Yeah theres this song called yellow submarine and they left ringo's singing on it!!11 lol
April 26, 2006 8:57 PM   Subscribe

Songs with mistakes/bloopers left in?

I can think of a couple of well-known examples of songs where the singer sniggers and almost flubs his line, but it's made the final edit: Macca on the word 'writing' in Maxwell's Silver Hammer, and Michael Stipe coming into the penultimate chorus of The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite.

Can the hive mind think of any other examples where a singer or musician blundered and it got left in?
posted by RokkitNite to Media & Arts (110 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
ben lee's cover of float on stops in the middle and he starts the band up again with a quick count.
posted by gac at 9:04 PM on April 26, 2006

Bob Dylan's 115th Dream.
posted by gubo at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2006

Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells A Story". You can hear a false start on the vocal.

Shut up. Some of his old stuff was good. I've had the record since junior high.
posted by Savannah at 9:13 PM on April 26, 2006

Mamas & The Papas - I Saw Her Again
Todd (is God) Rundgren - Hello It's Me
Kingsmen - Louie Louie
posted by DandyRandy at 9:15 PM on April 26, 2006

Revolution #1 ("ah, take two"). For that matter, here's an exhaustive list of Beatles flubs.

As much as I love Bob Dylan's "Hurricane," it's obvious that he and his backup singers don't agree about the words (listen to it from 3:55 in). Actually, Bob's got a lot of sloppy music like that, though I love it anyway. And I can't blame him for it on this one; I don't know how many takes I'd want to do of an eight-and-a-half minute song.
posted by Tuwa at 9:16 PM on April 26, 2006

A famous one, and my favorite: the Clash's version of Armagideon Time- at 2:58 Kosmo Vinyl calls out from the booth "ok, time's up, let's have you out of there" and Joe replies "OK OK! Don't push us when we're hot!"
posted by jessenoonan at 9:17 PM on April 26, 2006

In REM's "sidewinder sleeps tonight" stipe messes up the words and then laughs and they keep it in because it works.
posted by visual mechanic at 9:19 PM on April 26, 2006

The Bright Eyes song False Advertising has what seems to be a contrived mistake. The line before the screwup is: "All anyone's listening for are the mistakes."
posted by Aghast. at 9:20 PM on April 26, 2006

oh darn I'm sorry. that was, uh, in the question itself.
posted by visual mechanic at 9:20 PM on April 26, 2006

Pink leaves in little bits and flubs at the end of and in between songs, especially on the album M!ssundaztood.
posted by frogan at 9:23 PM on April 26, 2006

Ben Folds Five, "Steven's Last Night In Town", on Whatever and Ever Amen. At 2:54, precisely during a brief silence, a phone rings and someone laughs.
posted by emelenjr at 9:26 PM on April 26, 2006

"I lost my baby" by Jean Leloup has a really cute one. One of the backup singers starts in on the chorus a verse too early, realizes she's all alone, and laughs after saying "oops".
posted by ODiV at 9:28 PM on April 26, 2006

In Ella Fitzgerald's Mac the Knife, she totally forgets the words, but still pulls off a great song.
posted by gramcracker at 9:41 PM on April 26, 2006

Motörhead - Bite The Bullet (Flubbed intro, some cussing)
The Moldy Peaches - Nothing Came Out (Phone rings for what feels like ten minutes in a three minute song, singers almost start laughing)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 PM on April 26, 2006

Ella's Mack the Knife, mentioned earlier. Awesome.

A buddy of mine point out a guitar 'thing' on Plush by the Stone Temple Pilots. One of the refrains features a 'squawk' if you listen for it. I don't recall what that mistake is called, but I hear it whenever I hear that song. Thanks, Jake!
posted by unixrat at 9:50 PM on April 26, 2006

At the start of Greenday- Time of your life
Its pretty lame but its all I can think of..
posted by phyle at 9:52 PM on April 26, 2006

While I'm thinking about it, on the Original Cast recordings of West Side Story there's a number of small errors - finger snaps are off, syncopation falls apart, etc.
posted by unixrat at 9:52 PM on April 26, 2006

There's one in the Bens EP, but I can't recall the name of the song off the top of my head. Ben Folds/Five also does this a lot on their calls, laughter, etc.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:00 PM on April 26, 2006

Pretty much every track on the Destroyer album This Night, which was done with almost no rehearsal.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:00 PM on April 26, 2006

Radiohead's "Creep" has that twitchy guitar that leads into the chorus; I heard (but cannot find evidence online) that it was a nervous tic on Jonny Greenwood's part that they left in. However, Wikipedia claims that Greenwood simply didn't like the slow pace of the song and that was his little rebellion.
posted by Skot at 10:03 PM on April 26, 2006

Bobby Conn's clean version of "Never Get Ahead", recorded for Chic-a-go-go. I mentioned in the Chic-a-go-go thread. He even says "Sorry!" It's available on the Chic-a-go-go soundtrack, or my link has the video.

