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Any Major B-Side

November 16th, 2023 Leave a comment Go to comments

Any Major B-Sides

This mix of great b-sides to (mostly) hit singles was first run in August 2015. As usual, I set myself a few rules in selecting tracks. The b-side must not have become a hit after being flipped, as many classic songs have been. So, for example, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, originally the b-side to Substitute, doesn’t qualify. I also discounted double a-sides, such as Elvis’ Don’t Be Cruel which in some countries was an actual b-side (and here one might pick an argument whether I ought to have disqualified The Jams’ The Butterfly Collector). B-sides that are famous in their own right, such as The Beatles’ Rain or Beth by Kiss, or are famous album tracks were also excluded.

One track here actually was initially an a-side: The Beach Boys‘ Don’t Worry Baby was released in 1964 as the lead, backed with I Get Around. The radio DJs quite rightly flipped the single; as a consequence I Get Around was the a-side in countries outside the US.

Some singles had different b-sides in different countries. My German copy of Blondie‘s X-Offender was backed with Man Overboard, but in most countries the flip side was the excellent In The Sun. The single version was a shorter mix of the song that appeared on the debut album. The sublime X-Offender, which was a commercial flop, later appeared as a b-side itself, on the Rip Her To Shreds single.


Fleetwood Mac‘s Silver Springs is perhaps the finest non-hit, non-on-classic-album-featuring b-sides ever. Written by Stevie Nicks for the Rumours album, it was dumped for length, much to Nicks’ frustration, and instead used as a b-side to Go Your Own Way. On that great album, it would have been a highlight (maybe instead of Oh Daddy or Gold Dust Woman); latter CD releases include it as a bonus track.

Color Him Father — which featured on Any Major Fathers and Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1 — was the Grammy-winning 1969 hit for The Winstons, but it was the b-side that had the impact. The drum break of Amen Brother, an instrumental interpretation of Jester Hairson’s Amen song in the film Lilies of the Field, is said to be the most sampled piece of music ever. Played by Gregory Coleman, it’s 1:23 minutes into the song.

And that”s almost the length of Culture Club‘s That”s The Way. A longer version appears on the Color By Numbers album; the version included here is the actual b-side of Karma Chameleon, which ends rather abruptly before Helen Terry’s vocals kick in. I admit that on this mix, I’m using the LP version.

Al Green‘s Strong As Death has a tragic back story. Apparently he wrote the song for his girlfriend Mary Woodson and recorded it on the very day — 18 October 1974 — she threw a pot of boiling grits at the singer, causing the singer second-degree burns on his arms, stomach and back. She then ran to the bedroom and allegedly killed herself with Green’s gun (there are some who claim it wasn’t a suicide). It was this episode that made Green become the Singing Reverend. Other sources say Green recorded Sha La La (Make Me Happy), but that’s not as good a story as a lyric that goes: “We don’t have that much time, there’s no need in us crying. Hey baby, I’m in the mood for love.”


As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-flipped covers. PW in comments.

1. Blondie – In The Sun (1976 – b-side of X-Offender)
2. The Jam – The Butterfly Collector (1979 – Strange Town)
3. Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight (Extended Remix) (1986 – Stripped)
4. Culture Club – That’s The Way (1983 – Karma Chameleon)
5. Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs (1977 – Go Your Own Way)
6. Bruce Springsteen – Shut Out The Light (1984 – Born In The USA)
7. Harry Nilsson – Gotta Get Up (1972 – Without You)
8. Steely Dan – Any Major Dude Will Tell You (1974 – Rikki Don’t Lose That Number)
9. Badfinger – Carry On Till Tomorrow (1970 – No Matter What)
10. Nancy Sinatra – The City Never Sleeps At Night (1965 – These Boots Are Made…)
11. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby (1964 – I Get Around)
12. The Walker Brothers – But I Do (1965 – Make It Easy On Yourself)
13. The Rolling Stones – Long Long While (1966 – Paint It, Black)
14. The Troggs – I Want You (1966 – With A Girl Like You)
15. The Winstons – Amen Brother (1969 – Color Him Father)
16. Otis Redding – The Happy Song (Dum Dum) (1966 – Open The Door)
17. Al Green – Strong As Death (Sweet As Love) (1975 – Oh Me Oh My)
18. Hot Chocolate – You’re A Natural High (1974 – Disco Queen)
19. KC & the Sunshine Band – I Betcha Didn’t Know That (1979 – Don’t Go)
20. Wham! – Blue (Armed With Love) (1983 – Club Tropicana)
21. David Bowie – Velvet Goldmine (1972 – on 1975 reissue of Space Oddity)
22. New Order – 1963 (1987 – True Faith)
23. The Smiths – Jeane (1983 – This Charming Man)
24. The Pogues – Wild Rover (1985 – Sally MacLennane)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    August 20th, 2015 at 07:02 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. JohnnyDiego
    August 20th, 2015 at 11:24 | #2

    Great idea, Dude. The first flip side that always comes to my mind is What You Gonna Do? the flip side of Manfred Mann’s 1964 US and UK #1 Do Wah Diddy Diddy. Certainly Do Wah Diddy Diddy is the worst song that particular version of Manfred Mann ever released. I wore out the grooves of the B-side.

  3. stephan
    August 20th, 2015 at 13:16 | #3

    Thanks a lot for this.
    What about The Jam’s “Liza Radley” which was a B-Side to the (in my opinion overestimated) song “Start”?
    What comes to my mind as well is the B-Side of The Specials’ “Ghost Town” that is called “Why?”. Maybe that song has not aged too well, I have not listened to it for at least a decade and cannot really tell.


