Hopefully you got an opportunity this past month to check out some local bands. If you are in the SW PA area, maybe you were able to hear someone in my ‘Homegrown’ article last month. If you are younger, you may not understand what I’m referencing with the title of this month’s Spotify playlist ‘B Side’. When artists released a new single, the only media to distribute music was vinyl. Obviously there was no Spotify so there had to be two songs released at the same time. The two new songs came out on what was called a 45. Side A contained what was expected to be the hit and side B was a song that came along for the ride. Frequently the A side did make the charts and the B side stayed in the ‘B side’ of people’s minds.
But as you may suspect, there were those exceptions where the B side did as well or better than the A side. The playlist this month contains several of those B side hits. You will notice that the list is mostly older songs. This was mainly because record companies discontinued the production of 45s in 1990. The Beatles ‘I am the Walrus’ was the B side to their ‘Hello Goodbye’. Rolling Stones magazine ranked the two songs at 33 and 100 with the B side finishing 67 places above the A side. Another example is Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, that was flip side of their ‘We Are The Champions’. Both songs obviously were great with ‘We Will Rock You’ still being played with clapping and stomping at sporting events to this day.
One of my personal favorite examples is Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ B side to the Young/Nash ‘War Song’. I had to listen to ‘War Song’ when I wrote this article, because unlike the B side, it was not a song that easily came to mind. I’ve always been a huge fan of any flavor of the group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young whether playing together or individually as in this song. I have never seen Neil Young perform live. Then in 2017, the Farm Aid promoters decided that the location was going to be Burgettstown, WV. This is only 58 miles from my house. I excitedly checked my calendar and found out the only wedding I had committed to shoot that year was on the same date. Needless to say I shot the wedding and am hoping that perhaps an opportunity like that will come again in the future.
What are some other B side songs that you can think of? You may be surprised if you look at songs on the Spotify playlist ‘B Side‘ that you, like me, always assumed were the A side.
Check back next month when my July theme is ‘Born In The USA’.