Rock Cantatas

I don’t know what a “cantata” is, or what other term to use, but hearing “Jungleland” twice in one day on E Street Radio made me think of all the long-form rock songs that define an artist and elevate the genre. Many have a key change and/or tempo change or maybe seem to but are just long. They are not just a melody but a journey. They demand to be listened, not danced, to. (In fact, a defining criterion is you can’t dance to them.) I will list them in no particular order, giving me a place to come back to when another one comes on the radio and augments this category.

“Jungleland,” Bruce Springsteen
“Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
“Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” Billy Joel
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen
“Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Meat Loaf
“Taxi,” Harry Chapin
“Low Spark of High-heeled Boys,” Traffic
“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” Crosby, Stills & Nash
“American Pie,” Don McLean
“Won’t Get Fooled Again,” The Who
“Magic Carpet Ride,” Steppenwolf
“Question,” The Moody Blues
“More Than A Feeling,” Boston
“Come Sail Away,” Styx

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