A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The B-Sides For Engaging With Fans

Remember how cool it was to discover new bands or songs from the B-sides of singles.

Like when I purchased the “Creeping Death” single and I first heard “Am I Evil” from Diamond Head and “Blitzkrieg” from Blitzkrieg. Or picking up the Whitesnake singles to “Here I Go Again” (and hearing “Guilty Of Love), “Give Me All Your Love” (and hearing “Fool For Your Loving and Don’t Break My Heart Again”), “Is This Love” (and hearing “Bad Boys” and “Standing in the Shadow”) and “Still Of The Night” (and hearing “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”).

Europe also promoted their back catalog with the release of “The Final Countdown” single. On the B-side there was the excellent “On Broken Wings”. Def Leppard also went into the archives when they put non album tracks “Ride Into The Sun” and “I Wanna Be Your Hero” as the b-sides to “Hysteria” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” respectively.

Throughout music history, the b-side has often thrown up an extra, unexpected treat. And with technology advancing, the vinyl b-side is a thing of the past, and when CD singles started coming out, the B-side was relegated to a four song EP while the MP3 introduced the era of cherry-picking and the b-side was dead forever.

One of my favourite rock acts from Australia “Candy Harlots” had real good single releases. I still have the original 7 inch single of the Leeno Dee penned “Danger” that was with Ron Barrett (RIP), Mark Easton, Leeno Dee, Tony Cardinal and Marc DeHagar. On the B-side was the Ron Barrett penned “Wrap 2 Arms”.

Then a few years later came the “Danger” CD Single. However this time the B-side was another Ron Barrett penned song called “Hot Love Child”.

The intention of the single was for artists to double up with releasing two great songs at a time.

“The Beatles” single releases came to be known as the “Double A-sides”. In the Seventies, the second cut was even seen to overtake its a-side: “Beth” from Kiss comes to mind. It was their biggest hit and it was a b-side to “Detroit Rock City”. By the Eighties, the B-side started to become a method for releasing versions of songs that were not officially released. Some bands used demos of unreleased songs, while others used live recordings of released songs or demos of released songs. Other bands used the B-side as a way to record cover songs.

Bon Jovi took the “unreleased demos of songs plus liver versions of released songs” route initially with each single, while Metallica took the “demos of released songs plus cover songs route”. Both formats worked and fostered a connection with fans that ended up with both bands releasing  albums that celebrated their own paradigm.

Bon Jovi came out with the boxed set” 100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” which focused on the unreleased songs. They did it again with the 2014 re-issue of “New Jersey”.

Metallica brought out “Garage Inc” which further built of the culture that both bands created.

Motley Crue tried to get in on the act with their “Supersonic And Demonic Relics” release.

Just recently Machine Head did a similar concept with “Killers and Kings” and their cover of Ignite’s “Our Darkest Days”/Bleeding”. It was a creative release that had four different covers based on Tarot Cards. As a fan, I purchased all four of the covers and they are still wrapped in plastic.

Coheed and Cambria released all the demos plus a few unreleased songs as part of the Super Deluxe release for “The Afterman” releases.  We, (the fans) lapped it all up.

Those albums that I purchased, I played them over and over (especially the demo/unreleased songs). However, all that time and devotion from all the fans was not counted by any metric so the artist had no idea the engagement the fans had with those releases.

All that mattered was the flawed business model of the initial purchase.

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