Friday fun thread: Rock out

by Ted on February 3, 2006

Most popular songs end with a reprise and fade-out, or a tiny jam session/ git-ar solo. Nothing wrong with that at all. But can you think of songs that do something different and end especially well? I’ve found it harder than I would have thought.

For example:

Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: The song that inspired the question. Vincent Price’s sinister cackle couldn’t be better.

Pink Floyd, “Goodbye, Cruel World”: It’s a short song, basically a suicide note sung over a quiet organ. On the last word, “Goodbye”, the organ cuts out, leaving the last syllable unaccompanied. When I first heard this tape in junior high, it was just about the spookiest thing I had ever heard.

Wilco, “She’s a Jar”: The music is too plodding to be a great song, but the lyrics, a little poem about a troubled relationship, are pretty good. It begins:

She’s a jar
With a heavy lid
My pop quiz kid
A sleepy kisser
A pretty war
With feelings hid
She begs me not to miss her

The last verse reprises the first verse, but replaces the last line with

She begs me not to hit her

And it stops right there. It always throws me.

The Hives, “Automatic Schmuck”: Ends with the whole band dropping their instruments and screaming, “I’LL ERODE, I’LL EXPLODE, YEAH, I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING CODE” during the fadeout. It rocks so hard that Dio has been known to arch an eyebrow in modest appreciation.

Comment away. I’m sure that I’m going to be smacking my head in an hour, wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that one?”

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Σπιτάκι » Blog Archive » Τουρλού 05 — Μπαγιάτικα
02.08.06 at 12:42 pm



Mrs Tilton 02.03.06 at 2:36 pm

Leaving to one side entirely any purely instrumental terminal delights, I have always been charmed by the end of the Pistol’s ‘EMI’, in which Johnny leaps off the hitherto main melodic train to purr, ‘Hello EMI, Good-bye A&M [farting noise]’.


Jeremy Osner 02.03.06 at 2:36 pm

Robyn Hitchcock’s “Do Policemen Sing” does I guess kind of end with a reprise but it sure tripped me out the first thousand times I heard it. And still has some ability to surprise even though I know it’s coming.


Mrs Tilton 02.03.06 at 2:37 pm

Arse. ‘Pistols”, of course.


Jared 02.03.06 at 2:38 pm

Tough. All I can think of off the top of my head is Sonic Youth, “Expressway to Yr. Skull,” the last song on EVOL. It doesn’t end, just keeps turning round and round. I’m sure lots of other people have done that too. (Sgt. Pepper?)

Bonus fun with vinyl: I have an Unrest single (forget which one) whose B-side consists of three songs. The middle one is the sound of a record skipping at 33 1/3. The single is a 45.


Jeremy Osner 02.03.06 at 2:45 pm

Here is the ending to “Do Policemen Sing?” now that it’s in my skull and will not get out for a few days at least:

Our law and order’s,
Our law and order’s,
Our law and order’s,

The last time through, “DOWN” is drawn out on this note that I think off the top of my head is the diminished fifth to whatever key the song is in. Profoundly unsettling.


neil 02.03.06 at 2:45 pm

I remember being particularly struck by the end of nine inch nails’ “Closer” when it won my teenage heart.


Jeremy Osner 02.03.06 at 2:46 pm

(I omitted to put one extra “NEVER” in the final line.)


Chris Brody 02.03.06 at 2:56 pm

“A Day in the Life”, for chrissakes.


Dustin 02.03.06 at 3:00 pm

Several of the songs on Lou Reed and John Cale’s “Songs for Drella” just kinda stop. No fade out, no solo, just music one moment, nothing the next.


Bro. Bartleby 02.03.06 at 3:05 pm

What about “Salve Festa”? Click on the audio here:


Cryptic Ned 02.03.06 at 3:14 pm

I’m partial to really, really loud songs that end really, really suddenly, like Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” and Karp’s “Bacon Industry”. Whenever a punk song fades out I feel somehow cheated.

One of my favorite songs, “What Can I Tell You?” by Local H, has a very slow fade-out which is more like a fade-from-music-into-distortion, which then turns into somebody whistling a melody that sounds vaguely but not really like the song’s melody. Truly unique.


