July 4, 2004

Side C

Laugh at it now if you already know what I'm on about. The fact is, that we all discover new details about something everyday! Even common things you may think you know everything about!

Here is what I discovered today:

Did you know that "hidden tracks" on a CD were pioneered over 100 years ago?

A very limited number of vinyl records were pressed with 2 spiral grooves instead of one like a normal LP. Depending on when you put the needle down, you'd get one of two recordings.

Monty Python was on par, albeit late in this game. The Matching Tie and Handkerchief LP from 1973 has sides 2&3 on the second side of the LP. Robert Fripp did it once with two different guitar solos and before more unreliable mental recollections, everything points back to 1898, where the genius of Emile Berliner obtained a patent for a disk whose single side contained three concentric sets of grooves.

From there, "Puzzle Records" stormed our record stores circa 1920. Jimmie Rodgers released various short versions (now knows as edits) of three songs within a record - and its known that either an avid Australian or NZ Collector has one of these old pressings.

Upon more digging, I learn that in 1932, records became interactive - by becoming active participants in guessing (see: drinking) games. Pick The Winner was a favourite!

So, these hidden tracks added so much value when you 'listened to a record' back in the 20's and as stated, through many decades. Most of us have tried playing a record backwards too to try and discover Satans messages in his "Rock" music (hahaha) and Nirvana had a track called "Endless, Nameless" which many regard as the 'song' that launched the trend of 'hidden tracks'.

These days, its more common to see a CD with a sticker on it which blatantly promotes it has a 'hidden track' on it. Same goes for DVD's with their 'cookies' or 'alternate endings'. It would be far better to just find these things out of the blue and create wildfire. It's certainly more urgent and exciting when you hear about these things by word of mouth!

Recently, I heard about having the 'hidden track' in-front of the first track. You'll have to start with track 1, then skip backward prior listen to the negative value of that track (-00:05, -00:04 - see..). Here's how to do it.

The good thing about this little trick, is that you really have to go looking for it. That information could be leaked six months after its release, as a rejuvenation tactic by the label, or a PR gag by the artist. Andy Kaufman probably made a hidden recording somewhere. Check it out.

The hidden track has now evolved to 'Internet Only' releases, through secret web addresses - which some can be only unlocked when you have an artists CD in your computers drive. Some CD's are also mixed media, so they may have audio for your CD player, a DVD with the video clip and bonus footage such as the 'making of..', plus pictures, games, themes and wallpapers for your PC.

I'd love to hear a CD with that "scuff scuff, click click" sound of the needle on
the runoff of & LP, at the end of a CD - say 30 seconds after the song finishes!

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