The death of b-sides

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Vern, May 17, 2015.

  1. Classicolin

    Classicolin ‘60s/‘70s Rock Fanatic/Crown Kingdom Guitarist

    A more apt modern analogue would be download-only tracks, pre-order exclusives, etc. I think the Deluxe Edition bonus-tracks (especially since they're so numerous) are more analogous to EPs (of non-album tracks, a la The Rolling Stones' first two EPs and 'Kwyet Kinks') from the pre-digital days.
    zen likes this.
  2. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    ascot likes this.
  3. Smiths22

    Smiths22 Well-Known Member

    Maybe but remember iTunes allows bonus tracks and singles if the artist is willing to do them.


    Johnny Marr - I Feel You (with a b side)
    U2 - SOI (a whole second disc with b sides).
    Gaslight likes this.
  4. mooseman

    mooseman Forum Resident

  5. GodBlessTinyTim

    GodBlessTinyTim Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Well, I'd much rather they just include such songs as album tracks on their next full-length release.

    Maybe I'm spoiled by living in the digital age. I've bought exactly one CD single in my life (CeeLo Green's "F*** You" b/w "Georgia"). The B-side isn't very good and as opposed to a full-length album, it hardly feels worth the effort to pop in the disc when I can listen to the three-minute song on YouTube. Even if this were 1975, I'd regard B-sides as "songs which annoyingly aren't included on albums".
    ARK likes this.
  6. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    Maybe I was spoiled living in the age of the b-side? :)

    My love of b-sides started with Adam and the Ants and the Cure in the early 80's. Adam Ant used old demos he'd made in the late 70's and re-recorded them for each single (I regard these b-sides to be some of his best songs Red Scab, Lady, Press Darlings, Physical etc.) and the Cure put unfinished/songs that just would not fit (musically) the album as b-sides (these were released as the b-side on the cassette of Standing on a Beach (their first hits album) and I listen to that b-side more than the a-side now). None of these songs would ever have been put on the individual albums as they would detract from that album but as individual songs they are great. I have albums and albums (pardon the pun) worth of b-sides that I think are great.

    Hell even one of Bowies best 80's tracks was "Julie" (throw away pop but better than the a-side) and this was only the b-side of Day-In Day-Out.
  7. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    I agree with the OP; basically the best days of the B-Side and general concept behind it is in the past.

    A 7" 45RPM B-Side gave the artist license to release a track or 2 that either wasn't up to par and would be ill-fitting on a "regular" LP. The BSides I always enjoyed are either a rough demo, an acoustic version, a cover, a live track, a remix, an alternate take, or even a silly studio toss-off.

    When buying singles, this simple tag line screamed "Buy Me Now! Or regret it later":
    "Previously unavailable on LP"
    There always seemed to be something extra special buying a song with that label. Even if the track was less than amazing. It seemed like the artist was at their most honest: no hype sold, no expectations promised, no label interference rejecting the release.

    I'm thinking of some great B-sides:
    REM: There She Goes Again (BSide of Radio Free Europe) a Velvet Underground cover that reveals one of their influences
    Beatles: You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (BSide of Let It Be) a silly song that would never be released on a regular LP
    The Jam: So Sad About Us (BSide of Down In The Tube Station At Midnight) a cover of The Who song that pays tribute to Keith Moon who had died the month prior to the single's release.
    Steely Dan: Bodhisatva (Live BSide of Hey Nineteen and Time Out Of Mind) notable at the time that Steely Dan had not released any live tracks at the time of this 45. Then, in true Becker Fagen sardonic fashion, it was one of 2 rare tracks on a 4 CD compilation of 66 songs. They eventually released a edited live CD in 1995.
  8. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    I kind of miss the fun of finding elusive Import singles at the record store with exclusive B-Sides on them.
    lechiffre, c-eling and stereoptic like this.
  9. jordanlolss

    jordanlolss Forum Resident

    Arctic Monkeys still do B-sides for their singles (they release them all on vinyl)
    Their B-sides have always been really good (Especially for their most recent album)
    Example: B-side of Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
  10. Muzyck

    Muzyck Just another anonymous canine Beatle fan

    With the move to the CD format, we now get a lot of regular releases with about 40 minutes of great music and another 40 that would have been considered B side material in the past.
    ARK likes this.
  11. Zongadude

    Zongadude Music is the best

    I agree with the OP.
    Artists such as Bjork or Tori Amos used to propose a lot of b-sides alongside their albums, sometimes to the point of having more songs on the singles put together than on the album itself.

    Bjork's last album "Vulnicura" is the first time there is absolutley no physical single published. The album before that (Biophilia) had eight 12'' and cd-singles published, all of them with unreleased remixes.

