Short & Long Versions of Pop/Rock Songs?

Not sure if it’s even done anymore, but who started having a shorter version of a song for ‘air play’ and a much longer ‘album version’ of a song? I seem to remember The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ being an early example. Anyone know who was first and when it really started catching on?

Good question. As a major Doors fan, Light My Fire is the first recollection I have of this happening. The song was an underground hit, but was completely non-commercial due to its length (7:11 IIRC). It seems blasphemous now that a record company would chop minutes out of a song to make it more radio-friendly. But back in the 60s 2 to 3 minutes was the expected format; anything longer was not considered for air time. Seems odd now with a lot of FM radio playing 5, 6, 7 minute songs…

What would an abbreviated Stairway to Heaven sound like? Oooo, oooo, oooo, makes me wonder…

As a Yes fan… and a listener of album radio in the '70s, especially the once-legendary WMMS 101.7 FM… I can’t forget how shocked I was when I heard a radio station play the edited single version of “Roundabout” with the excellent Rick Wakeman-Steve Howe jam in the middle abruptly chopped out. That’s just wrong.

Seems to be mostly if not exclusively dance remixes now.

I have a horribly chopped down version of “American Pie”. It runs about four minutes versus the eight of the original.

This was a big thing in the 70’s before FM radio really went mainstream. Some songs were edited for content as well as time.

“Miracles” by the Jefferson Starship is a good example. There’s a verse that contains the line, “I got a taste of the real world when I went down on you girl” that was edited out of the radio version.

The so-called Genesis Greatest Hits album “Turn it on Again.” has the radio edited Tonight Tonight Tonight on it as well as an edited version of Congo. This was released in 1999.

Actually, choppin down “Light My Fire” did the Doors a favor, cutting out that terrible organ solo and vastly improving the song.

The opposite thing happend to the Kinks. (I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman was 5:58 in the single version, but only 3:37 on the album.

Sometimes the editing is good.

Gerry Rafferty’s “Days Gone Down” runs a tad over six minutes on the album, but about four on the single. The longer version is uneven and some of the lyrics sound forced.

I agree with the “Light My Fire” edit. That organ solo seems to go on forever.

This one will probably do better in Cafe Society, since it’s about “The Arts.”

Moved.samclem GQ moderator

Yikes! I freakin’ LOVE the original version of the song! Terrible organ solo? I love the musical interlude in Light My Fire. The first time I heard the complete song I was laying on a beach in St. Petersburg, Florida as a teenager. I was mesmerized, and still am. Until then, the only version I heard was the scaled down A.M. version. HUGE difference!

I noticed several years ago that a brand new song, I believe it was “Amazed” by Tantric, had a small, appx. 6 or 10 second acoustic guitar riff taken out for the radio version. It occurs right before the electric guitar solo. There is absolutely no point in taking out, unless Clear Channel wants the extra ten seconds for their blowhard DJ to blow smoke up my ass about how exTREME their station is.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly was released with a radio-friendly edited version in 1968.

I know the first Doors album was released in 1967, but I can’t find a date for the release of Light My Fire as a single, or for the edit version.

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” by Iron Butterfly, had a short radio version. In fact, I think that’s the only version a lot of people ever heard. I didn’t know many folks who bought the album.

I vote for “Like a Rolling Stone,” back in 1965. It was apparently split over two sides of a single for DJ purposes, and the version I remember getting airplay was just the first two verses.

Wow, cool near-simulpost, Snowboarder Bo.

I’m hearing Iron Butterfly in my head right now. Not exactly an earworm. I guess it’s more of an ear-caterpillar.

Most extreme example I can think of:

“Get Ready” by Rare Earth

LP version: 22m 30s (takes up an entire side)
Radio version: 2m 46s (give or take a couple seconds)

Now THAT’S editing.

April, 1967. It was actually the second single taken from the album, the first being “Break On Through,” which accompanied the album’s release in January.



“great minds” and all that, doncha know :slight_smile:

I’m hearing Iron Butterfly with my ears right now. I have their first 3 albums. In-A- is the best tho, IMO.

It debuted on the Billboard chart on 6/3/67 and went to #1, where it would stay for 3 weeks. For some reason, it re-released in mid-'68 and it only got as high as #87.

The album debuted on the chart on 3/25/67 and went to #2, where it spent 2 weeks.

“Break on Through” did not chart.

Yeah, I’m anal about music chart trivia.