Certain songs have a quality that makes them epic. For the sake of attampting to quantify this quality, the SO and I have decided off the top of our heads to refer to it as "epicity". This word represents, on a one-to-ten scale, whether a song is actually an epic song.
To be epic, a song must score a "10" on the epicity scale. Else why bother?
For example, Dire Straits' "Telegraph Road" is an unquestioned epic. Almost anything at all by Pink Floyd qualifies. But how to judge?
The SO and I sat up for a couple of pleasant wasting hours tonight drinking tea and playing each other CDs (which handicaps my choice of material, I'm still mostly on tape).
A personal obeservation: Classical music is loaded with epic tunes, jazz with a few (Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" jumps up for our attention), rock/pop has many. But country (not at all to my personal surprise) doesn't seem to have any.
Perhaps it's a question of scope? A singer and band try to take us somewhere beyond the suburbs of normalton and let us look back at it from somewhere unfamiliar?
Is it purely interpretation? Bruce Coburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" is brilliant on it's own. The Barenaked Ladies cover is beautiful, but not epic, somehow. Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" was raised to epic status only when Hendrix got a-hold of it.
The SO and I think it has to do with musical depth, powerful voices (everything on our personal lists seems to have heavyweight backup vocals), and consumate instrument work.
Like, this was something anyone didn't know?
But still, how do we qualify epic music unsubjectively?
Don't wait for answers. You'll be waiting a while.
Or maybe not.