Longer than the usual
Early this week as I was eating my lunch at a popular fastfood joint, I heard a song that I haven’t heard for so long time now – probably about a decade already. It was coming from the fastfood’s sound system. It was Stand By Me from the English group Oasis.
Hearing the song once again after so long time brings memories to me. It has been years since this song has been a regular fixture in my listening habit to radio. It was at the time when I tripped and trying to stand up after. It was nostalgic moment for me.
Then I remembered another song by Oasis that hasn’t been playing in the radio for a while now. This is the “All Around the World”. I understand that the length of the song and it has never made it big back then here in the Philippines the reason why it never played now.
Which brings me to the reason for this entry.
“All Around the World” is one of the long songs that I know of. This one lasts for more than nine minutes. This “long song” idea made me curious what other songs out there that fits the criteria of songs that is more than seven minutes long. And so I searched the web for a list. There was a lot (more than a thousand I suppose). The Rolling Stones has even ranked the 500 best for them. As I am scanning on the list, I realized that the 99% – 99.9% of these songs are not familiar to me. Perhaps because (1) I am too young when the song are on it’s peak, (2) rock genre is alien to me, and (3) the song really never reached Philippines big time. When I was about to look for a long song that probably on the list, I understood that the song/songs don’t fit in since they are less than 7 minutes long when I thought they are qualified.
Then I decided of listing my favorite long songs. At first, I tried to list those more than seven minutes long songs but I can only come up with three songs so I thought of shorting it to songs more than five minutes and 30 seconds long so that songs initially unqualified can be included. Besides, it seems that a more than five minutes song nowadays is not the standard. Many of the songs I know (and liked) are less than five minutes and seldom you can hear that is beyond the norm. Live and remix versions are not included, of course.
If I get to chance to get an MP3 or an iPod, I know that the following will be played more frequently on this gadget:
- American Pie (Don McLean) – The song is an abstract story of [McLean’s] life that starts with the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) in a plane crash in 1959, and ends in 1970; in the song he called the plane crash “the day the music died”.
- Ang Huling El Bimbo (Eraserheads) – The song, narrated in the first person, tells the story of a man’s unrequited feelings for his childhood friend, whose life came to a tragic end.
- Hey Jude (The Beatles) – The song’s original title was “Hey Jules”, and it was intended to comfort Julian Lennon from the stress of his parents’ divorce. McCartney said, “I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules’, which was Julian, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces … I had the idea [for the song] by the time I got there. I changed it to ‘Jude’ because I thought that sounded a bit better.”
- Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann – Wear Sunscreen or Sunscreen Speech are the common names of an essay actually called “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997…. The essay was used in its entirety by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann in his remixing of the song Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good) from the film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, entitled Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).
- Silly Love Songs (Paul McCartney)- In addition to a comment about “silly love songs” by John Lennon, McCartney had often been teased by music critics for writing lightweight songs, and he wrote this number in response. “Silly Love Songs” was McCartney’s first foray into the then-popular disco sound, with his bass guitar taking a lead role against a steady disco-style drumbeat.
- Stand by Me (Oasis) – Noel Gallagher claims to have written the song whilst suffering from food poisoning when he first moved to London. His mother Peggy would phone him to check on him and repeatedly told him to ensure he was eating properly. This spurred Gallagher to cook himself a proper English Sunday dinner, which resulted in a bout of food poisoning. Gallagher claims that the song’s first line—”Made a meal and threw it up on Sunday/I’ve got a lot of things to learn”—came to him as he lay on the floor and it was then that he began to pen the lyrics to the song.
- Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) – The song is of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo, opera, rock and an outro. This format, with abrupt changes in style, tone, and tempo, was unusual to rock music. An embryonic version of this style was done by Queen themselves in “My Fairy King”. The New York Times say that “the song’s most distinct feature is the fatalistic lyrics”.
- The Saga Begins (Weird al Yankovic) – This parody [of McLean’s American Pie] is the longest space of time between the original song and the parody of Al’s, released over 28 years after American Pie was recorded. ‘Set to the tune of “American Pie,” “The Saga Begins” recounts the plot of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s point of view. Yankovic gathered most of the information he needed to write the song from Internet spoilers.
- Stan (Eminem) – “Stan” is a fictional story of a fan who is obsessed with Eminem and writes to him but doesn’t receive a reply. The first three verses are delivered by Stan, while the fourth verse is Eminem responding to Stan, only to realize that he has heard about Stan’s death on the news as he was writing to him.
- All Around the World (Oasis) – Noel described the song shortly before the release of the album- … “The lyrics are teeny-poppy. But there are three key changes towards the end. Imagine how much better Hey Jude would have been with three key changes towards the end. I like the ambition of it, all that time ago. What was all that about when we didn’t even have our first single out? Gin and tonics, eh?”
Everytime any of the song above is played on the radio, I would likely to drop everything I am doing and listen intently to the song knowing it will not play on a regular basis. I like to listen to the melody and every story told. And the angsts in between. There is that feeling of extra-satisfaction hearing songs that is longer than usual. You don’t feel bitinafter. You will savor every moment of it and you will have the chance to enjoy it more. Sure, satistifaction is guaranteed.
I am not sure if Ang Huling El Bimbo should be there but I know that it is long enough to be on the list. If there are other songs that makes it, I probably don’t have any idea of it or my memory is just failing me right at the moment.
Description after each song titles in the list are taken in Wikipedia.