Jim 02.03.06 at 3:25 pm

“Long, Long, Long” by the Beatles has a nice ending – some kind of skeletal moan, the rattling of a wine bottle on an organ, a drum roll and an ominous thud.


Ted 02.03.06 at 3:27 pm

“A Day in the Life” is a perfect example of a “Why didn’t I think of that?” song.


joel turnipseed 02.03.06 at 3:30 pm

My favorite all-time song ending is The Replacements’ cover of “I Will Follow” on The Shit Hits the Fans. They spend ten or twelve takes trying to get the opening right, then nail it perfectly–and stop: “OK, got that figured out,” and move on to the utterly appropriate “Jumping Jack Flask.”


polyglot conspiracy 02.03.06 at 3:32 pm

During fadeout at the very end of S&G’s “A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)”, Paul Simon says, “Folk rock…I dropped my harmonica, Albert.” It’s really weird.


Tim 02.03.06 at 3:47 pm

Jethro Tull, “Only Solitaire” ends with Ian following the train of thought of the lyrics with spoken, “Ah but you’re wrong, see. It’s only solitaire.” With reverb on the first half of the spoken bit. Nifty.


Jeff (no, the other one) 02.03.06 at 3:55 pm

Very abrupt, and/or acapella endings:
Earth Wind & Fire, “Shining Star”
Pretenders, “Tattooed Love Boys”
Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”

Favorite guitar-heavy endings:
Edgar Winter Group, “Frankenstein” (wah!)
AC/DC, “Highway to Hell” (stop, string scrape, just before the real ending)

Most disappointing fade, after all that comes before: the end of the Who’s “Tommy”. Rock OPERA? Where’s the big boom at the end?


ImJohnGalt 02.03.06 at 4:00 pm

I’m ashamed to be the one to bring this up, but the Kiss song “Great Expectations” (I think it’s on the Rock and Roll Over album) ended with a choir of angels singing the chorus. It was beautiful, but completely incongruous.

Hey, I liked Kiss when I was a sprite. So sue me.


JRoth 02.03.06 at 4:00 pm

The Beatles’ “I Want You/She’s So Heavy” has a long, grinding outro that slowly shifts textures, then abruptly cuts out. The effect is even odder post-vinyl, since the sweet opening licks of “Here Comes the Sun” on Side 2 follow a couple seconds later.

Also, it’s not quite the exact end, but the Who’s Bell Boy from Quadrophenia ends the vocals with Keith Moon going to falsetto, which Pete then somehow picks up as guitar feedback. The feedbacks fades out, then some acoustic strumming continues for a short bit.


Dave Menendez 02.03.06 at 4:04 pm

How about the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”? It ends with fourteen repetitions of the intro, gradually growing more intense, and then cuts off unexpectedly.


Tad Brennan 02.03.06 at 4:11 pm

“I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

Wikipedia gives that line to Ringo. Can that be right?


Mr. Waggish 02.03.06 at 4:11 pm

Roxy Music, “Virginia Plain”: a false ending, followed about 30 seconds later by an abrupt, a capella stop by Ferry. “What’s her name? Virginia Plain.”

Wire, “Another the Letter”: another suicide note. Singer recites the words as fast as possible and the song cuts off when he yells, “…I took my life.”

David Bowie, “It’s No Game Pt. 1”: Bowie screams “SHUT UP!” and the sound slows and stops as though someone’s put their finger on the record.

Homosexuals, “Naming of Parts”: for the coda, the vocal line gets doubled, with one part playing about a half-second behind the other. Amazingly, it makes the song catchier.


rilkefan 02.03.06 at 4:14 pm

Rush’s YYZ ends brusquely on a restatement of the rhythmic unit the song is based on, then the motif that is used to modulate that unit (also the second theme I think). This sequence appears earlier in the song in a slightly different form, so the ending is especially abrupt. (Something like that – I don’t speak the lingo.)

Of course Haydn is the master of the surprising ending.


rameau's nephew 02.03.06 at 4:25 pm

I Can’t Hold Out from Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Blvd, where somebody, I always presumed E himself, punctuates the fade out with “Hah… alright! Jesus, alright!!

and a second vote for Shining Star.


