Top Ten Album Closers.


25. Feb. 2010, 1:02

So the other week I read an article with one journalist detailing his personal favourite Album Closers and with me recently watching High Fidelity for the first time I thought it made sense to create my own list...of top album closers. Originally, it was going to be limited to only five as is the theme in High Fidelity but going through my iTunes Library I found it impossible to restrict myself to this number so decided to go with ten (I was even possibly thinking fifteen!).

What struck me when compiling this list was how powerful an album closer is. Listed below are all fantastic albums, with brilliant closers but a lot of these songs are truly iconic and when finished I really understand the importance of order on albums. Unfortunately these days, with many people only interested in downloading single tracks and 'Shuffle' becoming increasingly more popular, order within an album doesn't seem to hold as much significance, for me anyways. I could be and probably am wrong but that's how I feel when listening to modern day releases. Note that most songs on the list are a few decades or more old.

Anyways, in no particular ranking order...

The Beatles - A Day in the Life

The Beatles created some fantastic album closers and I was really stuck with choosing A Day In The Life or Tomorrow Never Knows. I chose the former simply because I think it truly sums up just what The Beatles were about in 5.37 (according to my CD tracklisting!). Martin's glorious production, Ringo's simple but effective fills, McCartney's knack for a great melody and witty observations and Lennon's talent for not only composing fantastic compositions but also for being such a brilliant lyricist (the last verse is a personal favourite of mine). My favourite Beatle, Harrison apparently only contributed maraccas on this track so I can't really praise him on this song.

Bob Dylan - Desolation Row

To be honest, I'm not a major fan of Bob Dylan nor am I of Highway 61 Revisited (!!!) but Desolation Row is a sublime track. Although around 11.00 mins listening to it feels a lot shorter. Everything about this song is brilliant but the lyrics are arguably the highlight, so evocative I can really picture Ophelia peeking into Desolation Row.

The Clash - Train in Vain

Probably my favourite Clash track but closely tied with The Magnificent Seven. I love everything about this track, from the drum intro to the fading out of "Did you stand by me/ No way". Oh, and pretty good album too!

Jefferson Airplane - Plastic Fantastic Lover

My highlight from an equally brilliant album which is one of my favourites. The muscianship of the Airplane was truly outstanding and whilst this isn't probably the best song to show that (although still very impressive!) I just think it's a fantastic pop song and a brilliant example of how good the music of the 60's was. Never fails to cheer me up this song too.

Neil Young - Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

I actually first heard this song performed by Oasis on their Familiar To Millions live album and was really impressed with Noel's performance. I immediately got myself a copy of Rust Never Sleeps and thus my introduction to the genius that is Neil Young. The guy isn't the most technically skilled guitarist or vocalist but the pure passion that he exudes more than makes up for it (see Cortez the Killer as another fine example of this). I could seriously watch Young play the guitar all day and never tire of it. Even now he is still performing and I do hope I get a chance to see him live.

The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

So a friend of mine has said that the Stone's aren't the best when it comes to album closers. To an extent, I think he is right although You Can't Always Get What You Want is truly an exception. Let It Bleed, another favourite of mine, has a great collection of songs but this one is probably the stand out for me, simply because it is such a grand song right from the opening with the choir through to the hectic finish which I see as a metaphor for the 'Peace and Love' of this 60's coming to a crashing end (think Altamont Free Concert, December 1969).

The Smiths - Asleep

Although this is a compilation and not a true studio album I just had to include this. Asleep is unlike anything The Smiths had done or would do before they split in 1987. The piano is really quite haunting and just proves how much of a genius Johnny Marr was whilst Morrissey is as brilliant as ever on this song.

The Stone Roses - I Am the Resurrection

Best debut ever some would say and almost certainly one of the best album closers. I Am The Resurrection is bloody brilliant and I think that's all that needs to be said about this song!

The Velvet Underground - Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

I'm a really big fan of The Velvet Underground. They were truly experimental but they also knew how to craft songs which is probably why I'm such a big fan. Creating noise for the sake of it is not talent and frankly I just find it damn annoying! But The Velvet Underground did of course have talent and this song proves it. Quite a commerical sounding song (I don't mean that in any derogatory way by the way!), there isn't a major amount of experimentation going on and I think that's why I like it so much, because it's relatively straightforward. Even with the loss of founding member John Cale, they still end up creating one of rock's greatest albums and one of rock's greatest songs (in my opinion!). The song keeps at a similar pace throughout and I just think it's a really chilled out song that proves just how good the Velvet Underground were. But then we already know that.

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

The Who have created some amazing albums throughout their career with plenty of great album closers but I do feel that Won't Get Fooled Again is definitely the best. Why? Because it's a great close to an awesome album, the lyrics are fantastic (and so true!), but mainly because of THAT scream!

