The story of this posts probably starts more than 40 years ago, when music wasn’t available for free on the internet. It was a time where to be known and get famous you had to rely on singles. 45rpm (7″ vinyls). After you had released 2-3 hit singles you had the right to record a full long playing album (12″- 33rpm). The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, their myth started this way. If you look at their discography you will discover that a good number of their best songs wasn’t released on any original studio album but surely you will find it in most best of or compilations.
The importance of singles (as physical, buyable item to own in your record collection) diminished gradually with the time and their decline coincides with the rise of the CD at the end of the eighties/beginning of the nineties to almost disappear with the arrival of the internet, iPods, spotify and free/illegal download.
This post is dedicated to those singles that for a reason or another never made it to an album and were released as self standing hit singles. Some of them became anthems for that particular band’s fans, some other are little lost gems that only a niche group of fanatics or collectors remembers and enjoys. This is for the lost art of making music fans happy releasing a great song unexpectedly in between albums. This is for those bands that were so excited about the song they wrote that couldn’t wait for the next album to be ready (or simply wanted to make some money in-between… :-))
For simplicity we split our Top 10 in two episodes. In this first chapter we share our Top10 of the best non album singles of the last 23 years, from 1990 to 2013 and as you will discover the quality of the ranking is mind-blowing, the selection was tougher than ever.
- Whatever – OASIS: released in 1994 after their debut album “Definitely Maybe” it was their first Top 5 single reaching #3 and stayed 51 weeks in the UK singles charts more than any other Oasis single
- Don’t look back into the sun – The Libertines: without any doubt seats in the Top3 of the best Libertines’ songs certified by the #5 in the list of the 50 Greatest Indie Rock Anthems Ever from NME
- Pop is Dead – Radiohead: one day I will meet Thom Yorke and I will ask him why the band rated this song not good enough to end up on Pablo Honey. A lost precious gem from the early Radiohead career (released in 1993)
- Coming Around – Travis: the single was released after “The Man Who”, undoubtedly the best album from the scottish combo that when this single was issued (2000) were at the peak of their success and song writing mastery
- Somewhere Else – Razorlight: every time I listen to this song I wonder what happened to Johnny Borrell and company. When and where did they lost it? The song reached #2 in the charts and in 2005 when Razorlight were surfing their best wave of success playing festivals across UK it became some kind of summer anthem
- Leave Before the Lights Come On – Arctic Monkeys: this is one example of a band realizing that the song should have been in their debut album “Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not” and therefore they decided to release it as a single in 2006. Highly recommended is as well the b-side cover of Barbara Lewis “Baby, I’m Yours”
- Dead Star/In Your World – MUSE: this double A single was released in 2002 to promote the “Hullabaloo” live cd/dvd and it’s a must have for any MUSE fan, the cover of “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You” as b-sides it’s the third pearl of the single.
- Under the Westway – Blur: this was released just last year and marks the come back of Blur in studio since 2010 and introduced their live gigs of Hyde Park at the end of the Olympics. An amazing classic Blur ballad.
- Tiger Blood – The Vaccines: this was released in 2011 as the last single from their debut album “What did you expect from the Vaccines” as AA single with Wetsuit and it’s another proof of the great song writing talent of the London quartet
- Envy – Ash: Motown punk for the 17th single from the north-irish that band introduced the singles collection “Intergalactic Sonic Seven”
Hey Hey, My My, rock’n’roll will never die!