An Easter egg isn’t just a chocolate treat most kids in Westman will find hidden around their house tomorrow. The phrase also has a pop culture definition, meaning an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in movies, a computer game, book, movie or TV show.
The term originated back in the ’80s at Atari, by staff who were alerted to the presence of a secret message that had been hidden in the game "Adventure." Based on the idea of "hunting for a surprise" in the product, the experience would resemble an Easter egg hunt. Hence, the term "Easter egg."
If you Google "hidden Mickeys", you will find the Disney company has hidden images, small statues and other landmarks to celebrate their mouse, hidden all over Disneyland and Disney World.
But this Easter column is not about hunting for Mickey.
This Easter egg hunt is all about music. Now for some of these eggs you might require a record player — remember those things that spun the black discs made of vinyl — and a CD player — not a computer CD player but the regular boom-box type.
"Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" — The Beatles
At the end of Sergeant Pepper’s, the Beatles recorded a high frequency at the end of the final groove on the second side of the album. At 18 kilocycles per second, the note is not audible to humans — however, it is audible to dogs. It doesn’t really make your dog do anything wild and crazy like dance in circles then lift his leg. It does, however, draw immediate attention.
So if you have a record player and a dog, pull out the album and give it a spin. Your pup will stop in his tracks and may bark at the record player as you hear silence.
"The Wall" — Pink Floyd
This is an Easter egg that is split between two songs on the same double album. Listen to the very beginning of the first song on "The Wall," and then to the very end of the last song on the last album of the same set. In other words, the beginning of side one and the end of side four. Just before the intro music, you'll hear the faint words "...where we came in?"
Then listen to the end of side four. The same music is playing and the last thing you hear is the faint words "Isn't this..." So if you put the two together, the message is: "Isn't this where we came in?"
"Elegantly Wasted" — INXS
Back at a major music awards show, Oasis was named "Best New Band of the Year." INXS presented the award to the Gallagher brothers of Oasis. The two were notoriously cocky, comparing themselves to the Beatles at every turn. This show was no exception, as they went off about how they were the best band in the world, and they were offended to have their award presented by "has-beens."
So with that kind of inspiration, here is the Easter egg: INXS took turns altering the lyrics to the song "Elegantly Wasted."
If you listen closely during the chorus, it is possible to hear one of the band members singing "better than Oasis" instead of "elegantly wasted." The other band members do a good job in covering up the naughty behaviour, but it does appear a few times throughout the song, and there are a couple times you think your ears might be playing tricks on you — wait a second, did they just say they were better than Oasis?
For the record, they are, or at least they were.
"YYZ" — Rush
I am not a Rush fan, so for the sole purpose of writing this column, I had to listen to this song to get the Easter egg. I didn’t have to listen long. It is an instrumental, and therefore I avoided the screams of this Canadian classic rock band. And the egg is right at the beginning of the song.
As YYZ starts, the rhythm played is that of "YYZ" in Morse code. YYZ is the code of Toronto International Airport, which is Rush's home town — where they traditionally open and close their tours. This is actually a tone heard by pilots from around the world who fly into YYZ.
"Hey Jude" — The Beatles
If you listen closely to the Beatles "Hey Jude", you will hear someone yelling the "F" word around the 2:56-minute mark. It’s not clear whether John Lennon or Paul McCartney said it. It almost sounds like someone stubbed his toe in the studio, was purposely trying to flub someone up or distract them, or quite possibly just dropped something by mistake. But it’s there if you listen closely.
Someone grab the Beatles a bar of soap.
"The Great Gig in the Sky" — Pink Floyd
At one point in the song, around the 3:35 mark, if you listen closely you’ll hear: "If you hear whispering, you're dying." And yes, the words are whispered. Don't do this alone in the dark. The night I heard it, I didn’t get to sleep for four hours afterward.
"Louis Louis" — The Kingsmen
Released in 1963, nobody understood what they were singing, and many concerned parents and religious leaders thought there were hidden and/or obscene messages. Even the FBI investigated and found nothing objectionable. But most of the critics missed the drummer yelling the "F" word after dropping his drumstick. It's there, at about :54 seconds into the song, just before the second verse. You’ll never listen to that song the same way again.
Hey Beatles, can you pass that bar of soap over here?
"Back in Time" — Huey Lewis and the News
One of the greatest ’80s movie franchises ever was "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox as Marty. So it only makes sense that he gets a shout-out in the song on the soundtrack. At about the three-minute mark of the song, you can hear a voice in the background whisper, "Get back, Marty."
"Gimme Shelter" — Rolling Stones
This is an incredible song.
On so many movie soundtracks I love — mainly mob movies — the song is haunting and beautiful and powerful. Merry Clayton is the female singing with the Rolling Stones on this track, and she belts it out hard — so much so, at one point in the song, her voice cracks on the word "murder", and you can hear a man in the background shout "Woo." It’s Mick Jagger cheering on Merry as she sings the song. Hardly noticeable, but something many other acts would have removed as a blooper. The Stones left it in. Happy Easter.
"I Remember Larry" — Weird Al
The song contains the backward message, "Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands." This sums up the theme of this year’s Easter column to perfection.
However, with both albums and CDs now a distant memory, it will be interesting to see if today and tomorrow’s pop acts can keep things interesting, with more Easter eggs. Only this time they’ll be hidden in your iPod.
JOKE THIS WEEK
After the big egg hunt on Easter Sunday, the youngest boy on the farm decided to play a little prank on all of the chickens, as with little else to do, he enjoyed confusing the animals to amuse himself. He went to the chicken coop and replaced every single brown egg with a brightly coloured one from the hunt.
A few minutes later the rooster walked in and saw all of the coloured eggs, then stormed outside and strangled the peacock.
Dana Allen Routledge
Jason Peter McKay
Jonathan Craig Isaac