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Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides

Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 13, 2020 01:13PM
One of the many joys of reading TP was Jim Green’s singles review column, “Green Circles.” I loved his assessments of (largely) import 45’s. So I’ll address this question to my fellow geezers on this forum: What are your favorite, as well as your least favorite, non-album B-sides? They can be either of the 7” or 12” variety.

I’ve no idea what my all-time favorite non-album B-side is, but some of my favorites include Blondie’s “Suzy and Jeffrey” (a small masterpiece), Japan’s “The Experience of Swimming” and “Life Without Buildings”—the latter also appeared on a TP flexidisc—Mick Karn’s “The Sound of Waves” (brilliant), the Smiths’ “Oscillate Wildly,” and two Gary Numan tracks: Gazza’s wistful cover of Erik Satie’s “Trois Gymonpedies (First Movement),” which Green adjudged “a pointless retread,” and the piano version of “Down in the Park.” As you can see, I adore instrumentals.

Alas, my least favorite non-lp B-side is Numan’s atrocious improvisation, “Bridge? What Bridge?” (And I write these words as someone who really appreciates “I Sing Rain.”) “Bridge?” is the dreadful result of musicians behaving like buffoons in the studio. It’s the musical equivalent of those Burt Reynolds movies where Reynolds either smiles or winks at the camera so the audience will understand what a high time he’s having. Honestly, “Bridge?” should have been tacked onto the blooper reel at the end of the last Cannonball Run film. It’s almost inconceivable to me that Gazza inflicted this rubbish on his adoring public, but there you go. It was a long, long time ago. I forgive him.
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Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 14, 2020 09:38PM
Blotto's "The B Side" is one of the best. Catchy and hilarious lyrics about the loneliness of being a B side. "And you're probably not even listening to this right now"
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 15, 2020 08:56AM
Tracey Ullman also had a B-side called "The B-Side" on the flip of "They Don't Know" which was spoken character sketches offering opinions about B-sides without a note of music.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 15, 2020 08:58AM
Middle C Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Alas, my least favorite non-lp B-side is Numan’s
> atrocious improvisation, “Bridge? What Bridge?”
> (And I write these words as someone who really
> appreciates “I Sing Rain.”) “Bridge?” is the
> dreadful result of musicians behaving like
> buffoons in the studio. It’s the musical
> equivalent of those Burt Reynolds movies where
> Reynolds either smiles or winks at the camera so
> the audience will understand what a high time he’s
> having. Honestly, “Bridge?” should have been
> tacked onto the blooper reel at the end of the
> last Cannonball Run film. It’s almost
> inconceivable to me that Gazza inflicted this
> rubbish on his adoring public, but there you go.
> It was a long, long time ago. I forgive him.

To which I can add nothing! The "Cannonball Run" metaphor was painfully accurate. The fact that a dweeb like Numan actually released this is almost inconceivable to me.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Bip
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 15, 2020 10:59AM
Oooh this is a good thread idea. Have to agree I LOVE reading ‘green circles’. (‘American Underground’ too.).

.... thought I’d have a million examples but I’m getting older and foggier. Always liked the Sex Pistols ‘Did you no wrong’.

Moving into modern times, the debut lp Duran single b-sides are surprisingly good. Things like ‘khanada’ and ‘faster than light’

I tend to be forgiving of poor b-sides. They give the artists a chance to get their experimental ideas out. Hey, they could just give us a crummy album track... or worse yet an ‘instrumental version’. (I don’t mind an actually innovative dub version).

1984 always struck me as the year of the ‘battle of the non-lp b sides’. Prince and Springsteen both issued major albums in June of that year, and I believe their singles were all non-lp b-sided. Were there any artists bigger that summer?

