so i’m not sure why seven minutes is the magic number that makes a song go from “wow, what a good song” to “wow, this song is fucking long as hell,” because even though someone once told me that “god is seven,” they also had a thesis that man was five and, frankly, i’m not sure where they were going with that. so let’s just assume that this “seven minutes = wow, long” thesis is solid and talk more about that and less about random references to Pixies songs that i think most people i know will overlook.
ANYWAY, the exact opposite of a Ramones song that makes you think “wait, Blitzkrieg Bop is over already?” is the seven-minutes-and-counting song that makes you wish it WASN’T so good because it’s become such an investment of time that you’re not sure how much you can listen to the damn thing. we’ve all got out own lists of the most excellent songs in this range, but since mine is surely the most accurate, hey, let’s get right to it.
HOUSE OF HATE PRESENTS: THE 13 BEST SONGS OVER SEVEN MINUTES IN LENGTH
but wait, i’ve got rules to my shit when i throw down:
01. no band gets more than one gigantic song on this list, so as to prevent as those sweet-as-hell jazz fusion bands from dominating this list. for example, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin have a couple of contenders for their long-ass songs, but it really wouldn’t be fair to make this list all about how the Rolling Stones dominate the songs over seven minutes in length realm;
02. the following songs are automatically disqualified from being on this list:
–Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” it’s the stereotypical long rock song, we get it, whatever.
–Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” granted, if i put a different Zeppelin song below i am allowed to bump it, but then we have to debate if it’s better than “Stairway.” you know what? fuck “Stairway.” it rocks and Tenacious D used it to defeat a demon and all, but it’s just too popular.
–Don McLean’s “American Pie.” not because Madonna ruined it, but because it (like the previous two) are just too stereotypical.
hey, it’s my list. so let’s do this thing!
it even looks completely ridiculous WITHOUT the giant whale props being seen
honorable mention: the Decemberists – “the Mariner’s Revenge Song” (8:45)
i must admit that this is the song that kicked all this off, what with myself and the Irish sidekick drinking some Yuengling beers and said sidekick demanding i rock this tune. it’s ridiculously long and prominently features a tale of destruction (and improbably survival) at the hands of a whale. and if anyone can appreciate whales and/or revenge, it’s an English major who loves the hell out of Moby-Dick. and that would be me. anyway, this song isn’t really beloved by me enough to make the cut, but fuck it, i figure i would shout it out for inspiration reasons. oh, and shout out to Yuengling for being one of the biggest two AMERICAN brewers. fuck yeah!
other honorable mentions:
–the Beatles – “Hey Jude”: i so wanted to include a Beatles song on this list to annoy people, but it just didn’t even happen, not even after 7:08 of mellow rock;
–the Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing”: rules and clocks in at about 8:26, but is always truncated these days because people are apparently afraid to play the “that little faggot” verse;
–Nine Inch Nails “We’re In This Together”: uh, yeah, it’s like 7:01 long and it rocks and this was the first time i realized exactly how long it is, which is weird because, like i said, it rocks.
oh, yeah, the list!
they say don’t worry, worry, worry, worry … or so i hear, but i’m pretty concerned about this “we’re all going to hell” concept, Curtis
13. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird” (10:06)
okay, since this is the OTHER stereotypically too-long-for-modern-rock-radio song, i’m going to throw on here and get it out of the way. despite their devoted legions of beer-swilling redneck fans, i’ve never been the biggest fan of Skynyrd (someone once told me that “Saturday Night Special” was an anti-gun anthem, so they can go ahead and fuck themselves), but even i have to admit that “Free Bird” is pretty cool. plus, i can always praise the ridiculous use of it in the Devil’s Rejects.
12. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (11:05)
yes, i am familiar with the notion that a) this isn’t their song originally and b) you could argue that Marvin Gaye did it better. however, Creedence Clearwater Revival has been known to rock hard on occasion and i really don’t want to see them sneaking onto a list like this through the questionable virtues of a song like “Ramble Tamble.” i mean, okay, “Ramble Tamble” is cool and all, but it’s not as good as “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” that’s all.
other songs bumped by this track: uh… “Ramble Tamble” (7:12), i guess?
