Cameron Carpenter: The ABCs of Rock ‘n’ Roll – B Stands for B-Sides The Point


CamCouple of quick updates from last week. Dave “Bookie” Bookman has indeed landed at Indie 88.1 and will debut his Sunday night show on September 15th at 6:00 PM. Nice to have him back on the local airwaves. Former Q-107 evening jock Dominik Diamond has taken over the morning show at the newly branded Radio 965 in Halifax.

The annual Toronto International Film Festival is now underway. Things kicked off for me last night at The Brant House as sonaBLAST! TIFF2013-Canada hosted their annual kick-off party with performances from Poor Young Things and the debut of Bellwoods (a new collective built around the nucleus of Morgan Cameron Ross and Alan Snoddy). More to report next week as I am actually writing this before I head out to the event. On Monday night I am stoked to be attending the world premiere of “Sunshine On Leith” with my pals The Proclaimers.

With the end of vinyl and the age of the digital single one thing we will never experience again is the great “B-side” or the “B-side” that becomes a bigger hit than the “A-side”. -Elvis-LennonNow there were some amazing A/B combinations over the years “Don’t Be Cruel” b/w “Hound Dog” from Elvis and pretty well every Beatles single released was considered a double A-side. The Rolling Stones soon followed suit and for a good chunk of the sixties the B-side was no longer the bastard son of rock’n’roll. With the advent of the album over time the B-side once again became a throwaway as consumers were encouraged to buy the full record. Alas, those days are gone forever but here is a list of B-sides that became much bigger than their A-sides.

“Rock Around The Clock” – Bill Haley & His Comets

This was the B-side of the long forgotten “Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)”. Neither side was a hit when originally released in 1954 but when “Rock Around The Clock” was featured in the 1955 movie “Blackboard Jungle” it shot up the charts like a, well, comet. The song would get a third life in 1974 when it was used as the theme song for the first two seasons of “Happy Days”.

“Groove Is In The Heart”  – Deee-Lite

The summer hit of 1990 and the biggest single in the career of Lady Miss Kier, Supa DJ Dmitry and Towa Tei began life as the B-side of “What Is Love?”. The lyrics of the song were written by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest and that is the legendary Bootsy Collins adding background vocals and thumpin’ bass.

“Beth” – Kiss

We can credit legendary radio programmer Rosalie Trombley with making this one a hit. Her daughter loved the song and Rosalie flipped “Detroit Rock City” over and made the Peter Criss sung ballad the biggest single in the band’s history. Canadian producer Bob Ezrin took a songwriting credit as he changed the original “Beck” lyric and changed it to “Beth” as well as producing the entire “Destroyer” album.

“Be-Bop-A-Lulu” – Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps

One of the greatest rock’n’roll records of all-time was the 1956 B-side of “Woman Love”.  It would be Vincent’s biggest hit and would become a huge influence on everyone from The Beatles to The Clash and Teenage Head.

“Maggie May – Rod Stewart

The song that launched the solo career of Faces vocalist Rod Stewart began life as the B-side of “Reason To Believe”. It was one of the few hits that Stewart had that he had a part in writing. Also, as a B-side the song ran just over five minutes which was unheard of for a single in the early seventies.

Salt-N-Pepa – “Push It”

“Push It” was originally on the B-side of the 12” single “Tramp” in 1987. Response was immediate and the song was released as a single the next year. Salt-N-Pepa would become the first all-female rap group to score both gold and platinum discs.

“How Soon Is Now” – The Smiths

The best known song for Morrissey and the gang, and the overplayed alternative anthem was the original flip side of “William, It Was Really Nothing”.

“Suffragette City”  – David Bowie

One of the all-time glam greats was originally the B-Side of “Starman”. This is the first song that Bowie offered Mott The Hoople so that the band would not break up. They turned it down and settled on “All The Young Dudes”.

“Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers

Maybe it was the song title that scared the record company and made them throw the song on the B-side of “Hung On You”.  Over the hundreds of covers of the 1955 song The Righteous Brothers version became the industry standard and it too had another life in the movie “Ghost”.

“ I Love Rock’n Roll” – Joan Jett

Joan originally recorded the track as the B-side to her 1979 single “You Don’t Own Me” using Paul Jones and Steve Cook from the Sex Pistols as her band  mates. Joan re-recorded the single with her band The Blackhearts in 1981 and the rest is rock’n’roll history.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar. The bar and BBQ opens daily at 4 PM and the BBQ rocks until 10 PM. Cocktails available after 10. It is the coolest rooftop in downtown Toronto and if you miss the BBQ head next store to Rock Lobster who are keeping late night old school Shanghai Cowgirl hours. As we are now officially into TIFF the Bovine will be serving up the cocktails until 4 AM and Rock Lobster will be open late during the festival.


Follow Cam @CC59 on Twitter.

Cam’s column appears every Thursday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: