Hunt For The Best B-Side is a series of findings. Instead of listing some of our personal best B-sides. we thought it would be better to test the reader. The B-side is an integral part of music. Well, it was up until the digital age. You may know it as a simple, filler track to complete a double-sided 7" vinyl - I know it as a magical touch, a discovery that sets the average single apart from the rest. Having a standout B-side on vinyl to me, means repeat. You're not just there to listen to the A-side to which you purchased it for. That undiscovered, unheard B-side holds the key to some of music's great mysteries. So over a period of time, we'll be hunting down the best B-sides we know from the depths of 70s rock 'n' roll, to the beginnings of hip-hop and beyond.
"Roller Coaster By The Sea" is the B-side for the original British pressing of The Modern Lovers' "Egyptian Reggae" from 1977. Now "Egyptian Reggae" is itself an instrumental recording, one of The Modern Lovers' best if I may add. But it's B-side has to be one of the strongest and most encouraging B-side's to have graced the 70s replication of the 50s beat.
The beauty of The Modern Lovers', especially Richman, is their ability to create the emotional aspect of song play in to one another. With "Roller Coaster By The Sea", Richman has taken the fun essence of a theme park, roller coaster, and matched it up with the up/down roller coaster of life. In doing so, with his unique lyricism, Richman tells the story: "You see I went on the roller coaster last night when I was feeling bad. Down by the sea in Santa Cruz and I was feeling sad. But we went down, and around, and it knocked me out of my head." It's about how a sad soul can be turned around by having just the one thing in life that keeps the child within us, fun: "Hey, roller coaster by the sea, thank you for helping me. Roller coaster by the water, you made me feel more as I oughta." The Modern Lovers aid this aspect of fun by replicating the sounds of a roller coaster, with their 'woah's', replicating the noise we seem to make when going up and down, up and down, wooah, woaaaaah, wooah, woaaaah. Legendary instrumental accompaniment to a simple message on how to turn your misery to fortune.