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10 Songs Written In 30 Minutes or Less

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Win McNamee, Getty Images

We’ve all heard stories about how some of the all-time greatest songs were composed in flashes of inspiration and scribbled on the backs of napkins or dreamed up during rides to work. But writing a tune quicker than it takes to get a pizza delivered? That’s impressive. The following 10 songs were completed in 30 minutes or less — many of them much less — yet landed on successful albums by popular bands. Some of them even sold millions of copies and won Grammys. Sit back, relax and enjoy reading our list of 10 Songs Written in 30 Minutes or Less — but don’t spend too much time. There are tunes to be written.

 

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‘Hometown Glory’

Adele

 

 
’19′ (2008)
The first U.S. single released from her debut album, Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’ is a simple — and simply sublime — piano ballad. It failed to chart upon its initial U.K. release, but it later made its way into the Top 20 and snagged a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance nom at the 2010 Grammys — not bad for a tune she penned in 10 minutes.

 

‘That’s Entertainment’

The Jam

 

 
‘Sound Affects’ (1980)
One of the Jam’s best-known, uhh, jams, ‘That’s Entertainment’ was penned by singer Paul Weller in just 10 minutes after “coming home p—ed from the pub” one night. Which means not only did Weller nail down the song in less time than it takes you to take a shower in the morning, but he did it while drunk. Cheers!

 

‘Dammit’

Blink-182 (1997)

 

 
Can’t exactly say we’re shocked that Blink-182′s ‘Dammit’ was written in five minutes as bassist-singer Mark Hoppus was considering the consequences of breaking up with his girlfriend, but it’s still a damn catchy song. Or is that damm catchy? Either way, it’s bound to get stuck in your head.

 

‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)’

Beastie Boys

 

 
‘Licensed To Ill’ (1986)
“We wrote it in about five minutes,” Michael “Mike D” Diamond once boasted of ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!),’ the first smash hit off the band’s debut album, ‘Licensed To Ill,’ and their only song to break into the Top 10 of the Billboard 100 tally. “‘Fight for Your Right’ was written on napkins on top of those s—ty lacy tables. I remember we [were] really determined to accomplish something.” Mission accomplished.

 

‘Bathwater’

No Doubt

 

 
‘Return of Saturn’ (2000)
Sometimes, putting a little more effort into a song might be beneficial. No Doubt have said they dashed off the ‘Return to Saturn’ single ‘Bathwater’ in about 10 minutes, and that might be why the song fizzled. It was the only critical and commercial failure on an album full of hits and has since been thrown out by the band with the (sorry!) bathwater.

 

‘Sail to the Moon’

Radiohead

 

 
‘Hail to the Thief’ (2003)
Radiohead singer Thom Yorke is known for his detail-oriented perfectionist streak, but it only took him five minutes to pen ‘Sail to the Moon,’ the piano ballad featured on the band’s 2003 disc, ‘Hail to the Thief.’ Gorgeous!

 

‘My Sharona’

The Knack

 

 
‘Get the Knack’ (1979)
Guitarist Berton Averre came up with the unforgettable ‘My Sharona’ guitar riff years before joining the band, but singer Doug Fieger says the rest of the song came together in just 15 minutes. The song’s popularity, however, endures to this day, meaning those 15 minutes were minutes well spent.

 

‘Vessel’

Zola Jesus

 

 
‘Conatus’ (2011)
Singer Zola Jesus says she composed ‘Vessel’ in just 30 minutes, and the tune become the first single off her latest album, ‘Conatus.’ The disc didn’t sell a ton of copies, but it did become critically acclaimed and helped Zola become a bigger force in the indie nation. 

 

‘Supersonic’

Oasis

 

 
‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994)
Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher has told a few different stories about the origins of the single ‘Supersonic,’ but the most common one — the music was hashed out during a 10-minute jam session, the lyrics penned in the studio corner directly after — meshes best with this list, so let’s stick with that one. Either way, it’s both a top-selling U.K. single and fan favorite, so that was obviously time well spent.

 

‘Losing My Religion’

R.E.M.

 

 
‘Out of Time’ (1991)
“If a song takes more than 20 minutes to write, it probably wasn’t worth writing,” R.E.M.’s Peter Buck once said. Good thing that the music to the band’s biggest hit, ‘Losing My Religion,’ was penned in just 10 minutes, meaning the ‘Out of Time’ tune is possibly twice as worthwhile as the others. After all, ‘Religion’ did snag the band a Grammy in 1991.
 

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