Beck's "High 5 (Rock the Catskills)" has a sample of an MC cussing out his DJ for playing the wrong record. Dunno who it is, though.

Yo La Tengo Daniel Johnston's "Speeding Motorcycle" has a false start.

Elis Regina and Tom Jobim - "Águas de Março". She cracks up at the end of the song. Here's a video. (I like how she's smoking during the session.)

In Wayne Shorter's "Dindi", vocalist Maria Booker breaks down in tears in the middle of the song, and the cruel bastards left it in.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:15 PM on April 26, 2006

The original recording of John Coltrane's Giant Steps has a pretty badly flubbed solo by the pianist, Tommy Flanagan. It's a very difficult piece and it was the first time Flanagan had seen the charts. There were other takes but Coltrane is at his best on that one so that's the one that was put onto record.
posted by TimeFactor at 10:17 PM on April 26, 2006

Black Country Woman by Led Zep:

'(Studio Chatter: "Shall we roll it, Jimmy?"
("We're rolling on, what, one?")
("No, one again?")
(- Airplane heard flying overhead - "Got to get this airplane off.")
("Naw, leave it, yeah.)" '

Or Jimmy might actually be saying: " Nah, leave the jet."

And at the end of Sublime's what I got: "Turn off that that's..see we're done man."

Both of these are actually production flubs with the musician deciding to keep it on tape. There are so many, but those were the first two I thought of. There's a live Morcheeba song where the guitarist hits a very loud bum note and the singer can't stop snickering for the rest of the song, but that was a bootleg not an official recording.
posted by Devils Slide at 10:18 PM on April 26, 2006

Pretty much all great live music that hasn't been ground down to "you must not deviate from the script".

Someone (please tell me who) said something like "if you play a wrong note in a jazz improv then you have made a mistake. If you repeat that error and phrase and then figure out how to resolve it then you have created jazz".
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:18 PM on April 26, 2006

The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" on the track "Here Today" — you can hear Bruce chatting in the studio, and Brian talking to the engineer, during the bridge.
posted by Charlie Bucket at 10:24 PM on April 26, 2006

I believe the second story about Creep is correct - that it was Jonny Greenwood's protest about being forced to play a song he didn't like.

The second song on Tigermilk by Belle and Sebastian - Expectations - has the sound of Stuart Murdoch zipping up his jumper right at the beginning.
posted by greycap at 10:35 PM on April 26, 2006

Elvis Costello's "Running Out Of Angels," a b side from the This Year's Model sessions (and found on the Rhino release) has him stopping right as he's about to get through the first verse, and then he goes back and starts the song from the beginning.
posted by incessant at 10:43 PM on April 26, 2006

There is a drum part in the middle of "The Good Life" by Weezer that is said to be a mess-up.
posted by radioamy at 10:52 PM on April 26, 2006

Biz Markie covers Elton John's "Rocket Man" and does a hilarious mush-mouth mumbling of nearly the entire song.

On the album Rising Sons, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal have to start over about 30 seconds into the track "Walkin' Down the Line".
posted by soiled cowboy at 10:52 PM on April 26, 2006

On REM's "Whats the Frequency, Kenneth," supposedly near the end of the song the drummer goes out of time and slows down because he was having some sort of conniption (for which they had to take him to the hospital immediately after the recording). They left it in cuz it 'worked'.
posted by jak68 at 10:55 PM on April 26, 2006

I often hear a violinist breathing on high-end recordings of classical solos. I guess they leave it in to be authentic, but when I listen to them on audiophile quality stuff, I can't hear anything but the breathing in and out during pauses. It drives me crazy sometimes.
posted by mathowie at 10:57 PM on April 26, 2006

In the song "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees, the lead singer (Davy Jones?) asks,
"What number is this, Jim?"
and two guys respond "7 A"
and he says, "okay, no need to get excited about it, man, it's cuz I'm short, I know." (or something)
and it goes right into the song.
posted by shokod at 10:58 PM on April 26, 2006

Err...that should have been Yo La Tengo covering Daniel Johnston's "Speeding Motorcycle".

