A-side and B-side

The terms A-side and B-side refer to the two sides of 78, 45, 33​1⁄3 rpm phonograph records, or cassettes, whether singles, extended plays, or long-playing records. The A-side featured the recording that the artist, record producer, or the record company intended to receive the initial promotional effort and receive radio airplay to become a "hit" record; the B-side is a secondary recording that has a history of its own: some artists released B-sides that were considered as strong as the A-side and became hits in their own right. Others took the opposite approach: producer Phil Spector was in the habit of filling B-sides with on-the-spot instrumentals that no one would confuse with the A-side. With this practice, Spector was assured that airplay was focused on the side he wanted to be the hit side. Music recordings have moved away from records onto other formats such as CDs and digital downloads, which do not have "sides", but the terms are still used to describe the type of content, with B-side sometimes standing for "bonus" track.

The first sound recordings at the end of the 19th century were made on cylinder records, which had a single round surface capable of holding two minutes of sound. Early shellac disc records records only had recordings on one side of the disc, with a similar capacity. Double-sided recordings, with one selection on each side, were introduced in Europe by Columbia Records in 1908, by 1910 most record labels had adopted the format in both Europe and the United States. There were no record charts until the 1930s, radio stations did not play recorded music until the 1950s. In this time, A-sides and B-sides existed. In June 1948, Columbia Records introduced the modern 33​1⁄3 rpm long-playing microgroove vinyl record for commercial sales, its rival RCA Victor, responded the next year with the seven-inch 45 rpm vinylite record, which would replace the 78 for single record releases; the term "single" came into popular use with the advent of vinyl records in the early 1950s. At first, most record labels would randomly assign which song would be an A-side and which would be a B-side.

Under this random system, many artists had so-called "double-sided hits", where both songs on a record made one of the national sales charts, or would be featured on jukeboxes in public places. As time wore on, the convention for assigning songs to sides of the record changed. By the early sixties, the song on the A-side was the song that the record company wanted radio stations to play, as 45 rpm single records dominated the market in terms of cash sales, it was not until 1968, for example, that the total production of albums on a unit basis surpassed that of singles in the United Kingdom. In the late 1960s, stereo versions of pop and rock songs began to appear on 45s; the majority of the 45s were played on AM radio stations, which were not equipped for stereo broadcast at the time, so stereo was not a priority. However, the FM rock stations did not like to play monaural content, so the record companies adopted a protocol for DJ versions with the mono version of the song on one side, stereo version of the same song on the other.

By the early 1970s, double-sided hits had become rare. Album sales had increased, B-sides had become the side of the record where non-album, non-radio-friendly, instrumental versions or inferior recordings were placed. In order to further ensure that radio stations played the side that the record companies had chosen, it was common for the promotional copies of a single to have the "plug side" on both sides of the disc. With the decline of 45 rpm vinyl records, after the introduction of cassette and compact disc singles in the late 1980s, the A-side/B-side differentiation became much less meaningful. At first, cassette singles would have one song on each side of the cassette, matching the arrangement of vinyl records, but cassette maxi-singles, containing more than two songs, became more popular. Cassette singles were phased out beginning in the late 1990s, the A-side/B-side dichotomy became extinct, as the remaining dominant medium, the compact disc, lacked an equivalent physical distinction.

However, the term "B-side" is still used to refer to the "bonus" tracks or "coupling" tracks on a CD single. With the advent of downloading music via the Internet, sales of CD singles and other physical media have declined, the term "B-side" is now less used. Songs that were not part of an artist's collection of albums are made available through the same downloadable catalogs as tracks from their albums, are referred to as "unreleased", "bonus", "non-album", "rare", "outtakes" or "exclusive" tracks, the latter in the case of a song being available from a certain provider of music. B-side songs may be released on the same record as a single to provide extra "value for money". There are several types of material released in this way, including a different version, or, in a concept record, a song that does not fit into the story lin

