Top 10 rock songs longer than 10 minutes that you will still want to hear
Totally worth your time!
It’s time to stretch your attention span and appreciate these 10 songs that are a little bit longer than your typical radio-friendly song duration. Maintaining your focused attention to a track that goes over ten minutes takes a bit of dedication in order to rediscover the creativity and artistry put into these songs. These unusual lengths are actually gems in the rock music scene, and the genre that usually goes for these longer productions would be Jazz. Rock songs that are of this length are like definitely epic! The term epic might mean two things: one refers to the grand scale of awesomeness of the song and one literally means ‘long’ as in Homer’s “Odyssey” long – both of which ring true to the songs on this list.
These epic songs tell detailed stories and convey emotions through the music and lyrics. And surprisingly, despite the length, it actually sticks with you.
10. “Voodoo Child” by Jimmi Hendrix (14 min 59 sec)
The almost quarter-hour musical blues-rock jamming venture Jimi Hendrix takes his audience to is hard to miss. “Voodoo Child” is a classic epic in league of its own. Originally titled “Voodoo Chile” as was the initial title handwritten by Hendrix when he sent the song to his record company, the Jimi Hendrix Experience band released the song in 1968 as the final track on their album Electric Ladyland. It’s a golden track that features one of best guitar riffs by Jimi Hendrix. The song was even included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, ranking at number 102. Every Hendrix fan would know that “Voodoo Child” is a staple of Hendrix’s concert setlist, with live performances of the song varying from seven to eighteen minutes in length.
The song was Hendrix’s longest studio recording.
9 . “Duology” by Rush (10 min 25 sec + 18 min 8 sec)
Canadian rock icon Rush released a two-parter track that bridges their A Farewell to Kings (1977) album to the its follow-up Hemispheres (1978). The duology was named after the actual blackhole Cygnus X-1 that lies in the Cygnus constellation.
The first track in the duology “Book I: The Voyage” is the last track on the A Farewell to Kings album while “Book II: Hemispheres” is the first song on its succeeding album Hemispheres, thus the direct connection.
“Book I: The Voyage” clocks in at 10 minutes and 25 seconds while “Book II: Hemispheres” runs only 2 and a half minutes shy of reaching a 20-minute track time, clocking in at 18 minutes and 8 seconds to be exact. Rush performed both songs in the duology cycle on both their Hemispheres album promotional tour as well as their Permanent Waves tour. Another interesting fact about these two musical epics, is that within the “books”, its cut into different chapters just like reading a story.
8 . “Reach Down” by Temple of the Dog (11 min 13 sec)
Short-lived rock supergroup Temple of the Dog (composed of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Mother Love Bone’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron and guest vocalist Eddie Vader of Pearl Jam) only released one album, the self-titled Temple of the Dog. “Reach Down”, the longest track from their only album was a tribute to Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood. “Reach Down” was written by Chris Cornell while he was on tour with Soundgarden, as an expression of his feelings about his friend’s death. McCready said in an interview with Rolling Stone
“With ‘Reach Down’ I remember that Chris was like, ‘Hey, let’s make a super-long song that’s the first song on the record that will piss off the record company. Let’s make it the first single.’ The demo itself was pretty long with Chris playing drums, guitar, bass and singing. I wanted it to be as true to the demo as possible. There’s a guitar part that follows his vocal. I wanted to emulate that. I did a couple of guitar passes, but I didn’t go as hard as I could because I was very intimidated by this big song. I felt like I could play pretty great. I was way into Stevie Ray Vaughan and I loved blues and all that, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t overstepping my bounds until Chris just said, ‘Hey, just go for it.’
And thus came about the surprising epic hit, born from the grief and love of fellow musicians towards their friend who was gone too soon.
7 . “Station to Station” by David Bowie ( 10 min 17 sec)
The title track of David Bowie’s 1976 studio album, Station to Station is thought of as one of the most significant works of the music legend’s career. It’s also his longest studio recording, at just over 10 minutes. The lyrics formally introduced the world to Bowie’s chilling new persona, “The Thin White Duke”, a figure that looked a lot more normal than his previous personas, but one that turned out to be so controversial. “Station to Station” was recorded when Bowie was battling a serious drug addiction which left with him practically no memory of recording this album. This song takes fans back to the rich story of Bowie’s rise, fall, and rise again, but anyone would be hooked on the song’s curious references to occultists, agnosticism, and the Stations of the Cross.