11. Billy Joel – “Goodnight Saigon” (7:02)
Smilez hates when i mention his name, but one thing that he and Chuck Klosterman agree on is that Billy Joel is a misunderstood genius. or maybe neither of them thinks THAT exactly, and they just think he rocks, in which case, whatever, the thing all three of us agree on is that Billy Joel gets a bad rap because he dropped shit like “River Of Dreams.” regardless, “Goodnight Saigon” is one of those early “it’s okay to praise Vietnam vets even if you didn’t like the war” moments, which is nice, and i think the song is well done. and, ridiculously enough, i’ve seen Billy Joel perform it live, which mostly just says something about my youthful concert-going.
10. Curtis Mayfield – “If There’s Hell Below” (7:44)
i have stated before that Curtis Mayfield once created the single most upbeat song of all time (his “Move On Up,” which just sounds fucking HAPPY and is completely infectious), and what i really, really love about “If There’s Hell Below,” beyond its crazy two-stage intro, is that is takes this completely negative lyrical message – the world sucks, no one cares about doing shit about it and/or is making it actively worse, and if hell even exists, everyone is fucking going – and sets it to a secretly upbeat tune. it’s sort of like “the world sucks, we don’t give a fuck about it, we’re all going to hell … and that’s cool, because we have that shit coming!”
other songs bumped by this track: “Right On For The Darkness” (7:25)
LET’S HIT THE FUCKING ROAD
09. Derek & the Dominos – “Layla” (7:08)
now, just for the record, this is a rockin’ tune and it’s certainly way better than the lamer, slower, old-man version of the song that Eric Clapton recorded as Eric Clapton or whatever. it’s a good song and it’s all about unrequited love and that’s cool too. but to be fair, the reason why “Layla” forces its way onto this list has a lot to do with the fact that the piano coda – something so awesome that Martin Scorsese put it alone, without the rest of the song, on his Goodfellas soundtrack – is one of the best pieces of music ever written. and it was written randomly and largely by a guy who would later kill his mother with a hammer, no less! only in America!
08. Ministry – “Jesus Built My Hotrod (Redline/Whiteline Version)” (8:13)
a very tough call, because i could call the track bumped here (“So What”) my favorite Ministry track of all time and feel wrong about that, but the redline/whiteline version of this song is just so utterly packed with insane samples that i have to bow my head to the excellence behind “no man with good car needs to be justified!” still, if you ask me this again next week, i’m putting “So What” in this exact spot. clearly, there’s conflict here.
other songs bumped by this track: “So What” (8:13), “Attack Ships On Fire” (7:42), though technically, that’s a Revolting Cocks song AND the live version of said song.
07. Flogging Molly – “Black Friday Rule” (7:01)
Flogging Molly is not my favorite “crazy drunken micks” band – generally, i tend to prefer the Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys, in that order – and i know my Irish sidekick’s had to absorb many negative remarks directed at his pro-Flogging Molly attire. sadly, this attire was lost in a fire. hey, that rhymes! anyway, all this being said, “Black Friday Rule” is a kick-ass song and it just keeps going and going and going and since “continuous amount of rock and/or roll” is my prime criteria…
06. the Rolling Stones – “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” (7:15)
since most of you kids don’t listen to albums like Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers these days, you probably know this song from the supremely awesome moment in Casino when Joe Pesci is talking about starting his own crew in Las Vegas and then, as the camera pans across his ridiculous face (i’m not saying he looks like a joke or anything, it’s just the expression and the composition of the shot and everything), “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” rips into effect and makes me want to immediately rewind and review this moment. plastic boots and cocaine eyes indeed!
other songs bumped by this track: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (7:32)
i believe the phrase you’re looking for to describe this is “conspicuous consumption”
05. Grand Funk Railroad – “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” (9:47)
more than just a cool name, Grand Funk Railroad dropped one of my favorite tunes to drive around in my car to: “I’m Your Captain.” not only is it yet another song we’re praising tonight that rocks a tortured nautical narrative, but also, Grand Funk allowed provided us with all those jokes from that episode of the Simpsons where Homer, pouring out his love for Grand Funk (who you can consult books on at your local library, it would seem), drops one of my favorite lines of all time: “the competent drum work of Don Brewer?”
