Short songs


7. Okt. 2005, 12:16

Sometimes when you're listening to a great song, it just ends too soon. I hate it when that happens; I mean, some songs are just too short! I had a look into my library and it turns out that I've got quite a number of songs that are under three minutes.

I decided to make a top ten out of them. I have to say that it could be that I've got a short version of a song that's actually over three minutes, but as we all know: free music isn't always 100% correct.

A top ten:

#10, measuring 2 minutes and 14 seconds: You Really Got Me (1964). Did you expect the #10 song on the list to be that short already? In fact, I didn't. I selected the songs under three minutes, and I've got 85 of those, which is about one in seven. 20 songs in my library are under 2:30 minutes, so we got the Kinks at place 10.

At #9 we find With a Girl Like You (1966), 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Another one from the sixties! Were artists in the sixties to lazy to record long songs? You Can't Always Get What You Want (1969) proves that that's not true: 7 minutes 32 seconds.

Time for #8: Travelin' Band (1970), 2:09. Another one from the same era - and so will the top seven be! This raises an interesting question: why is my short music that old? My reasoning is that people still preferred quality over quantity in the good old days.
I deny that it has anything to do with the fact that over 80% of the music in my library was made before 1990.

At #7, a song that isn't known to many people - at least: that's my guess, since the p2p programme that I use for reference purposes only doesn't produce a lot of hits for this song. Hair (1968), 2 minutes 6 seconds. A one-hit wonder, and an extremely short one too. I guess they're the ones who came up with the term "two minutes of fame".

#6 features my only Bill Withers song: Ain't No Sunshine (1971). 2 minutes and 5 seconds. It can't get much shorter, but still we're only at #6...

The #5 spot is occupied by The Who: their song I Can't Explain (1971) has a length of 2 minutes and 4 seconds. That is, the version I have is 2:04. I can't imagine that all these songs are actually this short, but the top ten carries on.

#4 and just outside the top three, with 2 minutes and a single second: Ice In the Sun (1966). It comes from their debut album; which was a big hit in spite of this extremely short song that it featured.

The excitement grows as we get to the top three. Will there be any songs under two minutes?

#3 is the most recent song from this list: We Will Rock You (1977). 2 minutes dead is just enough for a third place. That must mean that two songs are under two minutes...

#2 proves that our assumption is right: The Letter (1967) is one second shorter than two minutes. Truly amazing, the record company must have wanted to save wax or something!

I can hear you think that the number one must be 1:58, but I can tell you you're wrong! We've got a very deserved winner today...

#1 is a song from 1964, by the greatest band in the world - according to some people (including myself) that is...
Not Fade Away was only their third A-side, but they we're already getting lazy! (No they weren't, scroll back to #9.)
1:49, I can't imagine that it actually is that short, but since I haven't been able to find a longer version, I'm going to rank The Rolling Stones #1 anyway. Hurrah!


  • brianthegreat

    What I hate even more are short replies.

    10. Okt. 2005, 6:46
  • Pirate45

    Excellent post and I could certainly add a lot of songs to your list. In fact, I could do a Hot-100 of short songs. ;) If you look at average song length through the 1950's it was right around 2 minutes. In fact, there are loads of shorter songs - 1:45, etc. Through the early 60's it was 2:30 to 3:00. The early 70's - my observations are 2:45 - 3:30 on average. The late 70's - 3:30 to 4:00 and several over 4:00. Lots of 80's songs were 4:00 or better. In the 1950's and early 60's - and even in later years, the way to get your song played [b]more often on the radio was to keep it short[/b]. In the days when jocks programmed their own shows, one of the main keys to success was to keep it easy to play the song. In those days radio was less likely to be blocks of music. The programming was more segmented. A song, some talking, commercials, a feature, etc. If your song was short, it would fit into a hole. The longer the song, the less chance of airplay. As radio programming, and listening habits changed, so did the length of the music.

    10. Okt. 2005, 20:45
  • Pattrick

    Thanks for the information! Sounds quite logical, really - I guess that explains why most songs by Creedence are under three minutes (which I really regret). However, modern day radio cuts part off of songs to keep them under three minutes. I heard Clapton's Layla on the radio (a classic rock station in Holland) some time ago, but they only played the first three minutes. You never hear Hotel California's full 6:31 either... I guess editing wasn't invented yet in the sixties.

    12. Okt. 2005, 19:45
  • Teaforone

    That Kinks song is called You Really Got Me, not You Really Got Me Going. Just so you know.

    15. Okt. 2005, 8:18
  • Pattrick

    Damn. I hate it when that happens...

    15. Okt. 2005, 8:36
  • TypeJack

    Alot of Creedence Clearwater revival songs are short :(

    26. Dez. 2007, 13:59
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