alice's Restaurant! (which is actually only like 19 minutes so I'm not sure it applies well enough for you?)

and of course Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull (that's like 45 minutes, isn't it?)
posted by flex at 9:00 AM on October 21, 2011

The Mars Volta's Cassandra Gemini is 32 minutes long. Pink Floyd's echoes is 23:31.

Actually, this slightly blogspammy page is a pretty good source. The main list isn't very good, but the comments are a goldmine for you.
posted by jedicus at 9:01 AM on October 21, 2011

Monster Magnet's Tab...25 clocks in at 32 minutes of syrupy psychedelic goodness. Yours for 99 cents.
posted by googly at 9:02 AM on October 21, 2011

"The Precise Temperature of Darkness" by Rachel's and Matmos is 18:00.

"Alice's Restaurant" is 18:20, the exact length of the infamous gap in the Nixon tapes. Coincidence?
posted by milk white peacock at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2011

I like the Decemberist's The Tain. It's only 18:35, though.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:04 AM on October 21, 2011

I was going to suggest Music for Airports, by Brian Eno, but the longest track is only 16:30. It seems like it goes on forever, though.
posted by jquinby at 9:06 AM on October 21, 2011

Fantômas' third album Delìrium Còrdia consists of a single 74-minute track.
posted by permafrost at 9:09 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. If you the the sequel (Tubular Bells II), you can hear Alan Rickman narrating towards the end, which is awesome.
posted by jquinby at 9:11 AM on October 21, 2011

Also Jethro Tull's "Passion Play" another two full sides of flutie bliss.
posted by Gungho at 9:12 AM on October 21, 2011

Andrew Bayer's "Distractions" full-length mix comes home at 29:10. It's electronic, but a breed apart in that it's very well thought out and doesn't too easily fall into the grooves etched by "mainstream "electronic music.

Tycho's "Dive" album is similar.

I recommend them both!
posted by Chutzler at 9:12 AM on October 21, 2011

I'd forgotten about Thick as a Brick! (divided into parts 1 and 2, I presume to hew to the vinyl LP convention) I have Echoes, and it's great. Checking out Fantômas, Monster Magnet & Mars Volta, now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2011

Most of Godspeed You Black Emperor's tracks clock in between 15 and 30 minutes. Their track divisions always seem a little arbitrary to me, though; I think the albums are best consumed as a whole, which would give you upwards of 25 minutes of music at a time.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are also any number of versions of Dark Star by the Grateful Dead.
posted by bluejayway at 9:15 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Genesis- Suppers ready at 22:53
Yes- Close to the edge at 18:45
Joe Strummer's Minstrel boy at 17:49
and Jethro tull's Baker Street Muse at 16:42

If you want to stretch it, and it being near Halloween, The entire "War of the worlds" album by Jeff Wayne. The musical themes run throughout the 2 CD album even though it is broken into several chapters.
posted by Gungho at 9:16 AM on October 21, 2011

Sufjan Stevens has some very long songs on his most recent albums; try Age of Adz ("Impossible Soul" 25:34) or All Delighted People ("Djohariah" 17:02) for those. Illinoise has some long-ish and more catchy songs on it too.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2011

David Bowie's Station to Station (version played live at Nassau) is 11:53, and is my favorite Bowie song. The album version is about 10:00.
posted by quadrilaterals at 9:18 AM on October 21, 2011

Green Carnation's "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" is amazing and it clocks in at just over 60 minutes.
posted by bsdfish at 9:18 AM on October 21, 2011

If you're down for stoner/doom metal check out Sleep's Dopesmoker. 63 epically heavy minutes.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Coltrane's Ascension album. Editions I and II are 38:30 and 48:49 respectively.
The Sound of Confusion off Thank God for Mental Illness by Brian Jonestown Massacre clocks in at 33:03.
posted by supercres at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2011

Two Pink Floyd songs come to mind -

Atom Heart Mother (off of the album Atom Heart Mother)
Echoes (off of the album Meddle) (video starts right away, worth it)

As for the Grateful long have you got?

Skull and Roses off of The Grateful Dead is about 18 minutes long, I think. It's the whole second side of the album.

