20 great A-Side/B-Side combos



beatlessingleThe B-Side is something that is mostly a relic of the past in rock music, but as you’ll see, it certainly played its role in getting some great music out to the public.

There are a large number of great B-Sides to have been released over the years, and many of them combined with a great A-Side to create amazing combos of songs. Here are just 20 notable combinations.

Beach Boys: Wouldn’t It Be Nice/God Only Knows

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“God Only Knows” was released as the B-side in the U.S. but was released as the A-side in other countries. Either way, it’s one hell of a combo.

Beatles:
Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus
Hey Jude/Revolution
Paperback Writer/Rain

You knew the Beatles would have some doozies. Indeed they do, with maybe the most famous of their B-Sides being “I Am the Walrus.” I’d pick “Hey Jude” over “Revolution,” but I prefer the B-side in the other two cases.

David Bowie: Starman/Suffragette City

Two Bowie favorites in one place. “Starman” was the A-Side in 1972, while “Suffragette City” would later get its time in the spotlight as an A-Side in 1976 when it was released as a single for the Changesonebowie compilation.

Dead Kennedys: Holiday in Cambodia/Police Truck

This isn’t one you’d find on other lists like this, but I put it here because I like the Dead Kennedys, and this might be the one example of my two favorite songs by an artist being released as an A-Side/B-Side combo.

Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues/She Belongs To Me

I don’t even want to imagine how many combos there might be with Bob Dylan. I just found one I thought was great and put it here. I have a feeling there could be a top 20 for Dylan alone.


Fleetwood Mac: Go Your Own Way/Silver Springs

“Silver Springs” was originally supposed to be included on the Rumors album but wound up being released as a B-Side to what would be one of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular hits.

Green Day: Brain Stew/Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

“Good Riddance” went on to become one of Green Day’s most famous songs, but it was originally a B-Side before a new version found its way onto the Nimrod album a couple years later. This is the version of the song that was the B-Side — a little more up tempo without any orchestration but still similar and still very likable.

The Guess Who: American Woman/No Sugar Tonight

This was the combo that inspired me to look for more. I featured “No Sugar Tonight” on a Song of the Day not long ago, and it made me wonder what else was on there. The answer to that question turned out to be “a lot.”

Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song/Hey Hey What Can I Do

Is this the strongest Zeppelin combo? Maybe not, but I included it because it makes up a cool piece of trivia as it was the only non-album track the band released before their breakup in 1980 (it later made its way into the first Led Zeppelin box set). It was certainly good enough to find its way onto an album, even though it never did.

Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit/Aneuryrsm

“Teen Spirit” obviously has its place in rock history, but “Aneurysm” is a song that has a lot of fans, myself included. It was originally released as a B-Side in the form below, then a different version was released on the Incesticide compilation.

Queen: We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You

These two classics might as well be one song, but yes, at one point one (“We Will Rock You”) was the B-Side of the other. Seems strange that they were reversed, but the proper order obviously took hold over the years.

Pearl Jam: Jeremy/Yellow Ledbetter

Back when Pearl Jam broke out in the early ’90s and fans were gobbling up anything Pearl Jam-related that hit the streets, “Yellow Ledbetter” made quite a splash when it was released. Originally an outtake for the album Ten, it became one of the band’s most popular tracks.

Rod Stewart: Reason To Believe/Maggie May

Hard to believe “Maggie May” was released a B-Side. As the song grew in popularity though, it was later reclassified as an A-Side. Either way, there’s no doubt it’s one of Stewart’s signature tunes.

Rolling Stones:
Brown Sugar/Bitch
Honky Tonk Women/You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Now here’s a couple of slam-dunk combos. All four of these songs went on to be among the Stones’ most popular. As good as the A-Sides are here, this is another example of two B-Sides I like better.

Them: Baby Please Don’t Go/Gloria

Two of Them’s finest moments, each one of these songs played a role as an A-Side and a B-Side. The 1964 release had “Gloria” as the B-Side, then was an A-side on a 1965 re-release.

U2 Where The Streets Have No Name/Sweetest Thing

The former is one of U2’s best songs, while the latter would eventually become a favorite and was later released as a single. “Sweetest Thing” was written by Bono as an apology to his wife for working on her birthday.

There’s so many more out there… let us know if you have any favorites!

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