The Beatles FAQ

Fun stuff about the Fab Four. Linked to The Beatles Teaching Pack

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The shortest Beatle' song?

Her Majesty is only 23 seconds long. It is unlisted on the original vinyl LP of Abbey Road and forms a surprise ending 14 seconds after end of Side 2. This makes it one the first 'hidden tracks'.

Why so short?

Ian Macdonald describes it as a 'party piece' that McCartney was unsure how to use. Arriving early at the studio after a break in July 1968 he recorded it in three takes. He then experimented with inserting in the Long Medley (between  Mean Mr Mustard and Poythene Pam but didn't like the result. 

'Take it out,' he told engineer, John Kurlander. 'It doesn't work.'

Happy accident

Thankfully, all Abbey Road engineers had been instructed to never discard anything recorded by EMI's goldmine. So Kurlander added the discarded song to the end of the master tape: inserting fourteen seconds of the lead-out tape which creates silence between "The End" and "Her Majesty".

The next day Paul was listening to the playback - and with the tacked-on Her Majesty. 'Now that works!' he said. 

Her Majesty now has a track listing and officially ends Abbey Road. It is a fittingly innovative way to close The Beatles recording career. 

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