The 10 most electrifying pauses in rock

Stop. Wait a minute.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that could happen at a gig? Spilling your pint on a stranger? Your gig buddy talking so loudly that they’re ‘Sssh’d by a fellow carrying a backpack?

Nope, it’s beginning to clap before the end of a song. You know, when there’s a pause in the track and you think it’s finished but it hasn’t. And then everyone looks at you. And then you have to go and have a cry in the loos. (Maybe that’s just me?)


This made us think about what songs had ‘false endings’ in. For LOLs we thought we might add in John Cage’s ‘4.33’- aka the ULTIMATE pause in rock- but then we thought better of it.

The Strokes, ‘Hard To Explain’

Jigging up and down like a rickety car driving across a train track, this was The Strokes at their in sync, rhythmic best. The pause (right after JC sing-says: “This place is a zoo/You’re right, it’s true“) is the confident cherry on top of the songs particular cake.

Bruce Springsteen, ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’

A seven minute valentine to the girl who played Juliet to The Boss’ Romeo. The pause here provides the E Street Band some time to mop their sweaty brows and also provides some dramatic tension in the track. Will ‘Rosie’ come out tonight? Will the big record company advance (*sly 2011 glance to camera*) make her dad like him more? Will Bruce ever get tired and need a sit down? Who knows.

Queens Of The Stone Age, ‘(You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A) Millionaire’

In the depths of KLON radio hell, QOTSA provide a much needed gut punch. Nick Oliveri’s vocals soar like a, um, bat out of hell as the power band (including Dave Grohl) manfully twist their respective instruments into bold rock shapes. The pause here feels like just another part of the tightly sculptured sound attttttaacccck.


Foo Fighters, ‘Monkey Wrench’

Obviously extremely well versed in the world of rock, Dave Grohl acts like an excited toddler who’s just discovered his first rock pause. Here he pulls out about five even before he’s got to the blimmin’ chorus. “What do you do when all your enemies are friends?” well, do a sneaky rock pause of course!

Prince & The Revolution, ‘Purple Rain’

He never meant to cause any sorrow, he never meant to cause us any pain but he does want to put a big, pre-guitar solo rockist pause on it. And fair enough, this was Prince self-consciously crafting a hit aimed at middle America.

Nine Inch Nails, ‘March Of The Pigs’

Trent Reznor goes thrash via Weimar on this number. Mid-way through the banging about gives way to a piano introduced pause, He asks: ‘Does it make you feel better?‘, well a little Trent, if we’re honest. But then the schizoid, techno mania continues apace.

Stone Roses, ‘I Am The Resurrection’

Another epic banger that needed a pause so as not to violate Trade Union legislation over musicians playing for an extended period of time (see ‘Rosalita’). Here Brown, Squire and co break their run-on groove for that all important groove-within-a-groove wig out. You dig?

Metallica, ‘Sad But True’

The second track off the ‘black’ album pauses before it gets into its thumping stride. But the real pause comes half way through, just time enough for us to clean off the flecks of sweat from our leather jacket and continue rocking out.

Roxette, ‘The Look’

You can smell the shoulder pads on this slice of 80s video pop from the Swedish duo. Their rock pause was robotically crafted like the rest of it, right before some final ‘Na na na”s from Marie.

Nirvana, after ‘Something In The Way’

…And right before ‘Endless, Nameless’, the band gave us an epic pause. Literally minutes of silence, which somehow worked brilliantly after the doleful ‘SITW’ and the spastic squall of ‘Endless, Nameless’. Arguably as essential as any of the actual songs on the album.

So argue! What’s the best pause in rock?