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A-side and B-side are terms used to refer to the two sides of
phonograph record A phonograph disc record (also known as a gramophone disc record, especially in ), or simply a phonograph record, gramophone record, disc record, long-playing record, or record, is an in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated ...
s and
cassettes
cassettes
, and have often been printed on the labels of two-sided music recordings. The A-side usually features a recording that its artist, producer, or record company intends to receive the initial promotional effort and radio airplay and hopefully become a
hit record A hit song, also known as a hit record, hit single or simply a hit, is a recorded song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at melody, distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using pat ...
. The B-side (or "flip-side") is a secondary recording that typically receives less attention, although some B-sides have been as successful as, or more so than, their A-sides. Use of this language has largely declined in the early 21st century, given that the music industry has transitioned away from analog recordings towards
digital formats Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics, electronic circuits which operate using digital signals **Digital camera, which captures and stores digital imag ...
, such as CDs,
downloads In computer networks, download means to ''receive'' Data (computing), data from a remote system, typically a Server (computing), server such as a web server, an File Transfer Protocol, FTP server, an email server, or other similar system. This c ...
and
streaming Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed ...
, which do not have physical sides. Nevertheless, some artists and labels continue to employ the terms ''A-side'' and ''B-side'' metaphorically to describe the type of content a particular release features, with ''B-side'' sometimes representing a "bonus" track or other material.


History

The first sound recordings were produced in the late 19th century using cylinder records, which held approximately two minutes of audio stored upon a single round surface. One-sided
disc records A phonograph disc record (also known as a gramophone disc record, especially in British English), or simply a phonograph record, gramophone record, disc record or record, is an analog signal, analog sound Recording medium, storage medium in the ...
made of
shellac Shellac () is a resin In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly Viscosity, viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic comp ...
co-existed with cylinders and had a similar capacity. In 1908,
Columbia Records Columbia Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other seller ...

Columbia Records
introduced double-sided recordings with one selection on each side in European markets. Although cylinders and discs remained comparable and competitive for a time (by 1910, both media were able to hold between three and four minutes of sound), discs ultimately superseded the cylinder format, rendering it obsolete by 1912, largely due to its shorter play times. By the mid-1920s, double-sided shellac discs playing at 78 rpm (and known as "78s") had become an industry standard. Record producers did not initially have reason to value either side of double-sided records as being more important than the other. There were no
record charts A record chart, in the music industry, also called a music chart, is a ranking of Sound recording and reproduction, recorded music according to certain criteria during a given period. Many different criteria are used in worldwide charts, often ...
until the 1930s, and most radio stations did not broadcast recorded music until the 1950s, when the Top 40 radio format overtook
full-service network radio
full-service network radio
). In June 1948, Columbia Records introduced the modern 33 rpm long-playing (LP) microgroove
vinyl Vinyl may refer to: * Vinyl group, a class of organic molecules in chemistry * Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a particular vinyl polymer ** PVC clothing, cloth coated in PVC, also commonly used for tablecloths, upholstery, and shoes * Vinyl compositio ...
record for commercial sales, and its rival
RCA Victor RCA Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Bran ...
, responded the next year with the seven-inch 45 rpm vinylite record, which would quickly replace the 78 for single record releases. The term "single" came into popular use with the advent of vinyl records in the early 1950s. During this period, most record labels would designate one song an A-side and the other a B-side at random. (All records have specific identifiers for each side in addition to the catalog number for the record itself; the "A" side would typically be assigned a sequentially lower number.) Under this random system, many artists had so-called "double-sided hits", where both songs on a record made one of the national sales charts (in ''
Billboard A billboard (also called a hoarding in the UK and many other parts of the world) is a large outdoor advertising Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, also called outdoor advertising, outdoor media, and out-of-home media, is advertising experienced ou ...
'', '' Cashbox'', or other magazines), or would be featured on
jukebox A jukebox is a partially automated music box, music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that will play a patron's selection from self-contained media. The classic jukebox has buttons, with letters and numbers on them, which are used ...

jukebox
es in public places. Conventions shifted in the early 1960s, at which point record companies started assigning the song they wanted radio stations to play to side A, as 45 rpm single records ("45s") dominated most markets in terms of cash sales in comparison to
album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on (CD), , , or another medium. Albums of recorded sound were developed in the early 20th century as individual collected in a bound book resembling a ; this format evolve ...

