Hidden track: Wikis


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In the field of recorded music, a hidden track (sometimes secret track or ghost track) is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener. In some cases, the piece of music may simply have been left off the track listing, while in other cases more elaborate methods are used. In some rare cases a "hidden track" is actually the result of an error that occurred during the mastering stage of the record's production.



On unindexed media such as vinyl records, hidden tracks are generally additional tracks omitted from the liner notes. "Train in Vain" on The Clash's London Calling is technically a hidden track because it does not appear on the track listing, although it was not intended to be such (see also Reasoning).[1][2][3] Alternately, a vinyl record may be double-grooved, with the second groove containing the hidden tracks. Notable examples of double-grooving are Monty Python's infamous "three-sided" Matching Tie and Handkerchief, Tool's Opiate EP[4] and Mr. Bungle's Disco Volante.

On indexed media such as compact discs, double-grooving cannot be used, but there are additional methods of hiding tracks, such as:

  • Placing the song after another track (usually, but not necessarily, the last track on the album), following a long period of silence. For example, Nirvana's song "Endless, Nameless," was included as a hidden track in this way on their 1991 CD Nevermind, after 10 minutes of complete silence.[5][6] Although it was not the first hidden track to use this technique, this hidden song gained significant attention.[2] This is the most common method used of placing a hidden track on a CD. However, sometimes a hidden track will feature as part of another track in the middle of an album, as is the case with the song "Affliction" from AFI's album DECEMBERUNDERGROUND. Another example is "Better Man" by British rock band Oasis. The song lasts for roughly 5 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of complete silence, then a hidden instrumental called "The Cage."
  • Placing the song in the pregap of the first indexed track, so that the CD must first be cued to the track, and then manually back-scanned; these are usually referred to as "Track 0."[7](known as Hidden Track One Audio, HTOA) The "downside" of this method is that the CD player will not play these tracks without manual intervention and some models (including computers) are unable to read this content. See Albums with songs hidden in the pregap.
  • Using many short tracks of silence.[7] On Danzig's album, Danzig 4, after the twelfth song, there are numerous blank tracks, until reaching the 66th track, the monotone chant, "Invocation,"[8] or on Bowling for Soup's Drunk Enough to Dance, Track 28, "Belgium."[9] This technique is also used in Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar with track 99 playing a hidden song. HIM's debut album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 takes Danzig's technique one step further; not only is track 66 a hidden track, the total time of the entire album is 66 minutes and 6 seconds (66:06). Tool's album Undertow has a hidden song on track 69. Overkill's album W.F.O. has a hidden song on track 98, which is actually a medley between Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" and Judas Priest's "The Ripper" played by Overkill in a rehearsal. Coheed and Cambria's album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 uses this method. After eleven blank tracks ("A Lot of Nothing" 1-11), the hidden song "21:13" plays on track 23.
  • Making the track playable only through a computer. An example would be Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals.

Often it is unclear whether a piece of music should be considered a hidden track. For example, "Her Majesty," which is preceded by fourteen seconds of silence, was originally unlisted on The Beatles' Abbey Road but is listed on current versions of the album.[10] This is allegedly the first instance of a hidden track (except that The Beatles has a hidden track after "Cry Baby Cry," referred to only as "Can You Take Me Back" (see "Cry Baby Cry" for more). The song snippet at the end of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is considered by some to be a hidden track, by others to be noise not worthy of such a designation, and by others to be part of "A Day in the Life."[11]


Most bands that decide to include a hidden track do so simply to surprise their fans. Sometimes, the tracks are hidden for specific reasons:

  • In some rare cases, it is used to put forbidden (by law) songs on live discs. An example is Ramones' Loco Live American version, which has the song "Carbona Not Glue" hidden after "Pet Sematary" on track 17. It was originally recorded on their album Leave Home, but the makers of the spot remover Carbona, a registered trademark, objected. Therefore reference to the song was removed from the album and cover.[12]
  • "Train in Vain" by The Clash, which appears at the end of London Calling, was left out of the vinyl's track listing simply because it was a last-minute addition to the album, when the sleeves were already printed. It is thus not a real hidden track. It was originally intended as a promotional giveaway for NME. The later CD versions list the track on the sleeve.[3]
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Bite Me" was put on after ten minutes of silence to scare listeners who had forgotten to turn off the CD player.[13]


Sometimes hidden tracks have become quite popular and received heavy radio airplay, and occasionally climbed the charts.

