Two Minutes or Less

No, this isn’t about erectile dysfunction.

The other day I posted a blog about songs over 10 minutes in length. A colleague humorously suggested compiling a list of songs that are shorter than two minutes. Okay, let’s do it! I’m placing a caveat that these have to be post- 1960, as in the old days, songs were generally much shorter, for airplay and to fit on 45 rpm records.

“Golden Slumbers” (1969) The Beatles. From Abbey Road, part of the song suite on side two, most of which are under two minutes. These separate songs are blended into a seamless soundscape. “Golden Slumbers” and “Carry That Weight” were written by McCartney and meant to be joined together even though written at different times.

“Misery” (1963) The Beatles. A McCartney-Lennon ballad from their first album. Yes, the songwriter order was as first in the reverse order. Interestingly, another artist covered this tune before the Beatles recorded their own version.

“I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” (1964) The Beatles. Lennon-McCartney wrote this song for George Harrison to sing in the A Hard Day’s Night film. Lennon said they wrote it for Harrison to “give him a piece of the action”.

“I Will” (1968) The Beatles. From The White Album. Written and sung by Paul McCartney. McCartney stated, “It’s still one of my favorite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody.” Not released as a single, but was a B-Side in the Philippines.

“Find the Cost of Freedom” (1970) CSN&Y. Released as the B-Side of “Ohio”, recorded in the same session. Mainly a cappella, withe their rich harmonies which underscores the song’s sadness.

“Hold On” (1970) John Lennon. From John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. A ballad from his first official solo album. What makes this song so effective is the Lennon’s vocals and his tremolo guitar effect.

“Junk” (1970) Paul McCartney. From McCartney, this is the vocal version of the acoustic guitar song.

“The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” (1966) Simon & Garfunkel. From the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album.

“April Come She Will” (1966) Simon & Garfunkel. From the Sound of Silence album. The B-side to the hit single “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”. Simon wrote the song in 1964 when he was in England. The seasons are used as a metaphor for the changing dynamics of a relationship.

“I Wanna Be Your Man” (1963) The Rolling Stones. Their second single, this one given to them by the Beatles.

“Little Deuce Coup” (1963) The Beach Boys. From the album of the same name, the opening track, and the B-side of “Surfer Girl”.

“Shut Down” (1963) The Beach Boys. The B-side of “Surfin’ USA” and appeared on the album of the same name. Surfing and cars were the subject of their songs then.

“Till the Morning Comes” (1970) Neil Young. From After the Gold Rush. A simple, yet very effective, love song. From Young’s most commercial and creative period, a young man whose writing mines the depth of a much older world traveler.

“Mercedes Benz” (1971) Janis Joplin. From Pearl, her solo album released after her death. The B-side of “Cry Baby”. One of the last songs she recorded before her death a few days later.

“Love For Tender” (1980) Elvis Costello and the Attractions. From the album Get Happy! Fast, breakneck pace, Elvis and band convey a lot in a compact amount of time. This was the new wave version of R&B, a soulful groove at warp speed, but very infectious.


3 thoughts on “Two Minutes or Less

  1. Love it, Mike – quite surprising how many songs there are under two minutes!

    Ironically, the one band I thought of first, The Ramones, only seems to have very few tunes under two minutes. Two I found are “Judy Is a Punk” and their cover of the Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance”.

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  2. Frankly, I don’t know The Ramones very well either. I just looked on Apple Music. I had heard their cover of “Do You Wanna Dance” before but had not recalled it was less than 2 minutes. Many of their tunes are around 2:30 minutes and under.

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