album
s, which did not fare as well financially. Throughout the decade the industry would slowly shift to an album-driven paradigm for releasing new music; it was not until 1968 that the total production of albums on a unit basis finally surpassed that of singles in the United Kingdom. In the late 1960s, stereo versions of pop and rock songs began appearing on 45s. However, since the majority of the 45s were played on AM radio stations that were not yet equipped for stereo broadcast, stereo was not a priority. Nevertheless, FM rock stations did not like to play
monaural Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction (often shortened to mono) is sound intended to be heard as if it were emanating from one position. This contrasts with stereophonic sound File:Carsoundstereoshift.png, Time difference in a stereopho ...

monaural
content, so the record companies adopted a protocol for
promotional recording A promotional recording, or promo, or plug copy, is an audio or video recording distributed free, usually in order to promote a recording that is or soon will be commercially available. Promos are normally sent directly to broadcasters, such as mu ...
s for disc jockeys with the mono version of a song on one side and a stereo version of the same song on the other. By the early 1970s, album sales had increased and double-sided hit singles had become rare. Record companies started to use singles as a means of promoting albums; they frequently placed album tracks that they wished to promote on side A and less accessible, non-album, instrumental songs on side B. In order to ensure that radio stations played the side that the record companies wanted to promote, they often marked one side of a record's label as a "plug side". The distinction between the two sides became less meaningful after the introduction of cassettes and compact disc singles in the late 1980s when 45 rpm vinyl records began to decline. At first, cassette singles would often have one song on each side, matching the arrangement of vinyl records. Eventually though, cassette
maxi-single A maxi single or maxi-single (sometimes abbreviated to MCD or CDM) is a music Single (music), single release with more than the usual two tracks of an A-side and B-side, A-side song and a B-side song. The first maxi singles Mungo Jerry's first s ...
s containing more than two songs became more popular. As the one-sided audio compact disc became the dominant recording medium in the late 1990s, cassettes began vanishing and the A-side/B-side dichotomy became virtually extinct. The term "B-side" continued to enjoy varying levels of use in reference to the " bonus" tracks or "coupling" tracks on a CD single. In the last few decades, the industry has largely shifted away from physical media towards digital music distribution formats, further diminishing the relevance of terminology or marketing strategies based on "sides". Today, companies label non-album songs and tracks deemed less desirable or marketable using terms such as "unreleased", "bonus", "non-album", "rare", "outtakes", or "exclusive". Such material is sometimes grouped for downloading or streaming together into "bonus" or "extended" versions of an artist's albums on digital music platforms.


Significance

B-side songs may be released on the same record as a single to provide extra "value for money". There are several types of material commonly released in this way, including a different version (e.g., instrumental,
a cappella A cappella (, also , ; ) music is group or solo performance without instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocal The human voice consists of sound In physi ...
,
live Live may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Live!'' (2007 film), 2007 American film * ''Live'' (2014 film), a 2014 Japanese film *'' ''Live'' (Apocalyptica DVD) Music *Live (band), American alternative rock band * List of albums ...
,
acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), 2004 * Aco ...
,
remix A remix is a piece of media which has been altered or contorted from its original state by adding, removing, and/or changing pieces of the item. A song, piece of artwork, book, video, poem, or photograph can all be remixes. The only characteristic ...

remix
ed version or in another language), or, in a concept record, a song that does not fit into the story line. Additionally, it was common in the 1960s and 1970s for longer songs, especially by soul, funk, and R&B acts, to be broken into two parts for single release. Examples of this include
Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson Sr. (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". He was often referred to as "the Genius". Charl ...

Ray Charles
's "
What'd I Say "What'd I Say" (or "What I Say") is an American rhythm and blues Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record co ...
",
the Isley Brothers The Isley Brothers () are an American musical group originally from , that started as a vocal trio consisting of brothers , and in the 1950s. The Isley Brothers perform soul, R&B, funk, gospel, soul and . With a career spanning over eight d ...

the Isley Brothers
' "
Shout Shout or Shouts may refer to: * Shout (sound), a loud vocalization Films and television * ''The Shout'', a 1978 film by Jerzy Skolimowski * ''Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe'', 1986 television movie about the Australian singer * Shout (film ...
", and a number of records by
James Brown James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader. The central progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century music, he is often referred to by the Hono ...

