B-Sides: Fan Feature by Adam Unger

B-Sides

by Adam Unger - www.queenvault.com

For those of you that are old enough to remember a single as a 45 record and not a download from iTunes, then you are familiar with the B-side.  B-sides would be pressed on the opposite side of a potential hit on either a 7” or 12” record.  Usually the B-side would be just another track from the album that the particular artist was trying to sell at that point.  Other times, there would be a surprise track that didn’t appear anywhere else.  Whether it was Rain on the backside of Paperback Writer or Hey, Hey What Can I Do on the reverse of Immigrant Song, B-sides have made music fun, collectible, and a nice bonus for diehard fans.

Queen B-sides are no different.  The majority of B-sides were either simply an album track or an edit, remix, or single version of an album track.  There are, thankfully, exceptions to that statement.  There are a select few B-side tracks, which at that time were non-album songs that were available exclusively on a single format.  Read onwards for a brief history of Queen’s B-side catalogue.  

The start of Queen’s B-side discography begins with their first UK top ten hit, The Seven Seas Of Rhye (UK 10).  See What A Fool I’ve Been got its roots from Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry’s song The Way I Feel.  Brian had heard the song from a television performance.  He remembered the chord sequence and some of the lines, but not in their entirety.  From the bits he could remember, Brian worked out a version of the song for his pre-Queen band Smile.  The track was used sporadically as a live Queen track during early concerts and was finally released as a proper studio recording in February of 1974. Freddie provided a very tongue in cheek “spoof” vocal performance.  Interestingly enough, Queen recorded an earlier version of the track in July 1973 for their second BBC session at Langham 1 Studio, London.  The BBC Session 2 version features Freddie’s vocals in full force with a much more serious performance.  Brian kept the multi-track tape from the Langham 1 Studio session.  This precious, saved tape was used to provide the source material for the 2011 Mix of See What A Fool I’ve Been BBC version.

Six years later, Queen were looking for their follow-up to their smash hit, Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  Play The Game was released in mid-1980 and became a modest hit (UK 14, US 42).  The B-side was the Roger Taylor penned track, A Human Body.  Roger provides lead vocals, drums, and guitar; Brian and Freddie assist Roger with backing vocals.  It has been rumoured that the song fell out of favor with Roger.  As a result, it did not appear on subsequent CD remaster catalogue campaigns for Hollywood Records’ 1991 releases or the 1994 Digital Master Series from EMI.  Finally, the track entered the digital age with 2009’s The Singles Collection Volume 2 and 2011’s Deluxe Edition of The Game.

Soul Brother is the B-side to the 1981 smash hit Under Pressure (UK 1, US 29).  Credited to the entire band, Soul Brother seems to be Queen spoofing themselves to a degree.  Freddie’s vocals are mostly in falsetto, singing lyrics made up of other Queen tracks.  The band are obviously having fun with this track and the energy translates well to the listener.  This track is available on multiple singles compilations and made a surprise appearance on the US CD single of Heaven For Everyone (although the stereo channels were reversed).

I Go Crazy is the B-side to Radio Ga Ga (UK 2, US 16); the lead single to 1984’s The Works.  Usually considered the favorite B-side among Queen fans, I Go Crazy began life three years earlier during the Under Pressure sessions.  This Brian May track is a rock song through and through.  The band puts on a great performance with a really good live feel to it.

Feeling rejuvenated by their legendary performance at Live Aid, Queen went back to the studio to begin work on One Vision (UK 7, US 61) and their album A Kind Of Magic.  The B-sides to singles of this era were mostly instrumental songs inspired by their main A-side counterpart.  Blurred Vision is more or less an instrumental remix of One Vision.  Forever is an instrumental performance based around the basic melody of Who Wants To Live Forever; Brian May provides piano and Spike Edney is on synthesizer.  The track was a bonus track on the A Kind Of Magic CD and appeared on the UK 12” vinyl.  Finally, A Dozen Red Roses For My Darling, the B-side of A Kind Of Magic, is an instrumental variant of Don’t Lose Your Head.

After taking three years off, Queen returned in 1989 with their album The Miracle.  This period was extremely productive for Queen in the studio.  The Miracle generated 5 top 25 UK singles, all of which had an exclusive B-side track.  I Want It All (UK 3, US 50) showed Queen was back in full force.  The B-side, Hang On In There, started as a studio jam and grew into the final song.  A slightly longer version with an added guitar chord at the end appears on the CD version of the album as a bonus track.  Stealin’ was the B-side of the second single from this period, Breakthru (UK 7).  Stealin’ is a laid back song that builds to a rip-roaring jam session at the end.  The track took many different forms during its creation, starting as a 12-minute demo.  Both The Invisible Man (UK 12) and its flipside, Hijack My Heart were the creation of Roger Taylor.  Roger sings lead vocals on Hijack My Heart and provides most of the instrumentation.  This would be the final time that Roger would appear singing lead vocals on a Queen track until 1995’s Let Me Live.  My Life Has Been Saved, the B-side to Scandal (UK 25), was penned by John Deacon.  The song was later revisited for inclusion on 1995’s Made In Heaven.  The single The Miracle (UK 22) featured archived live performances to promote the upcoming video release Rare Live.  Stone Cold Crazy from the 1974 Rainbow Theatre concert appeared on the 7”, 12”, and on the CD single.  My Melancholy Blues from the 1977 Houston concert appeared on the 12” and CD singles.