Richard Bellamy 02.03.06 at 4:28 pm

“Positively 4th Street” is either an example of a song without a reprise and fade-out, or a song that is only a reprise and fade-out.

I can’t figure out which.


Richard 02.03.06 at 4:38 pm

The Rolling Stones’ Sway — on Sticky Fingers — actually fades *up*


John Isbell 02.03.06 at 4:41 pm

Some songs end with whistling: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, Ferry’s Jealous Guy.
Various songs end with an alarm clock or telephone going off: Joe Jackson’s Time, Blondie’s Hanging on the Telephone IIRC.


Doug 02.03.06 at 5:08 pm

Maybe not unusual because guitar-laden, but “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the antithesis of fading.

Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman” has an a capella final verse. (No acoustical tricks, but “Father & Sone” ends right on the point: “I know, I have to go.”)

The final gong of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“Eleanor Rigby,” with the strings going down the chord: dee dunh dunh dunh doonh.

Those Liverpudlians again: “Bill-eee Shears … What would you think if I sang out of tune?” Though admittedly, it’s more transition than end. And the whole clucking menagerie at the end of “Good Morning, Good Morning.”


bob mcmanus 02.03.06 at 5:24 pm

Neil Young “Cinnamon Girl” ends with the incongruous guitar rave-up;I know this was mentioned in the original post as passe, but was Young the first to make the statement?

Jethro Tull “Minstrel in the Gallery”

Peter Frampton’s “Sail Away” ends with studio chatter. Many other songs.

“I got blisters on me fingers!” White album, I should know this instantly.


Jake 02.03.06 at 5:36 pm

The Doobie Brothers’ Black Water also ends accapella, I don’t think I saw it listed above.

Alan Bloom argued in Closing of the American Mind that the use of fadeout in rock music was one of the signs of its lack of true content–an unwillingness to make a definitive statement. I’ve always found that chapter interestingly provoking (perhaps because it was all I ever read of the book).


Brett 02.03.06 at 5:40 pm

Lou Reed, “Coney Island Baby”: after a beautiful climax of guitar, chorus, and Lou talking about his childhood, the music stops and he is left alone saying “Man I swear I’d give the whole thing up for you” in a slightly quivery voice. It’s quite an emotional moment.

The Clash, “Safe European Home”: the song seems to have faded out, then it comes right back up full throttle, then ends abruptly with drums.

John Cale, “Fear Is a Man’s Best Friend”: the song just falls apart, with each musician banging away and Cale screaming out “fear”, which pretty well describes the effect it creates.

Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland”: pretty effectively orchestral.


Dan Kervick 02.03.06 at 5:41 pm

The songs that cam to my mind first were Beatles songs, several of which have already been mentioned – A Day in the Life notably. I also thought of Back in the USSR with the trailing plane engine, Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, and Revolution with its screeched final “alright”.

There are many others. The Beatles appear to have been veritable masters of the song ending.


Tommy Woe 02.03.06 at 5:44 pm

Paul Simon’s Late Great Johnny Ace ends with a mini Philip Glass composition.


Ted 02.03.06 at 6:11 pm

The Clash, “Safe European Home”: the song seems to have faded out, then it comes right back up full throttle, then ends abruptly with drums.

The Tubes do a similar thing in “White Punks on Dope”, now that you mention it.


g 02.03.06 at 9:04 pm

(Missing the point, I know, but …)

“It ain’t necessarily so” in its original place in Porgy & Bess, with Serena pre-empting Sportin’ Life’s final note. Rather a lot of Schumann. His setting of Heine’s “Belsatzar”, not entirely unlike the end of “Goodbye cruel world” and for a similar reason; several songs from “Dichterliebe” (“Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet”, “Allnaechtlich im Traume”, and the final “Die alten, boesen Lieder”); “Die beiden Grenadiere”.