James Brown
, including "
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" is a song written and recorded by James Brown James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. The central progenitor of f ...
" and " Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". Typically, "part one" would be the chart hit, while "part two" would be a continuation of the same performance. A notable example of a non-R&B hit with two parts was the single release of
Don McLean Donald McLean III (born October 2, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his 1971 hit song " American Pie", an 8.5-minute folk rock "cultural touchstone" about the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation. His o ...

Don McLean
's " American Pie". With the advent of the 12-inch single in the late 1970s, the part one/part two method of recording was largely abandoned. Modern-day examples include Fall Out Boy's EP '' My Heart Will Always Be the B-Side to My Tongue'' and My Chemical Romance's '' The Black Parade: The B-Sides''. Since both sides of a single received equal
royalties A royalty payment is a payment made by one party to another that owns a particular asset, for the right to ongoing use of that asset. Royalties are typically agreed upon as a percentage of gross or net revenues derived from the use of an asset o ...

royalties
, some composers deliberately arranged for their songs to be used as the B-sides of singles by popular artists. This became known as the "flipside racket". Similarly, it has also been alleged that owners of
pirate radio Pirate radio or a pirate radio station is a radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. In terrestrial ra ...
stations operating off the British coast in the 1960s would buy the publishing rights to the B-sides of records they expected to be hits, and then plug the A-sides in the hope of driving up sales and increasing their share of the royalties. Occasionally, the B-side of a single would become the more popular song. This sometimes occurred because a DJ preferred the B-side to its A-side and played it instead. Some examples include "
I Will Survive "I Will Survive" is a song first performed by American singer Gloria Gaynor, released in October 1978. It was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris. A top-selling song, it is a popular disco Disco is a music genre, genre of dance musi ...
" by
Gloria Gaynor Gloria Gaynor (née__NOTOC__ A birth name is the name of the person given upon their birth. The term may be applied to the surname, the given name or to the entire name. Where births are required to be officially registered, the entire name e ...
(originally the B-side of "Substitute"), "
Ice Ice Baby "Ice Ice Baby" is a hip hop Hip hop or hip-hop is a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, ...

Ice Ice Baby
" by
Vanilla Ice Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), known professionally as Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, actor, and television host. Born in South Dallas, and raised in Texas and South Florida, Ice released his debut album, ''Hooked'', ...

Vanilla Ice
(originally the B-side of "
Play That Funky Music "Play That Funky Music" is a song written by Rob Parissi and recorded by the band Wild Cherry (band), Wild Cherry. The single was the first released by the Cleveland-based Sweet City record label in April 1976 and distributed by Epic Records. Th ...
"), " I'll Be Around" by the Spinners (originally the B-side of "
How Could I Let You Get Away "How Could I Let You Get Away" is a song recorded by the American vocal group The Spinners (American R&B group), The Spinners (known as "Detroit Spinners" in the UK). Produced by Thom Bell and recorded at Philly's Sigma Sound Studios, the lush, st ...
") and "
Maggie May "Maggie May" is a song co-written by singer Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton, and performed by Rod Stewart on his album ''Every Picture Tells a Story'', released in 1971. In 2004, ''Rolling Stone'' ranked the song number 130 on its list of Th ...

Maggie May
" by
Rod Stewart Sir Roderick David Stewart (born 10 January 1945) is a British rock and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in London, he is of Scottish and English ancestry. With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart is one ...

Rod Stewart
(originally the B-side of "
Reason to Believe "Reason to Believe" is a song written, composed, and first recorded by American folk singer Tim Hardin in 1965. It has since been recorded by artists including Bobby Darin in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1969, the Carpenters in 1970, and Rod ...
"). Probably the most well-known of these, however, is "
Rock Around the Clock "Rock Around the Clock" is a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers (the latter being under the pseudonym "Jimmy De Knight") in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recor ...