The end of Queen’s studio career provided a final few B-side surprises.  I’m Going Slightly Mad (UK 22) included Lost Opportunity on the 12” and CD single.  This Brian May written track was recorded in a single take at the beginning of 1991.  This is the last Queen track to feature Brian on lead vocals until 1995’s Let Me Live.  Headlong (UK 14) featured a huge surprise for it’s 12” vinyl and CD single formats.  Mad The Swine was an archival track from Queen’s first album that was never released.  Originally recorded in June 1972, David Richards provided a fresh, polished mix from the original multi-track.

Made In Heaven was the final chapter to Queen’s album releases.  Appearing on the CD single to A Winter’s Tale (UK 6), Rock In Rio Blues was the last proper B-side of the Queen catalogue.  Recorded live in Rio on January 19, 1985, this track is the genesis of the Impromptu live jam that appeared during the following year’s Magic Tour.  The US saw a slightly different version of this track on the CD single release of Too Much Love Will Kill You.

As a Queen fan, I remember the excitement of looking outside of the albums for these tracks.  Like many of you, I spent hours in record shops thumbing through stacks 45s to find that hidden gem.  Luckily for all of you that are beginning your journey, there are many more resources and methods to find these great songs.  Whether it is flipping a piece of vinyl, or hitting play on your touch screen, put on your headphones, turn the volume up and enjoy the B-sides! 

About our contributor:

How I discovered Queen:  Through the publicity brought on by Wayne's World in the US.

Favourite Album:  News Of The World

Favourite Track:  Somebody To Love

Favourite Single: The Invisible Man clear 7" vinyl

***

Queen B-Sides Index / Common B-side Appearances

See What A Fool I’ve Been

- UK Seven Seas Of Rhye 7” (1974, EMI2121)

- UK Seven Seas Of Rhye 7” (1974, Elektra EK-45891)

- UK The Complete Works (1985, EMI QB1)

- UK Seven Seas Of Rhye 3” CD single (1988, Parlophone QUECD1)

- US Queen II (1991, Hollywood Records HR-61232-2)

- Japan CD Single Box (1992, EMI/Toshiba TODP-2251-62)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 1 (2008, Parlophone 2433582)

- UK Queen II Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2764250)

A Human Body

- UK Play The Game 7” (1980, EMI EMI5076)

- US Play The Game 7” (1980, Elektra E-46652)

- UK The Complete Works (1985, EMI QB1)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 2 (2009, Parlophone 9654972)

- UK The Game Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2771752)

Soul Brother

- UK Under Pressure 7” (1981, EMI EMI5250)

- US Under Pressure 7” (1981, Elektra E-47235)

- UK The Complete Works (1985, EMI QB1)

- UK Under Pressure 3” CD single (1988, Parlophone QUECD9)

- Japan CD Single Box (1992, EMI/Toshiba TODP-2251-62)

- US Heaven For Everyone CD single (1996, Hollywood Records HR-64006-2)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 2 (2009, Parlophone 9654972)

- UK Hot Space Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2771758)

I Go Crazy

- UK Radio Ga Ga 7” (1984, EMI QUEEN1)

- UK Radio Ga Ga 12” (1984, EMI 12QUEEN1)

- US Radio Ga Ga 7” (1984, Capitol B-5317)

- US Radio Ga Ga 12” (1984, Capitol V-8575)

- UK The Complete Works (1985, EMI QB1)

- UK Radio Ga Ga 3” CD single (1988, Parlophone QUECD10)

- US The Works CD (1991, Hollywood Records HR-61233-2)

- Japan CD Single Box (1992, EMI/Toshiba TODP-2251-62)

- UK The Works Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2771766)

Blurred Vision

- UK One Vision 7” (1985, EMI QUEEN6)

- UK One Vision 12” (1985, EMI 12QUEEN6)

- US One Vision 7” (1985, Capitol B-5530)

- US One Vision 12” (1985, Capitol V-15210)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

A Dozen Red Roses For My Darling

- UK A Kind Of Magic 7” (1986, EMI QUEEN7)

- UK A Kind Of Magic 12” (1986, EMI 12QUEEN7)

- UK A Kind Of Magic 12” picture disc (1986, EMI 12QUEENP7)

- UK A Kind Of Magic 3” CD single (1988, EMI QUECD12)

- Japan CD Single Box (1992, EMI/Toshiba TODP-2251-62)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

