Andre Gardner

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Billy Joel performs onstage at the ASCAP Centennial Awards at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for ASCAP)

by Andre Gardner
Updated 10/10/22

Nowadays, practically every song released is virtually PERFECT.  Artists and producers spend hours and hours re-recording and editing every flaw out of a recording.  Back in the 60s and 70s, though, time and technology restraints sometimes meant mistakes and odd noises remained on some of our favorite songs.  Here is a sampling of a few I’ve come across over the years. Listen at your peril, though, as you may never hear these songs the same way again!

  • 1. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf

    Bassist Rushton Moreve gets temporarily lost at 2:30 but recovers quickly!

  • 2. Everybody Wants Some - Van Halen

    Diamond Dave comes in two bars early with the line “I like the way the line runs up and down those stockings..”  He gets out “I like..” before realizing he jumped in too quickly.  Hear it at 3:35.


  • 3. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys

    At 1:11, I swear the tambourine player (Hal Blaine) missed a hit and came in too late!

  • 4. The Jean Genie - David Bowie

    Trevor Bolder is a maniac on this track!  He hits the chorus bass lick a bar early at :47, gets totally lost at 3:16, and recovers back in the pocket by 3:18.

  • 5. I Saw Her Again - The Mamas And The Papas

    There’s debate on whether this is a mistake or a clever mixing move, but I think they jumped the gun singing “I saw her…I saw her again..” at 2:15.

  • 6. Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison

    One of my all-time faves, and the bass player gets temporarily lost right at the end of the song. You’ll hear it at 2:13.

  • 7. You’re Only Human (Second Wind) - Billy Joel

    Billy hesitated on the line, “s-s-s-sometimes that’s what it takes” at 3:55. Legend was his then-wife Christie Brinkley and Paul Simon (who happened to be visiting the studio) suggested he leave it in.

  • 8. Roxanne - The Police

    :05 in to the song, Sting accidentally sat on a studio piano, then laughs about it!

  • 9. Teacher - Jethro Tull

    Listen at 1:32, after the line “who’d found fun instead of me” for a drum stick click!

  • 10. Hold On, I’m Coming - Sam And Dave

    The horn players stop mid-chorus, thinking it ended, but realize their mistake and pick back up.  They drop for two bars at 1:03 but are back by 1:08.

  • 11. Here Today - Beach Boys

    The Beach Boys do have some talking and extraneous sounds in some of their songs  Here, from 1:55 – 2:03, a conversation about cameras is going on in the background during the instrumental break, before you hear Brian ask the engineer to rewind the tape to the beginning of that part of the song: “Top, please!”

  • 12. Do It Again - Steely Dan

    They are known as perfectionists in the studio but, on their debut album, there’s definitely a Walter Becker bass clunker at 2:27.

  • 13. Bang A Gong (Get It On) - T. Rex

    Background singers Flo And Eddie of The Turtles sing one too many ‘Get It On’s at 3:19!

  • 14. Louie Louie - Kingsmen

    The lead vocalist hesitates just after the break, but the drummer covers nicely with a clutch fill at 1:57!


  • 15. All My Love - Led Zeppelin

    The usually flawless John Paul Jones makes not one, but TWO, keyboard gaffes in the same solo!  Listen for him hitting two keys at once, at 2:36, and again at 2:50.

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