Tag Archives: B-side

Public Enemy ‎- Rebel Without A Pause (1987)

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In the late autumn of 1987, I experienced a concert forever etched on my mind. I went with a friend to see LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Erik B & Rakim at the Hammersmith Odeon. It is a memory that no one can rob from me – a visual and aural bombardment. I could go on about the chutzpah of Cool James and the sound of Erik B & Rakim, but even those memories fade compared to the sight of Chuck D and Flavor Flav flanked by its crew, Security of the First World (or the S1Ws), all dressed in paramilitary kit and armed with simulation Uzis. ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ had been released as the B-side to their preceding single, ‘You Gonna Get Yours/Mi Uzi Weighs A Ton’. The song would be one of the many highlights their album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, released the following year. The album would open with an introduction from the MC Dave Pearce from that night: “Hammersmith Odeon are you ready for the Def Jam Tour? Let me hear you make some noise!” The event became immortal.

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Josephine Taylor – Ain’t Gonna Cry No More (1967)

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We begin and end this week in 1967. Josephine Taylor hailed from Evanston, Illinois and had a handful of 45s on the wonderfully named Mar-V-Lus label from Chicago. The choice song is actually a B-side to their 1967 release ‘Ordinary Guy’. A B-side, a rare Chicago label, a forgotten star and the dancing lament of ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry No More’ … it has all the ingredients for bonafide Northern Soul. Have a great weekend.

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Pixies ‎- Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf) (1989)

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I saw the Pixies at Ally Pally on Friday night. Black Francis can still kick it, helped by a selection of classic tunes. ‘Wave Of Mutilation’ caught my ear. The original version featured on the LP Doolittle, but the band also cut a better slowed-down “UK Surf” version as a B-side to one of their bigger hits, ‘Here Comes Your Man’. ‘Wave Of Mutilation’ is the only song I know about Japanese men killing themselves by driving off piers because they’d failed in business. This was the 1980s. Have a great week.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping (1969)

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In May 1969, Atlantic Records released Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s self-titled debut album. A  month later, they released “Marrakesh Express” as the supergroup’s debut single. Its B-side, was the alliterate ‘Helplessly Hoping’, the achingly beautiful song penned Stephen Stills.

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Irma Thomas – Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (1964)

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The fantastic ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)’ appeared as the B-side to Irma Thomas’s rendition of ‘Time Is on My Side’. Released in 1964, the song was co-written by a young Randy Newman and country singer Jeannie Seely.

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Lloyd & Kerry – Tubbys In Full Swing (1972)

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Osbourne Ruddock (aka King Tubby) was one of the original purveyors of the remix. The fact that that his domain was reggae and dub music is neither here nor there, the man was a mixologist. By 1972, his influence was being acknowledged by others in their growing experimentation. One example appeared as a B-side to Pat Satchmo’s ‘What’s Going On’; the Prince Tony-produced ‘Tubbys In Full Swing’ was credited to singer Lloyd Young and Carey ‘Wildman’ Johnson. A radio announcement, a few false bars of the Staples Singers’ ‘I’ll Take You There’, followed by Kerry, a drum roll, an organ and a trombone instrumental. Reggae was a-changing. Have a great weekend.

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Evan Dando – Whoops (2003)

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Evan Dando returned to music in 2003 after a long, long lost weekend. The former Lemonheads frontman released the lo-fi Baby I’m Bored, which featured the track ‘It Looks Like You’. Released as a single, its B-side was the jaunty ‘Whoops’. “We all fall short, but it’s a long way down.” The man had seen the dark side; perhaps that’s why the song was incomprehensibly consigned to a flip-side.

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T.Rex ‎- Baby Strange (1972)

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T.Rex

Another B-side from 1972, ‘Baby Strange’ had to play second fiddle to ‘Telegram Sam’, the first of two number one (UK) releases from T. Rex’s The Slider. I have tagged B-sides in this blog, as I revel at how one man’s trash could have been another’s treasure. When an artist is on fire, they may have no b-game to offer on a flip side. Marc Bolan would brag about his ability to write hits on his way to the studio; and there’s no complexity in this song’s two-chord riff. However, it’s the clever chorus that serves to remind us that Bolan would find it hard for evermore to reach his creative heights of 1972.

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Darondo – Didn’t I (1972)

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William Daron Pulliam

This might be my soul find of the year. I had not heard this track until last month. William Daron Pulliam’s recording history is thin, but in 1972 he penned and released ‘Didn’t I’. “Darondo” released the song as a B-Side to ‘Listen To My Song’ on the Berkeley-based Music City label. It’s a great way to start the week. Have a goodun.

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Misfits – Where Eagles Dare (1979)

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Misfits

Released in the autumn of 1979, the B-side of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ also drew its inspiration from the world of film. It was the Misfits’ fourth single release and the band had already shown their disdain for the political and social messages abundant elsewhere in punk. Instead, ‘Where Eagles Dare’ was all about kicking out the jams and having fun.

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The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

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The Smiths again

Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr wrote ‘How Soon Is Now?’. But he famously says that even he would now have difficulty to recreate the sound of the oscillating guitar that is the hallmark of the track.Instantly recognisable; genius at work in 1984. Remarkably, it slipped out as a B-side to ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’ single. Have great weekend.

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Underworld – Born Slippy (1995)

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Underworld

On the subject of song association, undoubtedly one the best songs of 2014, Future Islands’ ‘Seasons’ does actually sound a little like Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’. It was mentioned to me and I don’t know why I have not spotted it before. The famous Nuxx mix of ‘Born Slippy’ was originally released as a B-side in 1995, but would reach wider acclaim a year later as a standalone release on Junior Boys Own and as the music to the final scene of the beloved movie Trainspotting.

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Yvonne Baker – You Didn’t Say a Word (1967)

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Yvonne Baker

Last night, I went to see the new movie Northern Soul. It was a nostalgic evening of label, track and cameo spotting. (Lisa Stansfield, where have you been?) One label, Cameo-Parkway Records gets a special mention. I know the label because it pressed Yvonne Baker’s 1967 single ‘To Prove My Love Is True’. While Baker had had limited success as a soul singer with The Sensations, her voice would live on, because that single’s B-side ‘You Didn’t Say a Word’ would become a stomper on the floors up north. Keep the faith.

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Esther Williams – Last Night Changed It All (1976)

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Esther Williams

Before it was reincarnated as a sample in Kid ‘N Play, Jamiroquai and 2Pac tracks, ‘Last Night Changed It All’ was the only real hit for Esther Williams. Written by Joe Wheeler, the song featured on her debut album Let Me Show You. It was a sleeper in disco circles and would be rereleased (without the alarm bell) as a B-side to her 1980 single ‘Your’s And Your’s Alone’. Have a great weekend.

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Pink Floyd – Fearless (1972)

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Pink Floyd again

I don’t think I’d like Roger Waters if I met him. That fact that he’s a fan of Arsenal, doesn’t help. But in 1972 he set aside his allegiances and allowed David Gilmour and team to feature the Kop’s rendition of Gerry and the Pacemakers’ ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as a fade-out for the sensational ‘Fearless’. One of the enduring sounds of football, Liverpool fans bring to an end Waters’ lyrical interpretation of madness. ‘Fearless’ first featured as a B-side to single ‘One Of These Days’ and then took its place on Pink Floyd’s seminal long player Meddle.

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