Rhododendron ponticum

Rhododendron ponticum, called common rhododendron or pontic rhododendron, is a species of Rhododendron native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. R. ponticum is a dense, suckering shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall 8 m. The leaves are 6 to 18 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide; the flowers are 3.5 to 5 cm in diameter, violet-purple with small greenish-yellow spots or streaks. The fruit is a dry capsule 1.5 to 2.5 cm long. The two subspecies are: R. p. ponticum, found from Bulgaria east to Georgia R. p. baeticum Hand.-Mazz. Found in Spain and Portugal In Europe, its range includes Spain, northern Portugal, Great Britain and southeast Bulgaria, the last surviving European Tertiary habitat. In Asia it occurs in Turkey, Georgia, the Krasnodar area of southern Russia, the Himalayas, Tajikistan, Northern Pakistan, into the northern Republic of India, it is the state flower of Kashmir. Though it had been present in Great Britain before the last Ice Age, it did not recolonise afterwards and the ecology of the island grew up without it.

Its presence today is due to humans introducing it, it naturalises and becomes a pest in some situations covering whole hillsides. In the British Isles, it colonises moorlands, shady woodlands and in areas of acid soils in shaded areas. Fossil evidence shows it had a much wider range across most of southern and western Europe before the Late Glacial Maximum, or until about 20,000 years ago, it was noted by the botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort during his travels in the Near East in 1700–02, so received its name from Linnaeus to identify the ancient kingdom on the south shores of the Black Sea, Pontus, in which it grew. At the other end of its range, in southern Spain, Linnaeus' friend and correspondent Clas Alströmer found it growing with oleander, it was introduced to Britain as an ornamental shrub in 1763, planted as cover for game birds. It is now considered to be an invasive species. Rhododendron ponticum subsp. Baeticum is one of the most extensively cultivated rhododendrons in western Europe.

It is used as an ornamental plant in its own right, more as a rootstock onto which other more attractive rhododendrons are grafted. The plants were first grown in Britain in the 1760s, supplied by Conrad Loddiges, became distributed through the commercial nursery trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; the roots send up suckers from below the graft allowing it to overtake the intended grafted rhododendron. Honey produced with pollen from the flowers of this plant can be quite poisonous, causing severe hypotension and bradycardia in humans if consumed in sufficient quantities, due to toxic diterpenes. In some parts of the world, a controlled dosage of the honey can be taken to induce hallucinations for spiritual or psychological purposes; such areas include Nepal. Suckering of the root, together with its abundant seed production, has led to it becoming an invasive species over much of western Europe and in parts of New Zealand. Rhododendron control is a key element in nature conservation in those areas.

Conservation organisations in Britain now believe R. ponticum has become "a severe problem" in the native Atlantic oakwoods of the west highlands of Scotland and in Wales, on heathlands in southern England, crowding out the native flora. Clearance strategies have been developed, including the flailing and cutting down of plants with follow-up herbicide spraying. Injection of herbicide into individual plants has been found to be more effective. A recent study in the journal Functional Ecology showed that invasive rhododendron nectar was toxic to European honeybees, killing individuals within hours of consumption, it paralyzed bees of the species Andrena carantonica, a solitary mining bee. Bees became paralysed and exhibited excessive grooming or other distress behaviours after feeding on Rhododendron nectar, ate less food than bees fed a control nectar. In contrast the buff-tailed bumblebee was not affected by the rhododendron nectar. Catawbiense hybrid – hybrid with R.ponticum Flora Europaea: Rhododendron ponticum Rhododendron Ponticum is the emblem and symbol of Bulgaria's most exotic National Park – The Strandja mountains "Rhododendron ponticum".

Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Centre for Conservation Strategy: Rhododendron ponticum in Britain Danish Rhododendron Society: Rhododendron ponticum in Europe Milne, R. I. & Abbott, R. J.. Origin and evolution of invasive naturalized material of Rhododendron ponticum L. in the British Isles. Molecular Ecology 9: 541–556 Abstract

London Bridge Is Falling Down

"London Bridge Is Falling Down" is a traditional English nursery rhyme and singing game, found in different versions all over the world. It deals with the depredations of London Bridge and attempts, fanciful, to repair it, it may date back to bridge rhymes and games of the Late Middle Ages, but the earliest records of the rhyme in English are from the seventeenth century. The lyrics were first printed in close to their modern form in the mid-eighteenth century and became popular in Britain and the United States during the 19th century; the modern melody was first recorded in the late nineteenth century and the game resembles arch games of the Middle Ages, but seems to have taken its modern form in the late nineteenth century. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 502. Several theories have been advanced to explain the meaning of the rhyme and the identity of the "fair lady" of the refrain; the rhyme is one of the best known in the world and has been referenced in a variety of works of literature and popular culture.

