Rock’s Most Epic Outros

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Not satisfied with finishing the song after the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-chorus (ad lib to fade optional), the generous artist will switch the tone a little and carry on for another couple of minutes in a completely different direction. Or they’ll superglue a minute from an entirely different song onto this one and hope everyone thinks it adds a certain grandeur. Whatever, the epic outro is to be saluted and here are 10 deeply subjective picks.

The Beatles

10 Led Zeppelin, ‘Achilles’ Last Stand’

Percy wails, Jimmy shreds and Bonzo gets the tattoos out. The tattoos of PUMMELING DRUMS, that is. ‘Achilles’ Last Stand’ is pretty much one big outro altogether, but the trace of song about half an hour ago gives it a clifftop to leap off.

9 The Beta Band, ‘Dry The Rain’

Not sure there was time for Noel Gallagher to hear ‘Dry The Rain’ before writing ‘All Around The World’, so the vast brass-led procession that ends both tracks must be a coincidence. Still both The Beta Band and Oasis were channelling (man) some Beatley vibes (man, again).

8 The Wedding Present, ‘Interstate 5’

Keening, scratchy rock from David Gedge and pals that falls gracefully apart at the six-minute mark before reassembling as the intersection where The Shadows, Glen Campbell and the Buena Vista Social Club meet. A pleasant place.

The Wedding Present

7 Super Furry Animals, ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’
In its common four-minute version, ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’ is a clever, catchy chunk of groove-spun protest. As God intended, in its 10-minute (plus any amount of time the venue will allow) form it turns into a monstrous, hammering techno druid devised to keep you in the building until your brain detaches itself from its stem and marries the cosmos.

6 Fleetwood Mac, ‘The Chain’

One minute you’re tapping your toe to some witchy folk/blues mantra, the next you’re hearing Murray Walker and Martin Brundle marvelling at Michael Schumacher’s fuel ratio.

5 Underworld, ‘Born Slippy’

The outro is really just a one-louder version of the (nish, clish and) banging break earlier in the track, but it’s an invaluable chance to go batshit mental after those lush synths and Renton’s shit-eating-grinning escape.


4 The Stone Roses, ‘I Am The Resurrection’

It wouldn’t be this week without a mention of the ‘Roses. Every one of their gigs ever [subs to check] has finished with this frugfest where Mani’s bouncing bass, Reni’s splashing beats and John Squire’s power-chording poses send the band towards a gurning baggy future. Ian’s popped out for a Tizer.

3 Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘Free Bird’

The howdy-doody country rock of the first four-and-a-half minutes is jettisoned for some head-shaking boogie, and stoners all over the 70s have two deep cuts for the price of one. Have they finished yet?

Lynyrd Skynyrd

2 The Beatles, ‘Hey Jude’

The daddy of extending-your-song-because-you-can, ‘Hey Jude’ na-na-nas for so long you could nod off in the middle, get your eight hours and return for a final burst. There’s a suspicion John Lennon did.
1 Derek And The Dominos, ‘Layla’

When is an ‘outro’ a ‘coda’? Probably when the song appears to end then something entirely different takes its place. See also ‘false ending’. So that covers Rod Stewart’s ‘Killing Of Georgie Parts I and II’ (the clue’s in the title) and The Beatles’ ‘Hello Goodbye’. And Def Leppard’s ‘Animal’, for that matter. ‘Layla”s outro/coda comes from a lovely piano piece played by drummer Jim Gordon; Eric Clapton smoothly co-opted it into his song.

Runners-up: Rage Against The Machine, ‘Killing In The Name’; Secret Machines, ‘First Wave Intact’; The Who, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’; anything else you care to mention.