Of course, the majority of Daniel Johnston's self-recorded output has the flubs left in. Hi, How Are You has random speed changes from a broken tape deck.

Sonic Youth's covered the Fall on the 4 Tunna Brix EP. On "Victoria" (which was the Fall covering the Kinks) the vocals are sung as a sloppy chorus. They sound completely out of their heads, and it's a total blast.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:01 PM on April 26, 2006

"Moving to Florida", by the Butthole Surfers (either the studio version on Rembrandt Pussyhorse or the live track on The Hole Truth...and Nothing Butt ). Or "Barking Dogs" on Pioughd. Hell, any BS music before Independent Worm Saloon probably qualifies.
posted by dbiedny at 11:02 PM on April 26, 2006

James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" seems to start with a flub. He sings "My life is brilliant..." a measure too early, it seems. Not sure if this is intentional, but it sure sounds like he jumped the gun but they left it in.
posted by The Deej at 11:06 PM on April 26, 2006

Then, of course, there's the collected works of Kenny G.
posted by dbiedny at 11:09 PM on April 26, 2006

I'm not sure a lot of these are actual flubs and mistakes. I bet lots of them were painstakingly added after the fact for that extra air of whackiness.

My contribution -- Dylan, again, "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts". After the intro when they're supposed to stay on D for a couple of bars, the organ player goes to G for the second bar then quickly back again.

Dylan could probably furnish you with a hundred examples though. According to a biography, he's recorded and mixed whole albums in six hours, the kind of time most bands would take fiddling with the snare drum to get the sound just right.

There's one song, the name escapes me, where the drummer comes in on the second verse. That's because he was still setting up during the first verse.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:15 PM on April 26, 2006

Wasn't there an entire Billy Joel album that was recorded and released at the wrong speed, so his voice had a higher pitch?
posted by pgoes at 11:16 PM on April 26, 2006

I've always thought Mick sounds like he's belching the start of "Ruby Tuesday." Y'know: "She would never [frog croak] say..."

Then there's that notorious squeaking drum pedal on Mott the Hoople's Mad Shadows, where once someone points it out to you, ouch.
posted by Scram at 11:40 PM on April 26, 2006

Possibly apocryphal, but the song "Dare" by the Gorillaz was originally intended to be called "It's There". However they were unable to get Shuan Ryder to sing the chorus intelligibly, leading to the change of the name.
posted by arha at 12:12 AM on April 27, 2006

The Ben Folds EP thing:

Ben was recording the vocals for "Dog" and forgot to turn off his cell phone. It rang, and he looked at the caller ID to see that it was his wife, Frally. He knew that if he picked it up and answered strangely, he'd get something funny out of her.


Ben: "You there?"

Frally: "Yeah."

Ben: "Whatcha doin'?"

Frally: "You didn't even say hello."

Ben: "Hello."

Frally: "Is[n't] that normally how you answer your phone?"

Ben: "Well, there are a lot of ways to answer the phone. You could say--"

Frally: "You didn't know, you just picked it up and didn't say anything--[you] went, 'You there?'"

Ben: "I'm sorry." [stifled laughter]

Frally: "What are you doing?"

Ben: "Makin' a record."


Frally: "You're a kumquat."

Ben: "We're doin' a vocal track. You're--you're--you're all over it, now."

Frally: "OH, great."

posted by secret about box at 12:23 AM on April 27, 2006

Stevie Wonder, in Joy Inside My Tears:
I feel that lasting moments are coming far and few between.
Should be few and far between. /Grammar Nazi

What gramcracker said: Ella's improvised Mack the Knife is a classic.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:24 AM on April 27, 2006

Quite a few tracks of Roy Harper's shambolically great Flat Baroque and Berserk has them stoned and laughing with background noise and people talking.
posted by tellurian at 12:38 AM on April 27, 2006

one of my faves is Beastie Boys - No sleep til brooklyn - you can hear MCA shouting "why d'ya always cut my rhyme?!" at the end of one of his parts. It fits with the song.
posted by triv at 12:55 AM on April 27, 2006

jak68, are you sure you aren't thinking of REM drummer Bill Berry's brain aneurysm on stage in 1995? Sounds like it's been transposed into some kind of story of it happening during recording. There's no flub in the song's drumming.
posted by incessant at 1:00 AM on April 27, 2006

