Battle of the Bands – “Without You”

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This is my first Battle of the Bands and I’m so excited to be joining in all the other BOTB participants! Thank You Arlee Bird for inviting me! I decided to join Battle of the Bands because with my recent A-Z Challenge being a Musical Tour of My Life, I wanted to continue incorporating music into my blog in some way. Battle of the Bands gives me the opportunity to do just that twice a month.

Here’s how it works: I’ll be posting two versions of the same song and after you give a listen to each, vote for your favorite version. I’ll tally the votes and post the results 6 days later. Dates are the 1st and 15th of each month for the Battles and the 7th and 21st of each month for the results.

Easy and fun! I hope you enjoy it. Please join me now in considering my first two contenders for the song “Without You.”

I was listening to some Badfinger the other day (Badfinger was a British rock band that was popular in the 70s) and I had forgotten that they wrote and first recorded Without You. The song has quite a backstory which you can read about here if you’d like (or scroll down to be taken to the contestants). Taken from Wikipedia:

“”Without You” is a song written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of British rock group Badfinger, and first released on their 1970 album No Dice. The song has been recorded by over 180 artists, and versions released as singles by Harry Nilsson (1971) and Mariah Carey (1994) became international best-sellers. Paul McCartney once described the ballad as “…the killer song of all time.”

In 1972, writers Ham and Evans received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

First recorded by the rock group Badfinger, the song was composed by two of its members. Two streams, referring to real events in the songwriters’ lives flowed together to create the song. Pete Ham had written a song originally titled “If It’s Love” but it had lacked a strong chorus. At the time of writing the band shared residence with the Mojos at 7 Park Avenue in Golders Green. One evening, in the midst of the parties, songwriting, touring, in Golders Green, Ham and his girlfriend Beverly Tucker were about to go out for the evening. But just as they were leaving Tom Evans said he had an idea for a song – Ham said, ‘Not tonight, I’ve promised Bev.’ But she thought he would be wondering if he had done the right thing later, if he went out, – she told him – ‘Go into the studio, I’m fine about it…’ He said, “Your mouth is smiling, but your eyes are sad.” The song Ham wrote that night was called ‘If its Love’ and has the verse “Well I can’t forget tomorrow, when I think of all my sorrow, I had you there but then I let you go, and now it’s only fair that I should let you know…if it’s love.” But Pete wasn’t happy with the chorus.”

Events in Evans’ love life would lead to the completion of the track. While Evans was touring in Cologne he had met the woman who would become his future wife, Marianne. She moved to London. It was a sparky relationship. “One evening he went to her friend Karen and told Karen, ‘She’s left me. I need her back. I can’t live without her.’ He flew to Bonn to find her – he wrote a song called ‘I Can’t Live’. Its chorus; “I can’t live, if living is without you, I can’t live, I can’t give any more.” And so the merging of the two songs, Ham and Evans created the hit. Ham’s verse, ‘warm, sweet, sentimental’ and Evans’ chorus, – ‘intense, dramatic, heartbreaking.'” Both Ham and Evans said they did not consider the song to have much potential at the time Badfinger recorded it, and the track was slotted to close Side A of their 1970 No Dice album. Badfinger’s recording of the song, which is more brusque than its successors’ versions, was not released as a single in Europe or North America. In parallel to the song lyrics, both Ham and Evans later committed suicide.” (You can read more about Badfinger’s tragic story in my A-Z “B is for…” post).

I am most familiar with the Harry Nilsson version of the song and I suspect most people are more familiar with his version. Here is that version in case you’re not. NOTE: This is NOT the version in today’s BOTB competition so please don’t choose Harry Nilsson as your pick.

 

 

Instead I’m pitting the original Badfinger version against Maria Carey’s version.

CONTESTANT #1: BADFINGER VERSION:

 

CONTESTANT #2: MARIAH CAREY VERSION:

 

Okay, time to vote! Do you like Badfinger’s version or Mariah Carey’s version? I think both versions are wonderful so I’m going to have a tough time deciding which one I like better. Please vote by commenting below. It would be great to hear why you voted the way you did so please share with us your deciding factors. I’ll add my vote and tally up the results: be sure to come back on the 21st to see who won this battle.

Thanks for participating!

After you’ve voted, be sure to visit the other Battle of the Bands participants and check out their cool competitions. Click here to be taken to a page with a complete list of links to all BOTB participants or simply click below:

Tossing It Out

StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Far Away Series

THE DOGLADY’S DEN

Your Daily Dose

The Sound of One Hand Typing

Mike’s Ramblings

Curious as a Cathy

DC Relief – Battle of the Bands

This Belle Rocks

Book Lover

Cherdo on the Flipside

Shady Dell Music & Memories

Far Away Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

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43 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – “Without You”

  1. Welcome to BoTB! I love this song and totally forgot about it until now. Like you, I am most familiar with Harry Nisson doing this song. In fact, I had no idea his song is a cover. I don’t remember Badfinger, so I’m gonna have to listen to more of their songs to jingle my memory. I love Mariah Carey! Everything she does, she does well. I wanted to like Badfinger, but when they got to the chorus it lost me. I hated how flat they hit those notes unlike either Nisson or Carey who allowed the chorus to soar. I’m not sure, if that describe accurately or not what I’m trying to say here and I know another BoTB member will say what I’m trying to say only better at some point. lol Anywho, that all being said or not said, give my vote to Mariah. Nice job on your 1st battle showdown! 😉

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  2. I’m glad you didn’t include the Nilsson version because I don’t especially for his music or his version of this song.

