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618833 Posts in 24939 Topics by 3548 Members - Latest Member: leafy October 21, 2017, 10:32:16 AM
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Author Topic: I'll take the B-side  (Read 1003 times)
GoogaMooga
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« on: September 28, 2017, 05:45:48 AM »

Over on Facebook, I saw the 45 single sleeve art for "Barbara Ann", a concert staple and a hit for at least Regents, Jan and Dean, and our boys. Personally, I have gotten tired of that bleating chorus, it sounds more and more like a tired, stodgy novelty. Then I saw what the B-side was, wow! "Girl Don't Tell Me" is absolutely wonderful and so underrated. This is a case in point where I'll take the B-side over the A-side.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 05:46:24 AM by GoogaMooga » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 06:03:17 AM »

Over on Facebook, I saw the 45 single sleeve art for "Barbara Ann", a concert staple and a hit for at least Regents, Jan and Dean, and our boys. Personally, I have gotten tired of that bleating chorus, it sounds more and more like a tired, stodgy novelty. Then I saw what the B-side was, wow! "Girl Don't Tell Me" is absolutely wonderful and so underrated. This is a case in point where I'll take the B-side over the A-side.

Disagree about the bleating and the case in point. Actually I'm chiming in because I must be one of the few posters here (maybe the only one) who bought that 45 when it came out in the winter of 65/66. And I like the B-side almost as much. Grin
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 06:21:09 AM »

I agree.  Although the 'Boys' made Barbara Ann their own...back in early '66...it really wasn't theirs.  It's a novelty song.  ***My*** preferred 'B' side?  I went to the store at the ripe old age of 11 to buy Be True to Your School.  I thought that the song was really excellent.  Then I got home and flipped the record over.  'B' pounded the living daylights outta 'A'.

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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 12:26:28 PM »

As far as B-Sides being preferred over A-Sides, I'll take Here Today over Darlin' any day.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 12:38:05 PM »

The BB singles where they tacked on an *old* track for the b-side instead of using something contemporaneous kind of don't count in my mind as actual "singles" in the same way that "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice/God Only Knows" were.

I'm not sure why so many of the BB singles were done this way.

Think how different it would have been if Beatles singles had been released like this:

Strawberry Fields Forever/For No One
Paperback Writer/Norwegian Wood
I Want to Hold Your Hand/Not a Second Time

Still all good songs, but they're not two-song spanking new shows of musical force.

The Beach Boys were even doing this in the 80s, pairing "It's Gettin' Late" in 1985 with "It's OK" as the b-side. Wtf?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 12:39:36 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 07:32:50 PM »

The BB singles where they tacked on an *old* track for the b-side instead of using something contemporaneous kind of don't count in my mind as actual "singles" in the same way that "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice/God Only Knows" were.

I'm not sure why so many of the BB singles were done this way.

Think how different it would have been if Beatles singles had been released like this:

Strawberry Fields Forever/For No One
Paperback Writer/Norwegian Wood
I Want to Hold Your Hand/Not a Second Time

Still all good songs, but they're not two-song spanking new shows of musical force.

The Beach Boys were even doing this in the 80s, pairing "It's Gettin' Late" in 1985 with "It's OK" as the b-side. Wtf?

Twas the difference between the UK and the US.  It wasn't common in the early 60s in the UK to put singles on albums.  Hence why some of the Beatles' biggest hits never appeared on an album.  For the Beach Boys, everything was going on an album anyways so might as well bring some attention to an old album track.
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2017, 08:12:06 PM »

Of course, with their picture sleeves Capitol Records was prepared in case the B side became a hit.



I also prefer listening to Girl Don't Tell Me over Barbara Ann, but the Barbara Ann does make for a great up tempo in concert encore number.