None of these shows the same level of inventiveness as most of the examples listed above by others. Still, at least Schumann wasn’t much of a one for the fade-and-repeat.


radek 02.03.06 at 9:08 pm

“The drums are too slow, the bass is too fast, the chords are wrong, this is making the ending too long, it’s all fucked…ah, I quit”


Ben Alpers 02.03.06 at 9:11 pm

Elvis Costello’s “Man Out of Time” has an odd, short intro (complete with screaming and power guitar chords) that’s revisited as a slightly longer outro. Neither has much to do musically with the main body of the song.


jeffhoya 02.04.06 at 12:52 am

There are basically an infinite number of examples. But I was just listening to the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s “White Palms” where the fade out is a chant of “I wouldn’t come back, if I had been Jesus. I’m the type of guy who leaves a scene of a crime.” Cool as hell, in my humble opinion.


Bill Posters 02.04.06 at 2:04 am

Alan Bloom argued in Closing of the American Mind that the use of fadeout in rock music was one of the signs of its lack of true content—an unwillingness to make a definitive statement.

Really? He mustn’t have gotten out much, then, as of course (almost) all live versions of songs end cold, the fade-out not translating particularly well to the stage.

And most if not the vast majority of punk and hardcore tunes end cold whether recorded or live.


CM 02.04.06 at 2:22 am

“The Jumpers” by Sleater-Kinney, which is yet another song about suicide, has a clipped end that depicts the fall from the Golden Gate Bridge:

I took a taxi to the Gate
I will not go to school again
Four seconds was
The longest wait
Four seconds was
The longest wait
Four seconds was
The longest


bob mcmanus 02.04.06 at 2:59 am

Oh yeah. “River of Sleep” String Driven Thing Album: “Machine that Cried” has a gorgeous structure ending with a short female lament. Classic bit of prog.

Other albums ending interestingly might include Genesis:Selling England by the Pound and Mad River. I can’t even describe how GD’s “Anthem of the Sun” ends. Umm, sounds.


john m. 02.04.06 at 3:22 am

As I recall, The Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk To Fuck” ends to the sound of the Jello Biafra vomiting over the noise of the guitar player stopping. Not something you hear very often.


Tim Worstall 02.04.06 at 5:41 am

Talking Heads? “We’re on a Road to Nowhere”? A capella restatement of the theme? Or do we count that as a reprise?


proudhon 02.04.06 at 7:24 am

The Stones’ “In Another Land” (from “Their Satanic Majesties Request”) ends with snoring.


Tad Brennan 02.04.06 at 9:54 am

“Alan Bloom argued in Closing of the American Mind that the use of fadeout in rock music was one of the signs of its lack of true content—an unwillingness to make a definitive statement.”

Ah well that’s just where he’s wrong, you see. I mean, take the Monkee’s theme song, with its definitive statement of true content:

Hey hey, we’re the Monkees/so come on watch us sing & play,
’cause we’re the young generation/and we’ve got something to say:

And then, just when you are asking yourself “so what is it they have to say? What will the true content of their definitive statement be?” they leave it in no doubt:

we’ve got something to say: “hey hey, we’re the Monkees.”

You may have to listen closer to hear the quotation marks, but they’re there, I assure you.


david 02.04.06 at 11:58 am

Poison Idea ends “Discontent” with an extraordinarily long and powerful scream that outlasts the song by something like 10 seconds.


Joel Hanes 02.04.06 at 12:03 pm

Has anyone seen the bridge?
I ain’t seen the bridge.
Where’s that confounded bridge?

Led Zeppelin, “The Crunge”
_Houses of the Holy_


Pepe 02.04.06 at 12:32 pm

The Dinosaur Jr cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” just stops cold at the start of chorus #2. And the original stops right after chorus#2 (no repeated chorus or noodley instrumental fadeout thing, just a ringing resolve-chord)
Einsturzende Neubauten’s “Fuerio” just builds up to the end and stops with a shout of the title.


Barney Rubble 02.04.06 at 1:04 pm

King Crimson, “One More Red Nightmare”, Red


Tom Hurka 02.04.06 at 1:21 pm

Re #27: According to Steve Cropper, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” was supposed to end with a fade-out of Otis doing an ad lib rap, but he forgot what they had worked out and whistled instead. So that ending was a mistake.

