As you probably know by now, The Analog Kid lives for b-sides and non-album cuts. In this continuing series, I will share some of my favorite EPs and 12″ singles from over the years in their entirety. And since it’s digital, you don’t have to worry about correctly setting the turntable speed to 33⅓ or 45!
Paul McCartney told a story a few years ago about a crazy fan he met in Japan during a Wings tour. The young lady was an absolute Wings fanatic– she knew every song, and she attended multiple shows on the tour. During their conversation, Paul realized something truly amazing about the girl– she may have loved Wings, but she had absolutely no idea who the Beatles were.
Not that this is really on the same level, but I had similar feelings about the band Sugar. Sure, I knew about Hüsker Dü in the ’80s, but I never really listened to them in college. I would see their records in the shops on the Drag or at Waterloo, but for some reason I never really heard much by them other than “Makes No Sense At All”. By the time I graduated, the Dü were no more and Bob Mould had moved on to Sugar. I heard the song “Helpless” on 120 Minutes in 1992, and I was instantly hooked.
Sugar’s debut album Copper Blue is easily one of my five favorite ’90s records, and over the years I have acquired virtually every Sugar single (all of which are loaded with non-album b-sides). The U.S. CD single for “Helpless” contains a fantastic acoustic version of the Copper Blue track “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” and non-album cuts “Needle Hits E” and “Try Again” were concert favorites for the band.
Sugar only made two proper albums before Mould returned to solo work, but I was lucky enough to see them live a few times. They always blasted through their set at warp speed, just like Hüsker Dü used to do. Over the years, I have learned to appreciate Mould’s other band– I still don’t own any Hüsker Dü CDs, but I do have most of their catalog on vinyl. I can’t lie, though: I still listen to Sugar on a more regular basis. I still think that little girl in Japan was slightly insane, but at least I can see where she was coming from…
Sugar: Helpless [U.S. CD Single]
1. “Helpless” (Bob Mould)
2. “Needle Hits E” (Bob Mould)
3. “If I Can’t Change Your Mind [Solo Mix]” (Bob Mould)
4. “Try Again” (Bob Mould)
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Sugar: “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” (Bob Mould)
From the album Copper Blue
Paul McCartney & Wings: “Listen To What The Man Said” (Paul & Linda McCartney)
From the album Venus And Mars
Capitol Records, 1975
Hüsker Dü: “Makes No Sense At All” (Bob Mould)
From the album Flip Your Wig
SST Records, 1985