Whether you love or hate either you have to admit they were speaking to their respective bases with tracks like ‘pink cadillac’ and ‘erotic city’ that year.
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Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 15, 2020 01:53PM
New Order's "Lonesome Tonight" is one of my favorite B-Sides ("Thieves Like Us" is the A-Side). Other than the 1987 "Substance" B-Side's collection and the 2008 reissue of "Power Corruption and Lies" it isn't readily available on any other New Order compilation which I find baffling for such a great song. It isn't on Spotify at all except for a 2017 live version.
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Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 15, 2020 05:34PM
The Replacements cover of T Rex's "20th Century Boy," on their "I Will Dare" single. BTW, it was a double B side single, sharing the B side with a cover of "Hey Good Lookin'."
I find it to be a perfectly ramshackled rocker. The Mats were always great at showing the rockin' core of the Top 40 songs they would cover.
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 16, 2020 08:54AM
Whoo-hoo! I finally found this useful list I made for my late friend's blog ages ago. I still stick by these all time favorites. Not in any particular qualitative order and #21 was added just now since it's stunning work that came after I wrote this.

21 best non-LP b-sides of all time
1. Ultravox - Paths + Angles
B-side to "The Voice." Fascinating blend of Warren Cann's recited verses with Midge Ure singing the chorus. Recently found out that Midge Ure was elsewhere when this was recorded in his absence. Killer melodic hooks are mated with typically compulsive rhythms.

2. Ultravox - I Never Wanted To Begin
"The Thin Wall" B-side. This track is jam packed with insanely compulsive rhythm programming! Once you hear this it will lodge itself in your skull for hours. The 12" version is extended!

3. Adam & The Ants - Beat My Guest
The B-side to "Stand & Deliver." Just our luck to have one of Adam's best singles mated with an even better B-side! As emphasized by Marco Pirroni's lewd guitar licks, this frolicsome ode to S & M manages to actually sound cheerful.

4. Spandau Ballet - Glow
B-side to "Musclebound." The band invent new forms of Latinesque synth funk with this killer B-side that telegraphed their first big stylistic shift. Never better than in its 12" version!

5. Simple Minds - New Warm Skin
B-side of "I Travel." Another act that mated their best single with an evenly matched B-side! The rhythm track on this chilling song about plastic surgery is an example of Brian McGee at his finest. Mike McNeil's keyboards mesh perfectly with the jarring stabs of Charlie Burchill, back when he avoided guitar clichés like the plague.

6. Japan - European Son
B-side of Japanese "I Second That Emotion" single. Quite frankly, this is my favorite Japan song of all time! It is the acme of the band's Moroder-influenced "autobahn music." It thoroughly smokes the actual single the band recorded with Moroder [which was no slouch].

7. China Crisis - This Occupation [ext. ver.]
B-side of Wishful Thinking" 12." The 7" version of this track is good, but the extended mix is mystical! This sounds nothing like the China Crisis we know and love. It sounds even better! Quite frankly, this resembles mid period Cabaret Voltaire, sigh!

8. Visage - Frequency 7
"Tar" B-side. I was over familiar with the not so interesting extended version of this track that turned up everywhere back in the day. It took years of having this single before I finally played the 7" version and was blown away the the superiority of this mix. It's night and day compared to the tedium of the 12" mix. For starters, it's an actual song with vocals, and some killer synth rock.

9. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Just A Memory
B-side to "New Amsterdam." quite possibly my favorite Elvis Costello track ever, this heart-wrenching ballad was originally written for Dusty Springfield, who ultimately did record it.

10. Swing Out Sister - Fever
"Fooled By A Smile" B-side. Yet another fave rave B-side by a group that sounds nothing like Cabaret Voltaire, yet manages to channel them brilliantly on a B-side.

11. Yello - There Is No Reason
"She's Got A Gun" B-side. This magnificent song from the soundtrack to Dieter Meier's film "Jetz Und Alles" is an utterly riveting track by a band that typically had modest instrumental B-sides.

12. The Human League - Marianne
B-side on "Holiday '80" EP. Killer track from the sessions of my favorite Human League album.

13. The Tourists - The Golden Lamp
B-side of "Blind Among The Flowers." Another example of a B-side just as strong [if not moreso] of the killer A-side it was paired with. Conny Plank didn't need synthesizers to achieve brilliance! Gleaming, euphoric pop rock from The Tourists.

14. The Cramps - Wilder, Wilder, Faster, Faster
B-side of "Eyeball In My Martini." This is one of The Cramps longest numbers at nearly five minutes... and it's not nearly long enough! This track is done in the style of an old AM radio ad for a drive in movie packed with all of the lurid voice over/soundbite action they could withstand. Brilliant!

