in Music

Wait…where’s the single?

The BBC’s excellent programme on Top of the Pops: The Story of 1989 has got me thinking. Until I watched it, I hadn’t appreciated the background to Marc Almond and Gene Pitney’s wonderful duet version of Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart.

Almond had recorded a cover of Pitney’s song for his 1988 album The Stars We Are. Pitney, the original singer of the song in the late 1960s, heard this version and offered to re-record it with Almond as a duet. This version was released as a single in January 1989 and spent four weeks at #1 in the UK chart.

I was 12 years old when the song came out and I loved it. It gets into your brain and you find yourself singing it for weeks. Imagine loving the song so much that you decide that you want to save up your money and buy the album instead of the single. You wander to the record store with your hard-earned cash. Find the album, buy the album, get it home, sit down in front of the stereo, play it, the big number arrives and…no Gene Pitney.

Wouldn’t you feel a bit cheated and let down?

It got me thinking — what other albums are there out there where the big single, or version of the single, is missing?

I canvassed some friends for other examples and have gathered some together here. I think that there are three variants to this.

What other examples have I missed?

1. Albums where the big song is present, but is significantly different to the single

Back to Life on Club Classics Vol. One by Soul II Soul. The single is a groovy, funky masterpiece. The album version is an acapella tune that while beautiful, lacks the punch that the single delivers. But the beats appear at 2:40 and it segues superbly into Jazzie’s Groove.

Revolution on The Beatles (also known as The White Album). Crazy loud electric single, replaced by a plodding, organic-sounding groove on the album. To be fair to the band, the album version had a ‘1’ suffix, but you could be forgiven for mistaking this as just distinguishing it from its long-lost cousin Revolution 9 which is also on the album.

19-2000 on Gorillaz. Not a band I was into, but it was early enough into the new century to still be ubiquitous on the radio and TV. The album version of the song is slow, and the version everyone played from the single (the ‘Soulchild remix’) is much faster.

Professional Widow on Boys For Pele by Tori Amos. The Armand van Helden ‘Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix’ that was everywhere in 1998 couldn’t be more different from the harpsichord-heavy album version. According to Wikipedia:

1997 – Boys for Pele was reissued in the UK and Australia featuring both the LP version and the full-length Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix back-to-back. Consequently, the track “In the Springtime of His Voodoo” is cut from the album.

Gain a massive tune, lose a song.

2. Album versions which are mildly, but jarringly, different from the single

I grew up (“tall and proud”) listening to Queen’s Hammer To Fall on their Greatest Hits II album. This is the version that accompanies the official video, so I assume it was the single. When I finally got around to buying The Works, it was weird to hear the different vocal snippet and additional few bars of guitar at around the two-minute mark in the song.

The B-52’s Love Shack always trips me up at weddings. You don’t know until around three minutes in whether you’re dancing and a-lovin’ to the single version, or the extended version that appears on the album.

3. Albums where a song is missing (and you should really have checked the track listing before you parted with your cash — you only have yourself to blame)

Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack doesn’t appear on the album Sheer Heart Attack, it is actually on News Of The World.

Gomez’s Bring It On doesn’t appear on the album Bring It On, it is actually on Liquid Skin.

The original release of Some Friendly by The Charlatans didn’t contain The Only One I Know. It was added later.

Ride’s song Going Blank Again wasn’t on their album of the same name, but instead was a track on their Twisterella EP of the same era.

According to Wikipedia, Michael Jackson’s single Leave Me Alone “was not included on the original vinyl nor cassette releases [of the Bad album] but was included on the CD release and now is included in all releases.”

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.