Bernice

Written by Bernice

Modified & Updated: 20 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Vinyl records and turntable vinyl player

Whether it’s the longest or the shortest, you cannot deny the unique ability of songs to touch our souls. Songs have the power to move the emotions of people, and whether the goal of the song is to inspire you or make you sad, songs have always been there to motivate us in ways that other things could not. This is why songwriting is considered an art form. Have you ever wondered about the process it takes to write a song? Just as you might have imagined, it takes years of experience, passion, hard work, creativity, and a lot of editing. That is why creating long songs is a feat on its own.

Now have you ever asked yourself, “what is the longest song in the world?” It’s actually longer than the group of eight-minute songs you may have listened to. In truth, the longest songs ever recorded exceed up to hours in length. We’re aware that making one three-minute song is hard enough, but it’s almost impossible to make one that is an hour. However, because of the talented people that exist in this world, these songs do exist. That’s why we have gone out of our way to list them all for everyone to read about. Included in this article are the people behind the songs as well as the meaning behind every lyric.

Want to make the longest Spotify playlist or in the mood to find long songs that will help you sleep? Here are the longest songs ever for you to check out.

Table of Contents

As Slow As Possible

Song Length: 2001–2640
Artist: Cage

The “Organ2 / (As SLow aS Possible)” may be the most unique entry on this list of the longest songs ever. Just like Greta Van Fleet’s “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” this song is a performance. However, the organ’s performance has not ended even though the performance began in the year 2001. “ASLSP” on the organ is a different type of duration since the performance will not end until the year 2640. It is a musical piece created by John Cage, an American music composer, music theorist, artist, and philosopher. Cage wrote the piece for the musical instrument organ as an adaptation for his composition “ASLSP” in the piano it was created in 1985. The performance of “ASLSP” in the piano version lasts 20 to 70 minutes depending on the pianist.

The organ performing this piece resides in St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt. The next change of the note in its performance started on the 2nd of February, 2022. While the organ itself is due for 2640. There have been other performances aside from the organ in St. Burchardi church. Diane Luchese performed the piece at 8 in the morning and ended it at 11 in the evening of the 5th of February in 2009. To date, Luchese’s performance is the longest individual performance of the piece, gathering 14 hours and a 56-minute performance.

Symphony of the Crown

Song Length: 48:39:35
Artist: Earthena

Symphony of the Crown

The world’s longest song is finally here for you in the form of Earthena’s “Symphony of the Crown.” As the longest of all the longest songs ever to date, “Symphony of the Crown” amasses a duration of 48 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds. While songs like “Organ ASLSP” exist, Earthena’s “Symphony of the Crown” proves its right to the throne as Guinness’ Book of World Records acknowledges Earthena winning this round as the longest official song. On Spotify, they made the song into an album and cut it into pieces, with the last part lasting 39:35.

They released the “Symphony of the Crown” on the 1st of October, 2021. Composing the song itself took over a year. Earthena created and officially released the song in King City, Ontario in Canada. The song is filled with synth beats and has a consistent pattern. If you wish to listen to it, it is available on Earthena’s Spotify profile.

The Ring Cycle

Song Length: 15:00:00
Artist: Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner composed the four-part German music drama, “The Ring Cycle”. We also know it as “Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of Nibelung),” “Wagner’s Ring,” and “The Ring.” It took Wagner 26 years to finish his masterpiece from 1848 to 1874. The Ring Cycle’s four parts are “The Rhinegold,” “The Valkyrie,” “Siegfried,” and “Twilight of the Gods.” Wagner created The “Ring Cycle” to be performed together, but it is mostly performed in separate pieces instead.

Out of the longest songs that exist in the world, “Wagner’s Cycle” takes the cake in terms of performance. The entire production of “The Ring Cycle” would take four days in the Opera to accumulate the entire 15 hours of the epic. The songs are loosely based on legends in Germany with Nordic legends and the concept of the Nibelungenlied. Wagner took inspiration from The Song of the Nibelungs, a Middle High German poem that was created in the 1200s. With repetitive harmonies, “The Ring Cycle” shows Wagner’s expertise in leitmotifs.