I'm not sure if this is deliberate or accidental, but at the end of Darren Hayes's "Dirty", he grunts and goans for a bit before suddenly stopping (presumably seeing the "O_O" faces on everyone in the studio), says "Oops, sorry", and laughs.
posted by divabat at 1:20 AM on April 27, 2006

Pretty much every song ever recorded could have had errors left in the final product, because there are always errors made and recorded. Of the errors that were released, most were intentionally and unnecessarily released -- an error introduces surprise into otherwise unsurprising songs and lets the performers seem fun, informal, spontaneous.

The most interesting errors are the ones that appear to have made it through the recording process despite the efforts and intentions of the performers and producers, not a phone call intentionally added to the final mix when it could have been edited out, but a ringing phone that no one notices until after the thing is released. Errors they knew about but couldn't avoid (a flubbed note in a live performance, for example) are also fairly interesting. But "errors" mixed in intentionally for a certain effect (when they could as easily have used a clean cut) aren't really errors at all.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 AM on April 27, 2006

if you listen real close to "louie louie" by the kingsmen, at one point, you'll hear the drummer drop one of his sticks and say "fuck"

on "heartbreaker" by led zeppelin, at the end of jimmy page's solo guitar break, his cord shorts out ... i think recent cds may have fixed this somehow, but it's on the vinyl

on quite a few songs on neil young's "tonight's the night", especially "tired eyes" and "mellow my mind", you can just tell neil, and a good part of the band, is totally smashed ... on "mellow" he not only completely loses his voice but bumps his head into the mike

to my ears, on emerson lake and palmer's "karn evil 9, impression 1, part 2", the end of the break where greg lake is singing over the drums is very sloppily edited, with the band coming back in off time ... considering how ultra produced this was, it's surprising they didn't fix that
posted by pyramid termite at 1:34 AM on April 27, 2006

I was coming to say the Jamie Blunt one - he, in fact, comes in four measures (bars) too early...

No-one's mentioned U2 "Vertigo" and Bono's "Uno, dos, tres, catorce", which he's admitted was a flub and not some clever nod towards Steve Lillywhite...
posted by benzo8 at 1:41 AM on April 27, 2006

"Polly" by Nirvana.

He comes in too early with "Polly said..." on the second (I think) verse.
posted by ed\26h at 2:02 AM on April 27, 2006

Elvis Presley's 1969 recording of Are you Lonesome Tonight?

"Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?" becomes "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?" and his infectious laughter transforms the whole song. I'm no Elvis fan but I love hearing it, must try and find a copy.
posted by ceri richard at 2:05 AM on April 27, 2006

Ah well, if we're allowing things like that:

Freddie Mercury at the end of "One Vision" sings "Gimme, gimme, gimme - Fried Chicken!" at the end of a late-night recording session - he then refused to change it, insisting they'd done enough for the night and he was hungry.
posted by benzo8 at 2:15 AM on April 27, 2006

Two more from Mr. Zimmerman;

1. I can't be sure it's a mistake, but it's always sounded to me like a screwup. In "Shelter From The Storm," I think the stanza is supposed to go:

I bargained for salvation an' they give me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence, got repaid with scorn...

At any rate, that's the way it appears on one of his live albums, Hard Rain. But in the first released version (Blood On The Tracks), Bob gets a little too enthusiastic and tries to offer one line too early.

I offered for salvation an' they give me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence, got repaid with scorn...

No lyricist worth his salt would intentionally use a key word twice in two lines. Not unless he could milk some sort of twist or wordplay out of it and that clearly isn't happening here. And besides, you can kind of hear it in Bob's voice; he catches himself a little too late and then hurries to recover.

He repeats the error on the live Budokan album, but by that time, I'm guessing, the mistake had been made canon.

Similarly, Bob got tangled up in words while recording "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again." In the fourth verse...

When he built a fire on Main Street.

... gets turned into something like...

When I s- 'e built a fire on Main Street.

