10 Shortest Rock Songs

10 Shortest Rock Songs | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Short But Sweet

These classic rock songs prove that even short songs pack a lot of punch. Less is more, definitely. Clocking in at less than two minutes, they’re perfect for those with short attention span like me. Besides, they’re still just as great as the longer ones – and no, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard them all.

Dig in!

10. David Bowie – “Breaking Glass” (1:52)

David Bowie was many things – he was an innovator and he loved pushing boundaries. But perhaps the first word that comes to mind when I think of him is “creative.” He didn’t just make art, he lived and breathed in it. And “Breaking Glass” is no exception. It’s a little less than two minutes but when he performs it live, the extended version goes for one minute more.

“But the lifestyle and everything. Anything that was going out there that had anything to do with being a rock and roll singer, then I was hey let’s go for this, let’s see what it is like.” – David Bowie

This was an introspective song that reflected the dark and drug-filled period of his life while living in America. It only has one verse “Don’t look at the carpet; I drew something awful on it” since at the time, he has taken interest in Qabbala and Aleister Crowley.

9. The Rolling Stones – “Not Fade Away” (1:48)

Originally recorded by The Crickets (a rock ‘n roll band formed by Buddy Holly), it was 2:21 minutes long but The Rolling Stones’ cover is only 1:48. Mick Jagger and the rest of the boys enjoyed massive success since it was a big hit in Britain and it’s often regarded as one of their greatest songs.

“Although it was a Buddy Holly song, I considered it to be like the first song Mick and Keith wrote, in that they picked the concept of applying that Bo Diddley thing to it. The way they arranged it was the beginning of the shaping of them as songwriters. From then on they wrote.” – manager Andrew Oldham

Early in their career, the track became a staple in their repertoire and it never failed to please the crowd. Even today, it still kicks ass and while there are other versions, this will always be my favorite.

8. Janis Joplin – “Mercedes Benz” (1:50)

Raw, pure and unadulterated – if I had to name only one artist that poured so much emotion into their singing, it would undoubtedly be Janis Joplin. This a cappella song is so beautifully sung it will send chills down your spine. It’s interesting that this masterpiece was created during an impromptu poetry jam session and it was recorded in just one take.

“I’d like to do a song of great social and political import. It goes like this.” – Janis Joplin introducing the track during a live performance

This song is gold. Janis left a wonderful legacy and this is just one of them. She was gone too soon and it’s stuff like this reminds us why nobody will ever come close to Janis. Some can try to emulate her and as the cliché goes, she’s often imitated but never duplicated. She was otherworldly, she sang with so much soul you can almost feel her pain.

7. Cheap Trick – “Hello There” (1:41)

Pure rock ‘n roll – what’s lacking in today’s music. Don’t you just want to go back to those simple days when you can turn on the radio and hear this loud in the airwaves? Cheap Trick often used this to open their shows back in the day. Written by Rick Nielsen, this is the first song from their live album “Cheap Trick at Budokan.”

“Yeah. I mean we toured on our first album and that was fine, but it’s like, when you’re doing shows, what do you start with? With people who have never heard of us. So what’s our intro song? “He’s A Whore”? Then what do you do? So the song starts out with drums and it starts out with one instrument at a time, so it is like a sound check. Plus it’s like, it’s two minutes. It’s just like the whistle-blowing at noon and letting everybody know it’s time for lunch or something. “Da-da-da-da-da-da-da!” Oh, gee, wake up!” – Rick Nielsen on “Hello There”

It’s manic and it’s energetic. This little bad boy is like a punch in the face – it rocks hard like that.

6. Pink Floyd – “Pigs on the Wing 1” (1:25)

The first of a two-part song from Pink Floyd’s concept album “Animals,” this was written by Roger Waters for his then-wife Carolyne Christie. While the other tracks had dark themes and more than 10 minutes long, this one’s way shorter and lighter for the most part because it’s Waters declaration of love to his woman – it was back then but now, Waters has different thoughts.

