Billy Joel is touring again. As much as I'd love to see him on July 28 at Target Field in Minneapolis, I am not sure I'll be able to make it happen. Still, I'm sure it'll be a fantastic show.

Thoughts on Billy Joel and on my dad’s birthday (a two-fer)

I’m not always the world’s biggest birthdays guy. I don’t get too excited about my own, and most of my family members (even in the extended orbits) are well into their adult years. This kind of dims the enthusiasm for birthdays and general holidays (you love watching kids tear into gifts, right? But adults exchanging greeting cards or going out for dinner is NICE, but it isn’t exactly Norman Rockwell territory).

But there are a few birthdays I like to honor. My brother’s birthday, my wife’s birthday and the birthdays of my parents. I’m not exactly rolling in cash, so these tend to be phone calls and greeting cards, but the sentiments are true and heart felt.

My parents at my Oct. 1, 2011, wedding. Good people, my folks.
My parents at my Oct. 1, 2011, wedding. Good people, my folks.

And here we are, with my dad’s birthday coming right up. His birthday is Jan. 27, which is tomorrow as I type this. As music is my major passion and my dad influenced a lot of my music tastes, it seems fitting to talk about him a bit here.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Billy Joel and on my dad’s birthday (a two-fer)”

The sleeve to The Beatles' single "Can't Buy Me Love" b/w "You Can't Do That," released in March 1964. Courtesy of www.thebeatles.com

B-side the point: Looking at the (superior?) flip sides of singles

When I look at my favorite bands and artists across the years, I recognize the many great singles they’ve released.

These singles are the songs released that gave them the radio hits, prompted tours, helped sell albums, etc.

More often than not, artists from at least the mid 1950s through the early 1990s would release singles where the “A” side was the attempt at a hit, the strongest candidate, the song the artists or producers or record companies thought were the strongest efforts. The flip sides, the “B” sides, would sometimes be filler, or live versions, or songs from older albums. In general, this was content that didn’t have a lot of thought put into it.

Obviously, this isn’t 100 percent true for every single or every artist. Plenty of artists put out killer singles that were great on both sides. Heck, The Beatles and The Beach Boys often put out great double-sided hits (like “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” / “God Only Knows,” for example).

This got me to thinking not just about the hit singles, or the singles that had hit B-sides, but also about singles where I actually prefer the B-side over the A-side of the single. That has happened for many of my favorite acts with some regularity.

Continue reading “B-side the point: Looking at the (superior?) flip sides of singles”