Oh, and there's a song on Cracker's self-titled album called "Someday;" at the end, one of the band members says to another something to the effect that his wrist watch can be heard ticking throughout the recording.
posted by Clay201 at 2:30 AM on April 27, 2006

Presidents of the USA - "We're Not Going To Make It"... first of all something goes wrong with the rhythm as they start up, and someone calls "Do it again, do it again". Later on the lead singer gets the lyrics wrong ("Singers who can drum" instead of "Drummers who can drum" presumably) - the rest of the band sings up for the next line: "And singers who can sing".

Pretty funny, and I can't imagine that it was deliberate - although it does fit in suspiciously well with the spirit of the some...
posted by Chunder at 2:43 AM on April 27, 2006

"Dog Bite" by the Dead Kennedys, on the 'In God We Trust Inc.' EP -- the song starts, collapses after two seconds, then a quick one-two-three-four and it restarts at an even faster tempo.
posted by macdara at 3:01 AM on April 27, 2006

Not a blunder as such, but : on one track (the exact one escapes me at the moment - Mr. Kingdom?) of ELO's "Eldorado", the hired orchestra can be heard slamming their cases and leaving.

Supposedly this was the reason for ELO recording all subsequent albums in Germany - the musicians there were much more enthusiastic than their unionised British equivalents, and less inclined to walk out mid-session.
posted by Pinback at 3:20 AM on April 27, 2006

In the Paul Simon song "Everything put together falls apart" (from his first solo album) you can hear Paul move away from the microphone and quickly scratch his beard.
posted by Ljubljana at 3:57 AM on April 27, 2006

Not sure about that Billy Joel pitch comment, but I recall hearing that there's an error in his "You're Only Human" that he decided to keep in because it was thematically sound. I've never known if it's that "S'POSEDTA" moment or something else.
posted by kimota at 4:22 AM on April 27, 2006

At the beginning of Fugazi's "Break" you can hear Ian make a false start and catch himself.

Also, at the end of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying" somebody coughs in the studio, which leads to Robert Plant singing the word 'cough', followed by some studio chatter.
posted by saladin at 4:38 AM on April 27, 2006

At the end of "Happy Jack" by The Who, Pete Townshend calls out "I saw ya!" at Keith Moon who was messing around. This is more studio banter than a mistake, per se.
posted by Keane at 4:42 AM on April 27, 2006

A number of Syd Barrett's solo songs have false starts, flubbed lyrics, crinkling of lyric sheets, etc. "If It's In You" is particularly shambolic.
posted by ROTFL at 4:45 AM on April 27, 2006

I can't believe no one is yet to mention "Hey Jude".

At about 2 minutes and 50 seconds into the song, you can hear John(?) saying "Wrong chord, f***ing hell."

Classic Beatles.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 5:03 AM on April 27, 2006

Jack and Diane by John whateveryouthinkhislastnameis Cougar Mellencamp. Not exactly a mistake, but the hand clapping wasn't originally supposed to be part of the song, it was just to mark time because there were not drums. But they all liked it and the clapping stayed.
posted by bilabial at 5:06 AM on April 27, 2006

Tuwa linked to the Bealtes anomalies site, but it doesn't include Paul's famous slip in Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. The last verse goes:

Happy ever after in the marketplace,
Desmond lets the children lend a hand.
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she's still singing with the band.

But in the repeat he swapped them round by mistake:

Happy ever after in the marketplace
Molly lets the children lend a hand.
Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
And in the evening she's a singer with the band.

posted by chrismear at 5:15 AM on April 27, 2006

Yeah, I think that the drums in What's the Frequency, Kenneth? are perfectly fine. However, near the very end of the song as the chorus repeats, Stipe subs in the line, "I never understood....don't fuck with me, uh-huh..." which as far as I know has never been edited out on mainstream radio play. You just have to be listening for it to notice.

REM has an entire album of B-sides and shamblicious tracks called Dead Letter Office, which includes gems like a drunken rendition of King of the Road in which Stipe makes up most of the lyrics and Berry, Buck & Mills can't keep time or stay in sync. And sort of works.
posted by junkbox at 5:55 AM on April 27, 2006

posted by Who_Am_I at 6:13 AM on April 27, 2006

Billy Joel's Cold Spring Harbor is the album that was released at the wrong speed. It was his first album for a shyster of a record label. The label knew about the error but shipped the albums anyway. It wasn't until years later that Joel's new record label bought the original masters and rights to that album and released it at its intended speed. If you see the CD for sale today, it's a corrected version of the original album.