“Maybe it was about someone. My feeling now is that it’s more general. It’s saying, if we don’t care for one another and have empathy for one another, then all we’re left with is this… crap. he final verse – ‘Any fools knows, a dog needs a home, a shelter from pigs on the wing’ is a nod towards the idea of safety and succour in the arms of a loved one. It’s the idea that we’re not alone that we have a responsibility to one another in a global society.” – Roger Waters on “Pigs On The Wing Parts 1 & 2”

It’s obviously a stark contrast to “Dogs,” “Pigs” and “Sheep.”

5. The Clash – “White Riot” (1:58)


It’s fun and furious – all the things we love about The Clash. How can something so short be this intense? The album and the single versions are both different when it comes to the beginning – in the former, you can hear Mick Jones counting “1,2,3,4” while the latter uses a police siren sound.

“The only person who played ‘White Riot’ on the radio was John Peel — and he’s gone on holiday. You play our record against any of the other stuff and it just knocks spots off them left, right and centre. They must be cunts for not playing it.” – Joe Strummer

There was a bit of controversy since some people believed that the song was promoting a race war. On the contrary, the message is actually about finding a worthy cause should anyone decided to riot. It was inspired by the Notting Hill riots and is now considered a classic.

4. Pearl Jam – “Lukin” (1:02)

Written by Eddie Vedder, the title’s named after bassist Matt Lukin (from the bands Mudhoney and The Melvins) who’s also Vedder’s friend. A typical rockstar problem, Vedder had stalkers. When he wanted to escape, he would stay at Lukin’s house and one of the things he liked was how the bass player kept his refrigerator well stocked.

“Someone who had severe mental problems and chemical imbalances ended up targetting me and thinking that all the songs were written about her, and that I was the father of her two children, and the kids were the product of rape, and that I was Jesus and Jesus rapes.” – Eddie Vedder on the song’s meaning and origin

The reason why the song is just a little over a minute is because Lukin apparently kept on teasing Vedder how Pearl Jam’s songs were so long. Oh and Vedder’s voice is exceptional here, by the way.

3. Queen – “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” (1:07)

This is one of their most overlooked songs but still an excellent track all the same. It’s short but well, it’s Freddie Mercury, and he can write a five-second song and it will still kick ass. “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” chronicles how a man typically spends his entire week and thus looks forward to, you guessed it, his Sunday afternoon.

“That’s the way the mood takes me. You know that’s just one aspect of me, and I can really change. Everything on “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” is something that I’m really sort of. I love doing the vaudeville side of things. It’s quite a sort of test. I love writing things like that and I’m sure I’m going to do more than that. It’s quite a challenge.” – Freddie Mercury

Queen has performed the song many times during their concerts. Aside from the beautiful vocal harmonies, it’s also fun to listen to.

2. The Beach Boys – “Our Prayer” (1:07)

It’s a wordless hymn that showcased their incredible vocal harmonies. Written by Brian Wilson, it was supposed to be included in the “Smile” album as the opening track but that project was shelved which is why “Our Prayer” was eventually added to their 1969 15th studio album “20/20.”

“I was sitting at my piano thinkin’ about holy music. I poked around for some simple but moving chords. Later I sat down and wrote ‘Our Prayer’ in sections. The boys were overtaken by the arrangement. I taught it to them in sections, the way I usually do. The purity of the blending of the voices made the listeners feel spiritual. I was definitely into rock church music.” – Brian Wilson

Here’s a fun fact: The Beach Boys never performed this live until their 2012 50th Reunion Tour. It served as an intro to their 1967 single “Heroes and Villains.” They didn’t perform it at every show, however.

1. The Beatles – “Her Majesty” (0:23)

Written by Paul McCartney, this is included in The Beatles’ 1969 eleventh studio album “Abbey Road.” A tongue-in-cheek music hall song, it’s the final piece that begins around 14 seconds after “The End.” Because it wasn’t listed on the original pressings, many consider it as one of the first examples of what a “hidden track” is – a musical gem for every classic rock fan.

The thing is, it was initially intended to be a part of a long medley as a tribute to the Queen of England. But it was removed because Paul didn’t like it.

“It was quite funny because it’s basically monarchist, with a mildly disrespectful tone, but it’s very tongue in cheek. It’s almost like a love song to the Queen.” – Paul McCartney

It was recorded in just three takes and while it’s only 23 seconds long, The Fab Four recorded a longer version for their “Get Back” sessions.