The Flip Side

Anyone reading these postings knows that the subjects selected and opinions expressed differ considerably from those employed by other writers. That is also true when it comes to music because my personal favorite songs are usually not one of the bigger hits of recording artists. It is in the spirit of bringing others to appreciate those lesser-known titles that I spin a few neglected platters on the turntables of the past.

Elvis Presley had so many singles on the charts that it is easy to overlook a number of worthwhile songs, but “Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello” is tops with me.

The Rolling Stones have covered many hits over their long career so it isn’t “Just My Imagination” that puts that song above the others.

The oldies stations that are fond of playing the usual hits by Johnny Rivers like “Poor Side of Town” and “Secret Agent Man” should grant airtime to “Under Your Spell Again,” which is even better than the Buck Owens original.

Listeners, weary of going up Blueberry Hill with Fats Domino for years, may be “Sick and Tired” of that trek and should listen to that great rocker instead.

The best way to appreciate the sound of the Turtles is to hear them ask “Can I Get to Know You Better?”

Buddy Holly comes across at his best if people just “Listen to Me.”

“What is the Reason?” the Rascals were such a good group in the sixties? That song answers the question better than “How Can I Be Sure?”

Cat Stevens rode the “Peace Train” up the charts in 1971, but his plaintive “Where Do the Children Play?” has always ranked higher with me.

I haven’t got time for the pain when I hear that Carly Simon hit, but I like “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” even more.

I won’t back down from my belief that the real treasure in the Tom Petty canon is “Letting You Go.”

Similarly, I will stand “Out in the Cold Again” by asserting that one is my favorite from Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Play Nanci Griffith’s “Once in a Very Blue Moon” more often than that.

Rolling Stone recently saluted Bob Dylan’s 70 greatest records, yet missed him play his best hand in “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.”

“It’s All Right” (not “It’s Gonna Be Alright”) to put that single at the top of the “must play” list for Gerry and the Pacemakers.

A fan doesn’t have to be “Gone, Gone, Gone” on the Everly Brothers to love that 1964 recording.

“The Little Girl I Once Knew” knows that remains one of the best of the Beach Boys efforts from the 1960s.

Herb Alpert was also going places in the sixties, but I think he got to the top when he borrowed this advice from the Ventures: “Walk, Don’t Run.”

One song from the Righteous Brothers has never lost that loving feeling with me: “Go Ahead and Cry.”

No need to search for Patti Smith’s best because it’s “Looking for You.”

It is no scandal to say yes to Patty Smyth’s “She Can’t Say No.”

Neil Diamond wrote and recorded many overlooked songs early in his career (e.g., “Someday, Baby,” “You Got to Me,”), but the cheerful “Sunday Sun” gets my vote as Most Likely to Get You Humming.

“The Boat That I Row,” another Diamond composition, is a Lulu that rates more airplay than “To Sir with Love” does.

The “Early Morning Rain” can be a bit depressing, but Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wherefore and Why” has a message and melody worth hearing again and again.

“What Way You Going, Billy?,” the question asked often by those playing the Poppy Family, should instead try “Good Friends?” to hear Susan Jacks at her best.

“Deep Purple” has faded from frequent dipping into the Nino and April songbook. Try “All Strung Out” for a fresh sound.

Of Dion’s numerous covers the popular “Ruby Baby” is very good, but the lesser-known “Can’t We Be Sweethearts?” is even better.

Want to give fans of Bonnie Raitt something to talk about? “Come to Me.”

No one can go wrong tumbling dice with Linda Ronstadt, but I would still favor her advice in “Love Is a Rose.”

Turn down any invitation to take a ride with Ronny and the Daytonas in their little GTO. Try their mellow side with “Sandy.”

“You Might Think” is the Cars at their best. Instead, here’s just what I have always needed: “Double Life.”

“Look Around You” to find a real treat from Bobby Goldsboro. It is not necessary to wait until it’s Christmastime.

Warren Zevon was at the top of his form when “Looking for the Next Best Thing.”

“Pin a Medal on Joey” and also one on James Darren for recording that dandy.

“She is Still a Mystery” to the Lovin’ Spoonful, but not to us who know a memorable tune when we hear one.

I “Can’t Wait All Night” to hear Juice Newton do that great number.

Neil Sedaka’s “Let’s Go Steady Again” deserves just as much airtime as “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.”

ABBA had many hits that get play all over the dial, but there is only one I would like to hear “On and On and On.”

Only one of Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs is “Too Beautiful to Last.”

If the man playing the piano near the bar happened to be Billy Joel, I would request a double shot of “Captain Jack.”

Even if the Bobby Fuller Four had fought with the law, I would agree with them on this point: “Let Her Dance.”

Anne Murray’s “That’s Not the Way” is the way to an delightful toe-tapper.

Del Shannon’s overlooked lament about broken hearts is “Broken Promises.”

Make yourself comfortable while Sarah Vaughan shows how a “Smooth Operator” works.

Just ask your heart what Frankie Avalon song with a great sax solo can make a person say, “You Excite Me.”

Leave your gum on the bedpost. Instead, listen to Lonnie Donegan take the fastest trip ever through the “Cumberland Gap.”

“Hush” is one of those songs that rocks steady no matter who does it. Listen to Billy Joe Royal leave the boondocks behind or Joe South walk at least a mile with those wailing chords.