As for the error in "You're Only Human", supposedly Joel flubbed a lyric which is why he laughs a few lines later in the song. It was left in because it worked.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:16 AM on April 27, 2006

U2 - "All I want is You" (Rattle and Hum) - Adam Clayton flubs the bass line about 2/3 of the way thru.

The Smiths - "With a Rush..." (Strangeways, Here We Come) Morrissey starts taliking with Stephen Street after the evocal ends but before the song finishes.
posted by SpacemanRed at 6:20 AM on April 27, 2006

Much as I would love the word "evocal" to mean something... I meant "vocal"...
posted by SpacemanRed at 6:21 AM on April 27, 2006

Three tracks on Side A of Kind of Blue were recorded at the wrong speed.

" It was discovered a few years ago that the three tunes on side A are all at the wrong pitch (too fast) - the result of one of the original session tape machines running approximately 1 1/4% (about an eighth of a tone) too slow during the recording session. The correct pitch was determined by comparing the 3 track with a DAT taken from the unedited session reels from the backup tape machine running during the sessions. We slowed down the mastering tape machine until the 3 track matched the DAT. When you hear the tunes at the correct speed the "feel" of the tunes is changed - a bit more laid back than we have always known them."
posted by grabbingsand at 6:42 AM on April 27, 2006

The first version of the theme to Buffy was off on timing, as it was recorded hastily. Wow, I'm a dork.
posted by desuetude at 6:42 AM on April 27, 2006

another good Elvis Presley flub track is the version of Pocket Full of Rainbows on the Jerry Maguire Soundtrack.

Elvis dives right into the vocal, flubs a line about 20 seconds in, and then has a good chuckle about it with his producer (who's obviously getting tired of Elvis' antics.) The song is pretty great too, and the flub is very charming.
posted by carsonb at 6:44 AM on April 27, 2006

In "It Falls Apart" by the Odds (all you Beatles fans, go track down this song) there's a huge guitar feedback squeal in the middle of the second chorus. It's obviously an accident, and really jarring the first time it's heard, but like others mentioned before it "works" and gives a recorded-live feel to the song.
posted by werty at 6:45 AM on April 27, 2006

In Wilco's "ELT" from Summerteeth, listen closely to the vocals in the chorus. On one track, Tweedy's saying "every little thing is gonna tear you apart." Another, running at the same time, has him saying "every little thing just tears you apart."

Also, does the Edge's god-awful guitar solo on the Under a Blood Red Sky version of "Party Girl" count as a left-in flub?
posted by COBRA! at 7:07 AM on April 27, 2006

I have an alternate version of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" where the bass player forgets the song. During the bass solo.

I think the "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" switch is intentional, since they also played with gender roles on "Polythene Pam."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:30 AM on April 27, 2006

The piano player fumbles a chord right at the beginning of War's "Why Can't We Be Friends".

There's a Beatles song where Paul's voice breaks as he reaches to the top of his range for a note, maybe "For No One"?
posted by chazlarson at 7:34 AM on April 27, 2006

Kate Bush sang the digits of pi, but got them wrong.
posted by mendel at 7:38 AM on April 27, 2006

Many, many Led Zeppelin songs have background noises (telephones ringing!) and squeaky drum pedals. Read them here.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:41 AM on April 27, 2006

There's a song on Metalllica's Kill 'em All album where at the end someone, probably Lars, says "fucked up in one place" but I have yet to figure out where he fucked up, if they even left it in.
posted by bondcliff at 7:51 AM on April 27, 2006

On Whiskeytown's Pneumonia, "Bar Lights" completely collapses when the ever-lovable Ryan Adams forgets a line and then breaks a string.
posted by boombot at 8:08 AM on April 27, 2006

I believe it's at the 2:42 mark of "Helter Skelter" that you hear John Lennon flub a vocal line and scream "fuckin' hell!" in the background.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:21 AM on April 27, 2006

What about the Sex Pistols, "Johnny B. Goode/Roadrunner?" John Lydon doesn't know any of the lyrics to either song, and they only switch to "Roadrunner" because he has a tantrum and insists that "Johnny B. Goode" is "fuckin' awful."