  • The Beatles' track "Her Majesty" off their 1969 album Abbey Road is considered the first hidden track in recording history. The original pressings of Abbey Road did not list "Her Majesty" on the back cover song title listing, nor the record label; subsequent LP pressings and then CD issues were issued revealing the track. However, two years prior, in 1967, on the UK version of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, there was the now-famous "inner groove" that appeared after "A Day in the Life" at the end of side 2. While not ever being specified as a track or piece with any title, it is an unexpected, untitled, and uncredited Beatles recording - so this might be deemed a pre-cursor to the hidden track.
  • Janet Jackson's track Whoops Now, a hidden track of her album janet., was released as a single and reached #9 in UK Singles Charts and #1 in New Zealand Singles Chart.
  • The Eels album Daisies of the Galaxy contains a hidden track, "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues", which was released as a single and not featured on the sleeve notes though it was "radio-popular".[14] The song was, in fact, released as the first single from the album and peaked at #11 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • Counting Crows' hidden cover of "Big Yellow Taxi" on Hard Candy.[15]
  • Cracker's "Eurotrash Girl", an original, was one of their biggest radio hits despite being a hidden track on Kerosene Hat.[16]
  • "Skin (Sarabeth)" by Rascal Flatts, a hidden track from their 2004 album Feels Like Today, received enough airplay to chart in the Top 40 on the country charts. By mid-2005, the album was re-issued with the song officially listed as a track, coinciding with the song's release as a single.[17]
  • Of the two hidden tracks on Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, one of them, the cover of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" was nominated for a Grammy in 1999 in the category of "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance". It was the first time a hidden track was nominated for a Grammy.
  • The LP of The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief album had two grooves on one side, making it a three-sided record. This more-or-less randomly hid one half or the other of the content of side 2 when played. (Both physical sides of the record were also identically labeled as "Side 2", further pseudo-randomizing the playing process.)
  • KoЯn's 1998 album "Follow The Leader" contains 25 tracks, the first 12 of which are hidden tracks containing five seconds of silence each. This makes for a full minute of silence before the first track plays. Singer Jonathan Davis did not like the fact that the album would have ended on the thirteenth track (due to superstition), so they preferred to start that album on that track instead. The first track on the back of the album is listed as "13. It's On!", which implies that the CD begins at track 13.
  • Muse's Starlight DVD single features a hidden track. Although the song has not officially been given a title, it is most commonly referred to as "You Fucking Motherfucker", even by band members themselves. It is a short track which contains a lot of swearing. The track can be found on the DVD by going to title 4. The cowbell 'click-track' was left in this song and is clearly audible throughout.[18]
  • On The Mamma Mia Soundtrack, The song "Thank You For The Music" is not listed on the cover but is played at the end after the final song.
  • On the Leona Lewis album, Echo, 'Stone Hearts and Hand Grenades' begins halfway (at 7.05 minutes) through the duet with OneRepublic called 'Lost Then Found'.

See also


  1. ^ "Hidden Songs: The Clash, Train in Vain". http://www.hiddensongs.com/songs/londoncalling.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2002). The Music Lover's Guide to Record Collecting. Backbeat Books. pp. 50-51. ISBN 0879307137.  
  3. ^ a b "The Greatest Songs Ever! "Train in Vain (Stand by Me)"". http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?id=299. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  4. ^ "The Tool FAQ". http://toolshed.down.net/faq/faq.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  5. ^ Cross, Charles R.; Jim Berkenstadt (2004). Nevermind. Music Sales Group. pp. 103. ISBN 0825672864.  
  6. ^ "Endless, Nameless". http://www.livenirvana.com/songguide/body0ff0.html?songid=31. Retrieved 2007-03-08.  
  7. ^ a b Katz, Bob; Robert A. Katz (2002). Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science. Focal Press. pp. 93. ISBN 0240805453.  
  8. ^ "Hidden Songs: Danzig, Invocation". http://www.hiddensongs.com/songs/danzig4.html.  
  9. ^ "Hidden Songs: Bowling for Soup, Belgium (Acoustic)". http://www.hiddensongs.com/songs/drunkenough-belgium.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  10. ^ "Hidden Songs: The Beatles, Her Majesty". http://www.hiddensongs.com/songs/abbeyroad.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  11. ^ "Hidden Songs: The Beatles, Untitled". http://www.hiddensongs.com/songs/sgtpepper.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  13. ^ Midnight Star "Ask Al" Q&As for January/February, 1998
  14. ^ peter naldrett (March 2000). "The Most Beautiful of Freaks". music critic. http://www.music-critic.com/rock/eels_daisiesofgalaxy.htm. Retrieved 8 January 2009.  
  15. ^ Bliesener, Mark; Steve Knopper (2004). CIG to Starting a Band. Alpha Books. p. 107. ISBN 1592571816.  
  16. ^ ""Kerosene Hat" is hot". http://www.epinions.com/content_32102190724. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  17. ^ "Piano Sheet Music - Rascal Flatts - Skin". http://www.encoremusic.com/piano/1704836.html. Retrieved 2007-03-07.  
  18. ^ "Hidden track (song)". http://musewiki.org/Hidden_track_(song).  

External links

  • Hidden Songs A user submitted database of hidden song listings.

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