Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS - TWO YEARS AND COUNTING








Today is July 15th, and you all know what that means; it’s time for another BATTLE OF THE BANDS, but this date has some special meaning. It was roughly two years ago (July 10th to be exact) that I posted the first BATTLE OF THE BANDS. Little did I know that it would turn into something this long lasting with so many participants. Of course, none of it would have happened without the encouragement of Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy.

Today I’m using another ‘show tune’, but I use that title in a very broad sense. This song was used in a movie, but not as the theme. It has come to be closely associated with said movie, though. The movie: ‘Midnight Cowboy’. The song: ‘Everybody’s Talking’.

A few interesting facts about the movie, first. ‘Midnight Cowboy’ released in 1969 was rated X. It is the only X-rated movie to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Not to worry, today the movie has been down-graded to an R rating. Now, what does that tell you about the caliber of movies today? What does that tell you about the movie rating system?

The song was made famous and sung in the movie by Harry Nilsson or just plain ole Nillson, but he didn’t write it. It was written by a man named Fred Neil, who also recorded a version very similar to Nilsson’s.

If I were to use the version by Nilsson, I’m pretty sure he would run off with this BATTLE, as that is the version most of you are probably familiar with, so I found to slightly different version, that you may or may not have ever heard of.

First up, Spanky and Our Gang:



Next, Crosby, Stills and Nash:



Now the ball is in your court. Vote for your favorite and tell me why. When you finish up here, hurry on over to the home of Stephen T. McCarthy. I’m sure he has posted an excellent BATTLE for your listening pleasure and he will provide the links for all of the other participants. I hope you will take the time to visit all of the BATTLES going on and cast a vote (You have until the 21st, to do so.)
I’ll be back on the 21st to cast my vote and tell you the final tally. Until then Happy Trails!

45 comments:

  1. Fae, I'm giving my vote to Spanky & Our Gang because it reminds me so much of Glen Campbell's version. BTW, I haven't heard this song in ages. I always liked it! Oh yeah, very interesting facts on Midnight Cowboy. Times have changed. It takes a whole of language and nudity today to get an "X" rating. I don't know of any none adult movies that get that kind of rating today, do you? Great battle!

    Y'all stop by to vote on my Mr. Bojangles #BOTB showdown! ;)

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    1. It's taking me FOREVER to get around and vote, but I did make it to your place today, finally.

      Yep, the movies sure have changed. I've been without network TV for years and am chocked to see what they say and show on prime time, so I guess the movies should be no surprise.

      Spanky and Our Gang get the first vote.

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  2. Hey there- stopping by to cast my vote. My vote goes to Spanky and the gang. I preferred the faster tempo and beat to their version. I am usually a fan of Crosby, Stills and Nash but they were putting me to sleep on this song. I have an autograph by Nash......
    Midnight Cowboy- Great movie!

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    1. You must be a CS&N fan to have an autograph by Graham Nash, but not a big enough one to sway your vote here. Oh well, sometimes that how it goes,. We get used to hearing a song done one way an a little improv kind of ruins it for us.

      And, Spanky gets another vote.

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  3. I'll go with #1 too. Had a better pace to it I think.

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    1. Got you down as voting for the 'better pace'. Thanks Pat.

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  4. First of all if you had included Nillson I would have voted against his version as I am not much of a fan of his music.

    I'd never heard the CSNY version of this song and when I saw them as a combatant I thought that I would probably vote for them. They offer a slick presentation with their usual amazing harmonies, but in the end I found them to be somewhat boring.

    I was familiar with Spanky's version from an album by them that I own, but the one here is not the same version. I think I prefer the version by them that I know, but even the one presented in this Battle is more innovative than the CSNY version.

    My vote goes to Spanky.

    Congrats on 2 great years of BOTB.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. CS&N usually do offer a 'slick presentation', but I think this was more like a 'basement tape' than a real studio job. I'll admit that although they pull off their usual harmonies, the whole recording has an amatureish quality to it.

      Yeah, two years can you believe it?

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  5. "HEY, I'M VOTIN' HERE!"

    'MIDNIGHT COWBOY' is a great movie with one of the saddest endings of all time. Dustin Hoffman was incredible, but then what else is new?

    I have owned this version by SPANKY & OUR GANG on CD for several decades. They are one of the very best harmonizing Pop groups EVER, and it's a shame few people know of them (and think you're talking about 'The Little Rascals' when you mention them).

    As far as harmonizing goes, I would rank them below the Beach Boys but ahead of The Mamas And The Papas. And THIS is the version I've owned by them on 2 different CDs, so I'm not sure what alternate take Lee has heard, but I'm pretty sure this one here was their "official" release.

    FUN FACT: S&OG recorded the song before ANYONE ELSE ever did. The only person who may have recorded it earlier was the songwriter, but they may have even beaten him to the punch.

