5-23-12 Jim Donato’s List
#1 Synth man Robert Moog born 1934, singer Rosemary Clooney born 1928; Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac!
20 best non-LP b-sides of all time
1. Ultravox – Paths + Angles
B-side to “The Voice.” Fascinating blend of Warren Cann’s recited verses with Midge Ure singing the chorus. Killer melodic hooks are mated with typically compulsive rhythms.
2. Ultravox – I Never Wanted To Begin
“The Thin Wall” B-side. This track is jam packed with insanely compulsive rhythm programming! Once you hear this it will lodge itself in your skull for hours. The 12″ version is extended!
3. Adam & The Ants – Beat My Guest
The B-side to “Stand & Deliver.” Just our luck to have one of Adam’s best singles mated with an even better B-side! As emphasized by Marco Pirroni’s lewd guitar licks, this frolicsome ode to S & M manages to actually sound cheerful.
4. Spandau Ballet – Glow
B-side to “Musclebound.” The band invent new forms of Latinesque synth funk with this killer B-side that presaged their first big stylistic shift. Never better than in its 12″ version!
5. Simple Minds – New Warm Skin
B-side of “I Travel.” Another act that mated their best single with an evenly matched B-side! The rhythm track on this chilling song about plastic surgery is an example of Brian McGee at his finest. Mike McNeil’s keyboards mesh perfectly with the jarring stabs of Charlie Burchill, back when he avoided guitar clichés like the plague.
6. Japan – European Son
B-side of Japanese “I Second That Emotion” single. Quite frankly, this is my favorite Japan song of all time! It is the acme of the band’s Moroder-influenced “autobahn music.” It thoroughly smokes the actual single the band recorded with Moroder.
7. China Crisis – This Occupation [ext. ver.]
B-side of Wishful Thinking” 12.” The 7″ version of this track is good, but the extended mix is mystical! This sounds nothing like the China Crisis we know and love. It sounds even better! Quite frankly, this resembles mid period Cabaret Voltaire, sigh!
8. Visage – Frequency 7
“Tar” B-side. I was over familiar with the not so interesting extended version of this track that turned up everywhere back in the day. It took years of having this single before I finally played the 7″ version and was blown away the the superiority of this mix. It’s night and day compared to the tedium of the 12″ mix. For starters, it’s an actual song with vocals, and some killer synth rock.
9. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Just A Memory
B-side to “New Amsterdam.” quite possibly my favorite Elvis Costello track ever, this heart-wrenching ballad was originally written for Dusty Springfield, who ultimately did record it.
10. Swing Out Sister – Fever
“Fooled By A Smile” B-side. Yet another face rave B-side by a group that sounds nothing like Cabaret Voltaire, yet manages to channel them brilliantly on a B-side.
11. Yello – There Is No Reason
“She’s Got A Gun” B-side. This magnificent song from the soundtrack to Dieter Meier’s film “Jetz Und Alles” is an utterly riveting track by a band that typically had modest instrumental B-sides.
12. The Human League – Marianne
B-side on “Holiday ’80” EP. Killer track from the sessions of my favorite Human League album.
13. The Tourists – The Golden Lamp
B-side of “Blind Among The Flowers.” Another example of a B-side just as strong [if not moreso] of the killer A-side it was paired with. Conny Plank didn’t need synthesizes to achieve brilliance!
14. The Cramps – Wilder, Wilder, Faster, Faster
B-side of “Eyeball In My Martini.” This is one of The Cramps longest numbers at nearly five minutes… and it’s not nearly long enough! This track is done in the style of an old AM radio ad for a drive in movie packed with all of the ilurid action they could stand. Brilliant!
15. Pet Shop Boys – Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend
B-side of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” The Pet Shop Boys have an enviable catalog of B-side material that most bands would kill for. This song is a typically strong B-side that sounds like robust A-side material to me.
16. The Cure – The Exploding Boy
17. The Cure – A Few Hours After This…
“In Between Days” B-sides. If you bought The Cure’s “In Between Days” 12″ you were gifted with the three best songs the band ever recorded! “The Exploding Boy” is driven by acoustic guitars and mighty drums in addition to a killer tenor sax riff that proves that less is more. “A Few Hours AfterThis” is a baroque feast for the senses with strings, percussion and tympani evoking Ennio Morricone at his most expansively robust!
18. Duran Duran – Secret Oktober
“The Union Of The Snake” B-side. Their third album was far from Duran Duran’s finest hour, but this exquisitely poised B-side put everything else they recorded for those sessions very much in the shade! One of their finest hours for sure.
19. OMD – Annex
“Enola Gay” B-side. OMD were another band with a plethora of strong B-sides, but this one has the edge for me today. This evocative tune begins with a Japanese seaside melody under which a throbbing industrial rhythm ultimately ascends to hijack the wistful song by its end to leave the listener shell-shocked by its chilling intensity.
20. Bill Nelson – The Passion
“Flaming Desire” B-side. Another B-side that plays strongly off of a rousing A-side. “The Passion” is a driving instro that sounds like Duane Eddy poured in a blender with classic Duran Duran as the solid guitar chords are abetted by sax and synthetic percussion.