    Another one which seems to have lost the "noble art of the b-side" is Paul McCartney. His latest album "NEW" has three outtakes that are proposed in the new "deluxe" version of the album. In those ancient years they would have been non-album b-sides.

    The last example I can think of of a major act still proposing singles and b-sides is Thom Yorke, with the three Atoms For Peace 12'' released in 2014, all containing non-album songs.
  12. Yannick

    Yannick Forum Resident

    Cologne, Germany
    The bonus tracks from the current-era "Deluxe CD" versions of an album are the new b-sides.
    andrewskyDE, ARK and Mr.Sean like this.
  13. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    There are still artists offering non-album tracks along with their singles as downloads. I have a few from St. Vincent and Anna Calvi. And the cool thing is, I could buy them seperately. Or you get two for the price of one.
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  14. GreatKingRat

    GreatKingRat Well-Known Member

    Or more likely because you're from a country where CD singles and b-sides were never really a thing anyway?
  15. Haristar

    Haristar Apollo C. Vermouth

    Southampton, UK
    The amount of B-sides artists would put during the 90s is one of the reasons why I love bands like Blur and Oasis.

    Blur would sometimes put up to eight B-sides for certain singles albeit scattered across several releases. I put together a playlist recently of all Blur's A and B sides put together and it came up to 130 songs in the end. Oasis comes up to 88.
    jsb! likes this.
  16. Kevin j

    Kevin j Forum Resident

    Seattle Area
    cool, another thread bemoaning the death of something that still exists.
    andrewskyDE, ARK, veloso2 and 2 others like this.
  17. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Marsheaux did a full cover of Depeche Modes-A Broken Frame, with included re-done B-sides :D
    BigManRestless likes this.
  18. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    What I don't miss is playing $9.99 or $12.99 apiece for them just to get one (or maybe two) songs. :)
    ARK and lightbulb like this.
  19. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Nashville, TN
    But I definitely don't miss the ridiculous expense. Being a Britpop fanatic stuck in the US was a painfully costly endeavor. So glad those days are over.
    ARK likes this.
  20. jeffmo789

    jeffmo789 Give The Gift of Music!

    New England
    I disagree with that elitist pov.
  21. Seederman

    Seederman Forum Resident

    I think direct download actually will make it easier for artists to release all kinds of stuff. Things that weren't profitable to release on manufactured discs can provide extra income when manufacturing is no longer an issue.

    B-sides already died; CD's don't have a "B-side". However, CD's often mean you get three extra songs, instead of just one. Things like live recordings, demos, songs in progress, unreleased songs, remixes, and stuff like that are already being offered by many artists, and the number will probably grow exponentially as the century progresses. I daresay eventually the bands you love will have too many extra recordings.
  22. tomhayes

    tomhayes Forum Resident

    San Diego, Ca
    Public Enemy - B-Side Wins Again (Original Version)
  23. jsb!

    jsb! Forum Resident

    What annoys/disappoints/saddens me is that iTunes (etc) should be perfect for b-sides/singles with multiple non-album tracks. And for a while, that's what we got: artists would release singles on iTunes much the same as they previously had on vinyl/cd/cassette/whatever: the single a-side, and then anything from one to a handful of extra songs, be they new tracks, remixes, live songs or whatever. That was perfect, really, because it was a convenient way to get the tracks you wanted - you could pick & choose which ones you thought were worth paying for, as opposed to when you had to spend $20 to get the Import version of a single to get a new track or two, or had to re-buy songs you already had to get those you didn't.

    But lately I've noticed that lots of artists who used to do that, don't anymore. The digital single (if bands even bother with that) is literally just the one song. Yes, there may be a deluxe edition album with bonus tracks, but equally there may not: the Blur example mentioned by several (including me on that thread, come to think of it) is a good one: each of their albums from Leisure through Think Tank had another album's worth of material released on singles. The Magic Whip has the one extra track, which most of us can't even buy. Belle & Sebastian, right through to Write About Love, were releasing physical and digital singles with extra songs; for Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance - none. U2 released a handful of bonus tracks on the deluxe Songs of Innocence, but no singles in any form that included anything else. Even Bjork, longtime holdout on this front (albeit mostly with remixes lately) doesn't seem to be doing any physical (or even digital) singles for Vulnicura.

    Yes, of course there are exceptions (especially in the indie world), but they are definitely exceptions.
  24. troggy

    troggy Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow

    southern Illinois
    I think he was just being literal.
  25. jeffmo789

    jeffmo789 Give The Gift of Music!

    New England
    Oh, then he is correct!

    Unless it is one of those lame dual disc things. Did anyone like those????

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