Music History

The History of the Hidden Track

Back when CDs ruled, it became a thing for artists to hide tracks somewhere on the disc.  These Easter eggs were rewards for those who spent time listening to an entire album.  A site called Wondering Sound looks at the whole hidden track concept and where it all began.

On July 2, 1969, Paul McCartney recorded “Her Majesty” live with his acoustic guitar in Abbey Road Studios. The song, less than 30 seconds long, took three takes get down. It was meant to appear between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” on Abbey Road‘s now-famous B-Side Suite, but on July 30, McCartney decided he didn’t like that sequence. He asked the tape operator, John Kurlander — a young man just starting out in music production — to get rid of “Her Majesty” all together. Kurlander, as the story goes, knew to never destroy a Beatles recording, so he removed the song and instead tacked it on to the end of the album, leaving 14 seconds of blank tape between it and “The End.” When the album was pressed, “Her Majesty” didn’t appear on labels or album covers, making it one of pop music’s first hidden tracks.

This is a fun read.  Keep going!

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on “The History of the Hidden Track

  • The best hidden track ever has to be “Endless Nameless” by Nirvana on Nevermind. For its ferocity.

    Here are some honourable mentions:

    U2 Zooropa: siren sound
    Nirvana: In Utero: hilarious “Gallons of Rbbing Alcohol Flow through the Strip” with the line “Geeks with Charvels”
    Flaming Lips: Telepathic Surgery “”Hell’s Angel’s Cracker Factory”
    NIN: Broken “Physical” & “Suck”
    Beck: Mellow Gold “Analog Oydessy”
    Beck Odelay “Computer Rock”
    Pearl Jam: Ten “Master/Slave”


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