Honourable mentions...

The KLF - Justified and Ancient

Led Zeppelin - Bring It on Home

Manic Street Preachers - Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll

Nirvana - Something in the Way

Oasis - Champagne Supernova

So there it is, my list of top ten album closers. It was hard to narrow down to ten and I realise that I have slightly rambled on but I appreciate if you have got to this point and really do want to hear your feedback on my list, do you agree/ disagree with it and what YOU think are the best album closers?

I really enjoyed writing this list so another entry might appear over the next couple of weeks. Possibly, top five album openers...

Once again, thanks for reading!



  • KenHebert

    Whats Up Dom! I enjoyed reading this very much. I also agreed with most of your list including a day in the life, train in vain, and one of my personal faves i am the resurrection! I also really love something in the way such a peaceful and soothing song to wrap up an incredible rock album. Some of the others that I enjoy are Big Star-I'm in Love With a Girl, Jeff Buckley-Dream Brother, Nirvana-All Apologies, The Replacements-Can't Hardly Wait, Rolling Stones-Midnight Mile, and The Zombies-Time of the Season. If you haven't heard some of these I'd be happy to hear what you think of them. Once again your list was awesome and I'm glad you posted it! Take Care. Chris

    25. Feb. 2010, 5:48
  • Simon_FM

    I'll inclined to say that Suffer Little Children is a better closer for the Smiths. However, I certainly agree with Day In The Life. Probably one of the best album closers ever. Also, Edit The Sad Parts on the Interstate 8 EP by Modest Mouse would be up there.

    25. Feb. 2010, 16:17
  • dominic_john

    Hi Chris, thanks for the positive feedback. I really enjoyed compiling this list. I'm kicking myself I didn't include Time of the Season. I only have it as a single, and not the full album but I really love that song. I have Grace too though harly ever listen to it but I did check out Dream Brother and really enjoyed it. Out of the list the only song I have yet to hear is The Replacement's song. I'll have a listen and let you know. Sven, a lot of your list I haven't heard before! I'm listening more and more to U2 so once I get a chance I'll have a listen to those recommendations too and also the Marillion ones.

    25. Feb. 2010, 16:21
  • bjberkow

    You nailed it on the head with the vast majority of them. I agree with a day in life, desolation row, i am the resurrection, train in vain, can't always get what you want, I would add The Masterplan - Oasis, A Certain Romance - Arctic Monkeys, My Body is a cage - Arcade Fire, Take it or Leave It - The Strokes

    25. Feb. 2010, 21:36
  • mgpixlab

    Good post Dom. Nice reading : ) A Day In The Life is certainly the best album closer for me. It's magnificent. Champagne Supernova is a great closer as well. You might have missed Sproston Green from Some Friendly by The Charlatans. One recommendation from very recent times: Sea Within A Sea, from Primary Colours by The Horrors.

    26. Feb. 2010, 3:23
  • dominic_john

    Miguel - I do love Sproston Green and Sea within a Sea was probably one of the best tracks from last year. Great suggestions. Ben - I do all like those songs you've listed even though I'm not a major fan of the bands, bar Oasis. However, they are really good closers for their respective albums. Simon - good to hear from you mate. Edit The Sad Parts is a pretty epic song! Also getting a lot of plays right now is Looking Glass by The La's - can't believe I ignored that one!

    26. Feb. 2010, 23:36
  • BreezinAlong

    Oh this requires some thinking. LOL I never thought about where songs are placed on a album... I figured it really had to do with the time factor(vinyl records) what they could fit in. I have often heard about bands coming up with a song just to "fill" the time factor. Or throwing a song in that they wanted to leave out. Only to be surprised by that song usually ending song to be a hit. I know many of the songs you have on here and like them. Just in writing this I thought of the last Eagles CD Long Road Out Of Eden all songs on there are carefully placed ( 60 minutes segment with the band regarding this CD) from opener to closer. Thanks Dom ! I enjoyed reading your thoughts ....

    28. Feb. 2010, 9:55
  • sportstheo

    Just came across this... I just wanted to toss in Springsteen's "Jungleland" to close out Born to Run from 1975.

    26. Nov. 2010, 21:33
  • GT3x24x7

    "Oh my Lord.. Honey!? Come see!! I've found a young person on the Internet actually writing full English words and phrases! With punctuation!" Seriously, it's such a relief :) That said, I did enjoy the read very much and to be sure I need to consider my own favourite closers and perhaps come back another time, forearmed. Regarding your musings on the loss of track order as part of the artform, that's something I've also been conscious of as the planet moves to digitial delivery. I wonder if album itself will go the same way. It's a minor shame really, that loss. There really is something to be said for a well-crafted track order; it contributes a whole greater than the sum of parts.

    26. Sep. 2012, 14:46
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