The B-Sides – Lesser Known Hits of Well-Known Artists


Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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32 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    On the drive to my daughter’s yesterday, for granddaughter #2’s birthday, my wife and I were listening to the mountain of late 60s, 70s, and early 80s pop/rock music stored on the little computer stashed in my car. Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida came up. I remarked that if you could go out and find all of the surviving vinyl copies of the album of the same name, no needle would have ever touched Side One on half of them. Has to be the ultimate case of “bought the album for one song”.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I had several cassettes I bought for one song and it was supremely irritating to realize that the rest of the tape sucked and I’d have to rewind the same song again and again. :/ Records were better for that.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    There’s a college station here in town that does a great job of playing stuff that I’d never heard before and, not only that, it was stuff from the 80’s or 90’s that I’d never heard before. (I mean, it’s really easy to come up with something from 2004-2018 that I’d never heard before.)

    The deep cuts from the bands that you remember fondly (I mean, this morning, they played UB40’s “Breakfast in Bed”) just get me all the time.

    That’s one of the things that makes me sad about modern commercial radio. The classic stations now feel like when you listen to them for 3-4 months, you’ll have heard every song on their playlist. Sometimes the DJ gets on an ELO kick or a Talking Heads kinda thing but, for the most part, you’ll always have heard a song from the classic band’s Greatest Hits.

    Top 40 stations play new songs periodically, as is their fashion, I guess.

    I like being pointed to new and fun stuff that the Music Geek kids would know about… oh, you like electric guitar and drums? Have you ever listened to Parliament’s “Maggot Brain”? And then you listen to stuff that would have blown your mind when you were 20 but, for whatever reason, never made it to rotation.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird says:

      Along this line SiriusXM satellite radio has a channel called Deep Tracks. The tag line is “We play careers, not songs.” It’s all lesser known songs by well-known bands as well as stuff from lesser-known bands. One of the DJs has a penchant for obscure progressive rock for instance. Pretty much the opposite of Classic Hits and always interesting.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

      The gloriousness of Magot Brain (and Free Your Mind (and Your A…)) never made it onto straight ’70’s top 40 radio and was instead a staple of soul stations. It wasn’t until Prince crossed over that much of that good and glorious type sound started to be played to white audiences. It happened with Prince because his contract stipulated that he got played on the rock stations rather than the soul stations.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Jaybird says:

      Don’t you mean 3-4 HOURS?

      It’s weird that we live in basically a time of unlimited music and yet the radio seems like it’s worse than ever.

      ps thanks again for giving me the idea for this one, had a lot of fun with it.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    I was in an Expense Account Steak house in Vegas (on an expense account) and they started playing a deep track from an Alt-80’s band… not from the Pretty in Pink album. I can’t quite remember the song, but it wasn’t the 2nd best song, or even the 3rd, and certainly not something you ever heard on the radio… you had to have had the album. If it wasn’t Bloc Bloc Bloc by OMD, it was a song that fit just that profile.

    For a moment I felt young and thought the place kinda hip… then I realized *I* was the demographic for Expense Account Steak house in Las Vegas; and then three things in rapid succession: I was old, I was the mark, and this was hip the way that the Oldie Stations were hip when Bloc Bloc Bloc was released.

    Quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

    p.s. having trouble following conversations and commenting owing to strange refresh behavior on the site… I can see some comments in a Feedly like reader, but can’t reliably navigate to them… and going manually to the site doesn’t guaranty that the comment I want to respond to is there. Possibly this is a very elaborate html trick to keep me from commenting, to which, bravo. Else, I thought I’d mention it in hopes of a fix.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Thanks for mentioning it. We certainly value your comments.

      I’m going to @trumwill just to make sure he sees this – it’s a known problem but I don’t know if we know the parameters of the problem or not….


      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou says:

        Much obliged… I’m using Chrome and clearing cache/history/cookies didn’t seem to do anything. It’s really erratic, like, I obviously saw this comment, but my RSS feed is janky, and the State of the Discussion in the Post is different from the Main Site is different from another Post… and when one of them refreshes, clicking on the new Comment often dumps me in the Post from 30 (or what ever) minutes ago without the comment on which I just clicked.

        I think I saw that PDShaw commented similar behavior.

        Hope this helps describe the issue for troubleshooting purposes.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I’ll double ditto March’s comment. Having some strange stuff with comments and refreshing. And also i’ve had that time travel thing at Five Guy’s. Not exactly expense account level but the sound track is aimed at us old folks with music that often couldn’t get played when it was new. FG seems to know their demographics.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Yep I’ve had that same sort of experience. I had never seen the video to Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” till a couple years ago. The video has a “Happy Days” theme and has the character “Al” featured in it (the guy who ran the diner), and I was shocked at how young he looked. I thought “Gosh that guy has to be 90 years old by now and he looks exactly the same” It very slowly dawned on me that the video itself was 20 years old and more time had elapsed since the making of the video and when I watched it, than had elapsed between the time “Happy Days” was on the air and the making of the video. It was really trippy since in my mind I still considered “Buddy Holly” to be a relatively new song.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    “Down Under” has had staying power, but as I recall, Men At Work’s first hit “Who Can It Be Now?” was bigger. At least it was on the airwaves in my town. I never liked it.

    Have you ever seen the Human League “cocktail bar” remix? Kills me every time.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Pinky says:

      I was just a hair young for Who Can It Be Now so I don’t feel like it’s as overplayed as Down Under (probably perception) I didn’t really like it either TBH.

      No I haven’t, I’ll check that out! Thanks!Report

  5. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    I’m taking a long trip in the Wayback Machine here, but when I was a youngin’ I inherited a stack of 45 rpm records from my brother. A lot of 60s Motown and such but one quite literal B-side I discovered in that stash was Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-five on the flip side of Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings. The A-side is good but the B-side is better in my opinion.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:

    I think “Tragedy” is probably the Bee Gees best song.

    I’m weird that way

    I also love ABBA’s “The Visitors”. The song you will never hear in any version of Mamma Mia they care to filmReport

  7. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Everyone remembers Love Fool by the Cardigans, right? Well, a much better track was this:

  8. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    You mentioned Paul Simon’s “Love me Like a Rock” … hard to pick a Paul Simon song that isn’t immediately recognizable… but my sleeper pick for Graceland would be “That was your Mother” Maybe overlooked for being Zydeco and therefore slightly out of step with the big hits?

    Which got me thinking about other Paul Simon Mother/Son/Husband/Wife songs. Divorce is not oft sung, but I always found his song “Hearts & Bones” poignant. But then, I think it’s considered the best song on the album… so I suppose it doesn’t fit qua album, but maybe qua body of work.

    And I told that story to get to this one… Avett Brothers, DDivorce Separation Blues which is definitely better than all the other songs on that album.

    But don’t get divorced, not even for art.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I would offer “’39” by Queen as perhaps their greatest overlooked song.

    Written by Brian May, who not coincidentally went on to receive a doctorate in astrophysicsReport

  10. Avatar jason says:

    AC/DC’s Powerage is an underrated gem from the Bon Scott albums. It’s really a great album without radio friendly songs.Report