There is considerable variation in the lyrics of the rhyme. The most used first verse is: In the version quoted by Iona and Peter Opie in 1951 the first verse is: The rhyme is constructed of quatrains in trochaic tetrameter catalectic, common in nursery rhymes. In its most common form it relies on a double repetition, rather than a rhyming scheme, a employed device in children's rhymes and stories; the Roud Folk Song Index, which catalogues folk songs and their variations by number, classifies the song as 502. The melody now most associated with the rhyme. A melody is recorded for "London Bridge" in an edition of John Playford's The Dancing Master published in 1718, but it differs from the modern tune and no lyrics were given. An issue of Blackwood's Magazine in 1821 noted the rhyme as a being sung to the tune of "Nancy Dawson", now better known as "Nuts in May" and the same tune was given in Richard Thomson's Chronicles of London Bridge. Another tune was recorded in Samuel Arnold's Juvenile Amusements in 1797.

E. F. Rimbault's Nursery Rhymes has the same first line, but a different tune; the tune now associated with the rhyme was first recorded in 1879 in the United States in A. H. Rosewig's Games; the rhyme is used in a children's singing game, which exists in a wide variety of forms, with additional verses. Most versions are similar to the actions used in the rhyme "Oranges and Lemons"; the most common is that two players hold hands and make an arch with their arms while the others pass through in single file. The "arch" is lowered at the song's end to "catch" a player. In the United States it is common for two teams of those that have been caught to engage in a tug of war. In England until the nineteenth century the song may have been accompanied by a circle dance, but arch games are known to have been common across late medieval Europe. Five of nine versions published by Alice Gomme in 1894 included references to a prisoner who has stolen a watch and chain; this may be a late nineteenth century addition from another game called "Hark the Robbers", or "Watch and Chain".

This rhyme is sung to the same tune and may be an offshoot of "London Bridge" or the remnant of a distinct game. In one version the first two verses have the lyrics: Similar rhymes can be found across Europe, pre-dating the records in England; these include "Knippelsbro Går Op og Ned" from Denmark, "Die Magdeburger Brück" from Germany, "pont chus" from sixteenth-century France. It is possible that the rhyme was acquired from one of these sources and adapted to fit the most famous bridge in England. One of the earliest references to the rhyme in English is in the comedy The London Chaunticleres, printed in 1657, but written about 1636, in which the dairy woman Curds states that she had "danced the building of London-Bridge" at the Whitsun Ales in her youth, although no words or actions are mentioned. Widespread familiarity with the rhyme is suggested by its use by Henry Carey in his satire Namby Pamby, as: The oldest extant version could be that recalled by a correspondent to the Gentleman's Magazine in 1823, which he claimed to have heard from a woman, a child in the reign of Charles II and had the lyrics: The earliest printed English version is in the oldest extant collection of nursery rhymes, Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, printed by John Newbery in London, beginning with the following text: A version from James Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland is similar but replaces the last verse with: The meaning of the rhyme is not certain.

It may relate to the many difficulties experienced in bridging the River Thames, but a number of alternative theories have been put forward. One theory of origin is that the rhyme relates to the supposed destruction of London Bridge by Olaf II of Norway in 1014; the nineteenth-century translation of the Norse saga the Heimskringla, published by Samuel Laing in 1844, included a verse by Óttarr svarti, that looks similar to the nursery rhyme: However, modern translations make it clear that Laing was using the nursery rhyme as a model for his free translation, the reference to London Bridge does not appear at the start of the verse and it is unlikely that this is an earlier version of the nursery rhyme. Some historians have raised the possibility. However, the original document detailing the attack was written only about 100 years after what would be a famous ev