The switch from CDs to digital MP3s has changed the way we listen to music in many ways, but one of the things we miss most is the excitement of discovering a secret hidden song, unmarked on the track list! Just imagine kicking back and listening to the latest album from your favorite band, and right when you hit the end, ANOTHER song comes bursting out of the speakers like magic! It’s pretty potent stuff. We miss those days…it’s just not the same on our iPods! So today we pay tribute to a dozen of the greatest tunes that ever took our ears by surprise. Play it loud!
12. “Blow On A Jug” off Black Sabbath’s Sabotage (1975)
The always-vocal Ozzy Osbourne was quite annoyed when the jug playing band Mungo Jerry (of “In The Summer Time” fame) got a better reception than Free, Traffic and his own band at a 1970 music festival. “He was playing f—ing jugs and he stole the day,” he said years later.”So it just shows you it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks…after Mungo Jerry we didn’t have a hope. Blowing on f–ing jugs!” Apparently the indignation didn’t fade, because five years later he recorded this hilarious hidden cut mocking the jug band phenomenon.
11. “Her Majesty” off The Beatles’ Abbey Road (1969)
While assembling the long medley on the second side of the Beatles’ final (recorded) album, Paul McCartney initially intended this short ode to monarchy to be placed between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam.” But upon further listening, they scratched the idea and told tape operator John Kurlander to destroy the recording. But it was company policy to NEVER destroy any music made by the Fabs, so he stitched the fragment onto the end of the final lead-out tape, with 14-seconds of silence to separate it from the main session. It was promptly forgotten until the band discovered it while listening to the album’s finished mix. They liked the “surprise” effect of a song that pops out of nowhere (particularly with the jarring opening chord taken from the the final note of “Mean Mr. Mustard”) and decided to leave it in. The record jackets had already gone to print, which explains why it was originally left off the track list.
10. “Spiderman” off The Ramones’ Adios Amigos (1995)
The guys from Queens did a hard-rockin’ take on the Spiderman theme song for their aptly-named farewell album. For our money, it’s way better than Buble’s.
9. “Iron Gland” off Alice in Chains’ Dirt (1992)
Alice In Chains bucked the trend by putting their surprise track in between album cuts instead of at the very end. It’s a funny tribute to Black Sabbath’s immortal “Iron Man,” but it also gets in some sly references to Stanley Kubrick’s, The Shining.
8. “Diamond Bollocks” off Beck’s Mutations (1998)
Although it was originally intended for inclusion, Beck decided to stick it unlisted at the very end of the record to as a sort of gateway to his next work (which turned out to be Midnite Vultures). The man himself had this to say when discussing his hidden track on KCRW Radio: “We literally, in one night, recorded eight songs, then took the 24-track tapes and cut them all up on a tape and created this crazy song. It was more about the process than the actual song, but I ended up liking the song too. It’s like the wayward son at the Thanksgiving dinner who just doesn’t really fit in with the family anymore, is the black sheep. So you put him at the end of the table.”
7. “Master/Slave” off Pearl Jam’s Ten (1991)
Rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard doesn’t appear on this wordless track, which was centered primarily around Jeff Ament’s bassline and Eddie Vedder’s improvised tones. “I heard the bass line and then we kind of were collaborating on that in the control room,” producer Rick Parashar recalled for Guitar World in 2002. And then I just started programming on the keyboard all this stuff; he was jamming with it and it just kind of came about like that.”
6. “Big Yellow Taxi” off Counting Crows’ Hard Candy (2002)
The uber-radio friend version of Joni Mitchell’s classic was originally found several minutes after the closing track, “Holiday In Spain.” However, it was chosen for the Two Weeks Notice soundtrack, and had backing vocals from none other than Vanessa Carlton overdubbed.
5. “I’ll Be There For You” off The Rembrandts’ LP (1995)
Originally recorded as a separate single, this power pop anthem blasted off as the theme song to the mega-popular TV sitcom, Friends. It was a last minute addition to their full length record -so last minute that the album covers had already been printed without the track name included!
4. “Bitches Ain’t Sh-t” off Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992)
The good doc left this title off of The Chronic when it was first released. But by the time the song found mainstream success in the 21st century, he reinstated its track status on new editions.
3. “Endless, Nameless” off Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991)
Fans had to listen for more than 10 minutes before this track fall out of the speakers! The wild and crazy melange of sounds harkens back to their early material.
2. “Train In Vain” off The Clash’s London Calling (1979)
The band didn’t mean to leave this future smash off of their seminal London Calling double-album. Similar to the Rembrandts, the record sleeves had already gone to press by the time the tune was added as a late addition to the lineup. It went on to be the group’s first major chart success in America, and ranks at 298 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time list.
1. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” off Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
One or two hidden tracks on the stunning solo record, this version of the Frankie Valli classic was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1999. Not a bad fate for a secret song!