Rock Around the Clock
" by
Bill Haley & His Comets Bill Haley & His Comets were an American rock and roll band, founded in 1952 and continued until Haley's death in 1981. The band was also known as Bill Haley and the Comets and Bill Haley's Comets (and variations thereof). From late 1954 to lat ...
(originally the B-side of "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town))". The song "
How Soon Is Now? "How Soon Is Now?" is a song by the English Rock music, rock band the Smiths, written by singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr. Originally a A-side and B-side, B-side of the 1984 single "William, It Was Really Nothing", "How Soon Is Now?" ...
" by
the Smiths The Smiths were an English band formed in in 1982. Their best-known line-up comprised singer , guitarist , bassist and drummer . They are regarded as one of the most important acts to emerge from the British scene of the 1980s. The Smiths ...
started out as the extra track on the 12-inch of "
William, It Was Really Nothing "William, It Was Really Nothing" is a song by the English rock band the Smiths The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The city has th ...
" but later gained a separate release as an A-side in its own right, as did
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's " Acquiesce", which originally appeared as a B-side of "
Some Might Say "Some Might Say" is a song by the English rock band Oasis In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and p ...
" in 1995, but gained subsequent release in 2006 as part of an EP to promote their forthcoming compilation album ''
Stop the Clocks ''Stop the Clocks'' is a compilation album by English rock band Oasis In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhab ...
''.
Feeder Feeder may refer to: Technology * Feeder (livestock equipment) * Feeder (beekeeping), any of several devices used in apiculture to supplement or replace natural food sources * Feeder (casting), another name for a riser, a reservoir built into a m ...
in 2001 and 2005 had the B-sides "Just a Day" from " Seven Days in the Sun", and "Shatter" from " Tumble and Fall", released as A-sides after fan petitions and official website and fansite message board hype; they charted at No. 12 and No. 11 in the UK. In 1986, "Grass", the first single from
XTC XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire, England, between Bristol, to the west, and Reading, Berkshire, Reading, the same distance to the east; the town is west of London. At the United King ...

XTC
's album ''
Skylarking ''Skylarking'' is the ninth studio album by the English rock music, rock band XTC, released 27 October 1986 on Virgin Records. Produced by American musician Todd Rundgren, it is a loose concept album about a nonspecific cycle, such as a day, a ...
'', was eclipsed in the U.S. by its B-side, " Dear God" – so much so that the record was almost immediately re-released with one song ("Mermaid Smiled") removed and "Dear God" put in its place, the replacement becoming one of the band's better-known hits. On many reissued singles, the A- and B-sides are two hit songs from different albums that were not originally released together, or even that are by entirely different artists. These were often made for the
jukebox A jukebox is a partially automated music box, music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that will play a patron's selection from self-contained media. The classic jukebox has buttons, with letters and numbers on them, which are used ...

jukebox
– for one record with two popular songs on it would make more money – or to promote one artist to the fans of another. It has even come about that new songs have been relegated to B-side status: for example, in 1981
Kraftwerk Kraftwerk (, "power station") is a German band formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. Widely considered as innovators and pioneers of electronic music, it was among the first successful acts to popularize the genre ...

Kraftwerk
released their new single " Computer Love", its B-side being "
The Model
The Model
", from the band's 1978 album ''
The Man-Machine ''The Man-Machine'' (german: link=no, Die Mensch-Maschine) is the seventh studio album by German electronic music Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments, or electronics, circuitry-based mu ...
''. With
synthpop Synth-pop (short for synthesizer pop; also called techno-pop; ) is a subgenre of new wave music New wave is a broad music genre that encompasses numerous pop music, pop-oriented styles from the late 1970s and the 1980s. It was origi ...
increasingly dominating the UK charts, the single was re-released with the sides reversed. In early 1982 "The Model" reached number one.


Double A-side

A "double A-side" or "AA-side" is a single where both sides are designated the A-side, with no designated B-side; that is, both sides are "hits" or prospective hit songs and neither side will be promoted over the other. In 1949,
Savoy Records Savoy Records is an American record company and label established by Herman Lubinsky in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey. Savoy specialized in jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. In September 2017, Savoy was acquired by Concord Bicycle Music. H ...
promoted a new single by one of its artists, Paul Williams' "House Rocker" and "He Knows How to Hucklebuck", as "The New Double Side Hit – Both Sides "A" Sides". In 1965, ''Billboard'' reported that due to a disagreement between
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...

