I want to find out what would win a competition between “Epic” type songs. These tend to be, but are not necessarily, longish, and are maybe more “dramatic” than your standard rock songs. I have some songs that are definitely in the contest, but am not confident that I have a complete-ish list. These are songs that are definitely in:
Stairway to Heaven - Zeppelin
When the Levee Breaks - Zeppelin
Kashmir - Zeppelin
Achilles’ Last Stand - Zeppelin
American Pie - Don McLean
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Hotel California - Eagles
In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Hey Jude - Beatles
A Day in the Life - Beatles
One - Metallica
November Rain - Guns N Roses
Layla - Eric Clapton
Cowgirl in the Sand - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
War Pigs - Black Sabbath
Iron Man - Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Funeral For a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding - Elton John
No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley
Dream On - Aerosmith
There are some that I am uncertain about:
Hocus Pocus - Focus - Novelty song, instrumental
Captain Jack - Billy Joel - Meh
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant - Billy Joel - I just realized how much I hate parts of this song
I’m sure I’m forgetting some. That’s why I haven’t posted the contest yet.
I know I could put more from Metallica in there - any specific suggestions? Maybe Fade to Black?
I want at least something by Iron Maiden - the options are numerous.
I’m NOT looking for obscure metal songs that nobody has ever heard of.
I’m NOT just looking for simple “Story Songs.”
That said, I would like any and all suggestions for songs to be included in the contest.
“Pull Me Under” by Dream Theater (their one and only hit and featured on their compilation album Greatest Hit) (this is the dark horse candidate).
If songs without lyrics are allowed, “Fire on High” by The Electric Light Orchestra and “Frankenstein” by The Edgar Winter Group would work nicely.
“Roundabout” by Yes (though I’ve never been much of a fan of that song).
As far as Jethro Tull, “Aqualung” would work as well.
Queensryche has a few good songs from Operation: Mindcrime, though I don’t recall which were released as Singles. Also many of the tracks from Empire would work as another dark horse candidate, including the title track, which was probably the least well known of the singles which included “Jet City Woman”, “Another Rainy Night (Without You)”, and their best known song “Silent Lucidity”.
Another possible Rush suggestion would be “Tom Sawyer”, which is probably their most radio-friendly single.
I don’t want to speak for the OP, but in my understanding, some songs that qualify as “rock anthems” are too homogenous or one-dimensional to be “epic.” An “epic” song, as I understand it, takes you on a journey. You end up somewhere different from where you started the song—or else you end up back where you started after having gone somewhere else. Building to a crescendo or abruptly switching gears is often involved. There’s got to be at least some element of over-the-top-ness, but usually also some low-key-ness as well.
So, of the songs you listed, I’d say “Come Sail Away” is a great example; “Go Your Own Way” not so much.
I’ve thought of a couple of other nominations:
The Prophet’s Song* - Queen
Band on the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
*I just now looked up this one on YouTube. The first comment: "I looked up the word epic on dictionary.,com and it was just a link to this song. "