Terrapin Station off of....uh, Terrapin Station is also one whole side of an album.

Actually, find any of their live recordings and go to town.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:22 AM on October 21, 2011

If you can do noise/drone there is tons of stuff out there. My favorite of which is Boris, but also look at Sunn O))), Earth, etc.
Absolutego (both versions) is about an hour long
DronEvil has three ~20 minute songs
Cloud Chamber has two ~18 minute songs
Altar (with Sunn O)))) has a 28 minute song on it

Jesu - Infinity is "easier" to listen to, probably, and it's almost 50 minutes long!

Lots of post-rock has long songs, too. Just about everything by A Silver Mount Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor is around 15 minutes or longer.
posted by aganders3 at 9:24 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

NOFX's The Decline is 18 minutes long
posted by radioamy at 9:24 AM on October 21, 2011

More Pink Floyd:

Dogs (17 minutes)

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (26 minutes for all parts, but it's split in two by other songs on the Wish you Were Here album)
posted by The Deej at 9:26 AM on October 21, 2011

Porcupine Tree, "The Sky Moves Sideways." Phase one is 18:39, phase two is 16:49, and the alternate version is 34:43.

"...And the Day Turned to Night" by Shpongle is 19:58.
posted by baho at 9:29 AM on October 21, 2011

Terry Riley's 1964 musical piece In C runs from 20 minutes to 76 minutes depending on the recording. The composer is the Riley in The Who's Baba O'Riley. Here's a 10 minute clip of In C

Or how about the very spacey, one chord played on an church organ for 70 odd minutes by Charlemagne Palestine of Schlingen Blangen
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:31 AM on October 21, 2011

"Only Skin" (1 2)on Joanna Newsom's Ysis 16:53. It's got pretty complicated lyrics throughout, no refrain.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:32 AM on October 21, 2011

Kashiwa Daisuka's Stella is a little longer than 35 minutes. Make sure you're wearing your headphones.
posted by yaymukund at 9:32 AM on October 21, 2011

Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn is also long like Tubular Bells (basically one song for each side of the LP). Similarly, Tangerine Dream's Force Majeure is three songs (one song for each side of the LP with an extra stuck in there).
posted by immlass at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2011

Kraftwerk's Autobahn at 22:43.
posted by chazlarson at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2011

Oh, here's a much better recording on youtube of a portion of Charlemagne Palestine's Schlingen Blangen
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:38 AM on October 21, 2011

Someone's defunct website has a list.

Also Dream Theatre's Octovarium I don't like this

Also Swallow the Sun's Plague Of Butterflies which I don't like either

posted by cromagnon at 9:40 AM on October 21, 2011

Both tracks on The Boredoms' Seadrum/House of the Sun are 20+ minutes.

And there's also the live performance of their 77 Boadrum project, but I wouldn't really call those "songs" exactly.
posted by darksong at 9:41 AM on October 21, 2011

Gavin Bryars' Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet: 25:57

Jonathon Coulton and John Hodgman's 700 Hobo Names clocks in at just under an hour.
posted by chazlarson at 9:42 AM on October 21, 2011

Acid Mother Temple (and the various crazy lineups) have some great examples of this.

Their discography is fairly impenetrable if you don't know what you're looking for. Two random ones that I'd recommend are:
Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Absolutely Freak Out (4 songs approx 19 mins a piece)
Acid Mothers Temples and the Cosmic Inferno - Starless And Bible Black Sabbath (2 x 34 min songs and 1 x 6 min song)

Also, I don't think this counts as classical, and I think they're remarkably beautiful.
William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops (I - IV) is a series of tape loops that literally disintegrate as the recording progresses. The recordings vary in length from 1 hour to 10 minutes.
posted by Magnakai at 9:43 AM on October 21, 2011

The live Mingus album, "Charles Mingus: Revenge" has six songs on the two CD set and four are around 20 min. or longer) My favorite off of that is So Long Eric which comes in at around 25 min.

A bunch of Herbie Hancock stuff is around 15 min. (depending on the recording) Chameleon, and Cantaloupe Island, come to mind.

Actually, live (especially legit releases of bootleg tapes, which is what Revenge is) jazz and groove jazz would be great places to look in general.

Billy The Mountain by Zappa is another 25 min. long song.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:47 AM on October 21, 2011

Jonathon Coulton and John Hodgman's 700 Hobo Names clocks in at just under an hour.

This was actually included in the audiobook version of The Areas of my Expertise, and yes, I listened to the whole thing. I think it took me about 2 & 1/2 commutes, in the car. Loved it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:48 AM on October 21, 2011

Additionally - just sorted my iTunes by time, and here are a few (previously unposted) that jumped out at me.

Lindstrøm - Where You Go I Go Too
28:58. Title track from the album of the same name.

Bengt Berger - Darafo
22:11. The last track from the brilliant Bitter Funeral Beer album.

Vladislav Delay - Huone
22:04. He has several longish tracks. Try the album Multila for three that are over 10 mins.

Voice Of The Seven Woods - The Withering of the Boughs
21:09. From the album of the same name.

Tall Dwarfs - Up
19:30. From the album Stumpy

Can - Halleluwah
18:33. Surprised nobody's posted this yet. Off their seminal album Tago Mago.

Stereolab - Jenny Ondioline
18:08. This is the version from Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, not the cut single.

I hope this is helpful!
posted by Magnakai at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2011

Came here to recommend all of Joanna Newsom's Ys (the entire album is just five songs), especially "Only Skin."
posted by hermitosis at 10:01 AM on October 21, 2011

Ambient: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (32:39) and Approaching Silence (38:17) from David Sylvian.

Or... Sunsquashed, Yo La Tengo (26:20).
posted by vers at 10:10 AM on October 21, 2011

Paul Westerberg's 49.00 is, well, 49 minutes long.

It's like the guy is trying to not sell his music.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:11 AM on October 21, 2011

Sala Santa Cecilia (Fennesz Sakamoto) - 19 minutes, one I listen to quite a lot.

'Since We Last Met' (NDF) is only a bit over ten minutes, but it's got an expansive quality to it and it's one of my favourite tracks from last year. I associate it with 'The Past is a Grotesque Animal' (Of Montreal) in some mental category of big, sprawling break-up songs.
posted by carbide at 10:12 AM on October 21, 2011

Oh, and radiomayonnaise's comment about stoner music reminded me (actually ashamed to say) of these two by Phish:

Wolfman's Brother, approx. 30 minutes
David Bowie, approx. 40 minutes
posted by vers at 10:20 AM on October 21, 2011

Does 2112 count?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:21 AM on October 21, 2011

Pink Floyd, Echoes: 23.31
posted by jaded at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2011

Space is the Place by Sun Ra.
posted by Chenko at 10:33 AM on October 21, 2011

More Phish: 58 minute live version of Runaway Jim from 97 available as a free download from
posted by Roommate at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2011

ambient stuff that can just go in the background forever fits the bill just fine

I highly recommend Eliane Radigue's music. Her pieces usually check in around an hour long.
posted by Angus Jung at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2011

Weakling - Dead as Dreams on the majestic psychedelic black metal tip. About 20 min.
posted by evisceratordeath at 10:48 AM on October 21, 2011

A few more.

Sister Ray, Velvet Underground (38:00)

The Diamond Sea, Sonic Youth (25:48)

Premonition 15, Legendary Pink Dots (30:06)

Music With Changing Parts, Philip Glass (61:40) (there are plenty more from him)

45:33, LCD Soundsystem. (Actually 45:33)

(There, that cleanses my palate from Phish.)
posted by vers at 11:04 AM on October 21, 2011

It's a mere 14:40, but I Dream A Highway by Gillian Welch is one of my favorite long songs (it's a dreamy acoustic country track, different from a lot of the other songs suggested here).
posted by mskyle at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2011

Someone's defunct website has a list.

Nektar, Remember the Future! Wow, memory lane. That is a great, great song.

Obviously, the downloading & listening is taking... a while. The Fantomas is right in there with what I was looking for. (was already a Mike Patton fan - Tomahawk is pretty great) TAB... 25 is on deck.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2011

Mogwai has a few very long songs, like in My father, my king, or in some live peel sessions, i think. There's also Music for a forgotten future, a soundtrack of sorts, i believe. Post-rock has a tendency to do this, i remember someone posted a japanese guy doing very long post-rock songs, should be findable.

