Do kids nowadays know what a B-Side is? With today’s music environment, they no longer exist. Now when a single is released, you just download that single. There is no longer another song purchased along with the single. That makes me sad.
I guess the so called Deluxe Edition of albums is like getting all your B-Sides at one time, but where is the fun in that. And are albums really “deluxe editions” if they don’t offer a non-deluxe edition? I think that would just be called an album.
Some B-Sides went on to be as big as the A-Side of even bigger. A couple examples would be with Kiss and Queen. For Kiss, “Beth” was the B-Side on the single for “Detroit Rock City”. A radio station added the song to their playlist and it went on to be Kiss’ biggest hit and reached #7 on the Billboard charts. Queen had the same thing happen. The B-Side for “We Are the Champions” was “We Will Rock You” The 2 songs now are played together and are 2 of the bands biggest and most played songs.
My favorite thing about B-Sides, however, are the rare, unreleased songs that bands release. Def Leppard were always great at releasing an unreleased song as the B-Side and they took it one step further with the ‘Hysteria’. They made each single release a different part of the album cover. That way when you had all the singles, you could piece them together to have a giant cover of the album. It was supposed to look like this:
But mine ended up looking like the picture below because they only released 7 singles. I don’t know how to get a hold of the other two corners.
The singles all had unreleased B-Sides and they were as follows:
- “Women” – the B-Side was “Tear it Down”
- “Animal” – the B-Side was “Tear It Down (UK)” and “I Wanna Be Your Hero (US)”
- “Hysteria” – the B-Side was “Ride Into the Sun”
- “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – the B-Side was “I Wanna Be Your Hero (UK)” and “Ring of Fire US)”
- “Love Bites” – the B-Side was “Billy’s Got a Gun (Live)”
- “Armageddon It” – the B-Side was “Ring of Fire (UK)” and “Release Me (US)
- “Rocket” – the B-Side was “Release Me (UK)” and “Women (Live) (US)”
It made the whole album experience much more enjoyable. I don’t enjoy the deluxe versions of albums as much as there is no excitement about the chase of getting that unreleased track because they aren’t unreleased tracks as you just released them on the album.
The point I am trying to make is that the music industry needs to bring some excitement back to music and bring us back the B-Side. I would spend more money on my favorite artists so I can get that unreleased track if that helps you make a decision. Go forth and check out your favorite artists and see if they have any unreleased tracks that were B-Sides and go track them down and buy them.