12 inch : AC1T
As mentioned in that Smiths post, I have great respect for bands who put good stuff on B-sides. Fuck instrumental versions of the A-side, haven't ya got anything more to say?
Loads of my favourite artists had some of their best work tucked away as extra tracks.
As Peter Buck said in the sleevenotes to REM's 1987 B-sides compilation Dead Letter Office;
No matter how lavish that packaging, no matter what attention to detail, a 45 is still essentially a piece of crap usually purchased by teenagers. This is why musicians feel free to put just about anything on the B-side; nobody will listen to it anyway, so why not have some fun. You can clear the closet of failed experiments, badly written songs, drunken jokes and, occasionally, a worthwhile song that doesn't fit the feel of an album.
I'd add another couple of categories - artists like The Jam, The Beatles and The Smiths who were simply so talented and prolific that they could release good albums and good singles with good B-sides; and secondly that great staple of the B-side, the inspired cover version.
Aztec Camera were great for B-sides on pretty much every category. There has been a B-sides album released in Japan (Covers & Rare, WEA WMC5-671), but it misses off a couple of corkers, and it should be available worldwide.
Not only did they use their B-sides for some gorgeous original songs, but they were masters of the unexpected cover. You can expect to see a few crop up on this blog in times to come. True Colors, The Red Flag, Dylan's I Threw It All Away and, for now, this. Van Halen's Jump, recorded only six months after the original, as the B-side of All I Need Is Everything.
It was the flagship single for Aztec Camera's second album Knife, and their first release since signing to a major label. Would the corporate muscle have pushed out the subtlety, intelligence and quirkiness that characterised the previous releases on Rough Trade and the legendary Postcard labels?
This B-side was here to make the answer plain. Roddy Frame (the band's one-and-only in the same sense that Matt Johnson is The The) utterly disarms the cock-rock and makes it a gentle tongue-in-cheek acoustic glide.
On the 7 inch, that's all there is. On the 12 inch there's the Loaded Version, where it carries on longer and a squealy widdly-widdly metal guitar solo comes in and rocks away, getting louder and louder until it drowns out everything else. Mental.
[MP3 deleted to make space for new ones. Sorry!]