    I'd never heard the Crosby, Stills & Nash version before but... it's in for a real ass-whoopin' in this BOTB. I hope, for your sake, FAE, that it's not a shutout, but there's a real possibility of that, I believe.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. 'Midnight Cowboy' is in fact a great movie and Dustin does his usual magic. I think Jon Voight gave one of his best performances in this flick also, can't say that I've seen him in much since that was really good. The story, the music, everything about this movie is A-list, IMO.

      I've know you really, Really, REALLY like S&OG, but I didn't realize that you rank them right below The Beach Boys, that's really saying something. Personally, I'm not familiar with their whole catalog of work, but what I do know, I like

      I notices at Wacky-Watchee that there were a lot of people recording this song in 1969. I did not know that S&OG got there first. I believe even Fred Neil, the songwriter's version was released in the same year, so if he beat them, it was only by a few months.

      Well, if you've been back since you cast your vote, you will note that CS&N are holding their own. don't think they'll have a chance at winning this BATTLE, but they are making a respectable showing, none the less.

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  6. I was kind of on the fence but to make sure there is not a shot out I will vote for Crosby, Stills and Nash. I did like their version a tad better. The song didn't do much for me, but that happens. Good battle and congrats on two years!

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    1. Hey Mike, thanks for casting the first vote for CS&N and ensuring that this won't be a shut out.

      No worries, we don't all like the same thing all the time, if we did, just think how boring that would be.

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  7. Wow, I thought for sure I'd be voting for CSN, but that's not the case. I liked Spanky's version better. I like the harmonies of CSN but overall I just liked Spanky's and his Gang best. Good battle!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Thanks Michele. S&OG gets another vote here.

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  8. I've never heard this song before, nor have I seen that movie. I think it's funny that it was rated X, but is now rated R. That really does say something about desensitization.

    Anyway, both these songs were much too slow for my taste and I thought once Crosby, Stills, and Nash started that I definitely was going to pick the first one, but it started picking up a little I changed my mind. The harmonics of it just got me. Don't know. But yeah, that's the vote: Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

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    1. Hey Madilyn, thanks for stopping by and casting a vote. CS&N fr you it is. I appreciate it and I'm sure they do to.

      Yeah, the movies and the ratings sure have changed over the lat forty or so years.

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  9. Congrats on two years! I'm proud to be part of a group that is continually growing.
    This was a surprise pick for me. I'm a CS&N fan, but did not like their version of the song. It sounded like someone put the record on the slow setting, 33 1/3. It wasn't for me. I did enjoy listening to the Spanky version.
    My vote - Spanky and Our Gang

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    1. Thanks Jefrey. I hope you'll be celebrating your two year anniversary with BOTB shortly and I hope you'll continue having as much fun.

      You're not the first turncoat fan of CS&N voting here. Seems most folks, even though they like them a lot are going with S&OG in this contest.

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  10. Firstly, Happy 2 Year Anniversary for BOTB! Thank you for starting this great blogfest. I'm thrilled to be part of it. ☺
    Midnight Cowboy is a great movie and I love Nilsson's version of the song. Had no idea he didn't write it! As for these covers, neither one of them struck any chords. CS&N's version was a bit more pleasing to my ears, so I'm going with them. Obviously a minority opinion. LOL

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    1. Thanks Debbie and back at ya. I'm so happy your are thrilled about BOTB.

      I knew Nilsson didn't write the song, but I had never heard of Fred Neil before doing the research fof this BATTLE. This song has become so iconic and related to the movie, you would be surprised to know it's not the theme for 'Midnight Cowboy', but another song is. I'll talk more about that in my results post.

      And, another vote for CS&N

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  11. Okay, first thought was, Spanky and Our Gang covered this? After the initial shock, I played the songs. Since I see someone gave CSN the "pity vote", I think I'll jump the freight train and go Spanky.

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    1. HA, HA, HA (PITY VOTE)!

      OK, got you down for S&OG

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  12. I didn't know that either of these groups had ever done a cover of this song. It wasn't all that difficult a choice for me. Although I kind of liked the upbeat and somewhat light sound of S&OG I've never been fond of violins in pop/rock music. It just sounds kind of cheesy to me, even out of place.

    The song -- its words and melody -- is worthy of standing on it's own, which is what CS&N lets it do. Because it is a haunting song that is both melancholy and uplifting at the same time, Still's voice is perfect for it, with his sort of soft gravely southern sound. Then in come Crosby and Nash adding their beautiful harmonies to make me feel like I'm sailing on a summer breeze.

    I gladly stand with the minority in giving my vote to CS&N. I hope more will follow in my footsteps.