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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2017, 10:43:21 PM »

How about the pairing of Dance, Dance, Dance with Warmth of the Sun? DDD is a great uptempo number, but Warmth is one of my 2 or 3 favorite BB's tracks.
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 01:41:06 AM »

"In My Room"
"She Knows Me Too Well"
"The Warmth Of The Sun"
"Wind Chimes"
"Here Today"
"Never Learn Not To Love"
"Celebrate The News"
"It's About Time"
"TM Song"
"Susie Cincinnati"

Went by wiki single list. Bottom line? A-side usually is better. There'll be many examples in the 80s with 2 sides being less than flattering. Say, "Oh Darlin'" b/w "Endless Harmony".
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 06:11:13 AM »

Hey, I rather like this 'B-Side' from a few years ago  Grin
Especially with its overtones of the 'Love You' album  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 07:21:47 AM »

The BB singles where they tacked on an *old* track for the b-side instead of using something contemporaneous kind of don't count in my mind as actual "singles" in the same way that "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice/God Only Knows" were.

I'm not sure why so many of the BB singles were done this way.

Think how different it would have been if Beatles singles had been released like this:

Strawberry Fields Forever/For No One
Paperback Writer/Norwegian Wood
I Want to Hold Your Hand/Not a Second Time

Still all good songs, but they're not two-song spanking new shows of musical force.

The Beach Boys were even doing this in the 80s, pairing "It's Gettin' Late" in 1985 with "It's OK" as the b-side. Wtf?

Twas the difference between the UK and the US.  It wasn't common in the early 60s in the UK to put singles on albums.  Hence why some of the Beatles' biggest hits never appeared on an album.  For the Beach Boys, everything was going on an album anyways so might as well bring some attention to an old album track.

Yes, I'm very much familiar with how Beatles singles were released back then.

The point I was referencing is that the Beatles' singles were a events, singular musical statements in the same way that albums were.

The Beach Boys' singles were often a hodge-podge in terms of b-sides. Calling "Girl Don't Tell Me" a b-side is a bit of a misnomer in my mind. Obviously, anything that's on the flip side of a single is technically a b-side.

But to me, when people talk about "b-sides", they're either talking about contemporaneous sets of songs released on each side of a single that are of equal quality, or they're talking about contemporaneous sets of songs where the artist or label may have felt the b-side was a lesser or throwaway song (but often fans find those to be some of the tastiest material).

So tacking on old songs as b-sides, to me, makes comparing those b-sides to their respective a-sides rather pointless. It's like taking the 90s Beach Boys CD Single "Good Vibrations/Surfin' USA" and calling "Surfin' USA" a "b-side."

For many of those BB singles, it's not a Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane 1-2 punch and resulting shoot-out. It's a great a-side and then a random (usually great, but not contemporaneous) recent or not-so-recent older track. It's like doing a "Best Albums" BB list and including "Endless Summer."
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2017, 12:40:28 AM »

The BB singles where they tacked on an *old* track for the b-side instead of using something contemporaneous kind of don't count in my mind as actual "singles" in the same way that "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice/God Only Knows" were.

I'm not sure why so many of the BB singles were done this way.

Think how different it would have been if Beatles singles had been released like this:

Strawberry Fields Forever/For No One
Paperback Writer/Norwegian Wood
I Want to Hold Your Hand/Not a Second Time

Still all good songs, but they're not two-song spanking new shows of musical force.

The Beach Boys were even doing this in the 80s, pairing "It's Gettin' Late" in 1985 with "It's OK" as the b-side. Wtf?

The examples you refer to, though, are often considered to be "double A-sides". Traditionally, the B-side was a throwaway, think of Philles records.
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2017, 12:44:14 AM »

For many of those BB singles, it's not a Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane 1-2 punch and resulting shoot-out. It's a great a-side and then a random (usually great, but not contemporaneous) recent or not-so-recent older track. It's like doing a "Best Albums" BB list and including "Endless Summer."

