Sunday, March 1, 2015

ROARIN' IN WITH BATTLE OF THE BANDS



I don’t know about where you live, but in my home town March is coming in like a lion. Let me explain.

OK, it's not really THAT bad!

First, to all of you who live east of the Mississippi, I’m sorry.

I live along the shores of Lake Tahoe in the High Sierra. Except for one storm that dropped about four inches of snow (at my house) Christmas Eve (I admit it was perfect timing), it has been warm and dry all winter. Up until about January 15th, I was kind of disappointed, but for the last six weeks I have been enjoying the spring-like weather (sunny skies with temps in the mid 50’s); thank you 
very much.


Friday night, February 27th, the temperature started to drop and it began to snow. Now, here at my house it hasn’t gotten really cold. Staying right around 30 to 35 degrees F, so it isn’t really piling up too fast, but it has been snowing pretty steady for two days now. Time to drag out the boots, gloves, and heavy coats AGAIN! I am not impressed.

Anyway…now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on with BATTLE OF THE BANDS.



Today my choices are quite different from each other (are you noticing a trend here), but I can honestly say that I do like one of them much better than the other. Unfortunately, you are going to have to come back on the 7th to find out which that is.

First up; the tragic Whitney Houston. Here’s what wacky-watchee has to say about her:

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time.[1] Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170-200 million records sold worldwide.[2][3] She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know",[4] influenced several African American women artists who follow in her footsteps.[5][6]

Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.[7] She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only woman to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Albums") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts.[8] Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a woman in history.[9] Rolling Stone named it the best album of 1986, and ranked it at number 254 on the magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[9] Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.[9]

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single, "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a woman in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system.[9] The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.[10]

On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, California. The official coroner's report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.[11] News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and featured prominently in American and international media.[12]

YIKES! I knew she was very popular and successful, but I had no idea she was THAT successful. Unfortunately, all that success doesn’t prevent you from making some pretty bad life choices.

My song selection today is the song that apparently, started it all for Miss Houston. ‘How Will I Know’


The opposition is a relative new comer, only twenty-two years old, Mr. Sam Smith. He gained my attention with is two ‘radio’ hits ‘Stay with Me’ and “I’m Not the Only One’. Here’s what W-W (the all-knowing{ha, ha, ha} information site) has to say about him.

Samuel Frederick "Sam" Smith (born 19 May 1992)[2] is an English singer and songwriter. He rose to fame in October 2012 when he was featured on Disclosure's breakthrough single "Latch", which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. His subsequent feature—on Naughty Boy's "La La La"—earned him his first number one single in May 2013.

In December 2013, he was nominated for the 2014 BRIT Critics' Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 poll,[3][4] both of which he won.[5][6] He released his debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, in May 2014 on Capitol Records.[7] The lead single, "Lay Me Down", was released prior to "La La La". The second single, "Money on My Mind", became his second number one single in the UK.[8] The album's third single, "Stay with Me", was an international success, reaching number one in the UK and number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, while the fourth single "I'm Not the Only One" reached the top five in both countries. The fifth single, "Like I Can", reached number nine in the UK.

In December 2014, Smith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015 he won four: Best New Artist, "Stay with Me" for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and In the Lonely Hour for Best Pop Vocal Album. At the 2015 Brit Awards, he won the awards for British Breakthrough Act and Global Success.

It appears as though Mr. Smith is well on his way to…Success, as well.

Before I post his video I do want to comment that I had been hearing his music long before I ever saw his picture or a video. It’s probably just me, and I hope it’s not too rude to say, but he just doesn’t look like THAT voice would come out of HIM.

Here is Sam Smith performing the same song; “How Will I Know’



Alrighty then! You guys who have been regulars here know what to do.

If you’re new to my BOTB ***W*E*L*C*O*M*E***

Please vote in the comment section and tell me why you chose as you did. You are welcome to leave a long comment detailing your preference or just a quick ‘this is what moved me’. I’ll do my best to get back to each and every one of you shortly.

When you have finished up here, head on over to the home of Mr. BOTB himself. STMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. Stephen will provide links for all the participants in this little blog hop as well as WOWing you with his own BATTLE. Please try to visit everyone.

Should be decide this is just too much fun, and you want to join in; let me know in the comment box (PLEASE also be sure to leave a comment to that effect at Stephen’s site, so he can add you to the list) and I’ll stop by to vote.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be back on the 7th of March with my vote and the final tally.

Keep checking in here sometime mid-week for another of my ‘New Leaf’ posts. Until then; Happy Trails to you!