15. Pet Shop Boys - Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend
B-side of "Where The Streets Have No Name." The Pet Shop Boys have an enviable catalog of B-side material that most bands should want to kill for. This song is a typically strong B-side that sounds like robust A-side material to me.

16. The Cure - The Exploding Boy
17. The Cure - A Few Hours After This...
"In Between Days" B-sides. If you bought The Cure's "In Between Days" 12" you were gifted with the three best songs the band ever recorded! "The Exploding Boy" is driven by acoustic guitars and mighty drums in addition to a killer tenor sax riff that proves that less is more. "A Few Hours After This" is a baroque feast for the senses with strings, percussion and tympani evoking Ennio Morricone at his most expansively robust!

18. Duran Duran - Secret Oktober
"The Union Of The Snake" B-side. Their third album was far from Duran Duran's finest hour, but this exquisitely poised B-side put everything else they recorded for those sessions very much in the shade! One of their finest hours for sure.

19. OMD - Annex
"Enola Gay" B-side. OMD were another band with a plethora of strong B-sides, but this one has the edge for me today. This evocative tune begins with a Japanese seaside melody under which a throbbing industrial rhythm ultimately ascends to hijack the wistful song by its end to leave the listener shell-shocked by dramatic tonal shift.

20. Bill Nelson - The Passion
"Flaming Desire" B-side. Another B-side that plays strongly off of a rousing A-side. "The Passion" is a driving instro that sounds like Duane Eddy poured in a blender with classic Duran Duran as the solid guitar chords are abetted by sax and synthetic percussion.

21. Visage - Seven Deadly Sins [part 2]
It was on the 12" only single of "Lost In Static." It was a radically different recording of a track with a similar name on the band's final “Demons To Diamonds” album. It plays like a full on extended version since Steve Strange has his vocal stamped all over the propulsive eurotrack. The CR78 rhythm that kicks this one off is sweetened with some whomping reverse percussion before the taut, muscular flanged guitar riffs of Robin Simon give the song a backbone to begin building on. The cascades of synths and the dynamic rhythms mark this one as a spiritual brother to the great “Theme For Great Cities” which makes sense since this was another track co-written and played on by Mr. Mick MacNeil.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®



Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2020 04:37PM by Post-Punk Monk.
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Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 17, 2020 09:47AM
Those are some killer B's, my friend! You've assembled an extraordinary list. "Paths and Angles," "Glow," and (especially) "The Passion" are real knockouts. I also quite like Nelson's "The Burning Question."
zoo
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
August 03, 2020 12:10PM
Post-Punk Monk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 1. Ultravox - Paths + Angles
> 2. Ultravox - I Never Wanted To Begin

As cool as those songs are, "Waiting" was always my favorite Ultravox b-side.

>16. The Cure - The Exploding Boy
>17. The Cure - A Few Hours After This...

The Cure have seemingly hundreds of b-sides and non-album tracks. These are two good ones for sure!
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 26, 2020 02:55PM
This is way too wide a road to drive into.

But I will say - some of y'all need to lighten up. "Bridge? What Bridge?" is a hoot.

_____________________________
"Jade.....don't do that, that's really negative...."
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 31, 2020 02:20AM
Hands down fave: You Know My Name (Look Up the Number), the B-side of the Beatles' Let It Be. I used to love playing this on the juke box of my favorite haunt at Kent State (yes, I was a student there the year it became famous) and watch other patrons look up quizzically with "WTF is this?" expressions.
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Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 31, 2020 05:10AM
Hey, did you know the Devo guys?
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
July 31, 2020 12:08PM
Fraid not. Chrissie Hynde was also there around this time and I never ran into her either. But the James Gang (Joe Walsh) played local gigs regularly.
Re: Favorite / Least Favorite Non-Album B-Sides
August 04, 2020 01:47PM
Funny, I was just playing the Warner Brothers LP "Killer Bs" yesterday, and that has a lot of new wave b-sides including Marshall Crenshaw, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, batches of others.
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