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The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 1)

I recently asked myself: what is the greatest double-sided single ever? Of course, I wondered what acclaimed music, one of my favorite websites, would say. I have identified 54 singles that have two songs in the Acclaimed Music Top 3000. I ranked the singles by averaging the rank of each song. Thus, if the A-side ranked #2 overall and the flip side ranked #2998, the average would be 1500. I thought the forum would find the list interesting and they might be able to alert me if there any omissions and/or mistakes.
54. Isaac Hayes, "Walk on By"/"By the Time I Get to Phoenix"

53. CCR, "Up Around the Bend"/"Run Through the Jungle"

52. ABC, "Poison Arrow"/"Tears Are Not Enough"

51. Pink Floyd, "Us and Them"/"Time"

50. The Pretenders, "Middle of the Road"/"2000 Miles"

49.Run-DMC, "My Adidas"/"Peter Piper"

48. The Beatles, "Get Back"/"Don't Let Me Down"

47. Pulp, "Mis-shapes"/"Sorted by E’s and Wizz"

46. Beastie Boys, "Hey Ladies"/"Shake Your Rump"

45. The Rolling Stones, "Ruby Tuesday"/"Let's Spend the Night Together"

44. Prince, "Controversy"/"When You Were Mine"

43. Neil Young, "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"/Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue)”

42. Beastie Boys, "Fight for Your Right"/"Paul Revere"

41. Aretha Franklin, "The House That Jack Built"/"I Say A Little Prayer"

40. The Beatles, "Hello Goodbye"/"I Am the Walrus"

39. CCR, "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop the Rain"

38. Velvet Underground, "Sunday Morning"/Femme Fatale"

37. Chuck Berry, "Back in the USA"/"Memphis"

36. The Notorious BIG, "Juicy"/"Unbelievable"

35. David Bowie, "Starman"/"Suffragette City"

34. Little Richard, "Long Tall Sally"/Slippin' and Slidin'"

33. The Rolling Stones, "Street Fighting Man"/No Expectations"

32. Sly and the Family Stone, "Stand!/"I Want to Take You Higher"

31. The Beatles, "We Can Work It Out"/"Day Tripper"

30. The Band, "The Weight"/"I Shall Be Released"

29. The Rolling Stones, "The Last Time"/"Play With Fire"

28. The Coasters, "Searchin'"/"Young Blood"

27. Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind"/"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"

Re: The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 2)

26. CCR, “Proud Mary”/”Born on the Bayou”

25. Aretha Franklin, “I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You/”Do Right Man, Do Right Woman”

24. Doug E. Fresh, “The Show”/La Di Da Di”

23. The Band, “Up on Cripple Creek”/”The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

22. Queen, “We Are the Champions”/”We Will Rock You”

21. Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”/”The Wind Cries Mary”

20. Buddy Holly, “Peggy Sue”/”Everyday”

19. Carole King, “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move”

18. Run-DMC, “It’s Like That”/”Sucker MC’s”

17. Sly and the Family Stone, “Thank You”/”Everybody is a Star"

16. Jimi Hendrix, “Foxy Lady”/Hey Joe”

15. The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”/”God Only Knows”

14. The Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There”

13. The Beatles, “Come Together”/”Something”

12. Richie Valens, “Donna”/”La Bamba”

11. Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side”/”Perfect Day”

10. Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right”/”Blue Moon of Kentucky”

09. Bo Diddley, “Bo Diddley”/”I’m a Man”

08. The Beatles, “Paperback Writer”/”Rain”

07. The Rolling Stones, “Honk Tonk Women”/”You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

06. Sam Cooke, “Shake”/”A Change is Gonna Come”

05. The Clash, “Train in Vain”/”London Calling”

04. The Beach Boys, “I Get Around”/”Don’t Worry Baby”

03. The Beatles, “Hey Jude”/”Revolution”

02. The Beatles, “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever”

01. Elvis Presley, “Don’t Be Cruel”/”Hound Dog”

Re: The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 1)

This is interesting. Thanks for compiling.

What year did single 45s stop being relevant?

Re: The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 1)

What a great list! Good work, Stone.

And Paul, that's a good question. I think LPs definitely became the dominant medium for rock in the 1965-66 period. However, just eyeballing Stone's list, the greatest concentration of "killer double-sides" seems to be in 1967-69.

It certainly looks as though singles almost completely ceased to be relevant after about 1982; I count only 8 singles on the list since then...six of which are rap, interestingly. The most recent single on the list is Pulp in 1995.

Re: The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 1)

Paul & schleuse,

I think the demise of the "killer double-side" single owes a great deal to two factors. First, at the end of 1969, Billboard stopped allowing B-sides to chart separately. So whereas the Beatles could hit #1 with "We Can Work It Out" and #5 with the flip, "Day Tripper," Rod Stewart's Reason to Believe/Maggie May or Carole King's "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move" counted as one hit. This change in Billboard policy probably made artist's more hesitant to throw a great track on the B-Side.
Second, and related to the first factor, artists began releasing more singles from a given album. By the late 1970s, it became customary to cull three or four singles off an album. By the 1980s, artists were spinning off five, six, or even seven singles from one album. From that perspective, the killer double-side made little economic sense. Why release the fourth most commercial track off an album as a B-Side (where it cannot chart), when you release it as the fourth single. If Born in the U.S.A., to cite an example, had been released in 1968, Columbia might have packaged two singles along the lines of "Dancing in the Dark"/"Glory Days" and "Born in the USA"/"My Hometown." Those two singles would have definitely qualified as killer double-sides.

Re: The Greatest "Singles" Ever: Killer Double-Sides (Part 1)

very interesting stone! both the list and the theory.