39 comments:

  1. I'm very familiar with the Houston version as it used to be played all over the place. Funny thing though, I never knew it was by Whitney Houston. The things we learn on BOTB day! It's a bright up-beat recording that I've always enjoy.

    I like a lot of what I've heard by Sam Smith--he seems to be an outstanding talent. Don't care much for his draggy version of this song. His interpretation is probably more appropriate for the lyrical content, but still it seemed so slow that I was anxious to go back and listen to Whitney Houston's version to wake me back up.

    And I'm not a Whitney Houston fan. But give me more of this song.

    I vote a big hands in the air and dancing feet to Whitney Houston's version of "How Will I Know".

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I knew this tune was by Whitney Houston, but when I first looked at this 'Official video' I couldn't believe it was Whitney. She looked so young and cute. Unfortunately, she was beautiful for a long time, but in the end the effects of her lifestyle started to show.

      got you down fr dancing feet and Miss Whitney.

      Delete
  2. No shutout here, FAE.
    I vote a single, small hand in the air for Sammy Girl.

    Mo' To Come Soon...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. POSTSCRIPT:
      Like Lee, I did not know this was a Whitney Houston song. I didn't recognize it by the title, but pretty quickly after she started... singing... I knew I'd heard it a thousand times.

      It's OK but, boy, it sure gets old. Four and a half minutes is way too long for any Disco s(ux)ong. Yeah, it's Disco(sux), and after the three minute mark it starts grating on my nerves.

      I'd never heard the Sam Smith version, so when he started singing it so slowly I literally chuckled out loud because it was so... unexpected... so... "DIFFERENT".

      Let's see: Black gal singing uptempo; White guy singing super-slow ballad. Nope, not much different at all.

      Sam's voice is too high and achy breaky hearty for my tastes, but at least the song doesn't start grating on my nerves before it's over.

      How come you know this modern Pop pap? Are you still listening to Top 40 radio?

      I will admit that I saw Sammy Gal win his Grammy award. Saw him walk up there in his bright red chunky suit and say "Thanks". No, I wasn't really watching the Grammy Awards show. (You know better'n dat!) I think I was just passing through the employee cafe at work and happened to catch that on the TV that's running 24/7/365. I paused long enough to see which of the chix would win and was surprised that a guy won Best Song in the Feminist Age. (Well, a guy, sorta.)

      I didn't know the song that Sam won for, but I was pleased to see that a non-model-looking guy was able to win, and against all those Pop tarts. I was also surprised that a Tom Petty song was even in the running... (down a dream).

      I also liked what Sam Smith said in accepting his award. About how he had tried to change himself for the industry, trying to lose weight, etc. But he finally just accepted himself as he was. Nice! Really.

      So, I'm just being smarty assy alecky when I criticize Sam Smith. Yeah, he sings kind of effeminately but, hell, he IS British and it comes with the territory. He really needs a stage name though. "Sam Smith"? C'mon!

      How about "Samantha Jones"?
      Oh, hell, there I go again... smarty assy alecky.

      ~ D-FensDogg

      Delete
    2. Glad to know right off the bat that I have 'no worries' about a shut-out in this BATTLE.

      I haven't had anything but radio in my car for a long time and I've spent quite a bit of time in the car the last year. I do listen to an eclectic station that plays EVERYTHING, except opera and new country.

      Didn't see or know anything about the Grammys until I went to W-W. Nice to know he's a 'real' guy or at least person. I do like the song that won all of this stuff 'Stay With Me' and another newer one of his, of which I can't remember the name.

      I'm assuming that Sam Smith is his 'real; name, else one would think he could have come up with something more original.

      Guess I'll just have to start calling you Mr. SAA!

      Delete
  3. Whitney gets my vote. Smith's version is good but a bit too slow for the song I think. Poor you with the snow, we've had it for 2 months now, ugg lol

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    1. I knew some of you guys were gonna give me a hard time for complaining about the weather, but I just couldn't help myself.

      Another vote for Miss Whitney.

      Delete
  4. I gotta go with Sam's cover. Love the interpretation. (I'm headed you know where tomorrow. Winter has been malingering here in Texas so I'll be glad to get away.)

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    1. Oh I'm envious. I could just a few weeks in 'de islands'. Maybe when I came back it really would be spring.

      Glad you liked Sam. so far we're running neck and neck.

      Delete
  5. Sheboyganboy SixMarch 1, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    I'm surprised to see the voting going back and forth on this one. Whitney's version is so well known that it will get some hate mail, but Smith's is simply way too slow slow slow. I actually am a fan of Sam Smith and own his recent CD. I LIKE British white soul singers (Paul Young, Simply Red, etc.), but on THIS song THIS arrangement... Whitney wins hands down.