  4. August 20th, 2015 at 13:25 | #4

    Good calls on Blondie, Jam, Smiths and New Order. Like Stephan, my other favourite Jam b-side was ‘Liza Radley’ (‘Start’ really was a poor song), while New Order’s Ceremony/In A Lonely Place was effectively a double A-side (‘Hurt’ on the b-side to ‘Temptation’ was no slouch either). My favourite all-time b-side, though, was by a group you may have heard of: ‘Things We Said Today’ on the flip of ‘I Feel Fine’. Probably a bit too melancholy for A-side release at that point in the Beatles’ career

  5. August 20th, 2015 at 14:35 | #5

    I’m looking forward to this package very much, Dude.. I’ve loved “Silver Springs” for years. As to goodies in my closet, Two B-sides come to mind: “Daddy Rollin’ In Your Arms” is the B-side to Dion’s “Abraham, Martin & John,” and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” recorded live in Liverpool in 1966, the B-side of Bob Dylan’s “I Want You.” (If you need either of these for your next edition, let me know and I can email them.)

  6. Mark
    August 20th, 2015 at 15:30 | #6

    This is a very interesting selection. I’ve got a few suggestions for Vol 2- Pink Floyd “Astronomy Domine Live” (B-side to Take It Back); Emerson Lake & Palmer “Brain Salad Surgery” (B-side to Fanfare For The Common Man); It Bites “Vampires” (B-side to Still Too Young To Remember); Genesis “Evidence Of Autumn” (B-side to Turn It On Again); and Elvis Costello & The Attractions “Girls’ Talk” (B-side to I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down)

  7. Hey-It’s Mike
    August 20th, 2015 at 16:23 | #7

    Great idea. I offer “Hot Sand” by Shocking Blue, the B-side to “Venus”; The Herman’s Hermits version of “The End of the World” was the B-side to “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”; Squeeze’s “What the Butler Saw” was the B-side to “Pulling Mussels from the Shell.”

  8. cc
    August 21st, 2015 at 00:42 | #8

    Howabout Percy Sledge’s True Love (Travels Down A Gravel Road)? It was both an A and B side, but its definitely one of the most overlooked Soul gems out there.

    The other one that comes to mind is Johnny Adams’ Hell Yes I Cheated

  9. Ed
    August 21st, 2015 at 00:58 | #9

    My favorite was always “I Lie Around”, Wings’ b-side to Live And Let Die

  10. Ice X
    August 21st, 2015 at 03:53 | #10

    It’s almost cheating to pick the Beatles because most of their singles were considered “Double-A sides”, otherwise “Strawberry Fields Forever” (backing “Penny Lane”) would top them all. I was going to pick the Bee Gees “Jumbo” (flip of “Singer Sang His Song”) but Wiki calls it a Double-A. So my choices are “Sick City” (B-side of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”) and more obscurely, “Get Your Mind Made Up”, the other side of The Flames’ “See the Light”. They were an excellent South African band whose self-titled LP was the first release on the Beach Boys’ Brother record label and was also the first Quadrophonic LP ever. Two of the members were actually full-fledged Beach Boys for awhile.

  11. Peter
    August 21st, 2015 at 08:22 | #11

    Again a great idea. I have another Elvis Costello suggestion “Psycho” (B-side to “Sweet Dreams”)

  12. GarthJeff
    August 22nd, 2015 at 15:53 | #12

    What a fantastic idea, put in to practice. Really like track #8 ;) I’ve only owned one 7” in all my life…’Popcorn’ by Hot Butter. As a 8 year-old I played it continuously for about 3 weeks until my Mother ‘accidentally’ stood on it 10 times in a row. That was the start and end of seven-singles for me. So I really know all the a-side tracks, but getting this collection has filled the holes. Many Thanks. Pass the popcorn please? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfdLh0MHqKw

  13. halfhearteddude
    August 27th, 2015 at 07:03 | #13

    Right up there with my brother writing on my copy of “Never Mind The Bollocks” because he thought the music sucked and because I had torn up his favourite poster, which he only had because I had bought the magazine it was in.

    Popcorn reminds me of my first school day. It was a big hit at the time.

  14. cc
    August 29th, 2015 at 05:47 | #14

    How about “Hell Yes I Cheated” by Johnny Adams and “True Love” Travels Down a Gravel Road by Percy Sledge?

  15. September 14th, 2015 at 16:00 | #15

    Narrowing it down to a few random favourites :)
    Peter Gabriel “Moribund The Burgermeister” (Solsbury Hill), Nazereth “Lift The Lid” (Carry Out Feelings), Wings “Let Me Roll It” (Jet), Alice Cooper “Raped And Freezing” (No More Mr Nice Guy), Sweet “Burning” (Hellraiser), Judge Dread “One Armed Bandit” (Big Six), Stranglers “In The Shadows” (No More Heroes), Kate Bush “Delius” (Army Dreamers).
    Too many to list, but hopefully something there you would like :)

  16. September 21st, 2015 at 09:12 | #16

    First one that comes to mind is “Miss Katy Cruel” by The New Christy Minstrels, which was the flip side of “Today.” Far superior.

  17. stephan
    November 3rd, 2015 at 12:51 | #17



    This is a fine song about being a B-Side. Seeing all the other songs getting up in the charts being disregarded and only hoping for people to turn around the A-Side for once.

    By Jan Delay on his almost classic album “Searching for the Jan Soul Rebels” (2001).

  18. verse and rhyme
    December 5th, 2023 at 02:14 | #18

    I see you found a way to include the song Any Major Dude. Congratulations.

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