EMI
and
John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist A peace movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by ...
about which side of
the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...

the Beatles
' "
We Can Work It Out "We Can Work It Out" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo St ...
" and "
Day Tripper "Day Tripper" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as a A-side and B-side, double A-side single with "We Can Work It Out" in December 1965. Written primarily by John Lennon, it was credited to the Lennon–McCartney p ...
" single should be considered the A-side and receive the plugging, "EMI settled for a double-side promotion campaign—unique in Britain." They continued to use the format for the release of the singles "
Eleanor Rigby "Eleanor Rigby" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ri ...
" and " Yellow Submarine" in 1966, followed by "
Strawberry Fields Forever "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George H ...

Strawberry Fields Forever
" / "
Penny Lane "Penny Lane" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo ...
" in 1967 and "
Something Something may refer to: Philosophy and language *Something (concept) Something and anything are concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the ...
" / "
Come Together "Come Together" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The song is the opening track on their 1969 album ''Abbey Road'' and was also released as a single coupled with "Something ...
" in 1969. Other groups followed suit, notably
the Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English band formed in London in 1962. Active for almost six decades, they are one of the most popular and enduring bands of the rock era. In the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-drive ...

the Rolling Stones
in early 1967 with "
Let's Spend the Night Together "Let's Spend the Night Together" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943), often referred to during the 1960s and 1970s as Keith Richard, is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. H ...
" / " Ruby Tuesday" as a double-A single. A double-A-sided single is often confused with a single where both sides, the A and the B, became hits. Although many artists in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including
Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpreta ...

Elvis Presley
,
the Everly Brothers The Everly Brothers were an American country rock Country rock is a subgenre of popular music, formed from the fusion of rock and country. It was developed by rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s a ...
,
Fats Domino Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. (February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017), known as Fats Domino, was an American pianist and singer-songwriter. One of the pioneers of rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, ...

Fats Domino
,
Ricky Nelson Eric Hilliard Nelson (May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985), known professionally as Ricky Nelson, was an American singer, musician, and actor. From age eight he starred alongside his family in the radio and television series ''The Adventures of O ...
,
the Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compo ...

the Beach Boys
,
Brenda Lee Brenda Mae Tarpley (born December 11, 1944), known professionally as Brenda Lee, is an American singer. Performing rockabilly Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music. It dates back to the early 1950s in the United State ...

Brenda Lee
, and
Pat Boone Patrick Charles Eugene Boone (born June 1, 1934) is an American singer, composer, actor, writer, television personality, motivational speaker, and spokesman. He was a successful pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. ...
, routinely had hit singles where both sides of the 45 received airplay, these were not double A-sides. The charts below tally the instances for artists' singles where both sides were hits, not where both sides were designated an A-side upon manufacture and release. For instance "
Don't Be Cruel "Don't Be Cruel" is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and written by Otis Blackwell in 1956.Victor (2008), ''The Elvis Encyclopedia'', p.115-116 It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, it was listed #197 in ''Rolling Stone, ...
", the B-side of " Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley, became as big a hit as its A-side even though "Don't Be Cruel" was not the intended A-side when released in 1956. Reissues later in the 1960s (and after the Beatles' "Day Tripper"/"We Can Work It Out") listed the single with both songs as the A-side. Also, for
Cliff Richard Sir Cliff Richard (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is an English singer who holds both British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Ter ...

