One all time favourite test for this would be Pink Floyd's Great Gig in the Sky. There are several barely audible items - a psychedelic change of pitch in one of the last lingering piano notes...the voice of the pub philosopher...the breath of the vocalist....
I have used this as a reference for over 25 years.
The Ace-of-Base song, "All That She Wants" (from "The Sign" album), has a sound that is exactly like someone slamming a sliding patio door with maximium force.
Of course, you need a quality amp to get the effect.
The sales associate at the Best Buy store took my word for this when his boom-box failed to reproduce it.
Cowboy Junkies original Trinity Sessions you can clearly hear subway trains rumbling in the background during quiet passages.
The phone ring at the end of "Life On Mars" by David Bowie. You can hear it during the piano fade-out. Evidently someone left the door open in the control room.
When you listen to "Witches Brew" on Mercury Living Presence (or any recordings from that English hall it was performed in ....Albert Hall??...I cant recall) anyway if your speakers go low enough you can hear the Subway trains pass thru under the hall avery so often.
On Hot Tuna/Live ther debut in the middle of one song someone drops a beer bottle.When they perform the song live the hot tuna faithfull drop a beer bottle in the exact same spot.
During the recording of Closer to Home, Grand Funk's then manager,Terry Knight can be heard repeatedly screaming "Stop it", Stop it", but Grand Funk just kept playing the song and it was left in the final pressing. You have to listen for it because it is somewhat veiled, but it can be heard. This was just before Knight and the band parted ways.
Michael Jackson Black or White "Eat This"
"A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" by Van Der Graaf Generator is one big 20 minute quirck.
The above was a deliberate quirk - here are a few unintended ones....
How about when Tambourine is dropped on the Beatles "I'm Looking through you".
How about on the Dixie Chicks Taking the Long Way Album - great sound but you can hear where they fixed some of the vocals with autotune (a studio software to correct pitch)
Steve Ferrone "More Head", which is a great album for sound btw, but they had a problem with the Hammond about 3 minutes in on Steve's Strut and you can hear the distortion glitches.
Or Nickelback "Rockstar" which is a great tune but has clicks probably from clipping noise throughout.
Or Peter Gabriel's Games without Frontiers where Kate Bush sings so badly in french (or is badly recorded) that everyone thinks she sings "She's so popular" instead of "Jeux sans Frontiers".
On Roxanne - Sting leans on the piano at the start (by mistake) just as he starts the bass playing (it just happens to sounds ok but its actually a mistake)
I could list many more of course as you hear errors all the time and some errors are openly admitted by artists as kind of joke - like John Bonham's squeaky foot pedal.
Sometimes it is hard to tell exactly what it is and to decide if was intentional or not...but you can usually hear a bad splice, bad reverb or a musician error. At the end of the day - with music there is really no such thing as a "perfect take". I think the Beatles has been the on band where this has been studied to excruciating details.
On Duke Ellington Meet Coleman Hawkins - during the extended Hawk solo on Mood Indigo- right in the middle Hawk gives a good snort on his horn. Otherwise possibly the most beautiful tenor solo ever recorded.
Anything sung by Bob Dylan is a quirk, or should that be a quack?.
HA HA!.............I will drink to that, scattered thoughts combined with vocal talent that can be bettered by most anyone singing in the shower counted as genious gets my vote.
I don't know if there are any U2 fans out there but the UK Walk On Single is played on a entirely different drum set. It is also not as badly compressed as the American verison. In the American version you can actually hear the volume adjustments being made during the song by the mastering engineer - I guess it was so hot that the guy realized he needed to turn it down in the middle to give peoples ears a rest - it is a curious effect becuase it is just as if you yourself turned the volume down a bit in the middle - i.e. it is not musical as it effects everything equally)
Try listening for the first chorus on The Cars Best Friends Girl. The drummer is playing a typical backbeat with snare on 2 and 4....guess what...... he misses the "2" at the start of the 1st chorus completely! HA. HA.
