10 Mistakes Intentionally Left In Classic Recordings

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Ironically, as Stylus Magazine (http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/seconds/phil-milstein-louie.htm) points out, drummer Lynn Easton later stated in an interview that he screamed “fuck” after missing a beat at 0:54 on the record.

Another interesting mistake happens just after the lead guitar break. According to Wikipedia, “As the group was going by the Wailers version, which has a brief restatement of the riff two times over before the lead vocalist comes back in, it would be expected that Ely would do the same. Ely, however, overshot his mark, coming in too soon, before the restatement of the riff. He realized his mistake and stopped the verse short, but the band did not realize that he had done so. As a quick fix, drummer Lynn Easton covered the pause with a drum fill, but before the verse ended, the rest of the band went into the chorus at the point where they expected it to be. This error is now so embedded in the consciousness of some groups that they deliberately duplicate it when performing the song.”

Michael Duncan is an up-and-coming producer/engineer based in NYC. He’s assisted several notable producers, including Dan Romer, John Siket, Andrew Maury, Rick Kwan, Oliver Straus, Jon Kaplan, Jeremy Scott, and more. In addition to his studio accomplishments, Michael has years of experience in radio (Nights with Alice Cooper, HardDrive, Touchdown Radio) and runs a rock/metal website called Rock Edition (an affiliate of Substream Magazine) on the side.

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  • Peter Grant

    James blunt start singing the song”You’re beautiful” and then restarts. I know there are other popular artist that have done this too. Very obvious mistakes compared to these that stayed on the record.

  • musics


    Listen after the solo section as Sinatra flubs a line and they left it in…

  • Smokey1949

    “a 31-month investigation by the FBI? I did not know this. Growing up as a teenager in the sixties I, (as well as my friends), suspected dirty lyrics to this song, and would often sing it as we thought would be the lyrics, injecting our vulgarity into it. But nobody was ever sure that the song was laden with vulgarities or the singer just slurred his words. Listening to it again and again I still can’t make out what the lead singer is saying.

  • Cal

    My favorite story from Emerick’s Here There and Everywhere is from Hey Jude, verified by me. “Just after the start of the third verse, between the lines the minute you let her under your skin and then you begin listen with headphones to hear Paul yell fuckin’ hell! after hitting a clunker on the piano.” Thank John Lennon for insisting it be left in the mix, buried enough to barely be heard.

  • Firewaliker

    You forgot the mistake on Bonnie Raitt’s “You Can’t Make Me Love You”. When Mike Reid was transposing the track for the demo singer, he forgot to highlight the last chord. He kept it in.

  • Dave Grandel

    How about “Jumping Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones where somebody leaned on the reel to reel and caused a warble right at the beginning of the solo…? I thought I was hearing things first time I heard it !

  • Diego

    Seriously? Everywhere I go, no one mentions this one: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. You can hear in the background, at approximately 2:51, “chord” and a moment later “fucking hell!”

  • macsnafu

    The title says 10 mistakes intentionally left in, but while a few entries explain why they were left in, I’m still puzzled why they didn’t fix the mistake in The Who’s Eminence Front.

    Another song I’ve always wondered about is Chicago’s Wishing You Were Here. At one point, a piano riff is picking up between sections, and the piano note warbles. Since pianos can’t do that, I’m guessing it’s some kind of tape issue after recording, maybe during mixdown.