Printers Row Publishing Group:


The Longest Songs

May 23, 2016

While Uncle John was listening to Prince’s eight-minute-long “Purple Rain” on a loop over the weekend, he got to thinking about long songs. Really long songs.
The Longest Songs

The Longest Hit Songs

Before the late ‘60s, radio stations rarely played songs over four minutes long. It took a band as powerful as the Beatles to change that. In 1968, the group released “Hey Jude.” The 7:11 song went to #1, was the band’s biggest hit, and opened the doors for longer songs on the radio. About a decade later, Meat Loaf shattered the hit song length record with “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” That song is 8:55. That record stood until 1991, with the release of Guns N’ Roses “November Rain,” which comes in at 8:57.

The Most Time a Song Has Been #1

On the Billboard Hot 100 (or “pop chart”), Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s duet “One Sweet Day” spent 16 weeks at the top from 1995 to 1996. (In second place: seven songs with 14 weeks each, including Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”)

The Hit Song With The Longest Title (Due to Legal Reasons)

In 1981, a Dutch studio act called Stars on 45 hired a bunch of studio musicians and compiled a medley of re-recorded versions of songs by the Beatles and other acts, and put a dance beat under it. It was popular in dance clubs and then hit #1 in the U.S. and other countries. But because of all the use of other people’s music, Stars on 45 was required to list the names of all the songs in the medley on album sleeves, record labels, etc. The full name of the song is “Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/ I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45.” That’s 41 words.

The Hit Song With The Longest Title (When The Artist Wanted it to Be That Long) 

The wry title of this 1979 top 40 hit by the country duo the Bellamy Brothers later became a cheesy pickup line: “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold it Against Me?” That’s a mere 14 words.

3 1 vote
Article Rating
Follow by Email

Leave a Reply

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Mark Sappenfield
May 23, 2016 6:18 pm

“Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast-Acting Pleasant-Tasting Green And Purple Pills” – Ray Stevens’ hit song with the longest song title ever.

Philip Paolella
Philip Paolella
May 24, 2016 3:08 am

You forgot Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Heard it through the Grapevine” which lasted over 11 minutes.

Philip Carroll
Philip Carroll
May 24, 2016 3:23 pm

Where is Dream Theater on this list?

May 27, 2016 11:54 am

Longest songs — no Alice’s Restaurant in the list??

Jack Mingo
Jack Mingo
May 28, 2016 4:25 pm

This one really missed the boat for so many reasons. But the most obvious factual one: it wasn’t “Hey Jude” that kicked the 200-second AM Top-40 limit to pieces, it was Bob Dylan’s megahit “Like a Rolling Stone,” released in 1965 and clocking in at six minutes.

June 3, 2016 7:20 pm

Geez, I always thought of Like A Rolling Stone as a breakthrough as to length in 1965.

Subscribe to our Mailing List