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Dr. Spin scoops the presses!

by Dr. Spin
November 17, 2003

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It!_Dr. Spin-Dr. Spin scoops the presses! Note: Several months ago, I responded to a letter from a person complaining about having a certain song stuck in his/her head. I expressed the trauma of such an experience in great detail. Recently I came across a Chicago Tribune article that used the phrase “earworm” to describe a song that unexpectedly gets stuck in your head, even a commercial jingle. While someone else coined a cutesy little phrase for it, I was the one to first expose the phenomenon! That’s right! When you’re looking for hard-hitting journalism, don’t waste your time on CNN or your local “newspaper,” look to the PO! To further prove my point, look at the exposés I have below!

Dear Dr. Spin,

Were you once a head-banger? If so, when was the last time you banged your head? Did it hurt?

Sincerely, Headmaster

Dear Heady,

I don’t know if I could ever classify myself as a “headbanger,” though I did watch “Headbanger’s Ball” on MTV for a little time in the late ‘80’s. I did “bang” my head, though “headbanger” is really a misnomer; you actually give yourself a minor neck whiplash, rather than hit your head against anything. But I guess being a “whiplasher” doesn’t sound as cool and actually makes you sound like some sort of con artist.

Dr. Spin,

I've heard people in the music recording industry talking about "B-Sides" in reference to recent albums. What is a B-Side in the CD age?


Dear Square,

One of the many victims of the CD age is the infamous “B-side.” (see my article Waxing About Wax, for more on the demise of vinyl records). B-sides usually referred to singles; the “hit” was the A-side, the B-side was usually a minor song, “inferior” to the hit. Sometimes B-sides were songs not even released on the album. Today the B-side still exists, though since you can’t flip CDs over; there is technically no longer a “B-side.” B-sides now come on the “CD singles” which aren’t really “single” anymore; they’re more like EP’s. EP’s used to have 4 songs (and a B-side), but now they usually have 6 songs (no B-side). But I’m digressing…

Today’s “B-side” is now the extra material released on the CD singles. Sometimes the “B-side” is an extended mix of the hit, or a live version; sometimes it’s a song (or two, or three) that wasn’t on the album. While the “true” B-side doesn’t exist anymore, the spirit of the B-side continues; with artists using that venue (or concept) to still release material they felt was good, but somehow didn’t fit the “vision” of their album. The B-side is dead; long live the “extra track.”

Dr. Spin,

There is a rumor that Sheryl Crow’s song “My Favorite Mistake” is actually about Eric Clapton. Crow will neither confirm nor deny it. Can you shed any light on the rumor?


Dear G,

Though Ms. Crow swore me to secrecy on this subject, I cannot lie to my public. “My Favorite Mistake” is about me.

It was a difficult time for both of us; our lives were heading down decidely different paths. Sheryl was on her way to becoming a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, and I was on my way to becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (it could happen!). I still look fondly on my days with Sheryl, and obviously so does she. She’s my favorite mistake too…

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