04. Led Zeppelin – “When The Levee Breaks” (7:06)
like a lot of young guys who once listened to classic rock, yeah, i went through the phase where you think Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band ever to live. now that i know better, i admit that i sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to people espousing such a belief, and have been known to talk shit about Zeppelin in response. so when i need to remember how awesome they actually are, this is the song i listen to… and IMMEDIATELY, i feel bad about the sassafras and settle in for the excellent rock music. and even taking “Immigrant Song” into consideration, Zeppelin has never been heavier or better. yeah, that’s right, i’m saying “When The Levee Breaks” is better than “Stairway To Heaven.” what the fuck are you going to do about it?
other songs bumped by this track: “In My Time Of Dying” (11:04, and it’s a shame to bump this), “Kashmir” (8:27), the aforementioned “Stairway To Heaven” (8:00)
03. the Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (8:33)
we touched on this before, but in case you forgot, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” contains the moment where Roger Daltrey unleashes THE greatest rock scream of all time; you can find it at roughly 7:45 in the song, and i think that once Daltrey dies, this scream will get him canonizing as it continues to make the blind see and the lame walk even from BEYOND HIS GRAVE. anyway, spooky ghost healings aside, the Who love to tease me with 5-6+ minute songs that don’t quite make it over the line, so “Won’t Get Fooled Again” has a surprising lack of competition (in terms of length, anyway) from their catalog. oh well!
other songs bumped by this track: “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (7:10)
02. Pink Floyd – “Dogs” (17:04)
once, i read a list talking about awesome rock songs of great length and it had the audacity to list “Sheep” as the single great Pink Floyd song of that length. now, granted, “Sheep” is a good song. still, perhaps people are taken aback by the 17 minute, 4 second uppercut that is “Dogs” and start thinking it’s actually a series of shorter tracks, but let me break it down for you: it’s not. and now, an anecdote to explain the ranking: having seen Roger Waters perform “Dogs” live, i have to say that it was one of those transcendent moments where when he’s finally wailing out the whole “dragged down by the stone” thing, you come back to reality and think “holy shit, was that just seventeen minutes? it felt like no time at all and all time ALL AT ONCE.” and, to be fair, i was sober at the time.
other songs bumped by this track: “Sheep” (10:18), “Time” (7:04), “Us And Them” (7:49)
yeah… so i’m defending the song, not this whole album cover thing
01. Peter Frampton – “Do You Feel Like We Do?” (14:17)
okay, so, you kids probably most know Peter Frampton from that episode of the Simpsons where Sonic Youth raids his cooler and Homer ruins his inflatable pig and Otto isn’t impressed with Frampton’s talking guitar because his shoes are talking. and that’s great, but you’re missing out on one awesome song (that includes a talking guitar, no less): “Do You Feel Like We Do?” now, before you point out that this song clocks in at a mere 6:44 on the album Frampton’s Camel (yeah, well, the 1970s were a rough time for album titles), i’ll point out to YOU that that was a short, edited-down version, but fine, if you like, then consider this entry the live version. anyway, this is THE 7+ minute song that i will sit in my car and listen to in its entirety no matter where i am or what i am supposed to be doing. oh, and that’s certainly not the reason i was late to that important thing i was supposed to get done. yeah… not at all.
oh, and just a mention of two songs that didn’t make this list (aside from anything awesome i really honestly forgot): Elton John’s “Funeral For A Friend” and Metallica’s “One.” i know two people who swear by the awesomeness of these tunes, but hey, what do you know?