Winding up, or is it down?

NME is pushing a list of “Rock’s Most Epic Outros,” which has its reasonable inclusions — Underworld’s “Born Slippy .NUXX” has been a favorite on my work box at a frenetic 7:35 length, though there’s an extended version four minutes longer — but also, perhaps inevitably, “Freebird.” The Beatles are represented by “Hey Jude,” though both “Hello Goodbye” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” exceed “Jude” in sheer epicity.

I’d like to suggest a few other songs that, as the phrase goes, end well.

  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Song for the Dead”: This starts out sounding like Black Flag, and culminates with several fake endings, plus a final segment in which you’d think guest drummer Dave Grohl has somehow contrived to be paid by the beat.
  • Exposé, “Seasons Change (Extended Mix)”: This is cut from the same cloth as other Lewis Martineé freestyle tracks, but this 12-inch mix goes on well past the 4:53 album cut, and the singers drop out to make room for an uncredited guitarist who for two minutes makes some of the purest rock and roll noises you’ve ever heard, right on top of that same hypnotic rhythm bed.
  • Janis Ian, “Janey’s Blues”: Previously discussed here, this dirge for a daughter’s despair ends with her escape, technically at the same tempo yet somehow seeming to go ever faster.
  • Matt Lucas, “I’m Movin’ On”: Previously discussed here, this is technically a remake of Hank Snow’s 1950 country classic, but Lucas isn’t just riding that train: he’s voicing it, even as he’s pounding the drum kit, until everything finally runs out of steam.
  • King Crimson, “Epitaph” including “March for No Reason” and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow”: This is the first record I ever bought that actually scared me: it sounds, somehow, like it had been recorded in some medieval dungeon, and in the middle break, presumably the “March,” you can hear the prisoners trudge to their uncertain fate. But it’s the final two minutes, with Greg Lake stuck on “I feel tomorrow I’ll be crying,” when the full weight of the orchestration beats you into submission.

Suggestions, of course, are solicited.





5 comments

  1. Jeffro »

    8 July 2012 · 9:48 pm

    “Epic outro” brings Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to mind. But, then again, the whole thing is epic.

    And I actually hated the song when it came out. Who knew?

  2. CGHill »

    8 July 2012 · 9:54 pm

    You should see it with ponies. Srsly.

  3. unimpressed »

    9 July 2012 · 10:28 am

    I don’t know if this exactly qualifies, but I’ve always been partial to Elton John’s _Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding_.

  4. CGHill »

    9 July 2012 · 10:57 am

    Someone mentioned it on the original NME thread; I think it qualifies under the “Layla” rule, in which what appear to be two different songs are fused together.

  5. Don »

    9 July 2012 · 6:42 pm

    Quite a number of examples come to mind, but they’re all old and mostly obscure: Wishbone Ash’s “Valediction,” Fairport Convention’s “Matty Groves,” the Incredible String Band’s “A Very Cellular Song,” Heartsfield’s “Drummer Boy,” ELP’s “Tank,” Procol Harum’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” etc., etc., etc.

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