Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Her Majesty"

"Her Majesty" is a song written by Paul McCartney (although credited to Lennon/McCartney) that appears on The Beatles' album Abbey Road. "Her Majesty" is the final track of the album and appears fourteen seconds after the song "The End", but was not listed on the original sleeve. As such, it is considered one of the first examples of a hidden track in rock music.


The song was recorded in three takes on 2 July 1969, prior to The Beatles beginning work on Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight. McCartney sang and simultaneously played an acoustic guitar accompaniment. The decision to exclude it from the Abbey Road medley was made on 30 July.

Structure and placement

The song was originally placed between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam"; McCartney decided that the sequence did not work and the song was edited out of the medley by Abbey Road Studios tape operator John Kurlander. He was instructed by McCartney to destroy the tape, but EMI policy stated that no Beatles recording was ever to be deleted. The fourteen seconds of silence between "The End" and "Her Majesty" are the result of Kurlander’s lead out tape added to separate the song from the rest of the recording.

The loud chord that occurs at the beginning of the song is the ending, as recorded, of "Mean Mr. Mustard." "Her Majesty" ends abruptly because its own final note was left at the beginning of "Polythene Pam". Paul applauded Kurlander's "surprise effect" and the track became the unintended closer to the LP. The crudely-edited beginning and end of "Her Majesty" shows that it was not meant to be included in the final mix of the album; as McCartney says in The Beatles Anthology, "Typical Beatles - an accident." Consequently, both of the original sides of vinyl closed with a song that ended very abruptly (the other being "I Want You (She's So Heavy)").

The CD version also mimics the original LP version in that the CD contains a 14-second long silence immediately after "The End" before "Her Majesty" starts playing. However, if the song is jumped to from another song on the CD or played on a CD player or MP3 player in shuffle play, the song starts immediately.

At 23 seconds long, "Her Majesty" is the shortest song in the Beatles repertoire. The song was not listed on the original vinyl record's sleeve as the sleeves had already been printed; subsequent pressings and the CD edition correct this. The song starts panned hard right and slowly pans to hard left.

Cover versions

The song has been covered by:

* Chumbawamba (with a length of 1:48, including new lyrics critical of the Queen and a new bridge)

* Peter Combe (with a length of 2:19)

* Tok Tok Tok (with a length of 0:22)

* Dave Matthews (with a length of 0:29 including the recital of several lines from Come Together)

* Eddie Vedder performed the song live on April 10, 2008 at Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, CA, and on April 16, 2008 at Spreckels Theater in San Diego, California.

* Paul McCartney performed the song live from Buckingham Palace Gardens in 2002, as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

Album: Abbey Road
Released: 26 September 1969
Recorded: 2 July 1969
Genre: Folk
Length: 0:23
Label: Apple Records
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


1 comment:

Chynna said...

VERY cool! I never knew any of this about Her Majesty! I actually wondered why it started/ended so abruptly and why it started so long after the last song.

Thanks for the background info. =)