It all goes back to those little vinyl records that most people called 45s (since they were designed to be played at 45 revolutions per minute), or singles. There was the A-side of the disc with the song destined to be a hit single, and then there was the B-side – the bonus prize.
Somehow the term just stuck. Sure, we live in a world of digital downloads and streaming where terms like “rare” and “exclusive” describe the tracks once known as B-sides. Still, a lot of artists continue to use the term B-side.
B-sides are the also-rans, the runts of the litter not good enough to make the album, never mind be the A-side of a hit single, right?
Ah, but sometimes the B-side is a gem and this series, Best of the B-sides, will show why. Take U2, for example. Their song, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” was a big hit single back in 1987. The B-side was a lovely little song called “The Sweetest Thing.” If you ever forget your loved one’s birthday, just share the video for this song with them. It’ll put a smile on their face.
Next B-side ready to drop onto the Best of the B-sides turntable: The Beach Boys.
Jim Marshall, the father of loud
Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris [PODCAST]
U2's Achtung Baby: From rock stars to superstars
on Apr 26, 2012