Her Majesty (song)

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"Her Majesty"
Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
Released 26 September 1969
Recorded 2 July 1969
Genre Music hall,[1] folk[2]
Length 0:23
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Abbey Road track listing

"Her Majesty" is a song written by Paul McCartney (although credited to Lennon–McCartney) that appears on the Beatles' album Abbey Road. It is a brief tongue-in-cheek music hall song.[1] "Her Majesty" is the final track of the album and appears 14 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.

Recording[edit]

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 a fingerstyle acoustic guitar accompaniment. The decision to exclude it from the Abbey Road medley was made on 30 July.[3]

The song runs only 23 seconds, but the Beatles also recorded a longer version of the song during the "Get Back" sessions.

Structure and placement[edit]

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 destroyed. 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".[4] "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 close with a song that ends 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.

At 23 seconds long, "Her Majesty" is the shortest song in the Beatles' repertoire (contrasting the same album's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", their longest song apart from "Revolution 9", an eight-minute avant-garde piece from The White Album). The song was not listed on the original vinyl record's sleeve as the sleeves had already been printed; the CD edition corrects this.[3] The song starts panned hard right and slowly pans to hard left. It is one of three Beatles songs to make reference to (but not specifically name) Queen Elizabeth II – the others being "Penny Lane" and "Mean Mr. Mustard".

In October 2009, MTV Networks released a downloadable version of the song (as well as the entire album) for the video game The Beatles: Rock Band that gave players the ability to play the missing last chord. Apple Corps granted this and other changes to Harmonix Music Systems, which developed the game. The alteration garnered controversy among some fans who preferred the recorded version's unresolved close.[5]

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

"Her Majesty"
Single by Chumbawamba
Released 2002
Recorded 2002 at Woodlands Studio, Castleford, UK
Genre Music hall
Label MUTT
Writer(s) Paul McCartney (original lyrics)
Chumbawamba (extended lyrics)
Producer(s) Chumbawamba & Neil Ferguson
Chumbawamba singles chronology
"Enough Is Enough (Kick It Over)"
(2000)
"Her Majesty"
(2002)
"Jacob's Ladder (Not in My Name)"
(2002)

The song has been covered by:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Everett 1999, p. 271.
  2. ^ Allmusic review, "A slightly hammy folk song"
  3. ^ a b "The Beatles Bible: Her Majesty". Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Turner, Steve. A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song. New York: Harper Paperbacks. p. 195. ISBN 0-06-084409-4. 
  5. ^ Kane, Yukari Iwatani (21 October 2009). "Finding Closure in The Beatles: Rock Band". Wall Street Journal Blogs: Technology News and Insights. Retrieved 24 October 2009. 
  6. ^ Chumbawamba

References[edit]

External links[edit]