Speaking of Otis (and irrelevantly to this thread), I can’t help mentioning his reaction when Dylan sent him a tape of “Just Like a Woman” in the hope that he would record it: ” It’s got too many fucking words. All these pigtails and bobby tails and all that stuff.” Great guy.

And isn’t Allan Bloom on rock music just a hoot? Imagine: he got paid for that stuff.


Chris Molanphy 02.04.06 at 1:35 pm

I can’t believe I’m about to admit to knowing this “artist”‘s oeuvre this well, but…

The last track on Phil Collins’s debut album is a cover of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” That’s weird enough (I guess Phil wanted to pay homage to Ringo’s drumming), but…as the song is fading out, if you turn up the volume pretty loud, you hear Collins singing a quiet a cappella verse of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”


Chris Molanphy 02.04.06 at 1:41 pm

Another one – and this is considerably less embarrassing than Phil Collins. Also surprised this hasn’t come up yet…

On Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” the music gradually cross-fades into the sound of a windy rainstorm with Prince’s voice repeating “AH…AH…AH…AH…” (must be His Royal Badness’s homage to Philip Glass) – and then, you hear a haunting, ghostly backward recording of his voice, double-tracked.

If you are lucky enough to have the record on vinyl (as I did back in ’84) and can spin it backward, or you can reverse the MP3 on your PC, you will find Prince ending this extremely lascivious song – the song that single-handedly inspired Tipper Gore to start the PMRC! – with the following:

How are you?
I’m fine – ‘cuz I knoooow the Lord is coming soon,
Coming soon!

Made me jump out of my skin when I was 13 and spun the record backward for the first time.


dale 02.04.06 at 1:46 pm

tom waits ends ‘shore leave’ off swordfishtrombones, by taking the title of what has been to that point, a great, tight atmospheric piece of storytelling, and howls it, beyond recognition. hints of things to come.

pretty much the whole of syd barrett’s ouevre (sp?) fits the criteria and more. starts odd, continues odd, ends odd.


Dr. Free-Ride 02.04.06 at 1:48 pm

William Shatner (shut up!) and Henry Rollins, “I Can’t Get Behind That” (from the album “Has Been”):

As the music barrels to an end, Shatner shouts, “I CAN’T GET BEHIND A FAT ASS!”

A moment of silence.

Rollins: “Yeah. Bill? Can you turn around and do one more?”

Shatner: “Always can do one more.”

Rollins: “Let’s hit it!”


BonGob 02.04.06 at 2:18 pm

Bowie’s “Is There Life On Mars” ends with a wonderful slow fade outro, just Rick Wakeman tinkling a solitary piano, and then a telephone rings in the studio…


jamie 02.04.06 at 2:50 pm

“…and a baby’s arm holding an apple.”

The Tubes’ What Do You Want From Life


Jake 02.04.06 at 2:58 pm

re #45, one of the beers I drink while watching the Super Bowl tomorrow will be in a toast to you.


Mr. Waggish 02.04.06 at 3:04 pm

Can’t believe I forgot this one:

Sparks, “I Predict”

You’re gonna take a walk in the rain
And you’re gonna get wet
(I predict)

You’re gonna eat a bowl of chow mein
And be hungry real soon
(I predict)
Are my sources correct
(I predict)
They’re gonna find the Queen is a man
But that Philip don’t care
(I predict)

And somebody’s gonna die
But I can’t reveal who
Cold beer will cure a cold
Cold beer and pretzels, takes care of cancer

[etc etc]

And this song will fade out
And this song will fade out
And this song will fade out
(I predict)

[song stops]


Ben 02.04.06 at 3:51 pm

Nine Inch Nails ‘The Day The World Went Away’. Just has a ‘naa naa naa’ thing building up and up, then cuts off so abruptly my mum thought the CD must’ve skipped.


Tom Parmenter 02.04.06 at 5:34 pm

Billy Swan’s “I Can Help” ends with a long slow fade, at the very end of which the band completes the song in an entirely conventional dum-de-dum-dum way, as if there had been no fade at all.

Just Billy’s way of playing with Alan Bloom’s head.


Tad Brennan 02.04.06 at 6:41 pm


I’m much obliged to you re #57. Nicest thing anyone’s said to me in days.