Lindstrøm - Where you go i go too. (in spotify).

Los Natas - La tierra delfin, more long songs in that spacey album.

B. Fleischmann - Take your time. Indeed.

iamamiwhoami - In concert, not sure if that's supposed to be a single song or a whole set in one take (ish).

Someone mentioned drone and the such, Nadja is one example, they have pretty long ambien-drone-ish songs.

And of course, my old band's supremely crappy jam session.
posted by palbo at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2011

You might like Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon; it's 60 minutes long and atmospheric. (Personally, I find it a bit fatiguing on the ears, but YMMV).

Also Steve Roach. Try Dreamtime Return; Looking For Safety on disc 2 is over 31 minutes.

And although "Being Here" from Laraaji's Flow Goes The Universe only clocks in at 25:21, it's really a stunning listen.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:24 PM on October 21, 2011

ELP Karn Evil 9
posted by m1dra3 at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2011

Sorry, mixed up the link, should be Karn Evil 9
posted by m1dra3 at 12:49 PM on October 21, 2011

A single song? or do ridiculously long jams count? :)

The Grateful Dead of course are amazing for their very long jam sessions for Lovelight or Dark Star. We can probably take Space and Drum sessions right out of the picture.

here's two that I happen to have on me at the moment, but I, or any of the other obvious Dead Heads before me, could dig up more at home

Phil Lesh and Friends had a beautiful jam on 2008.07.26 or Mason's Children --> Viola Lee Blues --> Deal --> Viola Lee Blues --> Bertha --> Viola Lee Blues (total time: ~46 min)

Dark Star from the Grateful Dead's famous 1972.08.27 performance at the Renaissance Fair Grounds in Veneta Oregon was 31 minutes. This was one of their best. This concert was also immortalized in the video recording Sunshine Daydream (which you can find floating around in some of our closets)
posted by zombieApoc at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2011

Add to Moonloop to the Porcupine Tree list.

Also, Rush's Hemispheres is nice.

The last three (real) tracks on Tool's Lateralus are intended to be listened to together as one long piece, even though they're split on the album.
posted by Citrus at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2011

I do have everything Porcupine Tree's ever done, and that's another thing that got me going on this. The Incident was supposed to be one long song, but it's largely independent pieces segued together, with the occasional thematic reprise. I like it as an album, but it disappointed as a "song." Moonloop & the whole Voyage 34 are right in there with the kind of thing I'm looking for.

Extended live jams are good too, although I'm not generally a fan of Phish. I'd forgotten about all the Dead's live stuff.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2011

Orb's Blue Room clocks in at 39:58.

Seconding the Mike Oldfield and Jethro Tull selections. Some of Brian Eno's ambient discs are one long song, e.g. Neroli.
posted by a person of few words at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2011

Meshuggah's I EP is one 21 minute long song. Also, Meshuggah's Catch Thirty-Three is essentially one 45 minute song split into 13 tracks. Even if you don't like thrash/detal metal much, think of it as jazz and it clicks.
posted by dosterm at 1:51 PM on October 21, 2011

The original "long song" is shorter than your specification but it deserves a mention here: "Goin' Home" on Aftermath, over eleven minutes (which was ground-breaking for 1966, although it's really just a jam). Or way before that, Benny Goodman's original Sing Sing Sing from the 1937 Carnegie Hall concert was over eight minutes, and split onto both sides of the original platters. But for me, one of the greatest recordings was Steve Reich's Music For Eighteen Musicians when it finally appeared on CD. Almost an hour long, the minimalist classic no longer faded out midway through, when you reached the end of side 1.
posted by Rash at 2:56 PM on October 21, 2011

Now (Tha Journey) by Nightmares on Wax (really just a continuous mix of the Mind Elevation album, but it's a great album!) 39:29.

Psychic and UFO Revelations
by Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell 38:45.

Lots of Steve Roach and some Fela Kuti clock in at 25 to 30 minutes and then some.

