How did a "B-side" songs make the charts?

From wikipedia:

How did a “B-side” songs make the charts?

Prior to digital downloading, from what I understand, song charts were created based on number of units sold.

I find many references saying things like “xyz song made it #21 on the charts, despite being released as a b-side”.

I must be missing something… how did B-side songs “chart” independely of whatever song was on the A-side? The discs were sold as individual units.

There’s this reference on Wikipedia, but I don’t quite get it:

The Billboard figures were composites, incorporating radio airplay and jukebox play as well as sales figures.

DJs played it. That simple. Chart positions weren’t just sales figures - they also included airplay. If the “B” side got more airplay, it would chart and get the sales figures as opposed to the “A” side.

As for the double-sided part - same same. If the Beatles released “She Loves You” as an “A” side and “Please Please Me” as a “B” side, both will chart and both will get played in the juke boxes.

Ever hear the Beatles’ “the Inner Light” on the radio? Neither did anyone else, really. It hit #96 for one week, but the other side, “Lady Madonna”, hit #1 for two weeks.

Hey! that’s pretty cool. I’m a musician (or used to be) and I was stumped. In my type of music we don’t see the charts too much so I guess I never learned much about how they ARE ranked…let alone how they USED to be ranked.:smiley:

The importance of airplay to the perceived popularity and success of popular songs is why the Payola Scandals were such a big deal.

From Wikipedia:

Its just a scam isn’t.
What if a single was at #1 due to plays and sales.

BUT actually the radio was playing side A, but people were buying it for side B.
The single then gets in the charts, and the sales were attributed to side A, So the radio kept playing side A, since side A is in the charts !

Sometimes the B track was then released as an A side, in order to get it charting.
Charts are not accountable… they are as accurate as horrorscopes and mall polls

“We Will Rock You” was the B to “We are the Champions” in the UK, but for the USA they called it the AA side.

How many people used the “one side”/“another side” trick?

Ever used on a single?

<insert rant here re. “click to download” = “go to store and lay down cash”>

The Dead Kennedys’ “In God we Trust, Inc.” EP was also sold on cassette tape with the b side left blank…

Since this is about music, let’s move it to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

To make sure DJ’s would play the song the band or record company wanted to be a hit there often were “radio copies” provided. The 45’s sent to stations would have the same song was on both sides.

Often the record company picked a weak song for the A side, or didn’t make it clear what was A or B.

Is it not the case that in the 1950s and 1960s, when “sales” was a relatively more important component of a song’s chart ranking, that instead of tracking actual numbers of sales it was a matter of record retailers submitting a list of their best-sellers and then Billboard or Cashbox collating all of these lists to make their charts?

Because then, retailers could list whichever side they thought people were buying the record for, and so a b-side could thus become the hit.

Yesterday on SiriusXM, I heard a story I hadn’t heard before. Apparently KISS knew the song Beth would become a hit, but it didn’t match the hard rock style the band’s fans were used to. They released it as the B-side of* Detroit Rock City*, so they could act surprised that DJs were playing the B-Side. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a good story.

I was DJ in the 80s and remember when SoundScan started to track record sales nationwide. I thought that, before that, charts were based solely on airplay, or at least, additions to stations’ playlists. Of course, that’s before I ever did any programming, so I’m no expert on what happened before the early 80s. (Even then, I never followed the playlists anyways)

I credit Blue Oyster Cult.

“Burning For You”:

*Time is the essence
Time is the season
Time ain’t no reason
Got no time to slow

Time everlasting
Time to play B-sides
Time ain’t on my side
Time I’ll never know*

According to this site, the Beatles officially released four double A side singles.

In 1975 Jasper Carrott had a chart success with the undistinguished song “Funky Moped”, but it was the scurrilous “Magic Roundabout” parody on the B-side that was making it a cult hit.

Thanks for the info.