Revisiting Tally Hall's surprise hit "Hidden in the Sand"

The song is the biggest Tally Hall song of all time.
Rahav Segev/GettyImages

At 216 million Spotify streams and climbing, "Hidden in the Sand" is the biggest song by alt-rock/indie pop group Tally Hall. But what led to this commercial success for a bonus track, over a decade after the band went on hiatus?

The origins of this song date back to 2004, appearing as a secret track on their EP Welcome to Tally Hall. Bare of anything other than a ukulele and haunting harmonizations by singer Joe Hawley, it'd later be re-released the same year on the award-winning compendium Complete Demos, known for the song "Good Day".

Each time "Hidden in the Sand" appeared on a new project, it'd be tucked away as a hidden song. In 2005, Tally Hall remade the song with the whole band singing along with Joe and put it as track 15 of their debut, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. This version had a new feature on it: Marvin Yagoda speaking backward at the song's ending, saying the deep phrase "wouldn't the world be better off if we took nonsense more seriously?"

All about Tally Hall's surprise hit, "Hidden in the Sand"

Tally Hall re-made "Hidden in the Sand" again when they signed with Atlantic in 2008, and the song finally saw the end of its journey. In 2011, the band went on hiatus after their second album. Various members released music as solo artists, with bandmates Joe and Rob releasing Miracle Musical's debut single "Variations on a Cloud" on September 11, 2012.

Despite individual activity among the members, Tally Hall had come to a close. And yet the song persisted to be a favorite amongst Tally Hall's fans. A wave of popularity would soon become mainstream in 2019 when users on TikTok began using it as a soundbite. After its newfound life on the platform, fans of the horror game franchise Five Nights at Freddy's began using it to soundtrack fan-made animatics, gaining millions of views while inadvertently boosting the song tenfold.

Fast forward to July 12, 2023, the song officially got a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, indicating over 500,000 units sold. Other songs from the origin album have followed suit, with "The Bidding" also receiving a gold certification and "Ruler of Everything" trailing closely behind.

Who wrote "Hidden in the Sand"?

"Hidden in the Sand" is written and sung by Joe Hawley, Tally Hall's co-lead vocalist. He's also written other hits for the band, including "Banana Man", "Spring and a Storm", "&", and "Turn the Lights Off".

Next. Submit a proposal to become a Paid Contributor with AudioPhix here. Submit a proposal to become a Paid Contributor with AudioPhix here. dark

What tempo is "Hidden in the Sand"?

The musical portion of "Hidden in the Sand" is played at a tempo of 121 BPM, with a key of F# Major.

Where can I listen to "Hidden in the Sand"?

Tally Hall's music is available on most streaming services, with Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube being a few. The song is available physically through 2021 re-issues of the album by Needlejuice Records.

More music news and analysis