1440 WROK’s Music Theme Of The Week: B-Sides Better Than The A-Side
A new week means a new music theme for our 5 o'clock hour during the morning show. This week's theme is another one submitted by a listener: B-sides that outperformed the A-side on which it was released.
I'm pretty sure I'll be the youngest one to read this post, but maybe someone born in the 80s or 90s will accidently stumble upon this. For those readers, A and B side refer to the two sides of a single released on a record. The A-side was the big hit, the B-side could have been anything by the same artist, but usually was much less successful than the A-side.
So which B-sides were better in music history?
We play two songs every morning starting at 5:35 Monday through Friday on Riley and Joe in the morning. Here's what we're playing this week.
The Doobie Brothers- Black Water - A-Side - Another Park, Another Sunday
Another Park, Another Sunday is a fine song. You might not know it by name but you've probably heard it before.
The Doobie Brothers didn't think there would be huge commercial appeal to Black Water. That is until a DJ in Roanoke, VA started playing the song because of geographical reasons.
Wikipedia -From 11 September 1974 WROV-AM in Roanoke VA began airing "Black Water" off the album What Were Once Vices... - the Blackwater, a Roanoke River tributary, is a 25-minute drive from Roanoke city center - with listener response so positive as to cause music director Chuck Holloway to opine: "No one was requesting anything else."
The rest, as they say, is history.
Elvis Presley - Hound Dog - A-Side - Don't Be Cruel
This is splitting hairs a bit because Don't Be Cruel was definitely a hit but not quite as big as Hound Dog and didn't have nearly the cultural impact that Hound Dog did.
If you have a few hours on your hand, you should check out the WIkipedia page for Hound Dog. It's massive. The song has been recorded by over 250 artists, originally by Big Momma Thornton:
But it is Elvis' version that has become the standard. It was one of the first times that rock and roll had pilfered a blues song to make it one of its own, a trend that continues today.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Born On The Bayou - A-Side - Proud Mary
We kicked off Tuesday with another song about a body of water. Yesterday it was Black Water, today it's a bayou. Proud Mary, the A-side to this single did well, but not nearly as well as the anthem that Born on the Bayou became.
Chicago - Colour My World - A-Side - Make Me Smile/Beginnings
Make Me Smile and Beginnings were hits for Chicago but were they played at every single prom in the 1980s? That was where this song took off. It was basically a Boyz II Men song for Baby Boomers.
Booker T. & The M.G.s - Green Onions - A-side - Behave Yourself
I, like many, became familiar with this song when I heard it on a Blues Brothers album. It was first released by Booker T. & The M.G.s in 1962 when it was the B-side to their single Behave Yourself.
A fine song, but nowhere near as popular as Green Onions. The single was quickly made into an A-side single and the entire project was renamed Green Onions.
There are a lot of other versions of Green Onions out there. You should do a little search yourself, but one of my favorites is by Mongo Santamaria.
Bill Haley & His Comets - Rock Around The Clock - A-side - Thirteen Women (and Only One Man In Town)
Rock Around the Clock, released in 1954, is credited as the first rock and roll song to top the charts.
A kind of depressing song about no men being in town because the all died in a hydrogen bomb explosion. It has a similar feel to Rock Around The Clock but nowhere near as catchy. Rock Around The Clock would cement its place in history when Happy Days used it for its opening credits.
Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want - A-Side - Honky Tonk Women
A fun fact about this song is that it's one of the few that their late drummer, Charlie Watts, didn't play. According to legend it was because Charlie couldn't find the groove to the song and that's when their producer Jimmy Miller took over on the kit. I refuse to believe that Watts "couldn't find the groove" and just didn't like what Miller wanted so he said "do it yourself." Watts wasn't wrong about much, but if my theory is true, he was probably wrong about this.
Queen - We Will Rock You - A-Side - We Are The Champions
These songs were played back-to-back so often on the radio that I was sure they were just a single song. We Will Rock You jumped back into the top 20 in 2018 after the release of Bohemian Rhapsody and is the song played the most at NBA, NHL, and NFL games.
Come back tomorrow for two more songs from Friday's show.
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