You Go On
The Bach's Lunch You Go On (Tomorrow, 1967)
In the quest for the Big Hit Single, record producers often throw what they think is an inferior song on the B-side of the song they are trying to break.* The king of the crummy B-side is novelty/cut-in record producer Dickie Goodman. Fearful that the flipside of one of his novelty records would break the charts at the expense of the A-side, Goodman would put one minute instrumentals based on test-tones, non-songs that were more like experimental fixed grooves than anything else, and other deliberately crappy "songs" on the B-side. On one Yellow Balloon 45, producer Mike Curb simply pressed a backward recording of the A-side on the B-side. More often then not, a record producer will just put a song that is a little too quirky, dark, moody or raw on the flip. As time passes, it is not rare that the B-side turns out to be the better of the two songs. Such is the case with this gem of a single.
Produced by Carole King and on her label, The Bach's Lunch only release features a remake of King's first hit, the 1961 Shirelles' classic Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, and a song penned by the Myddle Class's Rick Philip and Dave Palmer (under the name Philip Palmer). While the A-side is a solid version of Will You..., slowed down a bit and with some nice Vox organ, it is the B-side, You Go On, which is as perfect a haunted pop songs as you will ever hear.
You Go On starts with a nice, amateurish piano riff and then, thanks to the organ, a dreamy, nearly ethereal pop tone creeps in. Girl group style backing vocals are dropped for a Brian Wilson style swirl, which sounds both sexy and ghost-like.
I've read one description calling the song "brooding baroque" and that tag kind of captures the vocals but it misses the mood. Brooding is too heavy of a word. There is a bluesiness to the song and the vocals sounds a bit haunted and dark, but it still keeps a pop sense to it that keeps away the bleakness that the word "brooding" implies. Rather than brooding, this taps into a dreamy, rainy day melancholy state of mind.
The most baroque thing about You Go On is the backing vocals. The instrumentation is pretty straight forward - guitar, bass, drums, piano and organ - and sounds more like the Them than what record freaks commonly think as baroque pop - Forever Changes-era Love or Brian Wilson during Good Vibrations/Pet Sounds/Smile days.
The stripped down instrumentation paired with lush, layered vocals makes You Go On is one of the great B-sides of all time. This should be on the play list on anyone into girl groups, 60s pop, bubblegum, or modern day twee. This is a fantastic song.
* There are two reasons for the invention of the crappy B-side. First is the record producer's ego. Nothing irks a producer more than when a lowly DJ flips a record over, discovers that B-side is really the hit, plays it on the air and creates a hit B-side. Second, and most important, is that record companies hate it when a record has both hit A & B-sides. When 45 was king, the record companies wanted the consumer to buy as many 45s as possible and if one 45 had two hits on it, that was one less record people would buy. Better to break those two good songs up and pair them with crappy B-sides. Two singles with bad B-sides meant more more money for the record company than one single with two hits on it.
(Originally posted January 8, 2006. It is too damn hot in Sacramento, so I fled for a few days. Will bring records back home soon....)
Also Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville) cranked out some knockoff instrumental b-sides for his chipmunks 45's...who'd call a song "Mediocre" and "Almost Good"...