Sep 082020

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but this may be the shortest Last Man Standing competition in the history of Rock Town Hall. I thought of this the other day, when Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen” came up on a playlist I made entitled 1980s Hits That Didn’t Completely Suck.*

At one point in “Come On Eileen,” the tempo purposely slows down, then picks up again and gets real fast. I thought of one other song that is arranged to purposely slow down, then pick up again – even getting faster – but no other examples came to mind. I’m NOT talking about changes in time signature or accidental/incidental changes in a song’s tempo, but the deliberately, blatantly slowed down or rushed speed at which a song moves along.

I could have thought more about this during my perfect day at the beach, but my company was too good and then on the ride home I played a much better playlist, one attempting to re-create the magic of jukebox at a community pool I used to go to when I was about 12 years old. And I should note, while typing up this post, I thought of a third song that uses this device, so don’t complain to me that there’s only one answer left. Help a brother out, won’t you?

*NOTE: When the playlist ended, at almost precisely the time the drive my wife and I made to the beach ended, my wife said, “What was that mix? I liked a couple of songs, but it sucked!”


  51 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Songs That Purposely Change Tempo”

  1. diskojoe

    How about “Heroes and Villains” by the Beach Boys?

  2. Happiness Stan

    Bewitched by the Wedding Present

  3. Nice, you’ve already come up with 2 more than the 3 songs I had in mind!

  4. Happiness Stan

    Do you think we might be able to drag it out as long as the last one then?

  5. H. Munster

    Thanks for reminding me about this one. Haven’t listened to it in years.

  6. cherguevara

    Say You, Say Me by Lionel Richie. I asked my wife what was up with the uptempo bridge in the middle of a slow-dancing song, she said “that’s the part where you rock out.” It really wasn’t worth pursuing it further than that.

  7. mockcarr

    It certainly goes through changes but after it speeds up in the third quarter, the Kinks’ Shangri-La gets slow again to finish up.

  8. BigSteve

    Last Of The Steam Powered Trains on the Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society.

  9. BigSteve

    Radiohead’s Paranoid Android has a long slow section in the middle of the song, with faster tempos at the beginning and the end.

  10. H. Munster

    Night Moves by Bob Seger

  11. Happiness Stan

    If Keith West’s Except From a Teenage Opera wasn’t on your list, Mr Mod, I fear you might be slipping!

  12. Stones. Midnight Rambler.

  13. Happiness Stan

    I’ll get it in before anyone else does, Bohemian Rhapsody

  14. It’s sad how many of these songs I hadn’t considered. “Midnight Rambler” is one of the songs on my very short list. Bring it on, Townspeople! I sense we will uncover many of these examples.

  15. For your consideration, Adam Faith’s “It’s Alright.”

  16. Pearl Jam’s version of Crazy Mary

  17. BigSteve

    Ike & Tina Turner’s “nice and rough” version of Proud Mary.

  18. BigSteve

    The Rolling Stones song Cool, Calm & Collected speeds up maniacally at the end.

  19. Probably like a lot of songs that feature a train motif: XTC’s “Train Running Slow on Soul Coal”.

  20. H. Munster

    Bob Seger does it again on Brave Strangers.

  21. Nazz – Loosen Up

  22. A Quick One While He’s Away

  23. “Jungleland” and “Outlaw Pete” by Bruce Springsteen.

  24. My college band tried playing “Come On Eileen” once and let me tell you, slowing down/speeding up in unison is NOT easy.

  25. Happiness Stan

    The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

  26. H. Munster

    Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers.

  27. Rock Island Line by Johnny Cash

  28. There’s a really subtle one in the Allman Brothers instrumental Jessica where it slows down for a tiny bit and you think it’s finally over, but then it climbs right back up again for some more healthy riffing.

  29. Happiness Stan

    A Day in the Life

  30. mockcarr

    The Concept by Teenage Fanclub starts out fairly slowly, but has a really long, slow outchorus for about 2 minutes.

  31. Happiness Stan

    The Fall – The Man Whose Head Expanded

  32. H. Munster

    Good Vibrations

  33. H. Munster

    Macarthur Park by Richard Harris

  34. Stairway to Heaven

  35. Happiness Stan

    Maya by the Incredible String Band

  36. H. Munster

    Soft Parade by The Doors

  37. I think “The Soft Parade” actually changes songs.

  38. H. Munster

    OK. So let’s make it “Unknown Soldier” by The Doors.

  39. Happiness Stan

    Beefheart – Electricity

  40. H. Munster

    Bungalow Bill

  41. Happiness Stan

    Pere Ubu – 30 Seconds Over Tokyo

  42. H. Munster

    San Francisco Girls by Fever Tree

  43. Slow Ride!

  44. H. Munster

    Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

  45. Wow, you are hitting on so many great examples that I had not thought of when this seemingly near-impossible-to-extend Last Man Standing popped in my head. How did I forget the majestic “Slow Ride”?!?!

    Before I forget, here’s the third song that came to my mind, by a band that I see used this trick a few times: The Doors’ “LA Woman.”

    I am (presently) Last Man Standing!

  46. H. Munster

    Ruby Tuesday by The Rotary Connection

  47. Giant Sand’s Love Like a Train is another in the train motif. Speeds up into a near trainwreck (complete with “wooo!-wooo!”s) at the end. Sounds corny on paper, but it works!

  48. H. Munster

    Dreams by Beck

  49. H. Munster

    Carry On — CSNY

  50. H. Munster

    Ramble Tamble — CCR

  51. H. Munster

    Leaning on the Lamp Post — Herman’s Hermits

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