The Rise and Fall of Bossanova Section IV

Song Length: 13:00:00
Artist: PC III

Various users of Spotify have compiled many of the longest songs into one playlist. But what is the longest song on the music app? It’s actually “The Rise and Fall of Bossanova section IV”, which lasts about four hours. However, the actual song is not divided into parts. They simply split it to be made into one album. The actual length of “The Rise and Fall of Bossanova” is 13 hours, and it was originally the world’s longest song ever until someone recently dethroned it in 2021.

Michael J. Bostwick created the song (which was then turned into an album) for his musical project, The Pipe Choir Three, also known as PC III. Michael officially released the song on the 1st of November in the year 2016 with Creative Commons independent label Pipe Choir. It held its title as the longest song ever for four years before “Symphony of the Crown” was released. A YouTuber named Elise Ecklund, who covers music-related content, continuously listened to the entire 13 hours described it as making her feel sleepy. Other reviews also describe the song as having the ability to relax them.

Opus Clavicesmbalisticum

Song Length: 4:00:00
Artist: Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji completed his piece “Opus Clavicesmbalisticum” on the 25th of June 1930. What the rest of the world and Sorabji himself didn’t know during that time was that “Opus Clavicesmbalisticum” became one of the longest songs in existence. However, it also held the title of the longest piano piece. The complex techniques and mental strength needed to play “Opus Clavicesmbalisitcum” is still an impressive feat even today. Depending on the tempo of your performance, the song could last for four hours and a half.

Upon Sorabji’s completion of the song, he wrote to his friend of his exhaustion but satisfaction in finally finishing “Opus Clavicesmbalisticum.” Sorabji referred to the last few parts of the song to contain biting harmonies similar to nitric acid and counterpoints with slow but inevitable divine retribution.

The Whirlwind

Song Length: 77:54
Artist: Transatlantic

The Whirlwind

“The Whirlwind” by Transatlantic is one of the many in this list of the longest songs to be divided into parts in order to fit into one album. Transatlantic’s third album, The Whirlwind, is one long song that was released on the 23rd of October 2009. There are twelve sections in “The Whirlwind”, beginning with Overture/Whirlwind and ending with Dancing with Glory/ Whirlwind (reprise.) Transatlantic released “The Whirlwind” in three different versions: a standard, a deluxe, and a double-disc special edition. The deluxe edition included a 105-minute video regarding the process of how the song came to be.

Transatlantic’s masterpiece manages to tell a story many of us will relate to in the form of “The Whirlwind.” It discusses the sudden tragedies that most humans face despite the varying degrees and time. While the song doesn’t pinpoint an exact tragedy, it can also adhere to historical events, such as slavery, war, and other forms of oppressive acts against mankind.

However, it is also relatable amongst ordinary people whose kind hearts are swept up by some unforeseen events, such as financial troubles, relationships, and even family problems. “The Whirlwind” ends with a comforting reminder that these events lead us to the right path of our growth, earning our completion, and that one day we will joyfully dance and be thankful for the things that have caused us great pain.

Apparente Liberta

Song Length: 76:44
Artist: Giancarlo Ferrari

Apparente Liberta

Not only is “Apparente Liberta” one of the longest songs, but it is also the longest pop song ever recorded as of 2022. Ferrari composed the song in 2005, then released it as a physical copy (CD) in 2008. The Italian singer was a victim of a roadside accident in 1998, which could explain the vocal track’s distortion that made the lyrics rather difficult to understand. The artist himself was also the frontrunner and founding member of Some Sad Clowns, a goth band that existed from 1992 to 1996.

The meaning behind “Apparente Liberta” comes from the view of history itself. It discusses how people tend to shape history into odd views, depending on the person talking. “Apparente Liberta” mentions pollution, racism, the working class, slavery, politics, and mass media in this song. It is a synthpop with repetitive tones, art pop, and uses sequencers and trackers.

The Devil Glitch

Song Length: 69:00
Artist: Christ Butler

The Devil Glitch

The Devil Glitch” earns its spot on the list of the longest songs ever because of its previously held title. Chris Butler’s song was given the title “the longest pop song” until it was dethroned by Apparente Liberta by Giancarlo Ferrari. However, the song still has an impressive duration with it lasting an hour and nine minutes. It was released in the year 2000 under the genre progressive pop and art pop.