6 . “Child in Time” by Deep Purple (10 min 18 sec)
Running at 10 minutes and 25 seconds, this song written by singer Ian Gillian is a straightforward protest against the US Vietnam war in 1969. The song has two sections that builds up to each other. It was inspired by a riff in a song “Bombay Calling” by the Psychedelic rock band It’s a Beautiful Day.
Ian Gillan was interviewed about the song and said,
“There are two sides to that song – the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song ‘Bombay Calling’ by a band called It’s A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we’d play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original ‘Bombay Calling’. So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines ‘Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line.’ That’s how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that’s why it became so popular.”
Lars Ulrich of Metallica is a big fan of the song, saying “This is their most iconic moment”.
5 . “Dogs” by Pink Floyd (17 min 6 sec)
This rock epic runs at 17 minutes 6 seconds, as part of a five-song concept “Animals”. “Dogs” was originally titled “You Gotta Be Crazy” but was adjusted to keep consistent with the “Animals” theme inspired by the George Orwell novel of the same name. The lyrics talk about the satirical issues being dealt with at the tome with law enforcement depicted as the hungry dogs that just follow orders from wealthy people. It was also pioneering in the use of Vox effects in the music, with the word “stone” sung and morphed into the sound of a barking dog. Even if the track runs at almost 20 minutes long, when listened to, you lose track of time with the poetic lyrics and the outstanding progressive rock production, it’s gotta be one of Pink Floyd’s best creations.
4 . “Desolation Row” by Bob Dylan (11 min 21 sec)
Noted for it’s long run time of 11 minutes and 21 seconds, this 1965 track by Bob Dylan is considered one of his greatest compositions, even ranking number 187 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. “Desolation row” is the closing track of Highway 61 Revisited, Dylan’s sixth studio album. In his lyrics, Dylan interweaves a variety of characters from the Bible and historical fiction and turns it into his own story depicting urban chaos. Reviews of the track describe it as having a “high level of poetical lyricism” and that it was written like those long traditional folk ballads. It’s also a consensus that the music itself is hypnotic, mysterious and enchanting. Definitely worth your 11 minutes and 21 seconds.
3 . “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors (10 min 55 sec)
Hailing from The Doors’ sophomore slump album Strange Days released in 1967, “When The Music’s Over” is probably one of the iconic rock band’s best known singles.
And for The Doors, the music is not over until it reaches almost 11 minutes, that is the song’s run time at 10 minutes and 55 seconds. The song closes the album and becomes etched in the listeners’ memory, ultimately defining what the album really is all about. It displays the elements of a classic Doors track with compelling lyrics, a stand-out piano riff, and a soulful musicality overall. While it somehow did foreshadow a warning of the band’s exit, The Doors actually performed “When The Music’s Over” as a staple in their set while they were playing as the house band at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, California.
2 . “In My Time of Dying” by Led Zeppelin (11 min 6 sec)
Running at 11 minutes and six seconds, “In My Time of Dying” is the longest studio track by Led Zeppelin, excluding the band’s live cuts. Zeppelin based “In My Time of Dying” from a 1920s gospel song “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed” and just transformed it into a massive rock track featuring a heavy bass line from John Paul Jones (who used a fretless bass), reverb drumming from John Bonham, and some serious grind-and-slide guitar playing from Jimmy Page. Robert Plant jokingly dedicated the song to Queen Elizabeth and the British Labour Party Chancellor as an allusion to the tax-exile issues of the band. During its release, it was reviewed that the song was one of the finest moments from the album Physical Graffiti, with the groove of the song shifting gears and making it work like a deconstruction of blues itself.
1 . “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” has different meanings for its fans. It’s been played in various events – from graduations to funerals – when it was actually composed as a love song. It was inspired by the words Allen Collins’ wife, “If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me.” The final version ended up being dedicated to Duane Allman from Allman Brothers. The song made its debut in 1973, and in 1974, made it to the Billboard Hot 100. “Free Bird” is the band’s longest song, lasting for over 14 minutes in live concerts. It was originally only a little over 7 minutes until its final version in 1973. It was played as an instrumental only once: as a tribute to the death of the band’s lead singer Ronnie Van Zant in 1977. Lynyrd Skynyrd usually ended their live shows with the hit song that is now considered an anthem.