The term “B-Side” is derived literally from “side b” of a vinyl single. When 7-inch vinyl singles were common, “side a” ordinarily contained the hit, “side b” the alternative track; “the reach”, if you will.

A B-Side, as seen by the likes of goof & gremmie, is defined as any studio produced track that has been made available to fans, yet has become difficult to procure due to both time elapsed since first-issue and the tracks’ elusiveness on singles, soundtracks, or compilations.

More on B-Sides below:

B-sides are different from unreleased material, outtakes and demos.

“Unreleased material” is work that usually isn’t released to the general public. On rare occasions, particularly for reissues, these songs are in fact placed on albums, often with that description after it.

“Outtakes” are songs recorded for an album but, either for technical or artistic purposes, not included in the released album. They occasionally appear on reissues of albums, billed as “bonus tracks”. R.E.M.’s album Dead Letter Office, for example, is a collection of outtakes from previous albums that were later released as b-sides to various singles.

“Demos” are early versions of songs which, like “unreleased material”, seldom see the light of day. Demos of songs often have additional or alternative verses. Often more demos than full songs are recorded, as an artist goes back and retools what is already present.


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