“The Devil Glitch” repeatedly discusses how to fix some things. The singer tells the listener that “sometimes you can fix something by…” which is then followed by an action that would either be whimsical, a genuine piece of advice, or destructive. All the advice tends to contradict one another as if these pieces of advice for fixing something come from different types of people. People call this song the “The Devil Glitch” because of its repetition that almost feels like it’s cursing you. However, Butler himself didn’t confirm this.

Light of Day, Day of Darkness

Song Length: 60:06
Artist: Green Carnation

Light of Day, Day of Darkness

Green Carnation, a Norwegian progressive metal band, created “Light of Day, Day of Darkness.” Prophecy Productions then released it in November 2001. Terje Vik Schel, also known as Tchort, is the founding member of Green Carnation with a large contribution to “Light of Day, Day of Darkness.” Tchort wrote, arranged, and composed the song, which lasts for over an hour. The tragic story behind the song involves Tchort’s daughter, who had died, and his son, Damien Aleksander, whose voice appears in the final moments of the song.

The musical style of “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is unique in comparison to most metal bands. This is because of its combination of other musical instruments not commonly heard on the metal scene. However, it still has heavy influences of metal with death metal twinges and growls.

Garden of Dreams

Song Length: 59:25
Artist: The Flower Kings

Flower Power

Added to this list of the longest songs ever is the band The Flower Kings because of their own song, “Garden of Dreams.” The song itself is divided into 18 parts that create one whole song when combined together. “Garden of Dreams” has a flurry of different emotions that progress back and forth between these divisions, garnering its title as a masterpiece for being able to release a wide variety of emotions. A fun fact about The Flower Kings is that if Roine Stolt did not hire the band members to help him play his song, The Flower King, the group would not have existed and “Garden of Dreams” would have never come to fruition.

The lyrics to “Garden of Dreams” speak of a battle in life and choosing peace and love rather than warfare and nuclear weapons, all the while the wish to return to the “Garden of Dreams” and dreaming about being able to live happily in the area. You may interpret it as the exile of man from the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve committed the original sin, and humankind’s decisions to choose God (who represents the kindness and love in the song) or the Devil (the song warns the listener not to let him win.)

Catch Thirtythree

Song Length: 47:09
Artist: Meshuggah

Catch Thirtythree

Catch Thirtythree” is the longest song of Meshuggah, a Swedish heavy metal band, that was released on May 16, 2005. Meshuggah already had experiences with long songs before Catch Thirtythree’s release. The song gained respectable success, reaching the Billboard 200 Chart on 170th. Marten Hagstrom, the rhythm guitarist of Meshuggah, once spoke about the band’s actual goal. While money is a nice idea for the band, Hagstrom admitted that Meshuggah was more fulfilling when a person came up to them about how the band has changed their way of thinking in regards to metal music and that the band always looks forward to progressing from their previous albums. A year later, “Catch Thirtythree” was released and reached commercial success.

Catch 22 is a concept about paradoxical situations wherein an individual cannot escape a situation because of its contradictory rules or limitations. “Catch Thirtythree” takes this logic up a notch by placing paradoxes against each other and offering solutions. Meshuggah fans on the Internet have widely discussed the meaning of the song. Many believe the song presents philosophical problems and actions that can be resolved by doing the complete opposite or balancing one’s actions to its other half.

Thick As A Brick

Song Length: 43:50
Artist: Jethro Tull

Thick As A Brick

Thick As A Brick” is the longest rock song included in the group of long classic rock songs. The song was released in 1972 with the entire song dedicated to one album that was featured on both sides of the LP record. “Thick As A Brick” was a retaliation to critics that called Jethro Tull’s previous album, Aqualung, a concept album. Inspired by the criticism, frontman and songwriter Ian Anderson decided to create a song that mirrored Monty Python by using complex music patterns and intertwining them with comedy. It was a parody of grand rock concepts just as much as any other parody in art.

Some people even fell for the jokes. The album cover of “Thick As A Brick” was designed to look like a newspaper. On the design, it claims that an eight-year-old schoolboy named Gerald Bostock was a literary genius who wrote an epic poem. This epic poem was then given a musical adaptation by Jethro Tull. Because of the subtlety of the joke, some fans believed in the existence of Gerald Bostock, even though it was actually Ian who wrote the song.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Song Length: 42:04
Artist: Dream Theater

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” is another masterpiece by Dream Theater. It is one of the longest songs by the band. “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” is the type of song you could listen to if you want to understand more about the human psyche or at least have a grasping idea of the problems having mental illnesses can give someone. The song, just like many on this list, was broken up into sections. For Dream Theater, they decided to cut the song into eight pieces.

“Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” is a song that follows the story of six people suffering from mental illnesses. The illnesses mentioned in the song are bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder, postpartum depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism. Folk, progressive, metal, and classical music genres heavily influenced Dream Theater when creating the song. This helped them to easily split the song into eight cuts.

A Long Day

Song Length: 36:30
Artist: The Polyphonic Spree

The beginning Stages of...

Tim DeLaughter created The Polyphonic Spree as a choral rock band in Dallas, Texas. The band remains active today and relies on its unique form of music by using large choral vocals accompanied by a range of musical instruments. A bit of research will tell you that DeLaughter wished to create the type of music he grew up with, thus the birth of The Polyphonic Spree. The band features a ten-member choir, an electronic effects wizard, pedal steel, theremin, French horn, violin, two keyboardists, trumpets, flute, bass guitar, percussion, and a trombone.

“A Long Day” was released by The Polyphonic Spree around 2013. It has a repetitive tone with beats that rise and fall quickly. The song itself has very few reviews to be found on the Internet. However, the song can be listened to on Amazon, Spotify, and YouTube if you want to learn more about it.

Cassandra Gemini

Song Length: 35:32
Artist: The Mars Volta

Frances the Mute album

“Cassandra Gemini” is the longest song in The Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute album which was released in 2005. The album itself incorporates Latin, Jazz, dub, and ambient influences. However, the unique thing about Frances the Mute is that it only contains five songs, four of them so long that they were divided into different sections. The fifth and final song in the album is “Cassandra Gemini,” which lasts a total of 35 minutes. It is divided into five parts.

While “Cassandra Gemini” is not The Mars Volta’s most famous song, it does hold a special space in many of the band’s fans. There have been discussions on the meaning behind “Cassandra Gemini” and we have discovered that most people theorize only two possible meanings. The first one has a lot to do with the process of making France the Mute. It is stated that during the creation of the album, most of their projects were heavily influenced by nonsensical rambling. A large majority of the fans believe that “Cassandra Gemini” has no real meaning as a result. The other half believe that there is a method to the madness of the lyrics behind “Cassandra Gemini.” Other fans believe that the lyrics are about the pointlessness of life after looking and grasping for its true meaning.

The Great Goodnight

Song Length: 34:35
Artist: Magellan

Hundred Year Flood

The Great Goodnight” is a song by a progressive rock band, Magellan. It details the experience of losing a brother because of an ongoing war around the year 1966 during the events of the Vietnam War. The older brother, at the age of 19, perished from four gunshots after just being drafted six months in the Military. According to the song, the little brother discovers details of the events that led to his older brother’s death.

In the song, the older brother was left to fend for himself as the only logical option for the other soldiers. Their mother is filled with regret, wishing that her son never left for Vietnam in the first place. The little brother explains to his older brother that one day they will meet and that the older brother would know the song was made for him.

The 34-minute song details a tragedy that many of us can relate to the death of a loved one, not just who are soldiers but whose lives were cut short. The band, Magellan, named themselves after Ferdinand Magellan, the explorer, and explains they are the second-wave of progressive rock with intentions to go deeper and push the envelope in experimenting with music. Their song, Great Goodnight, is one of their masterpieces that defines progressive rock’s potential.

World Without End

Song Length: 33:39
Artist: Neal Morse

Momentum Neal Morse

“World Without End” is a song by Neal Morse that was included in his 2012 album Momentum. The album itself featured only six songs, with “World Without End” being the sixth and final one and separated into six movements. This is actually not Neal Morse’s first time writing songs of this length. He had earlier worked with Transatlantic and had created some of the longest songs that are also included here. However, “World Without End” is Morse’s masterpiece that, while it may have been influenced by his time with Transatlantic, remains his own work.

The song talks about an inevitable return to “the blazing sun” which could be a metaphor to God, hope, happiness, or even love. Morse explains that he will not mind all the trials and tribulations that he may encounter as long as he manages to get to the world he dreams of where the blazing sun exists.