    And don't take any crap off'n McCarthy for posting this! You go ahead and post all the "pop crap" you want. Most of us will like it. After all, pop is short for POPULAR.

    I am headed to NYC for two weeks on TH. I keep hoping the weather will break, but it is looking pretty nippy for our trip. Bummer!

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    1. Also a big fan of white soul singers-recently got my mitts on a couple of Paul Young's more recent releases that went unnoticed.

      And check out Hucknall's "American Soul" if you haven't already. I never listened to Simply Red back in the day, and stumbled onto that one and had to back and pick up the rest.

      Delete
    2. I'm a bit surprised myself. I was a little bt afraid that Miss Whitney might run off with this BATTLE, but so far Sam is holding his own.

      I would like to acquire Sam's rece3nt CD. I really like 'Stay With Me'. Just might have to treat myself to that one. I'm going to take LC's suggestion and check out some of the other 'white soul singers'.

      NYC can be a fun place, but I would much rather go in the fall, Both the winter and summer can be brutal in the city.

      Delete
  6. Let me start off by saying two things.

    (1) I fell in love with Whitnet Houston when that song came out. It was catchy, fun to dance to, and in the video she was so durn cute, I knew she was going to be huge. I was very sad at the turn her life took. Her voice should have kept going for a few more decades.

    (2) I did listen to Sam's version to make this fair, although I was tempted to just vote.

    In the end, it almost would not have mattered what Smith did, but his version is simply boring-too slow, although I give him credit for taking a "high school crush" song and making it plaintive. I just wish he's done with just a little more tempo.

    Whitney's is as catchy and fun as it was in 1985 and makes me wish you'd posted "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" right after it.

    Do I need to say I'm voting for Whitney?

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    1. With respect to 'so durn cute' - see my comment to Lee.

      Glad you were fair, but I understand your voting for the nostalgia factor. Didn't really think of this as a HS crush song, but by golly; you're right!

      I had you figured as a vote for Whitney after the second sentence.

      Delete
    2. If Smith had recorded it with a little more pep, I may have given him the nod for making it a sad song....it just did not need to be a dirge.

      Delete
  7. You're right - very different versions. I remembered Houston's, so that wasn't a surprise, but the other one really stunned me. Got to go with Smith for the incredible voice and for making the song his own.

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    1. I like that phrase, 'making the song his own'. Sammy certainly did do that now, didn't he?

      Another vote for Mr. Smith.

      Delete
  8. Sam Smith, without a doubt. His voice is like silk. and evokes sincerity and subtle passion. Whitney (with spectacular voice) doesn't need all the dancers and splash; that ruins the song for me. It is a distraction. I prefer honesty, simplicity to the glamor and glitter.

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    1. Another vote for Sam. I agree his voice does evoke a sincerity that's Whitney's version just doesn't capture. She was really going for the 'Pop Princess' in this one.

      Delete
  9. I am not a Whitney Houston fan but I prefer her upbeat version to Smith wet handshake version. His version sounds drippy to me. Great voice and better controlled than Whitney's but I didn't care for this version. It felt like a wet noodle. I also can't believe he was born a year after I was already working at the job I still have

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    1. First, let's not think about or discuss the age of some of these performers. I too was kinda shocked to learn he was so young. I guess his style just seemed to be 'older' to me.

      Drippy,, wet noodle, Ha!

      Another vote for the upbeat Miss Houston.

      Delete
  10. "Boss-Lady" ~ forget the snow, it's going on deep here! The comments are so entertaining. Stick around... if you don't like the songs... hang on... there's a joke you'll love. I like your battle! Forward march...

    Sam has a couple of songs I really like, but this one, not so much. I don't know why I can't grasp the tempo. I want to keep speeding it up in my mind. Let's me know how much I still connect with Whitney's, I suppose. Maybe a little more bluesy instrumental added in for texture(?), would have wowed me. Still a great battle choice.

    I find myself echoing 'DiscConnected' statements on the enjoyment of Disco, and specifically his remark:

    ["Whitney's is as catchy and fun as it was in 1985 and makes me wish you'd posted "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" right after it."] -- So now I'm gonna go look up that song and play it!!

    Thank you... and I vote for Whitney (smile).

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    1. I'm gonna start out by just ignoring that 'Boss Lady' comment. Not sure why, but probably best for both ofus.

      Glad you liked the BATTLE. I enjoy em when the songs are very different. Sometimes I go to extremes on that, but I'm learning too.

