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Matt:

I've noticed a trend in a lot of the newer CDs. At the end, if you keep playing, after a few minutes a "hidden song" comes on, a song not listed on the jacket. It is on the same track as the last song listed. Why do they hide them? Wouldn't one more track make the CD more of a better deal?

-- Confused listener, Poway

A trend? This hidden-songs business is so old it's more like a tradition. As for why it's done, well, for no practical reason. Just because they can do it, probably. It stopped being cool 30 years ago, but then everything old is new again, I guess. The hidden song, ghost song, or easter egg can be a true tune, an interview, gibberish, bloodcurdling screams, whatever. You'll find them on disks by everybody from the Doors to Insane Clown Posse to Jimmy (gag!) Buffett-- Guns 'n Roses, Chris Rock, Weird Al, and Enrique (hjole!) Iglesias. The Clash's "Train in Vain" was a hidden song on the original release of London Calling. The Stones' 1967 His Satanic Majesty's Request has a distorted Christmas tune at the end of side one and could be the first egg-like insert. Others say the Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road bonus, "Her Majesty," was the first true hidden song; it was not listed on the original UK pressing, though it was later. It's common for hidden songs to become unhidden (labeled-- even hyped!) on remasters, re-releases, and compilation packages.

This aural Where's Waldo? has a newish twist. Instead of inserting the hidden song after three or four minutes of dead air after the last song, some CDs have eggs hidden before the first track. Insert the CD, press play, wait a bit, press pause, press rewind. If your counter goes back below zero, you've accessed an easter egg. Enjoy.

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