Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thoughts on some great "B-Sides"

For the young-ins out there, there used to be mainly just vinyl records that music came on. Bands would issue their featured tracks as singles or 7" 45 RPM's.

The hit would be on the "A" side while on the B-side would usually be one of the weaker tracks from that same album.  This wasn't always the case. The Beatles often issued what amounted to double "A" sides, for example "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever". You can't tell me either one of those is a dud and they both charted as a hit.

 Some artist give us something extra and give us a track exclusive to that particular 45; an unreleased song, or a live version of one of their songs, etc. Artist like Springsteen, Prince, The Stones, U2,REM, etc. have given us some great extra tracks on the b-sides. Some even go onto become radio hits themselves. Some bands like the Police and INXS would use b-sides to allow the members who usually didn't sing do their songs with mixed results.

Here are some of my favorites:

Bruce Springsteen has some of the best b-sides. Songs like "Be True", "Roulette", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Pink Cadillac" are all fan favorites and were all b-sides.
 This one is amazing. I know John Mellencamp named it one of his favorites of 1984. If you noticed, John added a fiddle player to his band the next year. I think this song influenced his decision. ...
                                              Bruce Springsteen "Shut Out the Light"

Don Henley's "A Month of Sundays" was only available on the cassette of "Building the Perfect Beast" and then later, the cd. It was also the B-side of "Boys of Summer" single in 1984. My co-workers in the record store I worked at would say "uh-oh, Todd's depressed.." whenever I played this one in the store.


 The Pretenders have also thrown a few good B-Sides at us. For this one Chrissie gives drummer Martin Chambers a crack at singing! I know, it's not usually a good sign when a drummer writes and sings a song, but I really like this one!
                                                      "Fast or Slow (the Law's the law)"

of course Prince is a genius, his B-sides were better than most people's A-sides.

     "17 days" was the b-side of "When Doves Cry" .Always loved Wendy & Lisa's voices mixing in with Prince's


                        "Erotic City" was another huge club hit. pretty racy for 1984. The girls dug it and for us guys, Sheila E's vocal made us feel funny inside (in a good way)

   Sometimes Rolling Stones B-sides are throw away blues jams, but this psychedelic gem was the b-side of "Jumpin Jack Flash"
                                                             "Child of the Moon"


  one more from Bruce. He had this one around for a couple of years before he release it on the b-side   of "I'm on Fire". He had to give Chuck Berry a writing credit because he quotes "Bye Bye Johnny". Have always loved this song and production wise it hinted at the direction he went on to for "Tunnel of Love" album.

                                                            "Johnny Bye Bye"

                   Here's one from the Who. It is a John Entwistle song that was the b-side of "Let's see Action"
an incredibly honest look at one's life; how sometimes it can seem your best days were long ago. a "Where did I go wrong?" kind of song..."It's been so long since the good days, it's been so long..."

                                                       "When I was a Boy"

almost forgot this one Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs". B-side of "Go Your Own Way". Stevie Nicks was pissed this got left off "Rumours". can't blame her. Later, the live version from their 1997 reunion became a hit. She says she got the title from seeing the town name of "Silver Spring" in Maryland while traveling near DC where they played the Capital Centre in Largo, Md.


 had their own cool list. check it out : 20 killer b-sides, spinner .com                

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