Speaking of U2, they completely missed the time of MLK's death in "Pride." They have King being shot in the morning; in fact, he was shot in the afternoon.
Now for some Gon trivia: And then there is the famous "f#$%en long" shouted by John Lennon during a Beatles song. Which song and at what moment. Let the game begin.
Well I have not heard that Beatles trivia although I am familiar with the swearing in Hey Jude which is quite audible once you know what to look for.
When I was younger I got so used to Vinyl pre-echo that for me it all became part of the song (like it was intentional).
I still expect to hear it on the CD in the overture on Rush 2112 and find it unsettling that it is now removed...amazing how memory is engraved with these things....even the quirky mistakes.
Hey Jude it was. John can be heard saying "f&*$en long" in the middle of the song to Paul. Apparently it was never caught by Capitol because of how it was mixed down. You can hear it on master quality vinyl.
It's not really a quirck, but at the time we thought it was. The Ohio Players Love Rollercoaster, there's a lady screaming at the begining of the song. We had heard someone was murdered in the studio and the scream was recorded. Being young we didn't really think, they where singing about a rollercoaster and people scream.
Sun Ra "Heliocentric worlds vol.1', on the original ESP record on side 1 there is very strange asian folk music in the background for a good deal of the side, very low volume. It was edited out on the CD and all reissues of the LP such as the Base records version.
Waifs - A brieff History LIve - "Here if you want" - a beautiful balad is interupted towards the end by a mobile telephone - "turn teh bloody phone off" she yells after the song.
From the Strangers In the Night album, on You're Driving Me Crazy Frank fluffs the word hurt in the line "Were the kind who would hurt me, desert me", he sings 'hu hurt me', couldn't believe my ears the first time I heard it.
Queen 'Live' Its a kind of Tragic, the volume gets tweaked a little to quickly as the increase in volume is quite noticeable, although I would prefer the volume going the other way personally.
On the Emerson, Lake, & Palmer Trilogy lp, the song "The Sheriff" starts out with a drum solo, then short a break. During the break you can hear someone say "sh!t" before the drumming starts back up.
Lez Dep- Stairway to Heathen, John Bonham apparently was/fell asleep and woke up half way through the song then started to play the drums.
Toto Roseanna - 3:31 - The guys all sing "not quite a year since she went away" but someone throws in a "well is it?" as a bit of a joke (is it Jeff Porcaro?) just after away - "not quite a year" obviously being an awkward lyric but necessary to fit the rhythm and deserving a bit of contempt since it is repeaqted so often at the beginning of each chorus!
Mike Porcaro used to date Roseanna Arquette and she would bring the band food at the studio.
On a good used copy of Yes Fragile LP I just purchased, I heard something really strange:
I had on my AKG 702s, fed by my Raptor headphone amp, VAC preamp and a killer analog front end and was listening to one of my favorite tracks, Mood For A Day, which I've heard 100's of times. It sounded beautiful and was completely involving... then, about a minute into the song, I heard a faint click and suddenly it sounded like someone turned on another mic, or inverted the phase, or something, but it was instant and dramatic! It was as if I was A/B-ing two different systems! Different soundstage, presence, one more enveloping, the first more laid back... weird! It lasted until just a second or two before the end of the song.
Of course my first thought, as is probably yours, was that something changed in my system at that moment: tube failure, some circuit that suddenly came on or switched off, etc. But no, I played the track again and it happened again at the same exact spot!
So I pulled out another copy of the album, also from 1972 (but a different pressing), and listened to the same cut without making any adjustments... it played flawlessly. No phase changes or any anomalies whatsoever.
Part way through the opening track of Donald Fagen's "Kamakiriad" you can hear a car door open and then a few measures later, close.
Dire Strait's, "Private Investigations", towards the end Mark bends a note that sounds like a cat meowing and later there's the sound of a bottle breaking against a wall in an alley (OK...breaking bottle anyway).