    Carey does a nice rendition of this song. No doubt that her voice is excellent. However the song seems overproduced for my taste.

    From the little guitar opening heartfelt vocal to the steady instrumentation backing up the whole song to the way the song just builds with a sense of desolation and sadness, Badfinger’s version is hands down the best for me. I’ve listened to that No Dice album so many many times and it really stirs me

    I vote Badfinger.

    Glad you’re joining us for BOTB!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

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    • Thanks Lee! I’m looking forward to this and future battles. I’ve got your vote counted. We’ll see how the original fares in about 6 days…

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  3. All this time I thought Harry Nilsson wrote the song! That’s the one I love most, but since it’s not part of the voting process, I will go with Mariah’s version, because I think it’s closest to Harry’s. Although I’m a fan of Badfinger, their rendition didn’t sound as good, IMO. Ironic! They seemed to be cutting the words off too quickly and that was a bit jarring. Great inaugural BOTB post, Michele! 🙂

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    • Thanks Debbie! And your vote is a surprise to me!! I thought for sure you would be more inclined toward Badfinger. But I get it. I’m still tossed up over this one. One day I’ll like the Badfinger version, then the next day I’ll find something I like about Mariah’s version better. Thanks for your vote. Will be interesting to see how this one turns out…

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  4. Welcome, fellow newbie!

    I used Nilsson and “Without You” for my A-to-Z; I’ve always loved that song. Now I have to go back and read your A-to-Z posts, too. Sorry I’m late! Here is my Nilsson post:
    http://www.cherdoontheflipside.com/2015/04/n-is-for-nilsson.html

    Mariah Carey definitely has talent, I’ve got to give her that. But I’ve never really been a fan and nothing has changed in that department.

    Down to business: My vote is for Badfinger!

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    • Hey Cherdo. Thanks for your vote. Isn’t that cool that you did N is for Nilsson?! I just checked it out and it’s a great read. What an awesome song to be playing for your first dance with a boy! That has to bring back some precious memories! Hope my battle helped bring some back for you as well this morning.

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    • Thanks for voting Chrys! I hadn’t heard Mariah’s version until I started researching Badfinger. She’s definitely a talent. I’m still undecided…and glad I have 6 more days to make up my mind. 🙂

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  5. I left you a comment the other day – Youngstown State? Really? I’m from Youngstown (or Austintown, if you want to be specific). Grew up there. That may be a lie; I lived there till 1990 and then I headed south. Small world.

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    • No Way Cherdo!!! Wow, small world indeed! I hardly ever run into anyone from Y-town. And guess what? I lived in Austintown for a few months before I left the area! Before that I lived closer to the University for obvious reasons. I left there in December of ’84. Been back only once to visit. Do you still go there? Have family there? Good people in Ohio!
      PS: I don’t remember getting a comment from you the other day. What post was it on?

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      • How long has it been since you’ve been there? I still have friends there but it has been decades since I’ve been back there. I think it was between ’85 and ’90. I hear they have been really working on a major restoration of downtown. So needed!
        I love that Ed O’Neill (from Modern Family) is from there. 🙂

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  6. Good Heavens, now you’re doing BOTB! Interesting stuff, I didn’t know the Badfinger version, nor the story of the song. If we can’t have the Nllsson version, which made a big impression on me when I was young, I’ll go for Badfinger. I like the guitar work on it. Mariah Carey did a powerful version, but I’m not a great fan of the vocal twiddling about.

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    • Lol!!! That just cracked me up, your “Good Heavens” line. Hey, come back on Monday: I’m also doing the Blood, Boobs and Carnage blogfest! Ha!
      Yeah, I love the Nilsson version. Before this it’s the only one I remembered. I had forgotten that Badfinger did that.
      Thanks for your vote. I’ll put ya down for Badfinger…
      Have a great weekend Mark.

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  7. Glad to have you BOTBing with us, MICHELE.

    This was a good debut Battle. My vote was in the bag for BADFINGER before I played either video, because Badfinger is such a funny band name.

    No, that’s not really why (although it IS a funny band name!) I had heard both of these versions before and, to be honest, I don’t care for Carey. In my opinion, she totally over-sings almost everything she does (kinda like the White Whitney Houston) and she always seems so intent on showing off her pipes (which she does have) that I wind up not believing a single lyric she sings.

    Badfinger, on the other hand, I believe. Plus, I like the tone and sustain of the electric guitar in their version, so they get my vote.