Of course, Malcolm McLaren probably claims he directed all that.
posted by sbrollins at 8:25 AM on April 27, 2006

Did The Beach Boys mean to mess up the words in the second verse of Barbara Ann? I've always liked the sound of genuine fuck-up laughter that results.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2006

On "The Bens" EP (Folds/Kweller/Lee), there's a false start on the song "Bruised" -- you can hear one of them count in, screw up, apologize, and count in again. At the end he says "An extended version! That's all right? How did that sound?" I think it's Ben Lee. You can then barely hear the other two Bens answer.

Ben Folds loves leaving those little studio things in the recordings though, he does it all the time.
posted by kindall at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2006

Oh yeah, the guys in Travis nearly lose it several times in their notorious cover of "...Baby One More Time." Because they're Travis, see, and they're singing a Britney Spears song, and, well, how can you not crack up if you're Travis singing a Britney Spears song?
posted by kindall at 9:09 AM on April 27, 2006

Not sure if it's a mistake, but in Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some!!!", Roth comes in a bit early with "I like..." and is immediately interrupted by a power chord. After waiting, he comes back correctly with "I like the way the line runs up the back of the stockings".

Jimi Hendrix was constantly messing up in his solos. It doesn't really matter because he was a genius at correcting his mistakes. Often he'll fall back on an open string. This is probably more true of his live sets than his recordings though.
posted by hellbient at 9:26 AM on April 27, 2006

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours Right at the very start you can hear, presumably, Lynsey Buckingham sighing "fuuuuuck". It's barely audible.

Jeff Buckley - Halleluiah Same deal - there's a small, agonised sigh right at the start.

I always think that both of them are "It's take 23 and we've run out of coke" related.
posted by Jofus at 10:12 AM on April 27, 2006

John Prine's Dear Abby
Near the end misses his mark
Waits for next cycle
posted by edgeways at 10:14 AM on April 27, 2006

I think the "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" switch is intentional

McCartney has said that it was a mistake that they left in because they liked it. So I guess its half-and-half.
posted by chrismear at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2006

How about Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" where he has a hard time getting the words out because he's laughing.
posted by clh at 11:20 AM on April 27, 2006

In New Order's "Every Little Counts", the lead singer starts laughing (apparently at the absurdity of the lyrics, "I think you are a pig, you should be in a zoo"), but then corrects himself and keeps going.

I vaguely recall a Bowie song in which this happens too, but I cannot recall the name.
posted by Durhey at 11:29 AM on April 27, 2006

Paul Westerberg's mono/stereo records (and I guess most of his other stuff) have several mess-ups on them. I particularly like how a couple of tracks end abruptly because he ran out of tape.
posted by edlundart at 11:41 AM on April 27, 2006

In "Dog Bite", Jello Biafra expresses concern that the Dead Kennedys have gotten off to "too slow" a start, and they start the song over.

Regarding "Karn Evil 9": yeah, that transition has always seemed abrupt. "Soon the gypsy queen", with only vocals and drums, has a faster tempo than the rest of the song. When the rest of the band comes in (at the original tempo), it feels like a pickup truck thrown into a higher gear without the clutch. Maybe the vocal/drum section sounded too slow at the same speed.

One trivia question: in this widely-known epitome of bombastic progressive music, how many meter changes are encountered (e.g. 4/4 to 7/8, 6/8 to 5/4)?
posted by kurumi at 11:45 AM on April 27, 2006

In Low's "Shame," there's a cough at 1:59 after the line "... the harm that it causes."

And at the very end of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Oh Comely," someone in the background (engineer?) exclaims "holy SHIT!"
posted by herrdoktor at 12:14 PM on April 27, 2006

I can't believe no one has yet mentioned the most famous flub of all time, when Otis Redding forgot the entire last verse of "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," and instead whistled it.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2006

on the last song on the wedding present's "bizarro" (called "be honest"), there's a false start followed by commentary and laughter, followed by the real take.
posted by dytiq at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2006

On The Clash's "Death or Glory," Strummer's voice cracks on the 2nd use of every in the line "I hear every dragging handclap over every dragging beat".

On The Replacements' "Androgynous," the piano hits a real sour note, marking the end of the song. It might be a mistake, but it seems more likely to be a drunk Westerberg saying "fuck it, the song's over".
posted by hellbient at 2:55 PM on April 27, 2006

Thanks to my archivin' wife I have a song with both a flub AND a correction!

"You're Driving Me Crazy" by Frank Sinatra

The second time he sings this line his accent gets the best of him and it comes out:

"why you always want to hoit me--HURT me--"

it's roll on the floor worthy!

