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There are many lists (like this one) of songs on albums that go for 10s of minutes, and performers have often extended their songs in concerts to go for a long time, but is there a list available of the longest songs (songs with the greatest duration) that hit one of the big charts (e.g. American Top 40)?

I'm asking specifically about the length of the version of the song that hits the charts - for example, apparently Jethro Tull made a recording of "Thick as a Brick" that runs for over 40 minutes, but that's not the version that hit the charts so it wouldn't "count".

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I was sure it would be Don McLean's "American Pie" weighing in at eight minutes and thirty-six seconds - The single had to be split into two parts but it did chart as one piece.

But recently it was surpassed by David Bowie, whose "Blackstar" which clocks in at at 9:57

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  • Excellent! Are you just doing web searches for songs you believe are long, or is there a database out there somewhere? – Betty Crokker Oct 15 '18 at 20:36
  • I always "knew" it was American Pie, must have heard it years ago (the fact, not the track haha). I admit I searched for "longer than American Pie" or similar just to check haha, and turned up that gem. I am happy I discovered it myself, and also happy that it's a superb track and not some kind of novelty. – mayersdesign Oct 15 '18 at 20:43
  • Good answer! You should consider adding the method you used to find this to the actual answer text so there is some context. – sanpaco Oct 16 '18 at 20:30
  • It looks like "American Pie" was the longest song to ever hit #1. :) – Chris Sunami supports Monica Oct 22 at 14:47
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I searched for "American Pie Duration" and in the Google results I saw "is the fourth longest song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, at the time of release it was the longest". Wikipedia then had a link to this:

The Longest Hot 100 Hits

(9:57) "Blackstar," David Bowie, No. 78 peak, 2016

(9:30) "Better Place to Be (Parts 1 & 2)," Harry Chapin, No. 86, 1976

(8:55) "November Rain," Guns N' Roses, No. 3, 1992

(8:37) "American Pie (Parts I & II)," Don McLean, No. 1 (four weeks), 1972

(8:16) "Untitled 07 L Levitate," Kendrick Lamar, No. 90, 2016

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In August 2019 "Fear Inoculum" by the band "Tool" charted in Billboard Hot 100 with a length of 10:21 (Position 93). As of October 2020 it's the longest song in Hot 100.

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"In a Gadda da Vida" broke the top forty and took up the entire B side of the album. They also had a shorter version that went much higher in the charts.

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  • Hi David. Welcome to Music Fans SE. Can you provide some more info? Like the actual length of the track, position on the chart, and perhaps a source reference? For this and future answers, please take a look at the Help Center guidance on providing a good answer. – Aaron Oct 16 at 0:44
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As a single, Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" reached #30 on the charts (17 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100), but it was only 2:52 in length.

The album of the same name reached #4, with the second side entirely taken up by a 17:05 version of that piece.

Given that no one in history has ever listened to the A side of the album a second time, one could easily argue that the LP is actually an EP single, making "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by far the longest hit single.

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  • I have the album, I should listen to the A side twice and make history! – Duston Oct 20 at 13:19

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