Yesterday, I counted down my personal favourite John Mayer tracks, which were all taken from albums/EP’s. Now I want to count down my favourite tracks that haven’t made an album appearance (excluding live, AS/IS bootlegs etc).
7. ‘Hummingbird’ – This song is an old Mayer b-side which made an appearance on the 2004 Philadelphia/Hartford run of As/Is, but was only heard before that through bootlegs and various acoustic performances. Mayer didn’t run with this song for very long, which I guess is understandable – it is wildly different from anything heard from him before. That transition from the straight arpeggiated riff into the almost Jon Gomm-like section is sublime. Worth a listen.
6. ‘Who Did You Think I Was?’ – The staple of the John Mayer Trio live set, maybe this is cheating a little to have this here. A great blues song, with a killer main riff. Very underrated song which gets to stretch its legs on the live album/DVD ‘Where The Light Is’. Lyrically, a real backhanded slap in the face to all his pop fans (whether they know it or not), but done in an almost tongue-in-cheek way. Steve Jordan always kills it playing this.
5. ‘Good Love Is On The Way’ – Another JMT song (sort of), this song was first introduced on the ‘Try!’ live album, but also making future appearances on the previously mentioned ‘Where The Light Is’ CD/DVD, and on the ‘Village Sessions’ CD (which has my personal favourite version – acoustic!). This is another fairly strange outing for Mayer, opting for a hammer-on/pull-off main riff which is not always his style for main riffs. Great little bridge/solo at the height of the song.
4. ‘Sucker’ – Again, another of his early b-sides which has barely shown the light of day. This song hasn’t shown up on any live albums, or bootlegs etc, and could probably only be found as an audio only from some basement gig in the early 2000s. A cracker of a song, and fun to play.
3. ‘Covered In Rain’ – The sister of ‘City Love’, musically and lyrically. This song was built around the chord structure to the bridge of City Love, and then grew from there. First heard on ‘Any Given Thursday’ (which is still a mind-blowing version), this only gets played occasionally, however I did see an acoustic version pop up this year. This is mostly about the improvisational guitar solo, but the lyrics in the body of the song are fantastic.
2. ‘Man On The Side’ – Originally an acoustic number which had been around for a little while in his early days. While filming ‘Any Given Thursday’, on a whim Mayer decided not to play his version of ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and launched into an electric solo version of ‘Man On The Side’. For a very long time, this was my favourite Mayer song.
1. ‘In Your Atmosphere’ – Sometimes known as the ‘LA Song’, this could almost be my favourite Mayer track of all time. Again, it was heard as an acoustic b-side very, very early on. I remember having to listen to a very muffled, distant live version in high school for years, until it was given the royal treatment on ‘Where The Light Is’ and I couldn’t have been happier. A great track – quintessential Mayer.
There are many, many more unreleased songs that Mayer chooses to pop out occasionally, most are from the 2002-2005 era but some tend to find their way back into his repertoire. Others include ‘Come When I Call’, ‘Tracing’, ‘Why Did You Mess With Forever’, ‘This Will All Make Perfect Sense Someday’, ‘Portable Home’, ‘Distant’, ‘Lifelines’ and so on.