Similarly, “String Along” with Fabian or Rick Nelson for a catchy tune worth a second hearing.

Pat Benatar’s Tropico is the one album with the most buried treasures on it. “We Belong” was the hit from that bunch, but “Diamond Field,” “Outlaw Blues,” “A Crazy World Like This,” and “Takin’ It Back” are all excellent.

Bert Kaempfert’s “Afrikaan Beat” deserves as much fame as his chart-topping “Wonderland by Night.”

Those who sing the praises of Tommy Roe should be reciting “Jack and Jill” instead of shouting “Hooray for Hazel.”

In your wildest dreams the Moody Blues were at their moodiest with the soulful “Driftwood.”

Tell this to the rain about the Four Seasons: “Let’s Ride Again” is the one to play.

This Dave Clark Five single should be played over and over: “Try too Hard.”

“Like a Lover” is one of the most romantic tracks Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 ever recorded.

Jack Scott is my nominee for the most underrated rock and roller from the 1950s and 1960s. His “Oh, Little One” in 1960 should have been a big one.

Marshall Crenshaw’s “Whenever You’re On My Mind” is an underplayed gem from the 1980s.

John Stewart had lost some of his voice in the sun by the1990s, but even the gravelly “Neon Road” is worth a listen.

Two stops worth the trip: “The Last Chance to Turn Around” by Gene Pitney and “Magic Town” by the Vogues.

“Don’t Sleep in the Subway” is good, but Petula Clark’s cover of “Rain” is even better.

Whenever Al Stewart plays on your mind like a song on the radio, stop at the “Mondo Sinistro.”

I don’t have to wonder what she’s doing tonight because she is probably listening to Boyce and Hart’s superb cover of Dion’s “Teenager in Love.”

The most appropriate assessment of “I Like Your Kind of Love” by Andy Williams is “That’s good, baby, that’s good.”

Calling America, get this message through: “Secret Lives” is a 1980s ELO gem.

“Everywhere I Go” I tell people that Jackson Browne cut deserves more recognition.

Where is the action for Freddy Cannon fans? “Buzz Buzz A Diddle It.”

Outsiders claim “Time Won’t Let Me” was that group’s best; insiders pick “Lost in My World.”

You won’t get fooled again by the Who once you put “Athena” on repeat.

Bobby Darin, like Frank Sinatra, had a way of taking a standard and making it his own. Darin really brings it home on “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey.”

Let Steve Lawrence hear footsteps and Eydie Gorme blame it on the Bossa Nova. “I Want to Stay Here” to claim that was their best as a duo.

“I Know What I Know” when I state that’s Paul Simon’s best.

Leave the car tracks on gravel roads behind. Instead, follow Lucinda Williams to “Crescent City.”

The Diamonds “Don’t Let Me Down” every time I listen to that 1957 release.

“Go Champ Go” is better than a shot of tequila from the Champs.

People still trying to figure out what the little black egg was should spend more time listening to the Nightcrawlers “Cry.”

The best way to enjoy Chris Montez is to have “Some Kinda Fun.”

Anyone who goes trippin’ with Dick Dale should stop to hear those pulsating “Surfing Drums.”

For the best doo-wop by the Marcels avoid heartaches by listening to “Crazy Bells.”

The Belmonts also chime in nicely on “Ring a Ling.”

Dig deep into the Grass Roots to find “Lovin’ Things.”

Although Ian and Sylvia recorded a number of their own compositions, they did a mighty fine job on Dylan’s “Mighty Quinn.”

“Hello I Love You” is Crystal Gayle at the top of her form.

Crown Vikki Carr with the title of “Ms. America.”

Elias McDaniel is most dangerous when “Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.”

“The Better to Dream of You” is the best way to appreciate Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Chuck Berry is on top all year when “Run Rudolph Run” is dashing through the speakers.

I may be a party of one in recommending Nick Lowe’s “Shting-Shtang.”

“Lonesome Number One” is number one on my Don Gibson hit parade.

Brewer and Shipley brew up some magical harmony on “Witchi-Tai-To.”

Bob Seger can “Roll Me Away” with that anthem to the open road.

Liz is much better than Phair garbed as the “Polyester Bride.”

Dire Straits are on terra firma when they “Skateaway.”

“Every Once in a While” listen to that goodie by Blackhawk.

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One Response to The Flip Side

  1. Dan Wengler says:

    Here are some of my “unsung” songs:
    – Elvis Presley “I’m Coming Home” and “They Remind Me Too Much of You”
    – Ricky Nelson “Lonesome Town”
    – Carl Perkins “Gone Gone Gone”
    – John Denver “Eclipse”
    – Cat Stevens “Angelsea”
    – Simon & Garfunkel “Old Friends”
    – Frankie Laine “That Lucky Old Sun”
    – Frank Sinatra “Lady Day”
    – Tony Bennett “Soon It’s Gonna Rain”
    – Nat King Cole “Ballerina”
    – Dean Martin “Houston”
    – Perry Como “Seattle”
    – Neil Young “Sugar Mountain”
    – Ramones “She’s a Sensation”
    – Elton John “Burn Down the Mission”
    – Aretha Franklin “Rock Steady”
    – Kiss “Hard Times”
    MORE TO COME…

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