When you think about the term ‘B-Sides’, younger listeners will no clue what that means. TV rabbit ears, telephone booths, “be kind rewind”, and the floppy disk are all ancient history to today’s youth. Back when music came out on vinyl, you even had single song discs called 45’s. The front side was the big hit and the back side was a bonus song called the B-Side. Many of these never made the final album, but true fans of the bands often loved these lesser known songs even more than the hit.
“DANCING BAREFOOT” U2
“Dancing Barefoot” was originally sung by punk pioneer, Patti Smith, in the late 70’s. Her definitive version is on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Rock Songs. U2 took a stab at the cherished rocker and put it on the B-Side of their hit “When Love Comes To Town” with B.B. King. The song was later added to the soundtrack of the movie, Threesome, and U2 put the song on Disc 2 (The B-Sides) of their Greatest Hits CD. The hypnotic “Oh God, I fell for you” will be stuck in your head all day.
“I WANNA BE WITH YOU” Bruce Springsteen
My all-time favorite double album is Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” (1980). Bruce was so full of creative energy during this time period that he not only wrote enough material for 2 full albums, he had more than 40 other songs that never saw the light of day (Bruce pun there). “I Wanna Be With You” is a straight ahead early rock and roll love song. Of course, lines like “I lost my job at the Texaco” are vintage Springsteen. The song was added to Bruce’s “Tracks” box set, a 4 CD compilation of lost B-Sides.
“2 LATE” The Cure
The Cure recently performed a massive 45 song concert set for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The crowd went crazy for the big hits like “Just Like Heaven” and “A Night Like This”. But longtime fans were blown away when The Cure played a rarity, “2 Late”, the backing track to their biggest hit, “Lovesong”. Robert Smith said, “I sing that song at home. It’s one of the few songs I sing to myself when I’m doing stuff and I just realised the other day that I’ve been singing the wrong words for the last 25 years.”