Forever

- UK A Kind Of Magic CD (1986, EMI CDP746267-2) 

- UK Who Wants To Live Forever 12” (1986, EMI 12QUEEN9)

- US A Kind Of Magic (1991, Hollywood Records HR-61152-2)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

- UK A Kind Of Magic Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2779774)

Hang On In There

- UK The Miracle CD (1989, Parlophone CDP7923572)

- US The Miracle CD (1989, Capitol C292357)

- UK I Want It All 7” (1989, Parlophone QUEEN10)

- UK I Want It All 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN10)

- UK I Want It All CD single (1989, Parlophone CDQUEEN10)

- US I Want It All 7” (1989, Capitol B-44372)

- US The Miracle CD (1991, Hollywood Records HR-61234-2)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

- UK The Miracle Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2779987)

Stealin’

- UK Breakthru 7” (1989, Parlophone QUEEN11)

- UK Breakthru 7” picture disc (1989, Parlophone QUEENPD11)

- UK Breakthru 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN11)

- UK Breakthru CD single (1989, Parlophone CDQUEEN11)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

- UK The Miracle Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2779987)

Hijack My Heart

- The Invisible Man 7” (1989, Parlophone QUEEN12)

- The Invisible Man 7” picture disc (1989, Parlophone QUEENX12)

- The Invisible Man 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN12)

- The Invisible Man 12” picture disc (1989, Parlophone 12QUEENX12)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

- UK The Miracle Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2779987)

My Life Has Been Saved

- UK Scandal 7” (1989, Parlophone QUEEN14)

- UK Scandal 7” poster bag release (1989, Parlophone QUEENP14)

- UK Scandal 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN14)

- UK Scandal 12” etched record (1989, Parlophone 12QUEENS14)

- UK Scandal CD single (1989, Parlophone CDQUEEN14)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010, Parlophone 6848392)

- UK Made In Heaven Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2780019)

Stone Cold Crazy (Live at the Rainbow)

- UK The Miracle 7” (1989, Parlophone QUEEN15)

- UK The Miracle 7” hologram sleeve (1989, Parlophone QUEENH15)

- UK The Miracle 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN15)

- UK The Miracle 12” with autographed print (1989, Parlophone 12QUEENP15)

- UK The Miracle CD single (1989, Parlophone CDQUEEN15)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 4 (2010, Parlophone 9092152)

 My Melancholy Blues (Live in Houston)

- UK The Miracle 12” (1989, Parlophone 12QUEEN15)

- UK The Miracle 12” with autographed print (1989, Parlophone 12QUEENP15)

- UK The Miracle CD single (1989, Parlophone CDQUEEN15)

Lost Opportunity

- UK I’m Going Slightly Mad 12” (1991, Parlophone 12QUEENG17)

- UK I’m Going Slightly Mad CD single (1991, Parlophone CDQUEEN17)

- UK Innuendo Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2780009)

Mad The Swine

- UK Headlong 12” (1991, Parlophone 12QUEEN18)

- UK Headlong 12” picture disc (1991, Parlophone 12QUEENPD18)

- UK Headlong CD single (1991, Parlophone CDQUEEN18)

- US Queen CD (1991, Hollywood Records HR-61064-2)

- UK Queen Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2763879)

Rock In Rio Blues

- UK A Winter’s Tale CD single Christmas package (1995, Parlophone CDQUEENS22)

- US Too Much Love Will Kill You CD single (1995, Hollywood Records HR-64005-2)

- UK The Singles Collection Volume 4 (2010, Parlophone 9092152)

- UK Made In Heaven Deluxe Edition (2011, Island 2780019)

Special thanks to: Patrick Lemieux, Gary Taylor, Greg Brooks, & Ron Buczko

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4 Comments

B-Sides: Fan Feature by Adam Unger

Flavio

Please! Release the Queen B-Sides Album CD; i dream to put this one together with my cds queen...

Queen Greats B-Sides!

001 See What A Fool I've Been
002 A Human Body
003 Soul Brother
004 I Go Crazy
005 Blurred Vision
006 A Dozen Red Roses For My Darling
007 Forever
008 Hang On In There
009 Stealin'
010 Hijack My Heart
011 My Life Has Been Saved
012 Stone Cold Crazy (Live At The Rainbow '74)
013 My Melancholy Blues (Live in Houston '77)
014 Lost Opportunity
015 Mad the Swine
016 These Are the Days of Our Lives
017 Rock In Rio Blues
018 The Prize

Jackal

I wonder sometimes if the surviving members of Queen, knowing Freddie's condition, didn't ultimately regret releasing all those B-Sides for The Miracle singles.

Given that they then had to reach into Freddie's solo material to make up the numbers for 'Made in Heaven', it was strange they didn't keep those Miracle tracks aside.

EJ

What about "Queen Talks"? B-Side of one of the Innuendo CD singles.

Braden

Well written! I've always been a fan of your great work on QueenVault. Keep it up!

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