(Above: The Kings debut LP. I’ll take a hundred or two for it.)
I actually got to thinking about this topic in the car this morning on the way to campus. One of the Sirius XM classic rock channels (and I have all of them on the same bank in the memory) played Elton John’s “Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.” As I am wont to do, I immediately pointed out to my wife, who is legally obligated to hear me point out such things, that the metadata on the screen was wrong. “Love Lies Bleeding” was not a parenthetical title, as it appeared: it’s the second song on the album, but was always played as a ‘twofer’. You wouldn’t hear a DJ start talking out of “Funeral,” and damned if I can remember ever hearing a station play “Love” by itself.
So what, then, are the songs that always called for letting the album track – and which ones sounded “weird” when they didn’t? I have started assembling a list, and encourage you to add to it in the comments:
“Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End,” The Beatles. Really, you could just count all of Side 2 of Abbey Road (minus “Here Comes The Sun”) as one track. Good luck finding it online, though.
“I Would Die 4 U/Baby I’m A Star,” Prince (Note to the 80s Channel: you break this rule all the time. Stop it.)
“Heartbreaker/Livin’ Lovin’ Maid,” Led Zeppelin. This sounds very strange on the 8-track, where the songs are separated. “What Is And What Should Never Be” comes between them.
“Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser,” Bob Seger. Not sure how to count this one, since the live version is the one that always gets airplay, and it’s performed as one track.
Honorable Mention: “Temptation/Hawaiian War Chant,” University of Michigan Marching Band. It is from their performances that I got the title of this piece. Five point deduction, though, for never just playing the two songs back to back without first pointing out that they are doing it.
The one that might be my favorite, though, is “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide” by the Kings. Technically a “no-hit wonder” based on chart position, this song has long been a staple of AOR radio. In Chicago the hard-to-get LP The Kings Are Here, which contained the songs, would sell for hundreds of dollars in used record shops. (Once in a record shop in Davenport, I found two copies for $3 each and immediately grabbed them both. If you need one, let me know.) The duo of tunes made its way onto more than one driving tape that I made over the years. I even went so far as to bring the recordings with me to New Zealand and play them on the station I programmed, 89FM. (The station owner, Bruce Johnstone, stopped by the studio, a bit confused, as he had never heard the songs before.)
The Kings put out a second album and an EP, but never really hit it as big as a song this great would have indicated. Radio never initially expected it to be a two-fer, either. When the song was sent via advance copy to radio stations, it went out as a 45, with “This Beat Goes On” on Side A and “Switchin’ To Glide” on Side B. A skilled jock with two copies of the single could execute the twofer, but I imagine most stations only played one part, explaining the lack of original airplay sufficient to make the chart.
You can have your cake and eat it, too. Hear both songs by clicking here.
UPDATE: Several of my Facebook friends contributed a few that I missed. For some reason, these slipped my mind – and it’s not like I haven’t played them one or twelve times…
“Foreplay/Long Time,” Boston
“Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Getaway,” Chicago
“Intruder/Pretty Woman,” Van Halen
“Threshhold/Jet Airliner,” Steve Miller Band
“We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” Queen
More to come, I am sure!