Thursday, 22 September 2011

Five great pop b-sides

1. Pet Shop Boys - After the event (/Did you see me coming?, 2009)
I've written about this track before: it's one of the best things Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have ever recorded. One of many great moments for a group rightly lauded for their b-sides.

2. New Order - 1963 (/True Faith, 1987)
To a lovely the tune, the lyrics are said to posit a scenario in which John F Kennedy arranges for a hitman to kill his wife Jackie so he can continue his affair with Marilyn Monroe. The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, famously takes out the wrong target, provoking a further spiral of violence. Splendid, if bonkers.

3. Erasure - La La La (/Love to Hate You, 1991)
The peak of the British synth duo's art came with two consecutive albums in 1989 and 1991: Wild! and Chorus respectively. This song captures all the joy of the former with the analogue sounds of the latter - huge fun, it opens with a sample of what sounds like Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares.

4. Depeche Mode - Dangerous (/Personal Jesus, 1989)
The first single from the Basildon's foursome's best album had a suitably slinky companion - you can hear why it didn't fit into Violator's running order but it's great stuff nonetheless. Other b-sides from the album's singles veered towards the apocalyptic with portentous instrumentals Memphisto (/Enjoy the Silence) and Kaleid (/Policy of Truth).

5. The Divine Comedy - My Lovely Horse (/Gin Soaked Boy, 1999)
Neil Hannon had always given the impression this spoof Eurovision track written for Channel 4's hit comedy series Father Ted - to which The Divine Comedy contributed the theme tune - would never be released but, presumably when things got a bit desperate career-wise, out it came. Try delivering these lines with a straight face: 'My lovely horse, you're a pony no more/ Running around with a man on your back, like a train in the night'. Do also check out the band's splendid Michael Nyman covers on the back of singles Generation Sex and The Certainty of Chance (both 1998).


  1. i didnt realise thats what 1963 was about. one of them said that putting that on the b side was a mistake as it was that good but they were so arrogant

  2. It's such a funny theory I felt I ought to perpetuate it, though I'm not entirely convinced - great song, nevertheless!

  3. Have put a link in to where I found that theory!