Side B

Kiddos, if you’re under 50 years old you might never have seen a “B side” but back in the day we had 45s, or “singles”, which contained hit songs that the band wanted to release. “45” meant that it played at 45 revolutions per minute (RPM). Chart positions were based on sales of singles and radio airplay, so singles were important. There was an “A” side, which had the sure fire hit (or so they hoped) and then the “B” side was a song that was often a throwaway song. The Beatles were the exception to this rule as they would often put two sure fire hits on a single because they were the Beatles and didn’t have throwaway songs.

Singles were the staple of AM radio until FM radio became a more popular medium for music. FM created a style called “album oriented rock”, which started in the early 1970s, propelled by The Who, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. (Pink Floyd is not included because they are not a rock band.) Bands put a lot of thought into a single release because the public’s acceptance of a single would drive album sales. The trivia question for today is at what speed did an album play?

The band Blue Oyster Cult had a huge hit with Burnin’ For You (popularized on the Joe Dirt soundtrack). It contains the line “Time to play B-sides”, which means that you are taking the time to enjoy yourself, explore a little deeper and give your mind a chance to relax.

So other than a little history lesson Kelly, what’s the point? Well you know I love rock song lists, so here is my list of the best B sides ever. 1. I Want To Hold Your Hand – Beatles; 2, Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & His Comets; 3. Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin; 4, Any Major Dude WIll Tell You – Steely Dan; 5. Revolution – Beatles; 6. Maggie May – Rod Stewart; 7. Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group; 8. Beth – KISS; 9. God Only Knows – Beach Boys; 10. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day; 11. Tequila – The Champs; 12. Suspicion – Elvis; 13. Pink Cadillac – Bruce Springsteen; 14. Teenage Lobotomy – Ramones and 15. I Am The Walrus – Beatles. If you are interested, you can see my entire list of “B” side favorites on my website.

The trivia answer is that albums played at 33 and ⅓ RPMs.

My full list:

I Want To Hold Your Hand – Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles first American hit was a Side B!)
Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & His Comets – Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)
Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin – Cry Baby
Any Major Dude Will Tell You – Steely Dan – Rikki Don’t Lose That Number
Revolution – Beatles – Hey Jude (two awesome songs, how do you have an A and a B?)
Maggie May – Rod Stewart – Reason To Believe
Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group – Hanging Around
Beth – KISS – Detroit Rock City
God Only Knows – Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day – Brain Stew
Tequila – The Champs – Train To Nowhere
Suspicion – Elvis – Kiss Me Quick
Pink Cadillac – Bruce Springsteen – Spare Parts
Teenage Lobotomy – Ramoes – Rockaway Beach
I Am The Walrus – Beatles – Hello Goodbye
Rock n Roll #2 – Gary Glitter – Rock n Roll #1
We Will Rock You – Queen – We Are The Champions
Colour My World – Chicago – Beginnings
Honkey Tonk Women – Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers – Hung On You
Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five – Paul McCartney – Band On The Run
Rockin’ Down The Highway – Doobie Brothers – Jesus Is Just Alright (both good songs)
Green Onions – Booker T & MGs – Behave Yourself
Hey Hey What Can I Do – Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (only non-album single release ever by Zep)
Hound Dog – Elvis Presley – Don’t Be Cruel (later switched sides)
Hey Bulldog – Beatles – All Together Now
Monday Morning – Fleetwood Mac – Say You Love Me
Fire Down Below – Bob Seger – Rock n Roll Never Forgets
In The Groove – Madonna – Angel
SWLABR – Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
Long Distance Runaround – Yes – Roundabout
409 – Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari
Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend The Night Together
The End Of The World – Herman’s Hermits – I’m Henry The VIII
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band – Up On Cripple Creek
Born On The Bayou – CCR – Proud Mary
Overture from Tommy – The Who – See Me, Feel Me
Living Loving Maid – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
She’s A Rainbow – Rolling Stones – 2000 Light Years From Home
It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Linda Ronstadt – When Will I Be Loved
Let Me Roll It – Paul McCartney – Jet
Play With Fire – Rolling Stones – The Last Time


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