Eggmen: Hidden Easter Eggs in The Beatles’ Music

Let's head down the rabbit hole...

5 min read

As spring has finally sprung, Easter Eggs are being hunted and stashed across the globe this weekend. But did you know there are also a ton of ‘Easter Eggs’ hidden in plain sight within your favourite Fab Four hits? 

But what is an ‘Easter Egg’? defines it as “an extra feature, as a message or video, hidden in a software program, computer game, DVD, etc.”

Whether it’s in self-referential lyrics, hidden songs or even further down the rabbit hole, there are plenty of treats to be found for eagle-eyed (or eared) Beatles fans. Let’s hunt for some Beatles Easter Eggs!


Song references

From Rubber Soul to Imagine, the Fab Four had a history of incorporating lyrics and melodies from past hits into newer tracks, such as ‘I Am the Walrus’ (“See how she flies like Lucy in the Sky) and ‘All You Need Is Love’s outro nods to ‘Yesterday’ and ‘She Loves You’.

The White Album’s ‘Glass Onion’ is also full of referential lyrics by Lennon – a dig at fans over-analyzing Beatles songs in search of a deeper meaning: “I told you about Strawberry Fields”; “I told you about the walrus and me”; “Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet”; “I told you about the fool on the hill”; “Fixing a hole in the ocean”.

Other examples include George Harrison’s mention of ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ in ‘Savoy Truffle’, and a heckle from John in Rubber Soul’s ‘What Goes On’. After Ringo sings “tell me why”, John can be heard ad-libbing “we already told you why!”– thought by many to be a reference to ‘Tell Me Why’ from A Hard Day’s Night.

Lennon’s lyrical nods didn’t stop after The Beatles split. On Imagine, ‘How Do You Sleep?’ sees Beatles imagery and lore used to make jabs at McCartneyWhen asked about lyrics “So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise”, “Those freaks was right when they said you was dead”, and “The only thing you done was Yesterday / And since you’ve gone you’re just Another Day, Lennon told Playboy in 1980: “I was using my resentment toward Paul to create a song, let’s put it that way.”


Recording sign at Abbey Road Studios – The Beatles Story, Liverpool.


Backmasking & “hidden meanings”

The Fab Four have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to pushing the boundaries of music production, from pioneering recording techniques to their use of AI in 2023’s ‘Now And Then’. Their popularisation of backmasking – the technique of using reversed tape recordings on tracks – was no exception. Whilst it’s now known that backmasking was used innocently and experimentally by the band, this didn’t stop fans from interpreting reversed lyrics as secret code.

The most famous of these interpretations is their use as supposed evidence of music’s biggest conspiracy theory – that Paul McCartney was killed in a collision in 1966 and replaced with a lookalike to prevent public distress.

The theory goes that The Beatles left hints of Paul’s death through mumbled words and lyrics when played backwards. In ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, many misheard John Lennon’s mutter of “cranberry sauce” as “I buried Paul”. ‘Revolution 9’s “number nine” mantra apparently becomes “turn me on dead man” when reversed, and the mumbling at the end of ‘I’m So Tired’ supposedly resembles “Paul is dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him” when reversed.

These little Easter Eggs are more of pareidolia than fact, and have since been referenced numerous times in popular media – from The Simpsons to “Weird Al” Yankovic. It didn’t stop McCartney from having his own fun either – his 1993 live album’s title and cover art, ‘Paul Is Live’, is a direct nod to the conspiracy.


Cover of Life Magazine, 7 Nov 1969.


John Lennon’s feathered reincarnation on ‘Free as a Bird’

Before 2023’s ‘Now And Then’, there were other original Fab Four songs recorded and released after The Beatles split – even well after John Lennon’s death in 1980. One of these songs is ‘Free as a Bird’, originally recorded as a home demo by Lennon in 1977.

In 1995, Paul, Ringo and George released a studio version of the track as the lead single of their Anthology 1 compilation album, each playing and singing alongside John’s demo vocals. It was the first Beatles single in 25 years.

Although he had died 15 years earlier, The Beatles felt Lennon’s presence all throughout the process. And perhaps they weren’t wrong…

In conversation with The Guardian, Paul recounted a photograph taken of him, Ringo and George at his studio in Surrey whilst working on ‘Free as a Bird’. A straying white peacock wandered into frame, occupying an empty space where the fourth Beatle would have stood. “Spooky, eh? It was like John was hanging around”, said McCartney.

The Beatles also used backmasking in ‘Free as a Bird’ as an homage to Lennon. McCartney recalled: “We even put one of those spoof backwards recordings on the end of the single for a laugh, to give all those Beatles nuts something to do.” The backwards recording was John saying “turned out nice again” – a touching way to finish the song he had started 18 years earlier.


John Lennon’s orange glasses – The Beatles Story, Liverpool.


Secret Songs

The Beatles hatched surprises even after the songs were over.

On vinyl, the very centre of every record has a ‘run-out groove’. Conventionally, this is a non-grooved area between the end of the last band on a record’s side and the label, typically left silent. Ever the pioneers, The Beatles realised they could record over the run-out groove on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, culminating in a slightly haunting splice of studio sounds and singing at the end of ‘A Day in the Life’ – something that has still made it onto remasters of the track to this day. The spliced vocal (which many interpret as “never to see any other”) loops endlessly, meaning anyone with this Easter Egg on their pressing would have to manually take the needle off the record for it to stop playing.


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band display – The Beatles Story, Liverpool.


Are there any that we missed? Let us know your favourite Beatles secrets across XInstagram, and Facebook – and have a Happy Easter!

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