Today’s Friday Flipside comes from America’s first album that was originally released in the UK and the Netherlands without the band’s first single and a number one hit: “A Horse with No Name.” After the single was released and began climbing the charts, Warner Brothers reissued the album with the single.
Because Warners slapped a sticker on the shrink wrap that read something to the effect of “Featuring the hit A Horse with no Name,” people often referred to the album as the “Horse with No Name” album – although its actual title was the name of the band. This also fit the naming convention that the band officially used on the seven following albums that all began with the letter “H.”
Those LPs were “Homecoming,” “Hat Trick,” “Holiday,” “Hearts,” “History: America’s Greatest Hits,” “Hideaway,” and “Harbour.” Once Dan Peek left the band so did this specific album naming convention; however, they named five albums starting in 1994 also with an “H.” They were “Hourglass,” “Human Nature,” “Highway: Thirty Years of America,” “Holiday Harmony,” and “Here and Now.”
The title of their first studio LP without Peek released in 1979, “Silent Letter,” was thought to be a play on the British clipped usage of letter “H” (as in ‘ello). Being sons of American airmen, all three members of the band grew up in England and had attended school in suburban London.
I said all of that to say that today’s flip is their first as the “B” side to the American release of “A Horse with no Name.” While the “A” received a huge amount of airplay worldwide, it’s flip “Sandman” did quite well as an album radio hit. Although it is not recorded as charting in the Hot 100, it did get some airplay on Top 40 radio as well.
Like a number of their songs, the vocal stylings of “Sandman” are reminiscent of two Canadians: Neil Young and Ian Thomas. Well, on with the show this is it.