To me, it's all fair game. You put out a single, you should be prepared to be judged by whatever current standards you uphold. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2017, 10:04:33 AM »

I'm not much on the B-side either, not one of their strongest, plus I have just heard it too darned much!  Problem with a lot of their stuff though, after fifty years or so you tend to tire of it!
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 10:37:13 AM »

For many of those BB singles, it's not a Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane 1-2 punch and resulting shoot-out. It's a great a-side and then a random (usually great, but not contemporaneous) recent or not-so-recent older track. It's like doing a "Best Albums" BB list and including "Endless Summer."

To me, it's all fair game. You put out a single, you should be prepared to be judged by whatever current standards you uphold. 

As a standard, then, I think it's fair to judge a single for tacking on as a B-side something that audiences had had every opportunity of hearing for five months. As a song, Girl Don't Tell Me is great. As a B-side, it's a bit cheap given how long it had already been available to the public.
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2017, 11:23:51 AM »

For many of those BB singles, it's not a Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane 1-2 punch and resulting shoot-out. It's a great a-side and then a random (usually great, but not contemporaneous) recent or not-so-recent older track. It's like doing a "Best Albums" BB list and including "Endless Summer."

To me, it's all fair game. You put out a single, you should be prepared to be judged by whatever current standards you uphold. 

As a standard, then, I think it's fair to judge a single for tacking on as a B-side something that audiences had had every opportunity of hearing for five months. As a song, Girl Don't Tell Me is great. As a B-side, it's a bit cheap given how long it had already been available to the public.

Exactly. Typically, when someone is saying "wow, the b-side is better than the a-side!", it's some level of surprise that the artist (or record label, etc.) felt that the weaker song was better.

An apt comparison? I'd say in the original 1972 "So Tough/Pet Sounds" set, PS is better. But it's not like they recorded two albums at once and released the seemingly "better" album as the "extra." They had a whole other (admittedly odd, but for different reasons) motivation/strategy with that "two-fer" album. Also similarly, it's possible some BB singles featured older songs that *were* still better than their a-side (I would imagine most of us like "Girl Don't Tell Me" more than "Barbara Ann.")

But if we're not looking at BB singles as comparable in some form to other contemporaries, and instead we're just saying "here's two songs, which one is better?", then we might as well just pick two random songs and have a shoot-out, because "Girl Don't Tell Me" has nothing more to do with "Barbara Ann" than any other then-previously-released BB song.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 11:29:18 AM »

For many of those BB singles, it's not a Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane 1-2 punch and resulting shoot-out. It's a great a-side and then a random (usually great, but not contemporaneous) recent or not-so-recent older track. It's like doing a "Best Albums" BB list and including "Endless Summer."

To me, it's all fair game. You put out a single, you should be prepared to be judged by whatever current standards you uphold. 

But where do you draw the line then? Doesn't the repeat/rerun status of a given b-side (or a-side) come into play? What if the band had released "Good Vibrations" as a single every other year through the 70s and 80s? That doesn't make it any less of a great song, but it makes it a crappy "single" by any definition I can think of.

In the 90s, Capitol started just making up new 45 singles to release from the Beatles. Great songs. But I don't think of them as "singles" as part of their core discography. They're essentially two-song "Best of" compilations.

Those original BB singles are a weird hybrid of new and old, interestingly (and surely unrelated) foreshadowing what they tried to do with the "So Tough" album several years later.

Also worth keeping in mind is that, especially pre-Pet Sounds, the BBs were less of an "album" band than the Beatles. Even casual Beatles fans were much more likely to already own and be super familiar with, say, "For No One" by 1967 as compared to casual BB fans already having and being super familiar with "Girl Don't Tell Me."

How many times was "Susie Cincinnati" released on a single? Three? Maybe the BBs just had a weird thing with regurgitating singles.
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2017, 12:38:24 PM »

I remember reading that the members of the group were surprised that Barbara Ann turned out to be a hit.   Girl Don't Tell Me is the superior song.
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