Lover Leaver, Taker, Believer (Live)

Song Length: 26:35
Artist: Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet is a newly born rock band with a similar aura, performance, and style as the bands in the ’70s. They are a group that was formed in Frankenmuth, Michigan in the year 2012. All members of the band are brothers except for their longtime friend Danny Wagner who plays the drums. Although relatively young for their music genre, the group has already received a Grammy award for their album From the Fires in 2019. However, we are here to talk about their 26-minute performance of “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” in Los Angeles during the year 2018.

What’s interesting about this performance is that they stretched what was originally a 3:34 song length up to 26 minutes. This has been said to be an improvisation similar to rock legends such as Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Many fans of the old rock n’ roll applaud the group for their very similar energy to these legendary bands. The reason this live version exists on this list is not only because of its length but this specific live version of the song has also been played on various radio stations as well. While it wasn’t as consistent as In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the song remained iconic enough for people to constantly request it during its heyday.

Octavarium

Song Length: 23:58
Artist: Dream Theater

Octavarium

Octavarium” is one of Dream Theater’s longest songs. You can actually listen to the song with its five separate movements rather than its full length. Its title refers to a perfect sphere that collides with every living being’s fate. This idea became the concept of “Octavarium” itself. Dream Theater took influence and references to songs by Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Queen, and Marty Friedman.

The first time you hear the song, you will learn about one person’s thoughts on their life path. This person is also adamant about never living as an ordinary person. John Petrucci, the lyricist, may have related to the full circle with his return to progressive rock. This first movement, titled Someone Like Him, encompasses Octavarium’s “it ends where it begins” concept. The following movements support this as well, unifying the passage of time and everyone’s story that eventually returns to their roots.

Echoes

Song Length: 23:29
Artist: Pink Floyd

echoes the best of pink floyd

Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” is the longest song the band ever recorded. It has three versions: the Meddle version, which is the original version, the 16-minute “Echoes” version, and their Live at Pompeii version, which is the longest. The song incorporated a wide variety of concepts and musical themes. “Echoes” received positive responses from fans and critics alike. You can find various videos of “Echoes” being performed lived from 1971 to 1975 available online. Included in those recorded performances found on YouTube is the iconic Live at Pompeii version that stretches out to a minute from the original version.

Fans believe “Echoes” is the best song by Pink Floyd. This is because the poetic lyrics with blending harmonies “Echoes” portray both in live performances and recordings. In addition, “Echoes” was a purely coincidental creation thanks to feedback coming from Richard Wright’s playing on the piano. The song is about the ability of humankind to empathize with each other and our potential rather than the apathetic side that many of us are used to using.

2112

Song Length: 20:38
Artist: Rush

2112 Rush

2112” was released through the album of the same name by Rush in 1976. The song itself is divided into seven parts, with “Overture” and “Temple of Syrinx” (the first and second part of “2112”) being continuously included on Rush’s set list whenever they perform live.

We pronounce “2112” as twenty-one twelve, which references the protagonist of the song: Anonymous 2112. Rush created the story of Megadon City, where uniqueness and identity were prohibited. They forced the residents of Megadon to live under evil priests living in the Temple of Syrinx. Neil Peart credited Ayn Rand’s novel, Anthem, and noted the similarities of 2112’s concept to her novel. Peart acknowledged Rand’s genius and credited her with the liner notes.

The song does take a tragic turn in the story of Anonymous 2112, who resolves to take his own life in hopes of he may exist in the world he fantasizes about and refuses to live longer in the Federation that feels cold, lifeless, and empty. In a sudden plot twist, the government itself is overthrown by a more powerful and frightening entity which is left unannounced to the audience. However, it is heavily implied to be the elder race the oracle from part V of the song describes.

Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

Song Length: 18:15
Artist: Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie, longest songs
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” belongs to the list of longest songs because of its 18-minute duration. This song covers the entire a-side of Alice’s Restaurant, the album its artist and performer Arlo Guthrie released it in. The song is an opinionated monologue against the Vietnam War drafting based on Arlo’s personal experiences. Arlo sings he was arrested for illegally dumping trash that, in the turn of the events, causes him to be questioned during the Vietnam War if he was fit to be a soldier.

While the song is particularly lighthearted enough for it to be comical, they categorized the monologue as a shaggy dog story, which means it was long-winded and did not get to the point. In fact, the word massacree is a colloquialism of the word massacre, as if to explain that something tragic happened, but nobody died.

