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Top 10 Unnecessarily Long Songs

MatthewJ Swanson MatthewJ Swanson
February 20th, 2008 2:14pm EST
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Pink FloydSome of these songs have some good moments but just go on a little too long. Some of them have zero good moments, and then go on a little too long. What they all have in common is that they're too freaking long. Any of these guys ever hear of trimming the fat? Less is more? Your song is too damn long? Any of that ringing a bell, you bloated, self-indulgent rockers?

10. Gordon Lightfoot, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (1976)
Running Tme: 6:28
There are longer songs, yes, but there are no other songs quite like this one in that everything is sang in the exact same melody and cadence. There are no chorus or versus, and it's all matter of fact, very specific lyrics about a boat and its sinking. There are a lot of words in this song, and my buddies and I used to request it at an Irish Bar in Chicago just to marvel at a guy who had all those nautical lyrics memorized.



9. Charlie Daniels Band, Devil Went Down to Georgia (1979)
Running Time: 3:37
I always thought this song was much longer when I put it on a preliminary list for this piece, so I was about to take it off the list when it occurred to me, that it's 3:37 too long, in my estimation. One time I was at the dentist, heard this song, and thought, "Ugh!! I hate this one." Much to my disgust, it was an entire record by Mr. Daniels. What sadistic doctor does that to his patients? For just being an out and out craptastic song and for making me think it's long. Despite its merciful length, it stays on the list.



8. Golden Earring, The Twilight Zone (1982)
Running Time: 7:58
Sometimes when one section of this God-awful song ends, and that repetitive bass line kicks back in, it almost sounds as if the bass player just wanted to keep the song going, and the rest of the band had to make up new parts to the song on the fly.



7. Don McLean, American Pie (1971)
Running Time: 8:38
Everyone likes to sing along to this one, but does anyone really need to hear a 9-minute folk song? It's one of those that keeps tricking you into thinking it's finally over, but alas, it continues on and on and on . . . It does bring back good memories of drinking to this song at midnight at my favorite bar in college, only there were some alternate lyrics used, and I'm sure you had a bar that did the same thing with the same song, perhaps with slightly different lyrics. Nothing ever seems quite as long when you're singing along to something blind drunk, arm-in-arm with good friends and beautiful, or seemingly beautiful, girls. Without those elements, this song seems like an eternity. But in all fairness, everything is a little less fun without those elements.



6. Yes, The Revealing Science of God (1974)
Running Time: 20:23
As far as bloated, self-indulgent progressive rock goes, I like Yes. Their work prior to this record was extraordinary. Then singer Jon Anderson thought the whole band might want to record music about the Eastern religions he was studying. Well, that's all well and good when it's done subtly, but when you name an album Tales From Topographic Oceans it's probably hard to take yourself seriously. This was the beginning of the end for the band, until they would save face years later by recording "Owner of a Lonely Heart" because that song kicked ass.



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