"Big endings. Lots of spitting, swearing, death... eye contact and thumping".There are many ways to end a song. Perhaps you just play the final note and end it there. Perhaps your guitarist or saxophonist holds a note and the song fades out as that note plays. Or maybe your band just keeps playing and the song slowly fades out as they continue their rhythm. A Big Rock Ending is for when none of these options will do. Instead, the band drops the tempo and starts jamming out in a flurry of musical awesomeness, usually ending with a final note or riff to let everyone know it is over. Frequent features of the Big Rock Ending include the guitarist or saxophonist or keyboardist going absolutely nuts and improvising wildly, the drummer doing a roll on the cymbals and/or the toms, and if it's a metal song (especially Power Metal), the singer might also scream at a high pitch until the end. There are a few essential components of the Big Rock Ending that make it what it is; if these components aren't present, the ending of a song likely isn't a Big Rock Ending:
—Roger Taylor on how Queen ended their songs live
—Roger Taylor on how Queen ended their songs live
- The most important aspect of a Big Rock Ending is that the tempo goes away, and the band plays while ignoring tempo entirely. There's no beat or rhythm to Big Rock Ending at all. If the song has a steady beat until the end, it doesn't have a Big Rock Ending. A good guide is to see if you can tap your foot to the beat of the song until the song ends. If you reach a point where you can't tap your foot to the beat of the song, you may have a Big Rock Ending. Disclaimer: Tapping along to a song in Uncommon Time might prove extremely difficult.
- The band plays something other than what they've been playing previously; faster or slower versions of previous riffs and beats don't count. That something is usually an inconsistent beat with little seeming rhythm or reason to it, though one or two band members may hold a note while the others play.
- Usually, the song ends with the band members playing a final note or two to let everyone know the Big Rock Ending has ended, but this isn't essential.
- Not every song that has a Big Rock Ending rendered in Rock Band has a Big Rock Ending. Take The Smashing Pumpkins' "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream, for example. The game charts it as a Big Rock Ending, yet because the tempo doesn't change and the drum beat and guitar riff are consistent, it isn't an actual Big Rock Ending. Some songs also have Big Rock Endings added on when put in Rock Band, either because they are live versions or because the original songs ended with a fade-out while the band was still playing, so Harmonix added a Big Rock Ending, rather than having the song abruptly end.
- Just because a song doesn't have a Big Rock Ending in Rock Band doesn't mean it doesn't actually have a Big Rock Ending. Take Jethro Tull's Aqualung as an example; it has all of the components of a Big Rock Ending yet isn't charted as such.
Songs with a Big Rock Ending:
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Alternative Rock / Grunge
- Stay Away from Nevermind by (Nirvana)
- Alive from Ten by (Pearl Jam)
- Jesus Christ Pose (Soundgarden)
- Spy (They Might Be Giants)
- Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money, Pigs Get Slaughtered (Chiodos)
- Party Poison and Vampire Money by My Chemical Romance
- Oh My God (Ida Maria)
- It's Gonna Be a Long Night (Ween)
- Time Honoured Tradition (Kaiser Chiefs)
- Make Way For The Passenger (De Staat)
- I Didn't Build It for Me (Daniel Amos, from Doppelgänger)
- War Pigs from Paranoid and Never Say Die (Black Sabbath)
- Stand Up and Shout (Dio)
- Where The Rain Grows (Helloween)
- Painkiller (Judas Priest)
- Metal Bucetation by Massacration, a Brazilian comedy metalnote band (the song itself ends at 3:32 - after that there are a few seconds of silence, followed by a bonus track form their debut album)
- Battle Hymn, Black Wind, Fire and Steel and Hail to England (Manowar)
- No Bone Movies (Ozzy Osbourne)
- The Conjuring (Megadeth)
- Metal Thrashing Mad (Anthrax)
- Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and The Day That Never Comes (Metallica)
- Overkill, most of the first album (from White Line Fever onward) (Motörhead)
- Run to the Hills, Powerslave, Hallowed Be Thy Name, El Dorado, Only the Good Die Young, Sun and Steel, Where Eagles Dare, From Here to Eternity, Speed of Light (Iron Maiden)
- Black Magic (Slayer)
- Strong Arm of the Law, Princess of the Night (Saxon)
- Red Devil and Damnation Game (Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force)
- Endless Sacrifice, In the Presence of Enemies Part 2, Erotomania (Dream Theater)
- Not of This World, Am I Demon (Danzig)
- Creepshow (Skid Row)
- Panzer Division Marduk (Marduk)
- Set This World on Fire (Rage)
Progressive Rock / Post Rock
- Aqualung from Aqualung (Jethro Tull)
- 21st Century Schizoid Man from In the Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson). Notable in that is has two of these endings, with the second starting up a second or two after the first.
- Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two (More King Crimson)
- Limelight and Working Man (Rush)
- Providence (Godspeed You! Black Emperor)
- The Hollow Booming of Pieces of Ordnance (Bull Of Heaven)
- Space Dementia (Muse)
Hard Rock / Rock and Roll
- Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
- T.N.T., Let There Be Rock, Whole Lotta Rosie, Can I Sit Next to You Girl... AC/DC just loves this trope. Especially when playing live (speaking of which, in regards to the Trope Namer, in the AC/DC Live Track Pack, only "Thunderstruck" and "Moneytalks" do NOT have BREs. All other 16 songs have them).
- Hell or Hallelujah (KISS)
- Rock Bottom (UFO)
- Stranglehold (Ted Nugent)
- Push Push (Lady Lightning) (Bang Camaro)
- Warriors of Time (Black Tide)
- Dead, Ridin' (Buckcherry)
- Highway Star and Burn (Deep Purple)
- Now! (Scorpions)
- Hot for Teacher, I'm the One, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Stay Frosty and so on (Van Halen)
- I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness)
- I Come Tumblin' (Grand Funk Railroad)
- Flirtin' With Disaster (Molly Hatchet)
- Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar)
- Baba O'Riley (The Who)
- Bodhisattva (Steely Dan)
- Guilty By Association (Steve Taylor)
- Eight Miles High (The Byrds)
- For The Love of God (Steve Vai)
- Green Grass and High Tides (The Outlaws)
- Sekai wa Sore wo Ai to Yobundaze (Sambomaster)
- Bad Fun (The Cult)
- Breaking All the Rules (Peter Frampton)
- Ending from Desert Sessions 7 which is Josh Homme and friends jamming. The entire song is a Big Rock Ending.
- Talk Dirty to Me (Poison)
- Remedy (The Black Crowes)
- Kick Out the Jams (MC5), from Kick Out the Jams.
- Joan Crawford (Blue Öyster Cult)- the live version ends on a long drawn out sung/screamed note followed by a reprise of the introductory piano line.
- Albuquerque ("Weird Al" Yankovic)
- The live version of "Don't Fear The Reaper" continues for another two or three minutes after the last vocal, in the form of duelling guitar solos and riffs around the main theme which build to a climax followed by several afteshock notes.
- Walkie Talkie Man (Steriogram)
- Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo (Rick Derringer)
- "I Love You #19" (Daniel Amos, from Horrendous Disc)
- Pavement's "Elevate Me Later" seems to go into one about two minutes in, but then the band abruptly starts playing the main riff again for another 30 seconds and the song actually ends on a more subdued note.
- Rage Against the Machine's "Killing In the Name" seems to go into one about four minutes in, before cutting back to the chorus and the outro.
- Also "Know Your Enemy", which has one right before the last minute of music kicks in.
- Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" has a Big Rock Ending... which is then followed by a good few more minutes of the song... which ends in another Big Rock Ending.
- The Who's "Young Man Blues (Live At Leeds)" has about three or four Big Rock Endings before its actual one, most of which are marked by Keith Moon's monster drum fills.
- The Who's "My Generation" from My Generation which gave birth to Rockers Smash Guitars
- Iron Maiden's "El Dorado", mentioned above, not only has a Big Rock Ending, it also has a Big Rock Beginning. The two are perfectly identical.
- Also from Iron Maiden, and also mentioned before, "Only the Good Die Young", with a double BRE... Which is then followed by an acoustic reprise of "Moonchild".
- Weezer's "Undone - The Sweater Song" actually ends with a complete instrumental trainwreck, which only fits the trope in concept.
- When played live, all three of "Overkill's endings become BREs.
- Everything Else by Everything Else off of the album Everything Else has four of them.
- Melvins' "Pick It N' Flick It" is essentially a minute and a half big rock ending without an actual song attached to it.
- "Big Rock Finish" by Andy Prieboy specifically invokes this trope in its name, but the song is largely an aversion. (It is the last song on the album, though.)