Nothing brings the past alive more vividly or with stronger feeling than the forgotten oldie. That’s the song you loved that your local radio station played a hundred times until you knew every bar and word by heart and then they stopped playing it. Chances are it may have even been the B-side to another hit you loved as much or perhaps not nearly as much. Local AM disk jockeys could be notorious for playing B-sides of some singles with the same fervor as they did the mostly A-side singles. You might even have thought the B-side song you were hearing was a major hit. Then, as your life passed by year after year, it faded into memory out of sight and out of mind. You never heard it played on oldies stations, especially if it had not charted very high or had not been a hit at all but a once popular B-side song.
Such was the case several years ago when I heard this song for the first time since 1971. I recognized it immediately and remembered all the times associated with it despite its seeming non-existence for some 45 years. These are the most precious oldies of all because they have never been made even a little stale from years of on again, off again air play or, worse, burned out by being over-played or turning up on the soundtracks of at least a dozen films. They are truly bubbles in time waiting to be rediscovered and yes … relived.
“Broken” by Canadian rock band The Guess Who was the B-side of “Albert Flasher” … a major hit for the band released in March 1971 which reached #13 in Canada and #29 in the US in late June. The flip side “Broken” made it to #15 in Canada and #55 in the US in April. Both “Albert Flasher” and “Broken” got a tremendous amount of air play here on the Niagara Frontier so close to Canada (which obviously heard them both a lot as well). For album collectors neither song appeared on an album until over two years later on The Best of The Guess Who Volume II in 1973.