Forget about “song form.” Here are 5 songs that broke the mold!
Way back in 1927, composer Hoagy Carmichael expanded the typical “introductory verse” and gave it new importance. This verse is so “equal” to the actual song that it can stand alone as a complete song by itself, as Frank Sinatra showed us in his 1961 recording.
Nat King Cole: Stardust
Frank Sinatra: Stardust (verse only)
2. Begin The Beguine
Forget about the standard “32-bar” song form of the Great American Songbook era. This Cole Porter melody from 1935 takes a leisurely 109 bars to gradually unfold. Maybe this is because Porter composed the song on aboard an ocean liner between Indonesia and Fiji; he literally had nowhere to go!
Ella Fitzgerald: Begin The Beguine
3. Hey Jude
Who else but the Beatles could convince their record company to release a single that was over 7 minutes in length? Hey Jude took the pop ballad format to new heights with a rollicking, extended ending that builds and builds and builds and builds…….
Paul McCartney: Hey Jude
4. Stairway to Heaven
Led Zeppelin entirely abandoned the song form for Stairway To Heaven, giving us what in the classical world would be known as a “though-composed” composition.
Led Zeppelin: Stairway To Heaven
5. Space Oddity
David Bowie’s 1972 piece Space Oddity, which is also “through-composed,” continues to surprise us today with it’s free mix of rock, pop, folk, jazz, and classical styles.
David Bowie: Space Oddity
I really enjoyed putting together this set of popular songs that literally “broke the mold,” as the saying goes. I hope they inspire you with your own music!