Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 11th 2022
Just because it's short doesn't mean it's no good
Recently, I was asked to put together a video for a friend. But he didn't want it to be longer than two minutes because it was to play on a loop. That was fine, but what about music? Up to me. So, I did the video, then went through my collection, and found an instrumental piece that was the perfect length, so it looped perfectly with the images.
And this got me thinking how many songs do I have that are actually two minutes long or shorter? And here we are: short songs!
So, what makes a song in this case? That was an interesting question, because there is a growing trend for albums to have interludes and intros, etc., which are not really the sort of songs you go back and listen to. Then there are live versions of songs, songs mashed up together to form medleys, and 'reprises' of songs.
This was a tough call. So, I decided to ignore actual albums and instead look at greatest hits albums and compilation albums. That way, the songs are recognised as being individual and independent of other tracks.
You will find that most (not all!) of these songs are quite old. I'm not sure why, that's just the way it goes. So, the rules one song per artist, I need to like the song, no longer than two minutes, a separate song. For the record, the tracks that make up the side 2 medley on The Beatles' Abbey Road are considered in Beatles canon as separate tracks, but to me, it is still one medley song. And some great tracks (like 'Angelica's Dream' by T.D.F.) do not have any videos anywhere, so missed out. This was still one of the hardest lists to cut own I have done.
'Great Balls Of Fire' by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
One of the earliest songs that could be considered a true rocker, Jerry Lee Lewis used his piano almost like a weapon, and this sub-2-minute song just hits like a force of nature. Even today, it stands up as a great rocking track.
'Rave On' by Buddy Holly (1958)
When I was a kid, this was my favourite Buddy Holly song. It rocks really well, with the Crickets behind him supplying awesome backing music. Such a great, if not forgotten, song.
'C'Mon Everybody' by Eddie Cochran (1959)
Cochran had a few short songs, but coming from the early days of rock, the short songs were more par for the course than they would later be. This was actually the hardest one to pick; a few others could easily have been used.
'Stay' by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs (1960)
This is one of those songs that I have more cover versions of than I know what to do with. However, they all sound pretty much like the original, this one, a wonderful bit of doo-wop based pop music.
'Nut Rocker' by B. Bumble & The Stingers (1962)
A rock version of a classical piece, this is a great instrumental. The band re-recorded it later, adding an extra 15 seconds to the track, but the original is the short one.
'Shiela' by Tommy Roe (1962)
This is the original version of the song. It was later re-recorded with more toms in the drumming and an extra 20 seconds of music, but the original just captures the innocence of the track so much better.
'Little Deuce Coupe' by The Beach Boys (1963)
Early Beach Boys is often fun Beach Boys, singing songs about girls and the beach and cars. Lots of cars. And this is obviously one of the latter variety. Also covered successfully by Jan & Dean, I prefer this version.
'Do You Want To Know A Secret?' by The Beatles (1963)
Although better known for the Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas cover, the Beatles version is still really strong, featuring the first time George Harrison sang lead vocals on a single.
'5-4-3-2-1' by Manfred Mann (1964)
Decent little song that moves especially fast for the time. Manfred Mann often delivered the goods in their songs, and this is no exception.
'Catch Us If You Can' by The Dave Clark Five (1965)
For a short song, they sure pack a lot into this. The DC5 had a few short tracks that charted, and this was the one easiest to find a video for.
'A Groovy Kind Of Love' by The Mindbenders (1966)
A slow track, one that was later covered by Phil Collins, this is one of those tracks that is really "of its time", and yet still makes sense today.
'The Letter' by The Box Tops (1967)
A song about a man trying to get back home before his girl leaves him, this is another song with a lot packed into a short running time. It became popular in the Vietnam war films and TV shows, but it does not feel like a war song, just a desperate love song.
'A Little Less Conversation' by Elvis Presley (1968)
Not the remix with JXL, the remastered version from The Essential or anything else, this is the original version from the movie Live A Little, Love A Little which clocks in at barely a tick over ninety seconds.
'God Save The Queen' by Queen (1975)
This traditional song played by Brian May on guitar closed out Queen concerts for years and is so glorious.
'Eruption' by Van Halen (1978)
One of the greatest guitar solo instrumentals recorded, this was released as a B-side, and was a staple of their live shows, though much, much longer in that case. Eddie Van Halen was a master.
'Sirius' by The Alan Parsons Project (1982)
I first heard this song because it was the entrance music for wrestler Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, and it got me into the APP pretty heavily for the next few years. An instrumental that is glorious and feels too short. Often coupled with 'Eye In The Sky', on its own it is still magnificent.
'Bang' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)
An interesting instrumental piece from FGTH's seminal Welcome To The Pleasuredome album. It is on their greatest hits album as well, and looking at some of my 12" singles, it is there as a B-side. I enjoy this.
'Bizarre Love Triangle' by Frente! (1992)
A cover of the old New Order track, this is an amazing piece of acoustic pop. I have seen the band live, and this track was amazing on stage. I love Angie Hart's voice.
'I Could Get Used To This' by Bryan Adams (2019)
This little rocker is a highlight of the Shine A Light album, a song that needed to be recorded now to get its fullest effect. Great track.
'Funky Feng Shui' by Sammy Hagar And The Circle (2020)
The opening track from the Lockdown 2020 album is really a jam, but is such a fun track I had to include it.
20 songs, and the whole clocks in at less than 35 minutes. This was a tough list to compile; there are easily enough songs I left off this list to write a part two at some stage in the future. This stands, however, as a nice companion piece to my long songs list. The long and the short of it.