Cliff Richard
's 1962 "
The Next Time "The Next Time" backed with "Bachelor Boy" was the first of three number one hit singles from the Cliff Richard Sir Cliff Richard (born Harry Rodger Webb; 14 October 1940) is an English singer, musician, actor, and philanthropist who holds b ...
"/" Bachelor Boy", both sides were marketed as songs with chart potential, albeit with "Bachelor Boy" pressed as the B-side. In the UK, before the advent of digital downloads, both A-sides were accredited with the same chart position, for the singles chart was compiled entirely from physical sales. In the UK, the biggest-selling non-charity single of all time was a double A-side,
Wings A wing is a type of fin A fin is a thin component or appendage attached to a larger body or structure. Fins typically function as foils that produce lift or thrust Thrust is a reaction (physics), reaction force (physics), force describ ...
' 1977 release "
Mull of Kintyre The Mull of Kintyre is the southwesternmost tip of the Kintyre, Kintyre Peninsula (formerly ''Cantyre'') in southwest Scotland. From here, the County Antrim, Antrim coast of Northern Ireland is visible on a calm and clear day, and a historic l ...
"/"
Girls' School Single-sex education, also known as single-gender education and gender-isolated education, is the practice of conducting education with male and female students attending separate classes, perhaps in separate buildings or schools. The practice o ...
", which sold over two million copies. It was also the UK Christmas No. 1 that year, one of only two occasions on which a double A-side has topped that chart, the other being Queen's 1991 re-release of "
Bohemian Rhapsody "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen (band), Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band's 1975 album ''A Night at the Opera (Queen album), A Night at the Opera''. The song is a six-minute suite (music), suite, ...

Bohemian Rhapsody
" with "
These Are the Days of Our Lives "These Are the Days of Our Lives" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Although credited to the whole band, it was largely written by their drummer Roger Taylor, and is the eighth track on the band's 1991 album '' Innuendo''. The song wa ...
".1977-12-24 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive , Official Charts
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Nirvana ' ( , , ; sa, निर्वाण} ''nirvāṇa'' ; Pali: ''nibbāna''; Prakrit: ''ṇivvāṇa'', literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp Richard Gombrich, ''Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benāres to Modern Colombo ...
released "
All Apologies "All Apologies" is a song by American rock band Nirvana, written by vocalist and guitarist, Kurt Cobain. It is the 12th and final song on the band's third and final studio album, ''In Utero The uterus (from Latin "uterus", plural ''uteri'' ...
" and "
Rape Me "Rape Me" is a song by the American rock band Nirvana ' ( , , ; sa, निर्वाण} ''nirvāṇa'' ; Pali: ''nibbāna''; Prakrit: ''ṇivvāṇa'', literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp Richard Gombrich, ''Theravada Buddhism ...
" as a double A-side in 1993, and both songs are accredited as a hit on both the UK Singles Chart, and the Irish Singles Chart. Queen released their first double-A single, "Killer Queen"/"Flick of the Wrist", in 1974. "Killer Queen" became a hit, while "Flick of the Wrist" was all but ignored for lack of promotion. Three years later, they released "We Are the Champions" with "We Will Rock You" as a B-side. Both sides of the single received much radio airplay (often one after the other), which led to them sometimes being referred to as a double A-side. In 1978 they released "Fat Bottomed Girls"/"Bicycle Race" as a double A-side; that time both sides of the single became hits. Occasionally double-A-sided singles were released with each side targeting a different market. During the late 1970s, for example, Dolly Parton released a number of double-A-sided singles, in which one side was released to pop radio, and the other side to country, including "Two Doors Down"/"It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" and "Baby I'm Burnin'"/"I Really Got the Feeling". In 1978, the Bee Gees also used this method when they released "Too Much Heaven" for the pop market and the flip side, "Rest Your Love on Me", which was aimed toward country stations. Many artists continue to release double-A-sided singles outside of the US where it is seen as more popular. Examples of this include Oasis's "Little by Little (Oasis song), Little by Little"/"She Is Love" (2002), Bloc Party's So Here We Are/Positive Tension, "So Here We Are"/"Positive Tension" (2005) and Gorillaz's El Mañana (song), "El Mañana"/"Kids with Guns" (2006). Artists having the most US double-sided singles on which each side charted in the Billboard Hot 100, US Hot 100, according to ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'':Whitburn, Joel, Top Pop Singles 1955–2006, Record Research Inc., 2007 *Perry Como (12) and Nat King Cole (19) both had additional double-sided singles on ''Billboard''s pre-1955 charts. Artists having the most US double-sided singles on which each side reached the Top 40, Billboard Top 40, according to ''Billboard'':


