The 14 Best Ever B-Sides & Hidden Tracks

 

There are the songs that never see the light the day, and then there are those that require a little (and sometimes a lot) of digging.

Here are the best ones which have luckily been discovered by music lovers across the world, and are still being played live today.

 

B-Sides

‘Aneurysm’ – Nirvana 

If there’s a song that sums up Kurt Cobain’s rocky relationship with Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail, it’s this one. While buried under the commercial explosion of the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ single release, this one deserves to be up there with the rest if them.

 

 

‘Talk Show Host’ – Radiohead

One of the best B-sides ever recorded by the band, this tune harks back to the English rockers experimenting with trip-hop. The original version of the track can be found on the first CD of 1996’s Street Spirit (Fade Out), and the song also features on Baz Luhrman’s 1996 film, Romeo + Juliet.

 

 

‘I Am The Walrus’ – The Beatles

This one was originally penned by John Lennon, bandmate Paul McCartney deemed it too uncommercial, casting it to the B-side of ‘Hello Goodbye’. While both feature on the Magic Mystery Tour film, Lennon was seething because he felt his blend of surreal lyrics with nods to Lewis Carroll was far better than the A-side. Understandably so.

 

 

‘Yellow Ledbetter’ – Pearl Jam

2003’s groundbreaking two-disc compilation brings together 30 Pearl Jam rarities. ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ is no exception, and while it was initially a B-side, it ended up turning ‘Jeremy’ into a double-sided hit single. Eddie Vedder’s searing vocals combined with a very old-school sound render this track one of the best B-sides, period.

 

 

‘Starla’ – Smashing Pumpkins 

It’s a dizzying 10 minute epic of a B-side, but well worth it. Flip to the other side of ‘Disarm’, off their hit sophomore album Siamese Dream (1993), and you’ve got this stellar track. Dreamy at the start, it culminates into a killer solo run that challenges anyone who dares to question Billy Corgan’s guitar prowess.

 

 

‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ – Led Zeppelin

Until it was released on the legends’ ’90 box set, this could only be found in the US on the B-side of ‘Immigrant Song’, and in England on an Atlantic Records record sampler. While the band never played the track live, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant teamed up to deliver this performance on their 1995 tour.

 

 

‘Daddy’s Eyes’ – The Killers

A classic combo of huge guitars and ethereal synths, the track perfectly captures their movement away from their gritty rock origins and into grand stadium territory. It appeared on the ‘Bones’ single, and was one of the B-sides which truly completed their Sawdust (2007) album.

 

 

 

Hidden Gems

‘Her Majesty’ – The Beatles 

This gem of a track at the end of Abbey Road (1969) is hailed as the first hidden track in recording history. Enough said.

 

 

‘Train In Vain’ – The Clash 

The punk heavyweights’ classic double album London Calling contains 19 ripper tracks, but only 18 appear on the sleeve. While ‘Train In Vain’, recorded in just 48 hours, was originally left off the back cover’s track listing, it was added to the record last minute on Side Four as Track 5. It’s definitely one of their most infectious tunes to date.

 

 

‘Damone’ – Deftones 

Deftones buried this secret track 32 minutes into ‘MX’, the final song on their second album from ’97, Around the Fur. Expertly put together by the group and showcasing the distorted clean and harsh vocal style of Chino Moreno, this one is a true throwback to some of Deftones’ best days.

 

 

‘Mosquito Song’ – Queens of the Stone Age 

There are actually three semi-hidden tracks on the legendary rockers’ 2002 master effort Songs for the Deaf, but this song is the standout by far. Combining accordion, piano, horns and flamenco guitar, this one is a must-have orchestral jam in your collection.

 

 

‘Suck’ – Nine Inch Nails

The original song was performed by Pigface, an industrial supergroup hailing from 1990. While Nine Inch made it their own as one of two secret tracks on their Broken EP (1992), they’ve regularly incorporated this one into their live set.

 

 

‘France’ – The Libertines 

This track represents one of co-frontman Carl Barât’s better moments, and is an integral part of a soundtrack to the more depressing times of The Libertines’ storied career.

 

 

‘Spider-Man’ – The Ramones 

Honestly, if there was a punk rock version of Peter Parker in the world, he’d have this tune on repeat. The fun stint can actually be found in a number of places, included as a hidden track in the vinyl version of their 1995 record ¡Adios Amigos!, the Greatest Hits Live (1996) compilation and their last live performance We’re Outta Here!.

 

About Genevieve Gao

Interviewing bands and getting to know the people behind them is what I do best. Lover of all things heavy, Italian food, beaches & coffee. FInd me on Twitter @Genna1_1

View all posts by Genevieve Gao

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