Close to the Edge by Yes.
posted by No Shmoobles at 3:21 PM on October 21, 2011

a few others ...

Frank Zappa's Billy the Mountain and Greggary Peccary are both over 20 minutes. On the classical side, the three movements of Mo & Herb's Vacation are about 35 minutes. His live albums have many other long works - Dupree's Paradise, Inca Roads, and Purple Lagoon are a few to look for.

Other Sun Ra includes Kosmos in Blue (32 minutes) and Shadow World (25 minutes)

Lard's Time to Melt is 31 minutes of pain.

Robert Fripp & Brian Eno have several long tracks, including Index of Metals (28:45) and Heavenly Music Corporation (20:56)

Tortoise's Djed is 20:57.

I'd also count Negativland's Helter Stupid - each side is a single (awesome) collage, about 24 minutes each.
posted by chbrooks at 3:46 PM on October 21, 2011

There's a double album by the German dark ambient/black metal project Trist called "Hin-Fort"- disc one, "Hin", is an hour-long ambient black metal piece (more ambient than black metal in many ways- there's no black metal vocals, just some strange, wordless drone-y chants) that is, IMO, absolutely amazing and one of the most powerful things I've heard out of the genre. Very "cosmic" sounding and minimalist, and to me, almost trance-inducing. (Here's about fourteen minutes of it.)

Another long black metal track, though of a very different kind and much shorter, is Darkestrah's "Epos"- 33 minutes, and much more of a classic "song" than "Hin", it's essentially atmospheric black metal with a large dose of what I think is traditional Kyrgyztani folk music mixed in (as that's where the band is originally from- metal is a very international thing these days). Very unique, and certainly worth checking out if that description sounds appealing to you at all- the fusion is very well done, IMO.
posted by a louis wain cat at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2011

Let it roll, all four parts:

Damn my neck sore
posted by RastusJohnson at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2011

Not quite 30 minutes, but Sonic Youth's extended version of "The Diamond Sea." Especially poignant right now, given (in my view anyway) it's about marriage and divorce and um, Kim and Thurston just announced they're splitting up after nearly 30 years of marriage.

I'm not sure jazz is ok but if so, Fela Kuti has a bunch of longer songs (my favorite version of "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am" is something like 16 minutes); so does Sun Ra ("Space is the Place" is over 21 minutes and uh, rules). I have a feeling extremely rambly versions of James Brown stuff would work too; he could go on a while...
posted by ifjuly at 6:45 PM on October 21, 2011

None of these are long enough but they are pretty long, so just in case...

It may be cheating, but Unwound's "Valentina Card/Kantina/Were, Are, and Was or Is" is 14 minutes and seams together on record (when my husband puts it on mix tapes he makes a point not to separate out the "single track"). I love the way the three songs/parts work together. Spires of Oxford has a single song called "The Graves of Two English Soldiers" that is pretty long; similar acts like Windy and Carl IIRC had similar stuff (sorry, it's been a while...haven't listened to that stuff since college over a decade ago). Pinebender's "There's a Bag of Weights in the Back of My Car" is something like 13 minutes and feels even longer because the beginning is very repetitive (but totally worth it, because when it hits a climax it's grrrreat). Mysterious Japanese pysch-crazy rock band Les Rallizes Denudes routinely had long freakout songs.
posted by ifjuly at 6:56 PM on October 21, 2011

Wire's "Crazy About Love" is around 15 minutes too.

Eno's "Discreet Music" is a whopping 31.
posted by ifjuly at 7:03 PM on October 21, 2011

Ween's version of "Vallejo" on Paintin' The Town Brown is 30:48 (and "Poop Ship Destroyer" is 26:07). "Refried Boogie" by Canned Heat is 40:51.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:30 AM on October 22, 2011

Oribital's "The Box" has a 28 minute extended version. Here it is to view/listen to.
posted by darkgroove at 8:19 AM on October 25, 2011

Crimson by Edge of Sanity is a death metal song/album that's about 40 minutes long. My favorite vocal parts are about six minutes and nine minutes in, but the whole thing is great. It's a concept album too; lyrics can be found here.
posted by meggan at 11:44 PM on October 25, 2011

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