While the title of the song is “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” the movie Alice’s Restaurant merely inspired the song. The song mentions a friend of Arlo’s and her restaurant in the chorus but has no actual contribution to the flow of the song’s story. The Library of Congress selected “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” in 2017 for preservation in the National Recording Registry because of its significance in culture, history, and art.

Empire of the Clouds

Song Length: 18:01
Artist: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden The Book of Souls

It’s safe to say that Iron Maiden has earned the title “legendary” with their incredible success and continuously growing fanbase. They began in 1975 and remain active in their music career today. “Empire of the Clouds” is Iron Maiden’s longest song with a span of 18 minutes. They released it in The Book of Soulstheir 16th album in 2016. Bruce Dickinson, the lead vocalist of Iron Maiden, wrote the song intending to refer it to World War I fighter planes. However, that concept was eventually placed in “Death or Glory” which is another song from the same album.

Empire of the Clouds” is instead about the historical crash of the British R101 airship in Northern France on its maiden voyage. This tragic event happened on the 5th of October 1930, earning its title as one of the worst airship accidents of the decade. Its crash report inspired Dickinson, who described it as a very human tale about ambition and dreams.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Song Length: 17:06
Artist: Iron Butterfly

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Many people believe that “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is the longest song ever played on the radio. This is because the song was widely played on its initial release in the late 1960s. What many people don’t know about the 17-minute length song is that its title does not have any deep meaning. Ron Bushy, the drummer of Iron Butterfly, could not understand singer Doug Ingle’s words and wrote the title as such. Unfortunately, the record company approved the title, thinking it was exotic. The actual title should have been “In the Garden of Eden” rather than “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The band settled for a loose translation meaning “In the Garden of Life” instead. The meaning behind the song is a man’s affirmation of his feelings of love for his lover. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the song as the definition of “heavy psychedelic excess.”

The recording of the 17-minute version was not intended. However, because of the raw energy, the band ignored the mistakes and agreed it was best left as is. Pop stations played the 2-minute and 52-second versions. Meanwhile, progressive FM stations preferred the 17-minute version.

Voodoo Chile

Song Length: 15:00
Artist: Jimi Hendrix

Electric Ladyland

Jimi Hendrix, an iconic musician, created “Voodoo Chile” in 1968 for Electric Ladyland. A song called “Rollin’ Stone” by Muddy Waters influenced Hendrix’s composition of Voodoo. Hendrix, drummer Mitchell, organist Winwood, and bassist Casady recorded the song in Record Plant, New York City. “Voodoo Chile” developed from Hendrix’s previous song “Catfish Blues” which also referenced Muddy Waters’s works.

If you’re a fan of Jimi Hendrix, you might be aware that he loved science fiction and the blues. His love for the two concepts is why “Voodoo Chile” was a blended concept of both. Critics describe “Voodoo Chile” as an organized play through blue styles like Waters’ electric blue to the early delta blues.

Achilles Last Stand

Song Length: 10:31
Artist: Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin Presence

Led Zeppelin released “Achilles’ Last Stand” in their 1976 album Presence. It was the opening track for the album that had a ten-minute song length. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, members of the band, began writing the song a year before its release. The culture, Eastern music, and mythology they experienced in their travels heavily influenced the song. Critics gave positive reviews of the song, relating it to Led Zeppelin’s other song, Kashmir. Page himself admits that “Achilles’ Last Stand” is among his favorite of the band’s discography.

While the countries they traveled to influenced the song’s melody, “Achilles’ Last Stand” also referenced Greek mythology with Atlas and Achilles. William Blake’s Albion was also a reference to the song. The lyrics talk about the travels the group experienced during their temporary exile to the UK to avoid income tax payments.

Coma

Song Length: 10:16
Artist: Guns N’ Roses

Use Your Illusion I

Here comes Gun N’ Roses. Their song, “Coma,” is the longest song Guns N’ Roses ever recorded. They released it as the last song on their album Use Your Illusion Iin 1991. What makes “Coma” unique is that out of all the songs listed here, Guns N’ Roses is the only band to have a long song that features no chorus. Slash, the lead guitarist of the band, admits to writing the song under the influence of heroin. He had written the song in a rented-out home in Hollywood with Izzy Stradlin, the singer for Guns N’ Roses.

