Was the 80's the peak of the non-album single?

Started by turnstyle, November 19, 2021, 04:33:17 PM

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turnstyle

Just sitting here listening to some Joy Division, and mulling over the fact that Love Will Tear Us Apart isn't included on Closer, despite being the preceding single just weeks before, and the band's biggest hit by some distance. Understandable, it doesn't fit that album tonally, and I doubt that anyone could have predicted its success at the time.

Got me thinking about other bands at the time and their biggest hits, and the proliferation of the non-album single in that decade:

The Love Cats - Cure
It Must be Love - Madness
Going Underground - The Jam
Blue Monday & True Faith - New Order
Sit Down - James
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths
Ghost Town - The Specials
Fool's Gold - The Stone Roses

Yes, I know that some of these got added to associated albums retrospectively, or compilations, but they don't count under my admittedly arbitrary rules! Ditto one hit wonders who never even got to put an album out.

I guess there was a lot of this going in the 60s now I think about it. Stones, Beatles, Kinks, Small Faces, The Who were all at it too.

So then, the question remains - was the 80's the peak for these shenanigans? Also, what's YOUR favourite none-album single? Yes, you.

Husker Du - Eight Miles High
The Fall - Look, Know/I'm Into C.B.
Meat Puppets - Teenager(s)

Norton Canes

Do singles released to promote hits compilations count? i.e. is it just studio albums they're not allowed to be on?

The Who's 60s non-album singles are the best rock music ever recorded. I don't think there's another group where there's such a huge gap in quality between the singles and records. Even when they re-recorded the single for a record, they made it boringer and serious - like Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

But Substitute, I Can't Explain, I'm A Boy, Pictures of Lily: whadda run!


turnstyle

Quote from: Norton Canes on November 19, 2021, 04:45:47 PMDo singles released to promote hits compilations count? i.e. is it just studio albums they're not allowed to be on?

Hmm, good question. There's a few off the top of my head I can think of - Bad Day by REM was released to support a singles compilation I think? Even though it was an older song anyway. Also, was the Super Furries 'Man Don't Give a Fuck' released to support a compilations album? Foggy on that one.

For REM, does Ages of You count? Did it have a proper release?

jamiefairlie

Well Factory, and many other Independent labels, did it out of principle, so it was part of their ethos.

I love the practice and bemoan its passing to be honest.

jamiefairlie

JD and NO had this peerless run of singles that's hard to match in my opinion (none of them on albums, in fact NO's decline coincided with them starting to take singles off albums)

Transmission, Atmosphere, LWTUA, Ceremony, Procession, Temptation.

There is plenty of blatant yank Factory copyism especially at the turn of the 90s, and the tunes can be good

Chicory

Quote from: turnstyle on November 19, 2021, 04:55:32 PMAlso, was the Super Furries 'Man Don't Give a Fuck' released to support a compilations album? Foggy on that one.

Not originally, so I think it should count in this thread. It was included on 'Out Spaced' two years later and then re-released, somewhat curiously, as the lead off single from hits compilation 'Songbook' in 2004.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: jamiefairlie on November 19, 2021, 05:20:32 PMJD and NO had this peerless run of singles that's hard to match in my opinion (none of them on albums, in fact NO's decline coincided with them starting to take singles off albums)

Transmission, Atmosphere, LWTUA, Ceremony, Procession, Temptation.
Continued for a bit longer than that run: Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us were non-album singles. I think the run was broken by The Perfect Kiss, but even with that, you had to have the full 12" version to enjoy it in it's full glory.

Campbell Soupe

Pet Shop Boys' Pogues baiting festive no 1 wryly stated on the sleeve, "Not from the album, actually"

SteveDave

Quote from: turnstyle on November 19, 2021, 04:55:32 PMAlso, was the Super Furries 'Man Don't Give a Fuck' released to support a compilations album? Foggy on that one.

Originally it was the b-side of "If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You" until Don and the other one objected to the sample.

jamiefairlie

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on November 19, 2021, 06:07:40 PMContinued for a bit longer than that run: Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us were non-album singles. I think the run was broken by The Perfect Kiss, but even with that, you had to have the full 12" version to enjoy it in it's full glory.

Yes but those songs were shite, so for me it ends at Temptation.

Brundle-Fly

Quote from: turnstyle on November 19, 2021, 04:33:17 PMSo then, the question remains - was the 80's the peak for these shenanigans? Also, what's YOUR favourite none-album single? Yes, you.

Dury had form. His quad of classic hit singles never appeared on any studio album: What A Waste, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons To Be Cheerful Pt.3 and I Want To Be Straight.


idunnosomename

surely the '60s are the peak for the format of individual non-album songs with a B-side, indeed the singles could be more profitable than the albums, held over a bit into the '70s with glam and disco, but the album format had largely taken hold by the '80s, and you have home tape recording that made having individual 45s less useful?

looking at sales, if you look at top-selling singles, you've got shit like Candle in the Wind '97 there, but they're odd peaks in the market. so not really sure how to work it out total.

kalowski

Loads of Beatles' singles were non-album tracks. That's why you need to get the Past Masters discs to have all their releases.

kalowski

Every non-album single released by The Beatles. What a list!
Love Me Do (Single) (October 1962)

From Me To You (April 1963)

Thank You Girl (April 1963)

She Loves You (August 1963)

I'll Get You (August 1963)

I Want To Hold Your Hand (November 1963)

This Boy (November 1963)

