These three songs round out my top side-2 lead tracks.
I’ve also added some bonus coverage…
“Street Fighting Man” – Rolling Stones
from the album Beggars Banquet
Here are a case where the lead track on side two was also the lead single for the album. (It was surprisingly the only single released from Beggars.) This is one of the first songs I learned on guitar and I still get my Keith Richards shrug and stab going as soon as I hear the opening chords. With side one’s “Sympathy for the Devil,” this record has two of the best side-opening tracks of all time. What can a poor boy do?
“You Got That Right” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
from the album Street Survivors
The infamous plane crash that claimed the lives of Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines occurred three days after this record was released (look for the original “flame” cover). Gaines was new to the band and shared lead vocal and writing credit with Ronnie on this sing-along, air-guitar classic. Overshadowed by side one’s hits “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell,” it is perhaps the perfect AOR deeper cut for this time period. Things I liked I tried ‘em twice.
“You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” – The Cars
from the album The Cars
From their first and quintessential record, this track gets overshadowed by side one’s “Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed,” and even the album closer, “Moving in Stereo” (with a nice big assist from Phoebe Cates’s boobs). A great new-wave vocal by spectral Ric Ocasek, who masterminded The Cars’ trend-setting style. I don’t mind you comin’ here…
Lifetime Achievement Award
I want to bring special attention to REM, whose first seven records were released primarily in the vinyl format. These guys definitely understood sequencing and took full advantage of the side-2 lead track. Early REM records were so welled sequenced that they didn’t even call them “side 1” and “side 2,” preferring such nomenclature as “Page side” and “Leaf side.” Frankly, I often forget which was the lead side. Here are the highlights:
“Second Guessing” – Reckoning, 1984
“Can’t Get There from Here” – Fables, 1985 (lead single)
“The One I Love” – Document, 1987 (lead single)
“Orange Crush” – Green, 1988 (lead single)
“Shiny Happy People” – Out of Time, 1991 (second single)