Pho 02.04.06 at 8:38 pm

Dwight Yoakum’s “Sorry You Asked?” ends on a long fade while he is singing a never-to-be-completed verse. The song is s comic monologue in which the sad sack narrator tells his buddy he will be sorry he asked why “she’s” not with him. And indeed, the story never ends.

Doesn’t fit the criteria, but it’s unique to my knowledge.


Nate 02.04.06 at 8:39 pm

I always liked ping pong game that ends Guster’s The Airplane Song


Nate 02.04.06 at 8:40 pm

correction: Airport Song


Foobarski 02.04.06 at 10:39 pm

The Who’s “Happy Jack” – Pete Townshend yelling “I saw ya!” at a hiding Keith Moon as the final notes fade.

But my fave has always been Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” … the song’s coda segues into what sounds like someone getting into a limo, which drives away at high speed and delivers them to a fabulous party, at which dozens of beautiful people are cheerfully chattering away.


AlanDownunder 02.05.06 at 2:01 am

Yet another Beatles (what he said – ending masters):

“Her Majesty’s A Pretty Nice Girl” just omits the too-predictable final note.


mel 02.05.06 at 4:14 am

New Order’s ‘Every Little Counts’ from Brotherhood. Distorted synth gets louder and louder until sound effect of a record needle being roughly removed from vinyl. Intense.


Matt Weiner 02.05.06 at 12:05 pm

65: Brilliant. I think the ending of Ionesco’s The Chairs should work like that. (Yes I’m pretentious, why do you ask?)

A few Miles Davis tracks end with his muttering something to ‘Teo’ (Macero, his producer); a couple on Miles Smiles, I think; at the end of the version of “Reflections” on the CD of Big Fun, Miles’ hoarse whisper abruptly cuts off an extremely meditative jam.

The explosion at the end of Can’s “Mushroom” is nice.


Miss Bianca 02.05.06 at 4:19 pm

Horrible scream at the end of The Cure’s ‘Midnight in the Subway’, after lyrics about woman being followed in the subway.


Dave Menendez 02.05.06 at 7:08 pm

“My Lover’s Box” by Garbage ends with repetition, but instead of fading out, it crescendoes, accompanied by some static which gets louder and higher in pitch until it abruptly holds a single note and ends.


Jeremy Osner 02.05.06 at 10:25 pm

Just thought of another nice ending from Robyn Hitchcock: at the end of “Lady Waters and the Hooded One”, Death “took it all, and he left her there/ Without anything, but her LIFE” — “LIFE” is sung on an entirely different note than you expect it to be, and held about twice as long as you expect — then the singing is over and there is a quick percussion riff that will stay in your memory for a long time, and that’s it.


hellblazer 02.05.06 at 11:18 pm

– the end of Abbey Road (as someone pointed out above)

– the arpeggios at the end of Suede’s ‘The Next Life’ (one of the few decent endings they bothered to put on a song)

– the 8-minute ending to I am the Resurrection*

– most of the endings on ‘Different Class’: notably on Live Bed Show, which finishes on the last line of the verse with almost no accompaniment; and on Monday Morning where the song spirals into demented shrieking at the close.

* yes I know this one is just a ‘jam/guitar solo’… but having an ending longer that seems longer than the original song is surely worth something?


deadtrees 02.06.06 at 12:30 am

Massive Attack, “Angel” — after the torrid climax, all the instruments fade out except for the drum machine and acoustic bass that the song started with. The bass notes slow, then fade out, leaving the thump…clack…thub-bump…clack of the drum machine for about ten seconds. Until it stops.

Kinda had to be there.


Ginger Yellow 02.06.06 at 7:40 am

To add to the Beatles list, in the middle of the traditional fade out/jam in All You Need Is Love, someone (Paul?) sings “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!” . Several Beatles songs have false endings, too. I’m only Sleeping stops dead after about a minute, before kicking off again.


Kip 02.06.06 at 10:21 am

One cannot omit the end of Ice Cube’s classic “It Was a Good Day.”

