The Beatles UK singles: A sides v B Sides

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by AFOS, Jul 31, 2013.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Younger people don't remember buying singles. You bought the song you liked and the B side usually stunk. With the Beatles, the B side was usually just as good as the A side. I remember thinking that both HELP! and I'M DOWN were great songs and so totally different from each other it was buying two hits for the price of one. That very rarely happened in those days. And even though both songs were played on the radio several times an hour, we all bought the 45 so we could get more of it. The intensity of how much we loved the Beatles' music in those days is hard to put across to others..
     
  2. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Good points. I feel that younger fans are missing out by not having physical releases, actual music that they can hold.

    As for the Beatles B-Sides, I fully agree, they tended to be better than many of the A-Sides of the era in my opinion.
     
  3. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    These kids don't know what they're missing. In 1965 a fan wrote in to Beatles monthly to say she wanted to put this single (Help/I'm Down) in a museum with the label "The Beatles at their finest!"
     
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  4. Big Pasi

    Big Pasi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vaasa, Finland
    Help!/I'm Down... it's very 50/50 to me, but I'll go for I'm Down only because I've heard Help! so many times.
     
  5. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    The Beatles didn't really have A and B sides, they played each side equally on TV, radio, on tour, etc. Think of them promoting 'Help'- on UK TV, Ed Sullivan, Shea, the rest of their 65 US tour- they always played both sides. Same with 'She's a Woman', 'Things We Said Today', 'This Boy', 'You Can't Do That'- the only exception is 'Yes It Is' which I guess was a little too complicated harmonically to survive the rigours of a 20,000 seater sports auditorium.
     
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  6. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    And on the next single it was official - the first double a-side.

    We Can Work It Out b/w Day Tripper
    [​IMG]

    The toughest decision so far - a sublime ballad v an awesome riff(and not a bad song either) That's how good they were - two songs this great on the one single. If I had to choose I'd pick Day Tripper...love that riff! But both songs are brilliant.
     
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  7. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I am glad that Paul is currently playing both on tour, they are both excellent songs. This really is the toughest decision so far.

    We Can Work It Out is one of the greatest pop songs of all time IMO, I absolutely love the signature time shifts from the upbeat We Can Work It Out part to the waltz style 'middle eight'. This song is a great example of a group collaboration, with Paul starting an upbeat song, taking it to John who contributed the darker 'Life Is Very Short' lyrics (like what happened on Getting Better) and then following George's idea to slow the song down into a waltz in the middle. The vocals on this songs are exquisite, they have a great yearning quality to them at one point, and an enthusiastic quality to them at another. This song is another step forward stylistically, with the addition of the harmonium and the waltz part, it is not like anything they had done before. I love Ringo's drumming and George's tambourine playing, they really drive the song along and make it more shocking when the song does slow down.

    Day Tripper is a great rock song with one of the all time classic guitar licks. I love how John and Paul switch singing the lead vocal between the verses and the chorus. This is another of the Beatles 'in-joke' songs, with the lyrics quite risque for the time. Even though it is basically a rock and roll song, they made it very funky, not something that they had done before either, so I would say that this is also quite a break through for them (alongside Drive My Car).

    I would have to say that We Can Work It Out edges it for me because it is more of a break through for them musically and because it is also the catchier and more commercial song, which is what you need from an A-Side. We Can Work It Out reached no.1, whereas Day Tripper peaked at no.5. Day Tripper also deserved it's place and is also a great song that could have been a stand alone single in its own right, but it was the less deserving of the two as an A-Side.
     
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  8. peteneatneat

    peteneatneat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool UK
    We Can Work It Out.
     
  9. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    Yeah, it's a tie.
    I know people don't like hearing 'Paul played this' 'John played that' when it goes against what they've always believed, but, according to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, on Day Tripper, John plays the riff while George plays the rhythm part. (George doubles up the riff via overdubbing). I don't know who plays the solo, but it could have been George, John or Paul.
     
  10. Chuckee

    Chuckee Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate, NY, USA
    Day Tripper, but I love them both.
     
  11. pjc1

    pjc1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Both sides are great; Day Tripper gets the edge for me because of the riff -- I'm a sucker for a good guitar riff.
     
  12. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I get the feeling that this will be very neck and neck.
     
