Part of the fun of record collecting is buying what you think is a regular single, LP or CD and hearing a major difference on an otherwise familiar song. One could go on and on about Beatles song differences, especially mono and stereo mixes, but we'll instead present the second part of our look at single versions that are very different from their album counterparts.
• The Byrds- All I Really Want To Do: This was the follow-up to the band's debut single, their #1 version of Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man; and if you you succeed with one Dylan song, why not try two? Or that's the way it should have been. The single version is a different vocal take, and just like the 45 of The Beatles' Help, does not sound as confident as the stereo LP version. In any case, Cher's version of the song, where she bizarrely vocalizes as both herself and then-beau-future husband-Phil Spector-type producer Sonny Bono, climbed higher chartwise. I have a feeling the Byrds' album version, mixed down to mono, would have done better.
• Simon and Garfunkel- I Am A Rock: Normally, I should be concentrating on The Sound of Silence, as Version 1 was totally acoustic and version 2, the same recording with electric guitar and drums added to qualify as folk-rock and hit #1 as a result, was different in a major way. But that difference is too well known. Less well known is that I Am A Rock has a different vocal on the single than on the better known LP. To me, the 45 also sounds kind of uncertain. Maybe this is why Paul Simon adamantly refuses to allow for the release of a Simon and Garfunkel mono singles collection. Too bad, as Columbia produced wonderful mono rock mixes in the 1960s, loud, hot and in your face.
• The Exciters-Tell Him: In this case, the single version is more "complete," as the album version has a vocal missed cue, which is corrected on the single. The Beatles' Please Please Me has a similar mishap, as the stereo version has a mistake and stifled laugh from John Lennon, while the mono single and LP mix had an inserted correction. The Mamas and Papas' I Saw Her Again also has a vocal miscue in its stereo mix, which actually works very well; but the mono single is not a correction — instead the whole section that includes the mistake was edited out.
•James Brown-Papa Don't Take No Mess: On the Hell 2-LP set, this is a side-long groove masterpiece that features a wonderful key change in the middle. The single version adds James Brown's concert introducer at the opening, assuring us the song is "hot, hot, hot...and bad!"
• The Beatles-Get Back: This one is very well known. The 45, released about a year before the Let It Be album, is the complete song. The LP version substitutes applause for the single's concluding minute-long final "jam." The applause gave the illusion the LP version was taken from the band's famous Jan. 30, 1969 rooftop concert. Those versions were fairly sloppy, but fun, and the last really live one contained improvised lyrics about the police stopping the gig, which they did, hopefully to their eternal chagrin.
• The Beatles-Revolution: This one is also well known. The 45 is the fast, wonderfully distorted, hit version. The LP version from the White Album was the first song recorded for the LP, was originally much longer and kind of ambles along.
• Stampeders-Wild Eyes: Finding the original single version on Spotify was one of the great musical joys of my life, because it was the version I had heard back in '74 on K-Tel's Canadian Mint album and was difficult to track down since. This was the progression of my search— the Stampeders 60 Minutes With CD compilation had a complete and not bad re-recording. Another compilation, which I saw on Spotify, had the original recording, but in stereo, was longer and something was missing. A third compilation, with a black cover, had the 45 — mono, shorter and with repeat echo on a part of the song. Victory!
Kiss-Calling Dr. Love — The single is not only edited, and not badly, but there's a percussive clang at the opening of the song that is not present on the LP.