What Is the Longest Song Ever Recorded
When it comes to music-related world records, Guinness has one for just about every venture imaginable—and probably some you never would’ve imagined at all.
The “largest human image of a musical instrument,” for example, was a saxophone formed by 1660 people in Nice, France, as part of 2014’s National Music Day. It took a slightly smaller group to earn the distinction of “most people playing musical tubes”—1171 people, to be exact, in the Chinese city of Chengdu in 2019. And if you were wondering which concert played host to more births than any other concert in history, the answer is 1969’s famously lawless Altamont Speedway concert in California. The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, and several other high-profile music groups made appearances, as did four newborn babies.
There are Guinness World Records in more conventional categories, too. George Gershwin’s “Summertime” is the most recorded song of all time; and the “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band,” a disco remix of John Williams’s Star Wars compositions from Meco’s 1977 album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, is considered the best-selling instrumental single.
The longest song ever officially released, on the other hand, hasn’t achieved such mainstream success—maybe because it’s 13 hours, 23 minutes, and 32 seconds long. The track, titled “The Rise and Fall of Bossanova” was created by Michael and Kelley Bostwick of Palmer, Massachusetts. They released it on November 1, 2016, under the artist name P C III, which is one of Michael Bostwick’s musical projects. It’s a mostly instrumental, very ambient composition well-suited to people looking for something relaxing—but not distracting—to play while they work on a long (perhaps 13-hour-long) project of their own.
It’s not P C III’s first time nabbing this particular world record. “In the Garden,” the closing track from the 2015 album Ad Astra, Vol. 2, also briefly held the record. It’s much shorter than “The Rise and Fall of Bossanova,”—just over 3 hours long—but it features significantly more lyrics. In fact, Michael Bostwick actually published an illustrated 428-page book with all 7730 words to go along with the song.
You can hear both “The Rise and Fall of Bossanova” and “In the Garden” below.