    But I see votes are falling for BOTH of your contestants, so it looks like your very first BOTB blog bit is a competitive one. Congratulations!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

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    • Thanks Stephen! I’m happy to be BOTBing with you all! And yeah, I wonder where in the heck Badfinger got their name. I always like to discover how bands decided to name themselves because there sure are a lot of funny names out there!
      Thanks for your vote and your input. I’ll put ya down for Badfinger…
      Have a great weekend…

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  8. I am going to vote first and then go back and read what others had to say. I am voting for The Badfinger version. The reason is that I remember this song so well from back in, I think the 1970’s. At that time I was having some difficulties in my first marriage and I was stupid enough to believe that I couldn’t live if it meant living without him. Now, going through this period of grief with the loss of my second husband this song again is speaking to me. I love it! And I know that I’ll keep living even without him. thanks for the memories!!

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    • Oh Paula, I’m so glad the song speaks to you and brings back memories. Though cliche, through the dark storm clouds, there is always a silver lining and sometimes it is simply discovering your own strength. Thanks for your vote and your comment. I’ll put ya down for Badfinger… Have a great weekend!

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  9. Never heard of Badfinger, never like Mariah Carey, so can’t really vote between those two. Didn’t like either version. I like the one you don’t want us to vote for.

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  10. A good initial offering here! Welcome to BotB!

    I wasn’t aware that Badfinger had written this and had the first version. I would have started fading at 3:30, though… I got it after the first two repeats of the chorus, guys. Nilsson made this a much better song, that’s for sure.

    Now, Mariah: I give her credit for not hitting the notes at the top of her range. This was early in her career and she just loooved to air out those high notes. I’m not much of a fan of her running up and down the scale when she has to hold a note (check at a little before 0:40, where she starts doing it on the word “shows”).

    All that said, I was ready to go into this one ready to vote for Badfinger, but Mariah did a better job, in my opinion. She gets my vote.

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    • I get what you mean about Mariah running the scale; I hadn’t noticed that before. She definitely delivers a strong version. Thanks for your vote and your input, John. I’ll put you down for Mariah… Have a great weekend. You did a nice tribute post to BB King: great concert memory you have there…

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  11. I confess that I just don’t like it when a singer jumps all around the note. Mariah Carey is an offender of the worst kind IMO, though she is far from the the ONLY one.

    I much prefer the more understated (and heartfelt) version from Badfinger.

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    • Hey Robin, thanks for dropping by and voting! I’ll put you down for Badfinger. Their sound alone takes me back…

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  12. Welcome to the battles 🙂

    That was a lot of history. Interesting. Of course Harry’s version is the only one I knew, and he would have given a shut out, I’m sure. Badfinger was pretty good; but I loved Mariah in this. She has such a strong voice. Damn can she hold a note.

    My vote goes to Mariah 🙂

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    • Hey Delorah. Thanks for stopping by and for voting. I’ll put you down for Mariah. She can indeed hold a note!

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  13. i’m going to have to join you guys in the BOTB (is there a place I go to sign up for that?) as it falls in perfectly with my niche. I’ve previously done “Who Sang it better” type posts, so would love to know more about how to get involved in the BOTB.

    As for this song – I like all three. But, I’m going to have to give my vote to Mariah. I feel her passion in the song just a little bit more.

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  14. Hi Michele, and welcome to BOTB. What a fine presentation for your debut BATTLE.

    I’m gonna have to go with Badfinger. I like Mariah on a few songs (very few) but this is not one of them. I think Badfinger conveys the mood this song creates for me.

    So glad you decided to join up with BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I can already tell you are going to be a great addition.

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    • Thanks so much for the warm welcome! Glad you liked my battle. I’m thrilled to be a part of the group. Now I have to keep coming up with good ideas… the pressure is on! 🙂
      I’ll put you down for Badfinger. This is shaping up to be a really decent contest between the two.

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  15. I am not a Mariah Carey fan nor do I like the “spectacle” effect of the music but I still give this battle to her because she does belt it out the way it needs to be done. The one thing that really bothered me with the first group was when they sang the refrain. It was sung short like and it just bugged me. It didn’t feel right to the song

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  16. Ooh, Michele – tough choice! I have loved the Nilsson version for so long. I enjoyed Badfinger and Mariah about the same. I found myself running tabs on pros and cons for each! The answer was… I didn’t really like either version. Yeah, I know… but Nilsson is so hard to beat. In the end, Mariah really hit the notes and carried the height that the song called for… so I ‘must’ have liked here. (Don’t laugh – some battles leave me lopsided.)

    Welcome to BOTB. s Fae says… you are a terrific addition. Never take anything we say seriously, unless it deals with Tiny Tim (shh) and beware of lounge lizards!
    My vote is for Mariah Carey.

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    • Lol! I’ll keep my eye peeled for lounge lizards. And I have to hear the story about Tiny Tim: ugh, that man’s voice drives me up a wall!
      And I hear ya about Nilsson being so hard to beat. Very true, that. Thanks for stopping by and for the warm welcome! I’ll put you down for Mariah. Interesting battle this is turning out to be. Thrilled to be a part of the group!

      Like

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