We’ve put together a list of the perfect album closers throughout the classic rock album era. These are not simply great tunes on their own, but acted as a final seal to close their respective albums on the highest of notes.
9. “A Day In the Life” by The Beatles
The crowning jewel of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Fuses separate compositions by John Lennon and Paul McCartney into a singular masterpiece. Starting with Lennon’s folk ballad with some of the best overall playing by all four members of The Beatles, the song’s uniqueness can also be attributed to producer George Martin’s inventive use of 24 bars of “empty space” with sweeping, avant garde orchestration, recording over over 150 instrumental tracks on the four tracks of tape available at the time.
Listen to “A Day In the Life”:
8. “My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen’s most popular and pop-oriented album concludes with a rather traditional, Springsteen-esque folk ballad to close Born In the USA. “My Hometown” actually was written as a darker look at the scenes and characters in the album Born to Run and, as such, lends a sense of maturity and continuity to the album.
Listen to “My Hometown”
7. “Time of the Season” by The Zombies
The best known song and biggest hit by The Zombies, “Time of the Season” provided an extremely strong ending to the classic album Oracle and Odessey. This excellent song with great bass, tight drums, breezy vocals, jamming Hammond organ, and just the right amount of cool effects, perfectly capped this gem of an album that proofed to be the short-lived band’s swan song.
Listen to “Time of the Season”:
6. “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors
Most believe “The End” from The Doors’ debut album to be their perfect closer. In fact, this group had several excellent album enders (“Five to One”, “The Soft Parade”, “Riders On the Storm”). But the best of these was the jazzy suite “When the Music’s Over” from 1967’s Strange Days, an epic track with opening and closing verse hooks wrapped around a long poetic interlude by Morrison, along with an acid-hot guitar lead intermixed with a theremin, and impressive, double-jointed drumming.
Listen to “When the Music’s Over”:
5. “All Apologies” by Nirvana
The final track on Nirvana’s final album may be the finest track on In Utero. “All Apologies” is a melodic, deep, and excellent closer, with a guest cello player to augment the base energy of the core trio and lyrics inspired by Kurt Cobain’s new domestic life just prior to his taking his own life in 1994.
Listen to “all Apologies”:
4. “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s classic 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home concludes with the aptly titled “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. Despite its hopeless title, the song is really a much brighter acoustic tune than anything else on the classic second side of the album, Complete with interesting bass guitar to compliment the acoustic strumming and dynamic melodies of Dylan’s vocals, this offers a perfect conclusion to the album.
Listen to “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”:
3. “End of the Line” by Traveling Wilburys
“End of the Line” contains deeply philosophical lyrics above a Johnny Cash-like train rhythm that is at once a wistful observation of the journey of life and a true tribute to Roy Orbinson, who recorded the track but died soon afterward. The Traveling Wiburys were a happy coincidence and Traveling Wiburys Vol. 1was a nearly spontaneous masterpiece with this final song having the strongest feeling of band unity.
Listen to “End of the Line”:
2. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
by Rolling Stones
Although the Rolling Stones recorded “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” nearly a year before it appeared on Let It Bleed, this gem of a song may well be the best Stones song ever. This was not just a great album closer but also a most adequate way for the group to wrap up their 1960s work. This is a mature song with a unique choral arrangement at the top before the body of the track employs a folk ballad approach before incorporating rock elements during the song’s climatic parts.
Listen to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”:
1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who
“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..”
This final line of the final song on the classic album Who’s Next really drills the the message home. While “won’t Get Fooled Again” breaks in awkwardly with the commencement of the early synth, there is not another unsure second for the rest of its over eight minute duration. All through this extended rock journey, The Who take the listener on a rock odyssey which fuses the past and present with an indelible message which makes it our #1 album closer of all time.
Listen to “Won’t Get Fooled Again”:
With this subjective list we’ve doubtlessly left out scores of artists who may have deserved consideration for this list. Please give us your comments below and tell us where you agree and disagree.
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