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  13. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I doubt it. John never played the riff during the live versions... it's the same rhythm that on the recorded version too. Even on the promo versions he waits to play until George finishes the riff. This is unlike Ticket To Ride when George HAD to learn the part that Paul played on the studio recording. Typically, John played on stage what he played on record. The volume swells are George during the build-up during the solo (as an overdub). Paul doesn't play guitar at all on Day Tripper... never mentioned it in interviews that I'm aware of. Not doubting that John and/or Paul may have said John played the riff, but do have a link or reference? I don't think Lewisohn mentions it. I do recall John saying the 'riff" was his, but that doesn't mean he played it on the record. Ron
     
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  14. LandHorses

    LandHorses Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Joisey
    Day Tripper......but love both
     
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  15. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits, Abbie & Mitzi: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    That's my vote. Really should be a tie, but "DT" gets the nod for its iconic instrumental work...
     
  16. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    Here's Paul in MOJO in 2005:
    "Playing bass and singing, that's the difficult thing. A song like Day Tripper, I play that on bass and sing- now, John didn't have to sing while he played that riff when we recorded it, but I had to onstage!"
    And John in Rolling Stone:
    "That's mine, the whole lick is by me!"
    George never mentioned it as far as I know.
    Sure, normally The Beatles each played what they played during recording- but not always. It is a very easy riff to play, easier than 'I Feel Fine' which we know John plays, but not easy to sing to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
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  17. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Thanks... Still think it's George on the record. It has his tone and style, IMO. I knew John said the lick was his, but that doesn't mean he played it on record. And Paul... well, he thinks the mellotron in his studio is THE mellotron, and it isn't. So...;) I think he was just trying to say it was easier tracking the song, than singing and playing together. Always surprised me that Paul plays the riff way up on the fretboard... not in the open position guitarists usually play it in. Ron
     
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  18. Marvin

    Marvin Forum Resident

    Day Tripper has a great riff but We Can Work it Out is in my top 5, maybe top 3, of all Beatles songs.
     
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  19. bumbletort

    bumbletort Senior Member

    Location:
    Baltimore, Md, USA
    An utter tie. Perhaps the toughest comparison in all Beatle 45-dom. I will listen to arguments as to the superiority of either--but it's like doing the same for comparing albums (WHICH is greater: A Hard Day's Night or Rubber Soul or Revolver or...just shoot me)--and that fact tells you something right there about the rarefied air we're in.
     
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  20. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    In the USA, We Can Work It Out got the nod for A-side and made it to #1, whereas Day Tripper made it to #5 as a B-side.

    However, in the UK, was one song favored over the other, although both were considered "A-sides"? Was there any designation that differentiated the label of the 45 that indicated a double A-side? Was this a common practice prior to this 45? That is, were other songs by other acts typically issued as double A-sides?

    Arnie
     
  21. Landis

    Landis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston
    I have read somewhere if someone else could point this out it would be cool as I love Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd music. The build up on "Day Tripper" where George was playing the volume swells which in IMO sounds a bit psychedelic was a source of an influence on Syd Barrett musically.

    It was nice in how The Beatles incorporated the harmonium on "We Can Work It Out" and how the song changes time signature and how it section off with two different vocalists which points towards later track like "A Day in the Life".
     
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  22. Rubber Soul

    Rubber Soul Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rebecca, GA, USA
    First I'll go with Yesterday. From what I have seen though Capitol might have been aiming for Act Naturally to be the A Side(Apple Re-issues have it as the A Side). Keep in mind at this point Ringo was the most popular Beatle in the USA so it makes sense. Yesterday however is one of the True Classics. There's no doubt with so many Beatles Tracks overplayed is common. However trying to come to the Music with a fresh mind/perspective can bring it back to life! I think because Yesterday got/gets so much praise many feel it defines the Beatles in a soft way(which obviously isn't the case). Great Track though and got older people who dismissed RnR to listen a bit closer!

    Help!/I'm Down..Wow!! Gotta give it to Help by a hair but I'm Down is killer(and has been covered by quite a few acts). Definitely Paul updating Little Richard..I Love It!!
     
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  23. Landis

    Landis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston
    "
    That is an excellent observation IMO. "Ticket To Ride" is one of the first rock styled songs that I remember that had that droning heavy hazy sound to it though it is not without influence. I have said this before no song is 100% percent original and The Beatles like any great artist would take an existing idea and brand it into a different form. Anyone who plays music knows that for a fact.

    I think the drum parts that influenced "What You're Doing" which was supposedly originally influenced by The Ronettes "Be My Baby" is taken another step further on "Ticket To Ride". To those who say The Beatles weren't branding new ideas from R&B music weren't listening carefully enough.
     
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  24. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    As far as I'm aware, this was the first announced, designated, publicized Double-A side anybody had released.
    We Can Work It Out was marginally favoured by the radio.
     
  25. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    I don't know of anybody who would claim otherwise; certainly the Beatles never claimed they didn't.
     
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