(SO thinks it's been corrected on later versions)
posted by Cosine at 3:12 PM on April 27, 2006

"Alberta" from Clapton's Unplugged. Tasty!
posted by wordwhiz at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2006

Jimi Hendrix was constantly messing up in his solos.

I can't let that go unchallenged. What does that even mean?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:27 PM on April 27, 2006

In Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" the guitar player was lighting up a cigarette when his turn to play one of the licks came up. (the licks between when they sing "I'm a souuul maaaan" -- followed by a guitar lick). So he stuck the cigarette lighter on the guitar and used it as a 'slide'.
posted by jak68 at 7:55 PM on April 27, 2006

Jimi Hendrix was constantly messing up in his solos.

I'm not sure what hellbient meant, but he might mean what people mean when they say something similar of Neil Young. In Neil Young's case too, he's constantly 'messing up' but correcting himself, ie, he's a "clumsy" player, but soulful, so in a way it just becomes his "style" of playing (and adds another layer of "expressiveness" to his playing). Neil Young is a notoriously clumsy (and delightfully expressive) player. By "clumsy" people dont mean it as a criticism; it just means he doesnt play "clean", he's constantly hitting extra notes, for example, when he plays his chords and also during solos. Listen to, for instance, "Cinnamon Girl"'s chords; no two chords sound alike even tho the entire song only has like 4 chords in it. Young chortles the guitar neck and "whacks" at the bridge. Whatever variations come out, he just uses it as part of the overall texture of his sound.
Jimi Hendrix was similarly not too concerned about "playing perfectly", and was similarly more concerned about expressiveness, in his playing.
I wouldnt say that these are mistakes tho, only in a very loose sense; in truth, this was simply part of their playing style and part of what makes their sound stand out so much.
posted by jak68 at 8:01 PM on April 27, 2006

Most of the mistakes mentioned so far have been of the charming variety; here's one that grates on me like nails on a chalkboard.

Rufus Wainwright's contribution to When Love Speaks, an album of musical adaptations of Shakespeare, is a gorgeous rendition of Sonnet 29. The only thing holding this song back from absolute perfection, in my opinion, is that Rufus flubs the beginning of the eighth line, just as the song is reaching its climax -- instead of "With what I most enjoy contented least," he sings, "What with I most enjoy contented least." I suppose the vocal performance was good enough that they decided to leave it in -- and it is a good performance -- but it still annoys the hell out of me.
posted by Acetylene at 9:52 PM on April 27, 2006

Jimi Hendrix was constantly messing up in his solos.

no, he's just playing stuff we're not smart enough to understand yet
posted by pyramid termite at 10:30 PM on April 27, 2006

Jeanne Moreau in Le Tourbillon from the film Jules et Jim: at one point she gets "rechauffé" mixed up with "séparé" and you can hear her laughing about it.
posted by creeky at 7:32 AM on April 28, 2006

Janet Jackson, in "Runaway" towards the end sings "And I just know we'll have a good time" and goes flat on "time" then sings "Ooh, didn't quite hit the note that wasn't such a good time." I don't know if it was intentional, but it's not something she does when performing the song live.
posted by Dreama at 10:19 AM on April 28, 2006

The Bonzo Dog Doo/Dah Band's Monster Mash. The drummer make a false start, apologises, and continues.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:56 AM on April 28, 2006

In the KLF's "What Time Is Love" there's a dramatic pause before the title is spoken, and the singer quite clearly horks it.

I think that happens in a Sam & Dave song, as well.
posted by user92371 at 4:54 PM on April 28, 2006

Jimi Hendrix was constantly messing up in his solos.

I can't let that go unchallenged. What does that even mean?

jak68 knows what I meant. Watch his performance at Woodstock, he's just so out there he doesn't even know where he's going a lot of the time. It's wasn't meant in a bad way at all, he's just so good at fixing his mistakes that half a second later calling them mistakes seems wrong.
posted by hellbient at 11:57 PM on April 28, 2006

Talk Talk's "I Believe In You" from the amazingly beautiful album "Spirit of Eden" has an "obviously" erroneous guitar twang on about the 36th second. I always wondered why they didn't just drop it out of the mix. Still, like all the others, they get away with it.
posted by ajp at 8:01 AM on May 1, 2006

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