Axl Rose, another member of the band, explained the meaning of the song. According to Rose, he was under so much stress that he had purposely attempted to overdose himself. For a brief moment, Rose felt complete and relaxed. However, his thought process changed when he realized that a coma was not what he wanted to be in. Rose believes that there is hope amidst the stressful life, which is what “Coma” is all about.

All Too Well (Ten Minute Version)

Song Length: 10:13
Artist: Taylor Swift

Red (Taylor's Version)

We welcome the next song on our list as the most recent addition to the longest songs ever. Taylor Swift’s ten-minute version of her song “All Too Well” has been well received internationally. The song itself has beaten American Pie off its record as the longest song to reach number one. While the overwhelming success of the song has received various praises, the origin of the song and the reason for its publishing takes a dark turn for the music industry. The artist accused her former producers, Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta, of controlling her music with questionable strictness. Braun’s team denies this but refuses Taylor’s basic right to use her songs in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, and even takes her rights from her own work. However, Taylor bounces back by rerecording all her previous works, including “All Too Well.”

The song is based on her relationship with celebrity Jake Gyllenhaal and the heartbreak and confusion she experienced during the last days of their tragic romance. There was even an accompanying short film to detail the events that caused their break up from Taylor’s point of view. Compared to its initial release in the Red album that Big Machine Records still own, Taylor’s version provides further details, a more vulnerable story, and the moments that both made her happy and made her maimed during her time with Jake.

Free Bird

Song Length: 10:07
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Then and Now

The next on our list of the longest songs ever is “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant wrote the song and released it with the band in 1974. Collins wrote the first few chords two years before Ronnie Van Zant made an entire song. Collin’s wife, Kathy, had once told Collins the opening lines of “Free Bird,” which is “If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?” They included this since it fits the entire meaning behind the song.

Gary Rossington, the guitarist of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, had a conversation with Van Zant about the song’s meaning one day. Van Zant told Rossington that it was a song about the true meaning of freedom. Van Zant further added that everyone wishes to be free and the country they live in, which is America, stood for this freedom.

The band dedicated the song to Howard Duane Allman, the original leader and founder of the Allman Brothers Band, who died a few years earlier from the song’s conception. However, during their performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test, Van Zant dedicated it not only to Duane but also to Berry Oakley, the original bassist of the Allman Brothers Band, who died a year after Duane.

There are over four versions of the song. The first one is the album version that lasts 9 minutes and 8 seconds. The second one is the single version, which lasts 4:41. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s version lasts up to 10:07 minutes. The last version alludes to the band’s first live album, where their performance of “Free Bird ” lasts up to eleven minutes.

American Pie

Song Length: 8:42
Artist: Don McLean

American Pie

The longest number 1 song ever was once “American Pie.” Its length might be the shortest on this list, but it is one of those that received the most praise. McLean initially released it in 1971, along with the American Pie album. McLean then released a new version which became the eight-minute song after Madonna’s cover, making it the longest song to be included in the Hot 100 Billboard. “American Pie’s” success also captured the right to call itself the longest song to reach number one. However, it was just recently dethroned by Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” in the year 2021.

McLean explained that the song represented America’s cultural transition. Its first verse discusses McLean’s experience when he learned about Buddy Holly’s death at 13 years old. McLean admired Holly enough to dedicate the entire album and the song itself to Holly. “American Pie” repeats the phrase “the day that music died” regarding Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson, and Ritchie Valens’ untimely death.

The song also discusses more than the deaths of the celebrated musicians and the shift in music. McLean admits that the song also represents a generation that was forced to transition from the dreamlike ’50s to the darker themes of the ’60s. The song proves this change by mentioning tragic events past the Second World War. McLean titled it “American Pie” because of the food’s comforting appearance to the eyes of Americans, therefore saying goodbye to the familiarity of what they once knew as America.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading about the longest songs ever made. Hopefully, we managed to answer all of your questions regarding these songs and the meaning behind their conception. However, don’t forget that there are still many artists making songs to this day. As a result, it’s most certain that there will be more long songs for you to check out as time goes on. Let’s not forget to stream these songs legally. This is how we support our beloved songwriters and singers in order for them to continue making these thought-provoking songs we can relate to.

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