Sunday, 15 November 2015

10 Great B-Sides

A friend of mine started a discussion the other week about epic b-sides and it really was a fun little journey to discover some cool and obscure tracks. Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's when singles off a record were released on a 45, very often the song on the opposite was a track that was left off the album, a cover or a live version of some sorts. Since the 90's though when albums were released on CD along with the singles, a b-side was considered the other tracks that came with the single. Really the term could be applied to any obscure and rare track that didn't make the album's final cut. 10 Great B-Sides!

1. Pearl Jam - "Yellow Ledbetter"

"Yellow Ledbetter" was included as a b-side to the single "Jeremy" released in 1991. The lyrics are mainly gibberish and Vedder rarely sings it the same way twice in live shows. Maybe it went unfinished and they liked the way it sounded, who knows, but it has since become one of Pearl Jam's biggest hits and most well known songs

2. Radiohead - "Talk Show Host"

Another b-side from the era of CDs. This one was featured on the "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" single.
"Talk Show Host" has become a favourite of Radiohead fans, it gained more attention after it was used on the soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet, which is a great soundtrack. It was even included on the special edition Greatest Hits album

3. Blitzkrieg - "Blitzkrieg"

Blitzkrieg were an English band who were part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement of the late 70's and 80's. Their first release was the 1981 single "Buried Alive" and featured on the b-side was a song called "Blitzkrieg"...i guess they liked their name so much, they felt they needed to write a song about it. "Blitzkrieg" would become just as recognizable and successful for the band as "Buried Alive". 3 years later Metallica would cover the song and use it themselves as a b-side to their single "Creeping Death".

4. The Cribs - "Get Yr Hands Out Of My Grave"

This is another case of a b-side becoming a band's more popular songs. The Cribs are a British indie rock group who got their start in 2002. In 2007 they released the album Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever. The second single "Moving Pictures" had the b-side "Get Yr Hands Out Of My Grave" which many feel is the band's best song.

5. Led Zeppelin - "Hey, Hey What Can I Do?"

Because I wasn't around in 1971 I was surprised to hear that my favourite Led Zeppelin was not included on an LP. "Hey, Hey What Can I Do?" was the b-side to "The Immigrant Song". Imagine if the song was included on the same album? Alot more people would own Led Zeppelin III i can guarantee that.

6. XTC - "Dear God"

"Dear God" was not originally featured on XTC's 1987 album Skylarking, instead it was used as a b-side to the single "Grass". It was American DJs who decided to flip the single over and play "Dear God" more frequently. The song became so popular that the record label decided to re-release Skylarking with the track "Mermaid Smiled" being replaced by "Dear God"

7.  The Smashing Pumpkins - "Starla"

First appearing as a b-side on the "I Am One" single the 10 minute long "Starla" eventually found it's way on to Pisces Iscariot the 1994 compilation album of rarities and b-sides.

8. The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now?"

Arguably The Smiths most well known song. "How Soon Is Now?" began it's life as a b-side to "William, It Was Really Nothing". Because of the song's cult success however, it go on to pop on subsequent Smiths albums, but only on oversea releases. It was featured on the US, Canada, and Australian versions of Meat Is Murder.

9. Buddy Holly - "Everyday"

This song is normally included on every Top Songs of all time lists and it was originally used as a b-side to the equally huge "Peggy Sue".

10. The Beatles - "I Am The Walrus"

Perhaps the inventers of the great b-side, The Beatles included this enigmatic track as the flip side to the more by-the-numbers "Hello Goodbye" in 1967. John Lennon had heard that a teacher at his old high school was getting students analyze and find meaning in Beatles lyrics. Lennon purposely wrote his next song with confusing and puzzling lyrics to keep himself amused at the thought of students pouring over "I Am The Walrus" for some deep profound meaning.

What are some of your favourite B-Sides??

Tweet them to @jonnyzhivago


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