I have a long history with collecting singles. Record Store Tales Part 4: A Word About B-Sides was all about the discovery of exclusive songs, at the Zellers store in Stanley Park Mall. The whole point in buying singles, to me, has always been acquiring rare tracks or rare versions of tracks. Still, if you bought a single and the B-side ended up being on the album anyway, as long as it’s a good song, I don’t complain too much.
Back in 1989 we were all eagerly awaiting the release of Motley Crue’s forthcoming opus, Dr. Feelgood, their first “sober” album and first under the guidance of Bob Rock. The first single was the title track, and on the little speakers of my radio, it crushed. In Getting More Tale #656: The One They Call Dr. Feelgood, I had this to say:
“I tried to catch ‘Feelgood’ on the radio and record it, but failed. Instead I bought the cassette single at the local Zellers store. Considering how many tracks the band worked up for Dr. Feelgood, I hoped they would be releasing non-album B-sides. They did not. Instead, ‘Feelgood’ was backed by “Sticky Sweet”, probably the weakest album track.”
This single, bought at the very same Zellers store in the very same mall, is still fun to hit ‘play’ on. The old familiar cassette test tone precedes the song, a fun nostalgic reminder of the old days. Then the riff caves in your skull, with no “Terror ‘n Tinseltown” intro. I suppose if you were a stickler, you could say this version of “Feelgood” without “T.n.T.” was exclusive to the single. It was pretty easy to separate the two on CD though.
Although certainly overplayed today, I can remember what we all liked about “Feelgood”. The heavy groove was refreshing and quite unlike other bands getting airplay that summer: Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith. Then there’s Mick Mars’ solo and talkbox bit, still enjoyable. I’ve probably heard it 1000 times, but “Dr. Feelgood” still plays good on air guitar.
Flipping the tape, the B-side “Sticky Sweet” perpetually sucks. Motley Crue had a couple unreleased tracks to choose from that would have been better than “Sticky Sweet”, such as “Rodeo”. But as revealed in an old issue of Hit Parader, some of those tracks were initially earmarked for a followup album called Motley Crue: The Ballads. Regardless of the rationale, “Sticky Sweet” stinks like a poo stuck to the bottom of your shoe after you’ve already tracked it into the house. In its favour, it does have a neat funky instrumental section in the middle, but that can’t save a shitty song. And the thing is, even if an unreleased B-side was never in consideration, why couldn’t they have just picked a better album track, like “Slice of Your Pie” or “She Goes Down”? Maybe they knew they were sitting on an album with five singles so they started by rolling out the shittiest B-sides?
Whatever! The A-side may be timeless but the score must account for the atrocious B-side.