Monday, February 17, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape:Long Songs--or the DJ Takes a Break

Its been a running joke since I was  a kid--an extra long song would come on the air and we would make "Oh  the DJ needs to go to the bathroom" or "Time for the DJ to eat lunch."  Long songs were almost unheard of in the early days of rock and roll, and even today many websites recommend fledgling performers keep it between three and four minutes.  But every once in a while an artist has more to say, and music is all the better for it. I must apologize as well for the length of the list itself, I couldn't get it below six songs.  Here are a few of my favorite long songs.


Love it or hate it, this is one long song about what? According to composer Jimmy Webb, narcotics were not involved, though it's often including in lists of psychedelic songs.  At right around seven minutes, it is one of the first long songs to really chart well. Moreover it gives me a chance to work one of my favorite actors, Richard Harris, into a twisted mix tape. Unless I do one some day on Films of Broadway Musicals I don't know any other way to do that.



Meatloaf and long songs just go hand in hand. He seems incapable of writing a good short song. This one happens to be my favorite, though I seriously considered the epic "Paradise by the Dash Board Light". Some sources I have read say this is the longest song ever to chart at Number One, but that title is often given to several other songs  as well.


Of course, when a DJ really needs a bathroom break, he can play the live versions of an already long song.  It would be cheating to include the concert versions of most songs on the list, but I think in the case of "Free Bird" the concert version, which was released as a single, is considered to be the definitive version of the song. Certainly its the version I knew best as a teenager.


With the possible exception of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, this has got to be the most successful song that was never released as a single. It often finishes at the top of lists of most requested songs, and barely a day goes by that my local oldies station doesn't play it.


Now didn't you know this song would make the list? How often do I pass up the chance to use a Beatles song on a mix tape? But in the case of Hey Jude, once again the Beatles broke the mold, this time in the case of song length. Nobody cut the Beatles short on the air. Hey Jude was also one half of the what I think was the best 45 of all time, because when you flipped the single over the B side was "Revolution." Music just doesn't get better than that.


But this is, in my opinion, the best of all long songs. I actually owned one of the 45's when I was in high school, with half the song on one side and the rest on the other side. I have fond memories of a college party at which we listened to the darn thing over and over while we debated all the symbolism.  Don McLean, to his great credit, has left the interpreting to us. 



This post is part of Twisted Mix Tape, a blog hop that builds playlists around a theme. This week was a pick it yourself theme so there probably isn't anyone else with a playlist that would take an hour to listen to. If you click on the link below, you can see what other bloggers have chosen.

My Skewed View

16 comments:

  1. I love this idea as a theme - and I love your picks! I also laughed that American Pie played over two sides of the 45 :)

    I'd been toying for a while with finding a way to use "I Would Do Anything for Love" in a TMT post - so glad you found a way!

    As for American Pie - I remain forever proud that I knew EVERY word in high school and so was always ready for a campfire when guitars came out.

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    1. Thank you so much. I had a lot of fun with this.

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  2. Huge fan of so many of these songs, especially Meatloaf. I never noticed how long his songs are, but you are absolutely right!

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    1. Thanks SAM. They're like mini operettas.

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  3. Oh man, American Pie's 13 minute version really makes for one long song. The Hotel California original was so long too. And back to the list, I love meatloaf!!!!

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    1. I also considered Layla, Taxi, and Bohemian Rhapsody.

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  4. I love all these songs and in the interest of time, skipped listening to all on the list. But, as a southerner, its mandatory to stopm listen and bow down in homage any time Free Bird is played. Great list!

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    1. Thank you, Freebird is one amazing song.

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  5. So I didn't make it through each song (3-4 minutes is my limit!) except American Pie. One of my faves!

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  6. Frankly I didn't expect anyone to listen to all of them, but to just pick their faves.

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  7. I love that version of MacArthur Park, but it's also so funny to me for how mellow dramatic it sounds now!
    And you know what's funny? I never appreciated American Pie as much as I do now as an adult. There is something about sharing that song with my son that feels so right.
    This is a great list, thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. When my kids were small I took them to see Don McLean in a 4th of July concert. Of course the only song the kids knew was American. Ofcourse that was his finale. We had fun though.

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  8. hahahaha too funny and you are about right. I used to be a DJ on a rock station and there is a lot we could do in 60-seconds, let alone during a whole Meatloaf song! Good job.

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    1. Ha! Thank you for the validation Cherie.

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  9. I swear I commented on this yesterday, but maybe I imagined it.
    I think what I wrote was that I regret not holding on to my parents' 45 of Hey Jude/Revolution.

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  10. Hey, cynk I believe you. All of my 45s were in a box together in one of our moves. Have a lot of long play vinyl though.

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