Part of 4-vid series I put together a couple years ago.
Feel free to share your thoughts on it...helpful, informative, entertaining, waste of time, whatever.
"We have to recognize that we gave technology a place in our lives that it had not earned"
- Roger McNamee -
Radio pays the bills with commercial advertising. The shorter the Song, the more time for advertising. They eventually learned those long Songs could fit too, increasing listener loyalty, enriching the playlist, and giving the Disc Jockey a chance to go to the bathroom!
Ralph Blight posted "Beatles and Song length" on www.justplainfolks.com back in 2008. Someone dredged it up the other day.
I seem to remember someone checking Elvis Presley hits and finding them short too.
Regarding The Beatles, I wrote:
"What's fascinating is how 'complete' the Songs are. I don't get a sense of them being 'short' or 'partial'. Their Structures can be very educational.
How long is the Introductory Movement?
How quickly does Verse I begin?
How soon to they get to the Chorus and THE Hook?
How identically does the Melody Repeat in Verse II?
Does the Lyric give you a sense of storyline, progressing in Verse II from what it told you in Verse I and the Chorus?
After the second giving of the Chorus, do they employ an Instrumental Bridge, a Lyrical Bridge, or do they go to a Verse III?
I listened to "Revolver" a while back and was fascinated by how well the Songs, the instruments, the whole of it stood up as quality listening."
I think of the 'function' of a Bridge, Instrumental Bridge or Lyrical Bridge, I think the function is to break the risk of monotony with Repetition after Verse/Chorus, Verse/Chorus. Despairing of finding a satisfactory Verse III (The Third Verse Curse) some Songwriters employ a Bridge, with its own Melody, different from the Melody of the Verse or the Chorus, easily accomplished in an Instrumental Bridge, brief in duration, ideally with pivotal information in the Lyrical storyline, in a Lyrical Bridge. The 'Change' renews listener interest, and enables a final giving of the Chorus, without a Verse III.
There is an elusive factor I call 'enough'. It is the Songwriter's judgment call. How much Introductory Movement is 'enough'? How much is 'too much'? How much is 'not enough'? The question of 'enough' can be asked about every component of a Song. Too much Intro, you may lose them, the 'hook factor' failing to keep them 'hooked'. Too much Repetition; monotony, they drift off to their own thoughts and only notice they haven't been paying attention when the Song ends. Too much Change, no Structure to relate to. I hear Songs 'sung' that I consider 'unsingable'.
But, enough about enough.
Beatles Song length: Quote:
37 of their hit songs, each in less than three minutes. Did these guys know how to write radio friendly pop hits or what?
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - 2:01
Eleanor Rigby - 2:04
Norwegian Wood - 2:04
Good Day Sunshine - 2:07
Can't Buy Me Love - 2:10
Yesterday - 2:11
All My Loving - 2:12
We can work it out - 2:12
Lady Madonna - 2:15
Blackbird - 2:18
Paperback Writer - 2:18
Help - 2:19
Love Me Do - 2:24
I Want To Hold Your Hand - 2:25
Here, There and Everywhere - 2:26
In My Life - 2:28
Drive My Car - 2:28
Got To Get You Into My Life - 2:31
Rock And Roll Music - 2:31
And I Love Her - 2:32
Twist And Shout - 2:33
Yellow Submarine - 2:37
When I'm 64 - 2:38
Taxman - 2:39
Lovely Rita - 2:42
Michelle - 2:42
Birthday - 2:43
Back in the USSR - 2:43
A Hard Day's Night - 2:44
With a Little Help From My Friends 2:44
Nowhere Man - 2:44
It's Getting Better All The Time - 2:47
Eight Days A Week - 2:48
Day tripper - 2:50
Magical Mystery Tour - 2:52
I Saw Her standing there - 2:55
Penny Lane - 2:59
Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com