Double B-side

On vinyl, double-A-sided singles had one song on either side of the record, while double B-sides contained two songs on the same side (on the B-side, making three songs in all). When such singles were introduced in the 1970s, the popular term for them was "maxi single", though this term is now used more ambiguously for a variety of formats. For some people these records would not quite qualify as EPs, which generally have four songs on a 45. Genesis (band), Genesis's 1978 7-inch single "Many Too Many" featured two B-sides, "The Day the Light Went Out" and "Vancouver", both of them being outtakes from the ''...And Then There Were Three...'' album. There was no 12-inch equivalent. The band released two 7-inch singles with three tracks apiece, ''Spot the Pigeon'' and ''3X3'' (also known as "Paperlate"), which were explicitly marked as EPs. "Spot the Pigeon" was also available in a 12-inch version, and also subverted this format a bit, by having two tracks on the A-side and one track on the B-side. The B-side, "Inside and Out", was also considered the selling point of the EP, being Steve Hackett's last contribution to the band, and remains a favorite of many fans. Paul McCartney's 1980 single "Coming Up (song), Coming Up" had a studio version of the song on the A-side, while the B-side contained two songs, a live version of "Coming Up" and a studio instrumental called "Lunchbox/Odd Sox". Iron Maiden's 1980 7-inch single "Sanctuary (Iron Maiden song), Sanctuary" was a re-recording of a song that had been given for use on the ''Metal For Muthas'' compilation the previous year. The recording was made during the ''Iron Maiden (album), Iron Maiden'' sessions but was left off the UK version of that album, and was then put out as a single. To help compensate fans who had specifically bought ''Metal for Muthas'' for the track, the "Sanctuary" single had two live B-sides which were deliberately selected to be non-album tracks—"I Got the Fire, I've Got The Fire" (a cover of the Montrose (band), Montrose song) and "Drifter". A studio recording of "Drifter" (featuring Adrian Smith instead of Dennis Stratton) appeared on their next album, ''Killers (Iron Maiden album), Killers'', and a studio version of "I've Got The Fire" featuring Bruce Dickinson appeared on the B-side of "Flight of Icarus" a few years later. At the time this single was released they were the first live Iron Maiden tracks released (though more would follow), and it remains the only officially released recording of "I've Got The Fire" with Paul Di'Anno on vocals. The singles from U2's album ''The Joshua Tree'' were released with two B-side songs each, which were pressed at 33 rpm. Versions for jukeboxes included only one of those songs, which played at 45 rpm. The UK 7-inch single of "Love Shack" by The B-52's was released with live versions of "Planet Claire" and "Rock Lobster" on the B-side, which plays at 33 rpm. The follow-up "Roam (song), Roam" followed suit, including live versions of "Whammy Kiss" and "Dance This Mess Around" on the B-side playing at 33 rpm. The Rolling Stones released "Brown Sugar (The Rolling Stones song), Brown Sugar" from their album ''Sticky Fingers'' in May 1971. While the American single featured only "Bitch (The Rolling Stones song), Bitch" as the B-side, the British single added a third track, a live rendition of "Let It Rock (Chuck Berry song), Let It Rock" (the Chuck Berry classic) recorded at the University of Leeds during their 1971 tour of the UK.


Humorous implementations

The concept of the B-side has become so well-known that many performers have released parody versions, including: * The 1988 single "Stutter Rap (No Sleep til Bedtime)" by parody band Morris Minor and the Majors featured a B-side titled "Another Boring 'B'-side". * Nell Campbell, Little Nell's EP The Musical World of Little Nell (Aquatic Teenage Sex & Squalor) claimed to be the world's first ''triple'' B-side. * Parody band Bad News (band), Bad News recorded a video B-side for the VHS version of their single "
Bohemian Rhapsody "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen (band), Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band's 1975 album ''A Night at the Opera (Queen album), A Night at the Opera''. The song is a six-minute suite (music), suite, ...

