What is the Middle 8 in Music?

Welcome to Middle 8 Reviews.

First, let me begin by answering the question that probably brought you here:

What is the “middle 8”?

The middle eight is a part of a song similar to the bridge, or chorus. In fact, it’s commonly believed that the middle eight and the chorus are one and the same. I seem to remember early Beatles interviews in which McCartney references how he and John would write their songs. He said one would write the bulk of the song, and the other would write the middle eight. It was clear from the quote that he was using middle eight and bridge interchangeably.

I’ll admit, the difference is a fine distinction.

The middle eight is technically a section of a song that typically occurs toward the middle and last for 8 measures. the purpose is to add contrast to the rest of the song and break up the pattern of verse – chorus – verse – chorus. It can be such a powerful song writing tool that it is often what makes a good song great.

It can take the form of a new chord structure, a new key new time signature or tempo or all of the above. Lyrically, it’s often the passage that takes the emotion to its highest point and really drive the message home. Some really great middle eights can act like a plot twist in a novel, leading to a surprise ending.

I chose this musical term for the name of this blog because it is my intent to do with this blog what the middle eight does to the song. I want to compare and contrast musical interests and (hopefully) kick the interest level of the reader up a notch while doing it.

Before I go, I thought I would leave you with a few examples of some all time great middle eights.

Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run.

“Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss”


‘Natural Woman’ – Aretha Franklin

“Oh baby whatcha done to me?”


‘Up On The Roof’ – The Drifters

“At night the stars put on a show for free”

The Beatles, ‘No Reply’

“If I were you I’d realise that
I love you more than any other guy
and I forgive the lies that
I heard before when you gave me no reply”


And of course, one of the most famous middle eights of all time, Suspicious Minds

“Oh let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die
When honey, you know
I’ve never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah”