By Warren Kurtz
In our October 2015 issue, we feature acts including Alice Cooper, Scorpions and Simon & Garfunkel. We continue to share some lesser known flip sides from the featured acts to discover or rediscover.
Flip side: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
A side: Be My Lover
Top 100 debut: March 11, 1972
Peak position: 49
Warner Brothers 7568
After two unsuccessful 1970 albums, the Alice Cooper quintet relocated from the west coast to Alice Cooper’s birthplace, Detroit, brought in Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, and created the first in a series of five best-selling albums for the band, “Love It To Death.” The hit single from the album was the teenage anthem “I’m Eighteen” with “Is It My Body” as the flip side. The band went back into the studio with Bob Ezrin to create the next masterpiece, “Killer.” Half the songs on the “Killer” LP were also on 45s. The first pairing in late 1971 was the energetic “Under My Wheels” with the slower “Desperado” flip side. The next pairing were rock dance numbers with “Be My Lover” capturing the tempo of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” backed with the harder edged “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” as its flip side. Both songs mentioned Alice Cooper in the lyrics with “asked me why the singer’s name is Alice” on the A side and “this is Alice speaking” on the flip side. Rhythmically, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” had the punch of “Is It My Body” from the prior album, and a surprise blues jam in the middle with Alice Cooper on harmonica for a thirty second break recalling the Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler.” This second single outperformed “Under My Wheels” in the Top 100 in early 1972.
Flip side: Now!
A side: No One Like You
Top 100 debut: June 19, 1982
Peak position: 65
In the early ‘70s, the German heavy metal quintet Lucifer’s Friend’s self-titled debut album opened with the powerful “Ride the Sky.” It was recorded around the same time as Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” and shared a very similar sound. A decade later, the German heavy metal quintet Scorpions seemed to harness the power of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” for their song “Now!” Written by their rhythm guitarist Rudolph Schenker, lead vocalist Klaus Meine, and drummer Herman Rarebell, all of their contributions were very prominent in the song, along with that of lead guitarist Matthias Jabs after each chorus. Klaus Meine’s vocals reached new heights in the bridge. Herman Rarebell pounded out the ending of this intense final track on the first side of Scorpions first Top 10 U.S. album “Blackout.” In Japan, where the group had recorded their first live album in the prior decade, “Now!” was released as the A side of the first single from the album, with the power ballad “No One Like You” as its flip side. In the U.S. it was “No One Like You” as the A side which brought the group to the singles Top 100 for their first time. Two years later “Rock You Like a Hurricane” brought them to the Top 40. In 1991, they scored their sole U.S. Top 10 gold single, “Wind of Change.”
Simon & Garfunkel
Flip side: Keep the Customer Satisfied
A side: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Top 100 debut: February 7, 1970
Peak position: 1
In 1970, after much success and great flip sides, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were ready to part ways, and then experienced another number one hit with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The song was so beautifully sung, that it felt like an audition for what Art Garfunkel would later deliver as a solo performer. The flip side was the lively “Keep the Customer Satisfied.” It started with the lines, “Gee but it’s good to be back home, home is where I want to be, I’ve been on the road so long” and the listener became convinced that Paul Simon, with this song and “Homeward Bound,” loved being in New York City. The recording featured brass, a bouncy piano, and a shuffle beat. Buddy Rich released the live jazz album “Keep the Customer Satisfied” later that year with a six minute version of the Paul Simon composition. Gary Puckett released a version of the song the following year as his final Top 100 single.
After the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album and two more Top 40 singles from it, Art Garfunkel acted in two Mike Nichols’ films before his solo recording debut. Paul Simon also had much solo success, with both artists staying on Columbia throughout the ‘70s, and reuniting in 1975 for their final Top 10 hit “My Little Town.”
Warren Kurtz joined Goldmine this year with his Fabulous Flip Sides feature for our print publication. He has written about music for a variety of magazines since the ‘70s in New York, Ohio, and Virginia. Warren has introduced listeners to many lesser known songs on radio stations in New York and Virginia, and has interviewed over fifty musical acts. He has also won awards for songwriting and musical production for non-profit fundraisers. His book 450 Fabulous Sides is currently in the publisher review process. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; www.facebook.com; www.linkedin.com