Bohemian Rhapsody
", titled "Every Mistake Imaginable", in which the band discusses that they have to record an extra three minutes of footage for the single to be eligible for the charts. * Tracey Ullman's hit "They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl song), They Don't Know" was backed in the UK by a song entitled "The B Side" and featured Ullman in a variety of comic monologues, many of which bemoaned the uselessness of B-sides. (The US release used the album's title track, "You Broke My Heart in 17 Places", as the B-side.) * Harry Enfield's 1988 novelty single "Loadsamoney, Loadsamoney (Doin' Up the House)" features a B-side titled "The B Side", in which Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, in character as Loadsamoney and Lance respectively, discuss the creation of a B-side for their record. * Paul and Linda McCartney's B-side to Linda McCartney's "Seaside Woman" (released under the alias Suzy and the Red Stripes) is a song titled "B-Side to Seaside". * The single "O.K.?", from the Rock Follies of '77 (soundtrack), soundtrack album of the TV series ''Rock Follies of '77'', is coupled with a song titled "B-Side?" which features Charlotte Cornwell tunelessly singing about the fact that she is not considered good enough to sing an A-side. * The B-side of the single "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" by Napoleon XIV is titled "!aaaH-aH, yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" and the singer billed as "Noelopan VIX". It was the A-side played in reverse; in fact, most of the label affixed to that B-side was a mirror image of the front label (as opposed to being spelled backwards), including the letters in the "WB" shield logo. * Blotto (band), Blotto's 1981 single "When the Second Feature Starts" features "The B-Side", a song about how bad B-sides are compared to A-sides. * Love and Rockets (band), Love and Rockets' novelty side project the Bubblemen released only one single in 1988, "The Bubblemen Are Coming" coupled with "The B-Side", which is a field recording of bees. * The Wall of Voodoo 1982 12-inch EP ''Two Songs by Wall of Voodoo'' has the 10-minute joke track "There's Nothing on This Side" on the B-side. * Metric (band), Metric released in 2008 a single entitled "Help, I'm Alive", with a B-side "Help, I'm a B-Side". * Three Dog Night's 1973 single "Shambala (song), Shambala" features "Our 'B' Side", about the group wishing they could be trusted to write their own songs for single release. It is the only Three Dog Night single written and produced by the whole group, and features family members on background vocals. * Dickie Goodman's 1974 release "Energy Crisis '74" featured "The Mistake" as the B-side, which was simply a false start of the A-side, with Goodman saying, "Mr. President, the crisis...", followed by two minutes of silence. (It was literally a mistake: the intended B-side was an instrumental called "Ruthie's Theme". However, when Goodman realized the factory had stamped a number of the botched pressings, he simply placed the full version of "Energy Crisis '74" on the other side, and released the records anyway.) * The Pearl Harbor and the Explosions song "You Got It" was backed by "Busy Little B Side", also found on the Warner Bros. two-LP Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders, sampler, ''Troublemakers''. * The B-side of B. A. Robertson's 1979 single "Goosebumps" is titled "The B-Side", and contains lyrics from the song's point of view. The lyrics describe the song as being "the back of a hit" and "real popular after the war", which can be said to relate to the dominance of the 45 rpm single after World War II, and the change of significance of the A-side and the B-side after this time. This track also opens side two of Robertson's album ''Initial Success''. * One of the B-sides of Lenny Kravitz's single "Heaven Help" is titled "B-Side Blues", and documents the sheer boredom of him being under a lot of pressure from his record company to write more successful material. * Kaiser Chiefs released a 7-inch single of "You Can Have It All" that featured a blank B-side. Parodying their hit record "I Predict A Riot", the label on this blank side suggested it contained the track "I Predict Some Quiet". * The B-side of George Harrison's "Dark Horse (George Harrison song), Dark Horse", "I_Don't_Care_Anymore_(George_Harrison_song), I Don't Care Any More", starts with a recitative marking the casual nature of the performance, reflected in Harrison's spoken introduction before the first verse: "OK, here we go, fellas / We got a B-side to make, ladies and gentlemen so we better get on with it." *The cassette release of ''In God We Trust, Inc.'' by the Dead Kennedys featured a blank B-side, the entire album being on Side A. Printed on Side B was the explanation "Home Taping Is Killing Music, Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help."


B/W

The term "b/w", an abbreviation of "backed with", is often used in listings to indicate the B-side of a record. The term "c/w", for "coupled with", is used similarly.


B-side compilations


Notes


References

* MacDonald, Ian. ''Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties'' – * "A History of the 45rpm record" Martland, Peter. ''EMI: The First 100 Years'' – {{Music topics Audio storage Music industry