      I too like some of Sam's other stuff better than this one, but I think you just might have Whitney's version so well in your head that it's hard to slow it down...so much. Just a thought.

      Glad you're enjoying the comments as much as the BATTLE. sometimes that's where the action really is.

      And, Miss Whitney chalks up another vote.

      Delete
  11. Wow, doesn't even sound like the same song - different is right!! Sam is good, maybe I'd like him with a different song; but for this he is too soulful.

    Whitney displays her usual vibrancy that made her such a super star. I'll give her my vote.

    Its been a warm sunny 70-75 here below you. I've been wishing for more rain - lots more. It rained a bit Friday night, and sprinkled through the sun yesterday while we were mowing the yard. Gonna be a dry summer if we don't get a lot more rain. I like the cold nights though, not ready to give up my comforter yet.

    Have a good Sunday Fae :)

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    1. Yeah,, yeah, yeah. I shouldn't be complaining about the snow as we too need moisture in whatever form it decides to fall. I am just so done with the cold and snow. We had a few good rain storms in January and February and I wouldn't mind that so much, but take back the cold and white stuff, PLEASE.

      When you have a chance go to Youtube4 and look for Sam Smith 'Stay With Me'. I really like that one and think you might too,

      Whitney grabs another vote.

      Delete
  12. I give Sam Smith points for using an original approach, but really? This is Whitney Houston's song, in all its mid-1980's glory. She gets my vote.

    My battle is here: http://goo.gl/DfLqIv

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    1. Mid-1989's glory - You got that right.

      Another vote for Whitney.

      Delete
  13. I think I enjoyed the comments more than I enjoyed either of these songs.

    Both of them have/had incredible voices. Sam Smith's is wayyyy too slow. And Whitney's, well, I feel like I should be in a club with a Barbie pink belly shirt holding my boyfriend's hand while listening to that kind of song. Needless to say... not my thing. So while Sam's is slow, at least it's not something I hate. One vote for Sam Smith.

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    1. And, Sam picks up another vote.

      BTW, thanks so much for that image. All I have to do is think about it and I start to giggle.

      Delete
  14. I really like both versions, honestly (and I agree about Sam - doesn't look like that voice would be coming from him!), but Whitney's original gets my vote.

    Sam Smith seems to have achieved A LOT at a young age, just like Whitney.

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    1. Got you down as a vote for Whitney.

      Interesting comparison abut Sam and Whitney, Let's hope he makes better life choices than he did.

      Delete
  15. I've been enjoying the milder winter too. Though I do wish more snow had fallen in the mountains. But here we are in March, and it only kind of cold again. I can live with that.

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    1. Yeah wishing for the snow to stay up high is not a bad thing, but since I live pretty much up high, there is no way to avoid it. I hate to be such a baby, but it was spring back in January. It's a dirty trick to bring winter back NOW.

      Delete
  16. I didn't really need to listen to Whitney's version of this song. This came out back in the days when I pretty much exclusively watched MTV, so I even knew what the video was going to look like. I remember what I thought/felt when Whitney arrived on the scene. This was indeed her first song and it was HUGE. Everyone who watched it and listened to it KNEW this gal was going places. Big places. I think she climbed so high (too high?) and then made some very poor decisions (hello, Bobby Brown, I'm looking at you), which led to a life-shattering conclusion. Anyway, I don't think I need to say it, but I will: I love this song. I love this video. I love Whitney Houston when she was still going UP UP UP. If she'd only remembered the sentiments in The Greatest Love Of All, maybe it all would've turned out different. Alas, no.

    The Sam Smith cover wasn't bad. It actually sounds like a different song. (Good battle, FAE!) However, I don't love it.

    Give me Whitney!

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    1. Yeah, I think a lot of people felt that way about Whitney's version. No need to listen; just the mention of the title and it starts playing in your head,

      The cover does sound like a different song. I had to listen to it a couple of times and closely compare the words to be sure it WAS the same song.

      Those pesky 'life choices' that we make rashly or when we are young will come back with some severe consequences if we're not careful. Fortunately, mine weren't as bad as Whitney's, but even so I have more than one that haunts me to this day.

      Delete
  17. How Will I Know was the only Whippy Houston song I could ever stand. Sam hasn't made it that far yet. One for Whippy.

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    1. OK, got you down as one for Whippy? Ha!

      Delete
  18. I you guys in Tahoe don't get snow, we down here along the coast don't get water. Could you do a snow dance or something?

    As to the battle, I'll vote for Whitney this round.

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  19. My vote goes to Sam Smith. Whitney was a talented singer. However, it was the feeling, that soul that Sam Smith brought to the song.

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