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    1. Hey Bish, well that minority is making itself heard. I love your descriptions here, but then you are an author and 'it shows'.

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  13. Okay, this is weird...I love CS&N...LOVE them. But this particular song needed NOT to have so heavy of a CS&N vibe. You'll note I'm not a music journalist and I don't have any albums of my own, so who am I to say - right?

    Vote for Spanky.

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    1. Another turncoat fan. Well, you're not alone.

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  14. Thank you for starting this blogfest. I'm a loyal CSN fan, and I prefer them to being spanked by Spanky. Nilsson would definitely win if you used his version. That man could sing.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. If I had used Nilsson's version I'm afraid he would have run away with this BATTLE on familiarity alone. And, you're one CS&N fan who is definitely not of the turncoat variety.

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  15. My vote goes to CSNY. Great post!

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    1. And, another vote for CS&N (without Young, on this one)>

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  16. Well... as often is the case, this nattering nabob of negativism is not thrilled with either version. I am a fan of CSN and CSNY, having gone to a couple of their concerts in the day, but their version here is "meh."

    Because of that, I am voting Spanky. But I am not too happy about it!

    Again: congrats on two years of Battlin' Bliss!

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    1. Ah, my alliterative, allegorical and sometimes acerbic friend; nothing here to please your musical tastes. I shall try to do better next time around.

      I too am a fan of CS&N and even Young when he sings with them. Only saw them once, right here in Tahoe back about a decade or so. Regardless, I will accept your vote for 'the lesser of two weevils' (I love that line from the movie 'Master and Commander) and give another to S&OG.

      Thank you very much!

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  17. Cheers to two years of BOTB madness! Time sure does fly, doesn't it?

    I liked Crosby and Stills, but Nash and Young left much to be desired. I feel like they were holding the group back.

    Okay, kidding aside, we're going to add to the slaughter. Uh, I mean votes. Two very emphatic votes, not just for Spanky, but for his Gang, too.

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    1. Time does fly and often this seems like MADNESS!

      Got you down emphatically for S&OG. I might be mistaken but I think Spanky was the girl. Just sayin'!

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    2. Who names a girl Spanky? And why?

      You know what, on second thought, I don't want to know. :)

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  18. CS&N sound like three guys who just finished a bong and a bota bag of Boone's Farm before they recorded this. Going with fellow Chicagoan Spanky McFarlane and her gang on this one.

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    1. Considering CS&N, you might be correct. I did not know that Spanky McFarlane was from Chicago (I am too).

      A vote for your neighbors, eh?

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    2. I moved to Atlanta about 28 years ago. So, yeah.

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  19. Oooohh, both versions are good--if very different. Loved John's comment above re bong & Boone's Farm :D Maybe I'm a Boone's Farm fan, too, because I fell in love with that mellowness. CS&N get my vote today. Great battle, FAE!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    1. Thanks Guilie. CS&N get a vote for mellowness, I like that. Seems they got a lot of complaints for the very same thing. Ha,ha, ha!

      Got you down as another CS&N vote. I'm sure they would thank you and I thank you, too.

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  20. I was thinking my vote would go for CS & N but they sounded like they just smoked some weed and became very mellow where they will soon go to beddy by. I vote for Spanky and his gang. I like how they arranged the song so it sounds like a 60's hippie folk song

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    1. Another vote against the mellowness of CS&N here. Ha, ha, ha! Seems folks are either liking that laid back sound or NOT. I'm finding that kind of funny.

      S&OG grab another vote.

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  21. Is it time to wake up yet? Sorry, for some reason this song, by both artists, nearly put me to sleep. Probably b/c it is Saturday night, and I was looking for something more up beat. Well, its ok; gotta have a break sometime, yeah? Happy 2nd birthday BotB. Whoop whoop.

    If I were belt-polishing with a cowboy, I'd likely be bangin' to Spanky. Wait, let me listen again to Crosby . . . nah Spanky has a certain rhythm requirement for X rated movement. I don't remember Midnight Cowboy being X rated, but by the time I was allowed to watch such sensual movies the ratings had seriously changed. Now, nothing short of pornography (erotica is not always even soft pornography) gets an X rating. What was that Raquel Welch movie that made her a sex symbol? Some dinosaur thing with her in a bikini that would maybe get a PG 13 today. Times change.

    Anyway, Spanky gets my vote, and now I'm in the mood to watch Midnight Cowboy. Have to troll Utube for a free viewing :)

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    1. You comment, as usual, made me LOL. 'belt-polishing' and 'rhythm required for X rated movement'. You have definitely got some 'good ones'.

      The movie ratings are a farce, even today; some of em get away with a whole lot and others get slammed with a rating that leaves me wondering; 'for what'.

      Got you down for a serious 'spank'...ah I mean Spanky and Our Gang!

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