The best B-sides by Manchester bands

3 October 2023, 19:00

Masters of the b-side: New Order, The Stone Roses and The Smiths
Masters of the b-side: New Order, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

What are the best b-sides to come out of the rainy city? From The Smiths to Courteeners, New Order to Elbow, we've picked our favourites.

Radio X has already picked the best ever Oasis b-sides, so we'd thought we'd expand the idea and take a look at some of the best tunes to be tucked away on the other side of some classic singles by Manchester bands.

The Gallagher and The Smiths were well known for hiding little gems dotted around their back catalogue, but who else is an expert practitioner of the b-side?

Read More: The Best Oasis B-Sides

  1. New Order - 1963

    Originally issued as the flip to the 1987 single True Faith, this tale of tragedy and redemption was later reworked by producer Arthur Baker and releases as an A-side in 1995 (see below).

    New Order - 1963 (Official Music Video)

  2. The Stone Roses - Mersey Paradise

    Another band with strong b-sides, this Roses favourite appeared on the 12" of She Bangs The Drums in July 1989.

    The Stone Roses - Mersey Paradise (Audio)

  3. The Smiths - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

    Morrissey and Marr's discography is an embarrassment of riches, which is why Smiths compilations are so good. This mini masterpiece originally appeared on the flip of William It Was Really Nothing in 1984.

    The Smiths - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (Official Audio)

  4. Oasis - Half The World Away

    Well, it would be rude not to include this Noel Gallagher classic, wouldn't it? First released as the b-side to Whatever in December 1994.

    Oasis - Half The World Away (Official Lyric Video)

  5. The Charlatans - Happen To Die

    This classic Tim Burgess tune was one of the tracks on the Over Rising EP in February 1991.

    Happen To Die

  6. Inspiral Carpets - Commercial Rain

    One of Clint Boon's more hypnotic organ riffs made the b-side of 1989's Joe single, quickly became a live favourite and then appeared on the back of the single She Comes In The Fall (as "Commercial Reign") a year later.

    Inspiral Carpets - Commercial Rain (US Video)

  7. Courteeners - Smiths Disco

    The most Manchester b-side ever? Middleton's Courteeners singing about a club night at the city's Star And Garter which references fellow Mancs The Smiths.

    Smiths Disco

  8. 808 State - Olympic (Euro Bass Mix)

    Also known as the theme tune to The Word. Tucked away on the Cubik/Olympic 12" was this tune that instantly evokes post-pub Friday night shenanigans.

    Olympic (Euro Bass Mix)

  9. Elbow - Buffalo Ghosts

    Ethereal beauty from Guy Garvey and company, taken from the b-side to the Open Arms single from 2011.

    Elbow - Buffalo Ghosts

  10. Joy Division - Novelty

    An early song by the pre-Joy Div band Warsaw, this was later overhauled by genius producer Martin Hannett in 1979 and shows off the group's rockier side.

    Joy Division - Novelty (Official Lyric Video)

Read more: B-sides that became more famous than the A-Sides

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