Komm, gib mir deine Hand (February 1964)

Sie liebt dich (February 1964)

Slow Down (June 1964)

Matchbox (June 1964)

Long Tall Sally (June 1964)

I Call Your Name (June 1964)

I Feel Fine (November 1964)

She's A Woman (November 1964)

Yes It Is (April 1965)

Bad Boy (June 1965)

I'm Down (July 1965)

We Can Work It Out (December 1965)

Day Tripper (December 1965)

Paperback Writer (May 1966)

Rain (May 1966)

Penny Lane (February 1967)

Strawberry Fields Forever (February 1967)

All You Need Is Love (July 1967)

Baby, You're a Rich Man (July 1967)

Hello, Goodbye (November 1967)

I Am The Walrus (November 1967)

Magical Mystery Tour (November 1967)

Your Mother Should Know (November 1967)

The Fool On The Hill (November 1967)

Flying (November 1967)

Blue Jay Way (November 1967)

Lady Madonna (March 1968)

The Inner Light (March 1968)

Hey Jude (August 1968)

Revolution (August 1968)

Only A Northern Song (January 1969)

All Together Now (January 1969)

Hey Bulldog (January 1969)

It's All Too Much (January 1969)

Get Back (Single) (April 1969)

Don't Let Me Down (April 1969)

The Ballad Of John And Yoko (May 1969)

Old Brown Shoe (May 1969)

Across The Universe (WWF/NOGCOW Release) (December 1969)

Let It Be (Single) (March 1970)

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (March 1970)

DJ Bob Hoskins

Quote from: Video Game Fan 2000 on November 19, 2021, 05:01:11 PMFor REM, does Ages of You count? Did it have a proper release?

Only as a B-side to Wendell Gee in 1985, and even then it was a Europe-only release.

icehaven

Suede's Stay Together is a good non-album single.

Brundle-Fly

Quote from: turnstyle on November 19, 2021, 04:33:17 PMIt Must be Love - Madness


Also five other top ten/twenty hits:

House Of Fun
Driving In My Car
Wings Of A Dove
The Sun And The Rain
(Waiting For The) Ghost Train

buzby

Quote from: turnstyle on November 19, 2021, 04:33:17 PMTrue Faith - New Order
As mentioned upthread, True Faith was not a non-album single - it was recorded (along with it's B-side 1963) to be included on and promote the Substance compliation album (which, ironically in relation to this thread, was a collection of their non-album singles and B-sides).

Quote from: jamiefairlie on November 19, 2021, 05:20:32 PMJD and NO had this peerless run of singles that's hard to match in my opinion (none of them on albums, in fact NO's decline coincided with them starting to take singles off albums)

Transmission, Atmosphere, LWTUA, Ceremony, Procession, Temptation.
Atmosphere was released in the UK as a single in October 1980, after LWTUA. It was only released here because Factory wanted to cash in on the import sales of the Factory US She's Lost Control single (the original version of which was on Unknown Pleasures).

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on November 19, 2021, 06:07:40 PMContinued for a bit longer than that run: Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us were non-album singles. I think the run was broken by The Perfect Kiss, but even with that, you had to have the full 12" version to enjoy it in it's full glory.
The version of Sub-Culture that was released as a single was also radically different from the album version (and not in a good way). The release of both these album tracks as singles came about because they had just signed to Qwest/Warners in the US, and the band wanted to have a go at 'playing the game' to keep their new bosses happy (and hopefully make some money, as the Hacienda was bleeding them dry).

The next single, Shellshock was also technically a non-album track, though it had been  recorded for the Pretty In Pink soundtrack and released to promote the film (which is why it has the Thieves Like Us instrumental on the B-side, which was also used in the film). State Of The Nation was also not on Brotherhood (though it did get included in the CD release of Brotherhood as a bonus track). Bizarre Love Triangle was the next single taken from an album, and it had again been reworked for the single release. Touched By The Hand Of God, like Shellshock, was also technically a non-album single too, as it had originally been written for the Salvation! soundtrack, but the OST album was not released in the UK and the single version was again radically different.

poodlefaker

The Smiths seemed to have a mad urgency about them in the early years, as if they felt they might not get the chance to do another album, so if they'd recorded a good song they'd bung it out as quickly as possible, even if it meant making it the bonus track on a 12" (How Soon Is Now). Loads of their b-sides are better than their album tracks. I imagine this way of working came from Moz, as he carried on with it for the first few years of his solo career.

jamiefairlie

Quoteatmosphere was released in the UK as a single in October 1980, after LWTUA


I always go with earliest release date which was on the "Licht und Blindheit" French thing in March.

I remember being surprised to learn how many of the famous Smiths songs aren't on a proper album.

willbo

so in those days if you wanted an older non-album single (from the past few years) ...was it hard to find? Did most record shops have a good library of older singles, or was it like hunting for comic back issues?

holyzombiejesus

Quote from: willbo on December 01, 2021, 09:27:49 PMso in those days if you wanted an older non-album single (from the past few years) ...was it hard to find? Did most record shops have a good library of older singles, or was it like hunting for comic back issues?

Partly the latter, especially the chains as far as I remember. Record shops also used to have this fucking huge book that they kept under the counter, which contained all available records with little notes next to each release stating who the distributors were so the shop could order them in. I really miss those times. Buy a fanzine, read about some 'obscure' band like The Rain Parade and Mike Lloyds in Hanley would get it in for you within a fortnight.