Monday, February 15, 2016


Ah, the BATTLE OF THE BANDS after Valentine’s Day. Let’s go for something different that the normal February ‘love song, shall we?

My selection today was originally written and performed by Neil Diamond. Neil’s version is not a part of the contest, cause that would just be silly. You guys would all vote for him, naturally. But here it is anyway, if you want to give a 

Here’s what Wacky Watchee has to say about the song and Neil.

Initially released on Bang Records in April of 1966, "Solitary Man" was Diamond's debut single as a recording artist, having already had moderate--but accidental--success as a songwriter for other artists; their versions of the songs he had already written and composed were released before his own versions of them were.[1] By July, the track had become a minor hit rising to #55 on the U.S. pop singles chart.[1] It would then be included on Diamond's first album, The Feel of Neil Diamond, released in August 1966.[1]

While nominally about young romantic failure, lines in the lyrics that read:
Don't know that I will
But until I can find me
I'll be what I am--
A solitary man...
Solitary man.
have been closely identified with Diamond himself, as evinced by a 2008 profile in The Daily Telegraph: "This is the Solitary Man depicted on his first hit in 1966: the literate, thoughtful and melodically adventurous composer of songs that cover a vast array of moods and emotions..."[3] Indeed, Diamond himself would tell interviewers in the 2000s, "After four years of Freudian analysis, I realized I had written 'Solitary Man' about myself."[4]

"Solitary Man's" dynamic melody, matched with the melancholic universality of its lyrics, would make the song an attractive target for later interpretations.

After Diamond had renewed commercial success with Uni Records at the end of the decade, Bang Records re-released "Solitary Man" as a single and it reached #21 on the U.S. pop charts in summer 1970.[5]

Diamond originally recorded two versions of the song, as he later did with "Cherry, Cherry." The one of these had his harmonic vocal track on the refrain of the song. The other version was him singing the song alone, without his prerecorded harmony on the track.

On such live albums as Gold: Recorded Live at the Troubadour, Hot August Night and some subsequent recordings, Diamond altered the lyrics to "then you came along" from the original "then Sue came along."

In a 2005 Rolling Stone retrospective, Dan Epstein wrote, "'Solitary Man' remains the most brilliantly efficient song in the Diamond collection. There's not a wasted word or chord in this two-and-a-half minute anthem of heartbreak and self-affirmation, which introduced the melancholy loner persona that he's repeatedly returned to throughout his career."[6]

OK, now this one has been covered A LOT. Here are the two versions I’ve decided to pit against one another today.

First, Chris Issak

Next, The Sidewinders

Now leave me a comment with you vote. Tell me why you chose as you did and then head on over to the site of Mr Stephen T. McCarthy, you can find him HERE  Stephen has a super BATTLE playing for you and he is also the Keeper of the List (that means he has a list of all the current participants). Please try to visit everyone and cast a vote.

I’ll be back on the 21st with my vote and the final tally. Until that time Happy Trails!


  1. Great song! I haven't heard many covers of this, but I can understand why it would be covered by many artists.

    The version by The Sidewinders is very nicely done. They capture the spirit of the late 60's sound. However the song sounds like it could have been written for Chris Isaak--he has the right voice for the lyrics.

    I vote for Chris Isaak.

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

  2. Hey Fae, Great battle! Solitary Man is such a great song. Both versions are really good. I'm having a hard time deciding. I think I'll go with Chris Isaak though, because his version and delivery is very sultry. I can feel the emotion in his version more.
    Really great battle! I bet this one will be neck and neck. I truly had a hard time deciding because I liked Slaughter's version too. But give my vote to Chris please.

    Michele at Angels Bark

  3. Chris gets my vote. He has the look, that lost love look and I like his sad voice. He doesn't have the vibrant energy of Neil but I like it better than the other version (which isn't bad, either).

  4. Love Diamond's version the best, obviously. But between the two offered I would go with Chris Isaak, even though a lot of his music sounds the same to me. Wasn't really digging the second version.

  5. The song fits Chris, but it sounds like just another song to him. So my vote goes to the Sidewinders and ends the shutout.

  6. Very different versions. I liked the second one somewhat, but find the gentleness of Chris Issak is preferred. My vote goes to him. Thanks, Fae (smile).

  7. I liked both. I liked Chris Isaaks' version a wee bit more; maybe it's the 12-string toward the end. Anyway, Chris gets my vote.

  8. My cohort and I agree but disagree. We both vote for Chris Isaak, but for different reasons. My cohort just likes the overall musical arrangement better, whereas I think Chris's voice was made for this kind of song. Either way... we vote for Chris Isaak.

    ~The Not Solitary Men

  9. I have to go for #1, liked his voice better than the second one.

  10. I might have gone for Isaac, but the instrumentals on the second blew me away. Sidewinders for me!

  11. FAE ~
    CHRIS ISAAK definitely has his "Andy Kaufman" on-- er... no, I meant to say that he definitely has his "Elvis Presley" on.

    And, Hokey-Smoke! Am I really the first person here to notice that THE SIDEWINDERS were borrowing from 'House Of The Rising Sun'?!

    I liked The Sideplagiarists pretty well, but GAY ELVIS gets my vote my a mile.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

  12. Definitely voting for Chris Isaak. His voice makes this song swoon. I think it's absolutely perfect for this song. Great battle!

    ~Mary Burris
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

  13. Fae, the simplicity of Chris Isaak's version reminds me of Diamond's. Sidewinder did a nice job, but a bit over produced, IMO, for the lyrics. Oh tell Stephen I picked up on Sidewinder borrowing from the House of the Rising Sun, too. I just didn't know it until I read his comment. Sometimes, I need someone else to shed light to give me clarity on what I can't put my finger on. :) Another vote for Isaak! Nice battle and thanks for hosting!!

  14. I must say that I'm not especially driven to vote either way. Both are pretty good, neither approaches the Diamond status.

    The Sidewinders remind me a little bit of the Hooters or the Gin Blossoms - both of whom I really like. So, I'll imagine that this COULD be one of those groups and give them my vote. Like ALL my votes, it is wasted by the flood of voters against me. Oh well.

  15. I wouldn't mind the feel of Neil Diamond. I vote for Chris Isaak because of the emotion in his voice. The Sidewinders seem too lackadaisical to me. Beautiful song. I've loved Neil Diamond for years.


  16. I love Chris Isaak. His voice is ideally suited for sad songs in a minor key. (I'm also a sucker for songs in a minor key, so this likely explains my love of Mr. Isaak.) As soon as he started singing, I thought this was another one made for him. Nothing that happened after changed my mind about that. The Sidewinders were good, but Chris Isaak was excellent. It's a wicked game for sure.

  17. Sidewinders all the way. It's totally a style thing. The other one is too country for my taste. (Yeah, I grew up in an area where everyone assumed there were hicks all over the place which made us super self conscious about anything associated with that lifestyle, especially music--because we were city type, thank you very much.)

  18. My most sincere apology to all of you good people who came by to vote on this BOTB, for not responding to each of you individually. I was a bit under the weather at the beginning of the week and busy playing catch up at the end. Here we are on the night of the 20th and I need to ready my results post. I do think I made the rounds and voted on all of the BATTLES where the participants voted here, (sorry to be like that, but this has gotten so big, I only have time to vote where the voting is reciprocated).

  19. Now, I do need to make time to visit those of you kind enough to vote, who don't even post BATTLES of your own.

  20. I'm for Issak. He just has more passion behind the song. I can close my eyes and feel his need. The others--Neil Diamond included--seem very shallow.