I posted a video link on Facebook earlier this week, of the Iron Butterfly lip syncing to “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida”. All 17 minutes and 2 seconds of it. That’s a long time to pretend to play things like drum solos. Most people remarked on how it was the “long version” that mattered, not the short single that was a hit on its own. That got me thinking about these versions.
First, the one that got the discussion started:
There were two songs that never had “short versions”, that may have been connected. It’s appropriate that when the Rolling Stones did their first long song, it consisted mostly of Mick Jagger improvising about the sex he was going to have:
It should be noted that extended minutes of Mick was a better idea than something like the live version of “Toad” that appeared on Cream’s Wheels of Fire. A song which was just on the edge of too long in its studio version (Ginger Baker was a great drummer, so 5 minutes was probably just about right) ended up more than 16 minutes long in the live version.
Arthur Lee of Love said he thought the Stones got the idea for “Goin’ Home” when they heard Love play a long track on stage. Who knows which came first, but “Revelation” was so long, it took up the entire side two of Da Capo:
It was a big deal when FM stations played the album version of “Light My Fire” instead of the single version so popular on AM:
The Allman Brothers were known to stretch out a jam or two, perhaps most notably with “Mountain Jam”. They took a Donovan song that rolled in at 2 1/2 minutes, and stretched it out to 33:41 for Eat a Peach. This was especially poignant since Duane Allman had died between the recording and the release, so this was one of the last chances fans had to hear Duane. (If you don’t feel up to all 33:41, tune in at 23:10 for Essence of Duane.
Finally, the Chambers Brothers. The Brothers were a soul group straight out of gospel who had recorded “Time Has Come Today” in 1966. It ran 2:37, and was rejected by the record label. Two years later, it was the centerpiece of the group’s third album, The Time Has Some. Now it was more than eleven minutes long, with an extended psychedelic montage in the center. This was the hit version, once it was truncated to three minutes. (A longer shorter version was cut … it lasted almost five minutes.) This was another early marker of the distinction between the FM and AM radio of the day … “underground” FM radio only played the album version, AM radio played the shorter hits: