'Stan' is without doubt one of Eminem's best-known and best-loved songs - but if the story of how it was recorded is to be believed, it almost never made it out of the studio.
Thanks to an errant studio engineer, the track was almost scuppered as the original version of the third verse - i.e. the climax of the song, when Stan gets really, really angry and goes to drive his car off a bridge - was erased.
Eminem revealed the traumatic studio experience on Genius, a site that allows songwriters to explain how they wrote their songs or give backstory to their recording.
“When we recorded Stan I worked with a couple different engineers but this particular engineer I had never worked with before. While we were recording the third verse of Stan, he started rolling a joint and asked me if I minded if he smoked while we cut. What was I gonna do? Say no? He was already rolling it so I told him “no problem”. Everything was cool and I had gotten all the way to the last 3 lines and I screwed up so all he had to do was punch in my vocals at the end so I could re-do that line and the verse was finished. Back then we were recording on 2 inch tape, so once you recorded over something it’s gone forever. So I’m in the booth waiting and he backs the tape up all the way to the beginning of the verse and punches me in. I realize he’s in the wrong spot and I can’t hear any of my vocals so I start waving my arms and yelling in the mic to try to get his attention. He doesn’t notice so I run into the control room through a cloud of smoke and yell “Yo, I wanted to keep those vocals” he just looked at me and said “My bad man…you wanna hit this?”
The first half of the verse was GONE. I re-recorded it but you should have heard the original take that shit was WAY better…oh well!”