Songs where the second part doesn't match the first part

The difference can be musical or lyrical, or both. Usually the reason for this is simply, “We combined two different songs” but the reason isn’t really germane here.

Classic example of “musical” would be “Layla”:

A good example of “lyrical” or possibly “both” would be Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Rocket Queen,” in which the first 2/3 of the song is a funky metal number in which the lyrics describe a very sexually experienced and promiscuous woman, whereas the last third of the song becomes a tender power ballad whose lyrics end with “Don’t ever leave me/Say you’ll always be there/All I ever wanted was for you/To know that I cared”:


Stairway to Heaven

Specifically at about 5:56.

If you include side two of Abbey Road, I think McCartney really believes in not throwing anything away. Can’t make a song work? Combine it with another!

Bohemian Rhapsody has three major (and very distinctly different) sections: the balladic first two verses, the operatic middle section, and the hard rock final section, plus the intro and outro.


Genesis’s “Abacab” was overtly created from three song fragments that the band had written, which they referred to as “Section A,” “Section B,” and “Section C.” The name of the song comes from one order in which they had combined the three sections during recording (ABACAB), though the final version of the song isn’t in that order.

Green Day’s F.O.D.
If you’re tempted to turn up the volume, you may regret it about 1:35 :wink:
(you could call the soft part an intro, but in that case it’s a song that’s 60% intro)

“Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand. There’s a complete change about a third of the way in.

Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Lights has a number of different parts.

You Set the Scene by Love has a few distinct parts within it. It’s one of my favorite songs.

Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Sky switches gears around 3’44":

Similar thread:

“A Day in the Life” from Sgt. Pepper was the first song that came to mind when I read the thread title. Of course it’s attributed to Lennon-McCartney, but the first and last parts are almost all Lennon (“I read the news today, oh boy”) and the middle part is almost all McCartney (“Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head”).

“Uncle Albert”

“Behind Blues Eyes” by the Who. Starts and goes on for a long while as an acoustic ballad, but climaxes, introduced by the mightiest power riffs Pete Townshend ever played, into thundering hard rock. It’s one of my favorite songs.

“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. I’ve read that it was originally two different songs. Also, the guitar solo in “Iron Man” doesn’t really match the rest of the song.

I’m not lightly embarrassed by a typo, but now I am. “Behind Blue Eyes” of course… :man_facepalming:

I didn’t think of any of these famous ones. I thought of Anders Osborne’s “Born to Die Together”. It’s a plaintive, semi-up-tempo darkly romantic ditty that turns into a straight up fuzz-box dirge a third of the way through and drags you, wailing, to the end 10 minutes later.

I’ll see if I can find a link, but “Oh, Well” by Fleetwood Mac fits the bill perfectly!