Also, the Flaming Lips tend to have good endings, such as the song “Fight Test”

“The Test is……over”


maurinsky 02.06.06 at 12:01 pm

The Ballad of Guiteau from Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” – Guiteau has just finished singing his little poem about going to the Lordy, and then there is silence, and then you hear the sound of a rope, heavy with his body, swinging.

I love the end of “For All Y’all That Wear Fanny Packs” on Ben Folds Five’s “Naked Baby Pictures” cd. The song itself is just silliness, a rap that doesn’t make any sense, but with some awesome jazzy bass and piano riffing, and at the end, the guys are just laughing their asses off. One of them says “that’s our next single”, and Ben looks into the booth, and sees that the studio techs are gone. He imagines they said to themselves “what the fuck? These guys are fucking nuts!” and left.

Nellie McKay throws some fun little motifs into sone of her songs. At the end of “Won’t U Please B Nice”, which sounds all chipper and Doris Day-like, but includes lyrics like:

“If you would sit, oh so close to me,
that would be nice, like it’s supposed to be
if you don’t, I’ll slit your throat,
so wont’ U please B nice?”

Anyway, at the end of that song, she throws in a playful rendition of the funeral march.

And at the end of “Toto’s Dead”, she’s sings “Oh-we-oh-we-ohhhhhhhhhh” on a low pitch, sustained, and you can hear the overtone about 2 octaves up. Nice.


Tom Parmenter 02.06.06 at 12:47 pm

Another Beatles ending, Paul yelling out “I hope we passed the audition!” at the end of “Get Back”. A a true ending, as it turned out, and a pretty melancholy one in retrospect.


william 02.06.06 at 12:55 pm

Pavement have always been very good at endings, more structured than a freak-out, less repetitive than a fade. “Father to a Sister of Thought” on Wowee Zowee is in some ways just “Trigger Cut” for old people, but the spiky ending completes it in a delightfully unexpected way.

And let’s not forget the classic stop-abruptly line:

Too sexy for this


william 02.06.06 at 1:07 pm

#77 — I think that’s John. It was John did most of the silly voices on Let It Be.


Norsecats 02.06.06 at 1:47 pm

The Doors’ “The End” ends quietly on a Picardy 3rd (minor-key piece resolving on a major triad). Clearly Jim Morrison listened to JS Bach.

At the end of the Pogues’ version of “South Australia”, you can hear one of the musicians muttering, “shit.”


dglynn 02.06.06 at 1:49 pm

Parliament’s Flashlight ends acapella, and fades, but is definitely sudden and certainly distinctive. I always like it.


el kabong 02.06.06 at 4:07 pm

Heavenly’s “Me and My Madness” stops very abruptly with a guitar squall that stops dead after about one and a half seconds.


Isaac 02.06.06 at 7:26 pm

U2’s Bullet the Blue Sky ends with Bono doing spoken word:

Across the field you see the sky ripped open
See the rain through a gaping wound
Pounding on the women and children
Who run
Into the arms
Of America


Dr Paisley 02.06.06 at 11:28 pm

“Girlfriend,” by Matthew Sweet (which up to that point is a solid pick-up song enhanced by the sonic magnificence of Robert Quine) goes from the final chorus to a brief drum riff to multiple cross-sqalling guitars when Sweet takes the song into a creepily different direction with the final lines: “And I’m never gonna set you free/No I’m never gonna set you free.”

21. Everything I’ve seen says Ringo shouted that at the end of “Helter Skelter,” but it sure sounds like John to me.

77. The “I hope we passed the audition” line is Ringo.


william 02.07.06 at 8:59 am

#77 and $84 — Wikipedia says it was John.


Jeff (no, the other one) 02.08.06 at 3:53 pm

Other Prince secret message, for those who spun the vinyl backwards:

“Baby I’m A Star”(?) intro has a female voice which says something like, “What the fuck do they know? All you need is a big mouth, really. C’mon baby. Let’s go crazy.”

And J. Geils Band Love Stinks LP, “No Anchovies Please”. The narrator says something about a “…strange foreign land” and you hear gibberish in the background. Play it backwards and: “It doesn’t take a genius to tell chicken shit from chicken salad.”

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