In case you’re too young to remember, musicians used to put out these things called “singles” that had A-sides (that got radio play) and B-sides (often tracks not available on albums). Some groups had B-sides that were just as strong as the A-sides (The Beatles were probably the leaders in this category, though The Smiths were right up there). So, what are some of your favorite B-sides? My small initial list:
The Beatles - Rain
The Smiths - London
U2 - Sweetest Thing (the original version from '87)
Sugar - Needle Hits E
And, probably my all-time favorite:
Marshall Crenshaw - You’re My Favorite Waste of Time
The Who – Baby Don’t You Do It (b-side of Join Together).
**Beatles **-- Revolution
Led Zeppelin - Hey Hey What Can I Do
Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
Elvis - Hound Dog
The Doobie Brothers - Black Water
I’m not sure if that counts, since it was released a few months later as an A-side that went to #1, but I guess technically it was a B-side at one time.
On re-reading the thread, the same applies to “Hound Dog”.
As I understand it, it was a B-side at the time that radio stations started playing it, which is what led to it becoming popular…and ultimately re-released as an A-side.
I LOVE cool B-sides. Here are just a few of my faves:
“Midnight Hour” by ? and the Mysterians. (It was originally going to be the A-side.)
“You’re In A Bad Way”, B-side of “I Got Rhythm” by The Happenings. It’s a rather eerie tale of a girl who puts the wrong sugar cube in her coffee, if you know what I mean.
“Fireball”, B-side of “Love Can Make You Happy” by Mercy. Not at all what you’d expect from the A-side; it’s a psychedelic surf-rock instrumental.
“Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It”, B-side of “Pay You Back With Interest” by the Hollies. It had appeared on LP a couple years previously.
“Patricia Ann”, B-side to “Playgirl” by Thee Prophets. Again, not at all what you’d expect – garage-rock with a vocal that sounds oddly like the Ramones.
“Half the Time”, B-side to “Enough” by Bohemian Vendetta.
Any Beatles B-side could easily be an A-side.
Judy Collins - “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” B-side of “Both Sides Now.”
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor was originally a B-Side to another song. It became a hit and new copies were pressed with it as the A-Side.
Kinks: “I Need You”
Mamas & Papas: “Got A Feeling”
Dave Clark Five: “Hurting Inside”
Zombies: “I Want You Back Again”
A couple of more recent bands.
Arcade Fire - Surf City Eastern Block
Radiohead - Talk Show Host
Both are right up there with the best songs by these artists.
Originally released as the B side to “Detroit Rock City.” To this day, Beth remains the band’s highest charting single.
La Bamba by Ritchie Valens… it was the b-side to his hit song “Donna”
Urge for Going. B-side of Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark single.
“Fox on the Run” by Manfred Mann. (It’s now a bluegrass standard, with some of its lyrics [del]asininely fucked up[/del] changed, but it was born in the world of British rock.)
+1. That was the other one on my list.
Hound Dog was the “B” side to Don’t Be Cruel. (I forget the singer’s name.)