Five fantastic long songs that you never want to end

These songs still end too soon.
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‘MARQUEE MOON” by Television – 1977/2003 (10:40)

The two dates refer to the two of the main album releases of Television’s debut single. The original was just under ten minutes. The reissue returned to the intended length of 10:40. Like “American Pie,” mentioned in the “Long Songs” article, “Marquee Moon" was released as a double-sided single, so you can also run across even shorter versions of it. But at its full length, you get its full glory.

And what glory it is. Television came out of the same New York punk scene that produced Ramones and Blondie. They helped turn CBGB into the hottest club in town. And the debate still rages in certain corners of the internet as to whether they were punk. They were not.

OK, if you want to say that they were influenced by the same external factors, that they were part of the punk scene, that in attitude and effect, they had a great many punk sensibilities, fine. If you want to say that before parting company with bassist Richard Hell, they were closer to punk, fine again. That’s all true. They were culturally punk. But musically, Tom Verlaine was different.

The twin guitar attack of Verlaine and Richard Lloyd had a spiky tremolo that identified them instantly. But they featured a romanticism that always emerged through the noise. “Marquee Moon” is a beautiful song, both lyrically and musically. It goes off on some raves but it never loses that melodious hook. Verlaine’s songs were inspired by Lou Reed and that does indeed drift into punk waters. But his guitar was Jerry Garcia, and that, like Verlaine and his bandmates, is something very different.