Battle of the Bands – 2120 Michigan Avenue


It’s September 1st and time for another Battle of the Bands! I wish I could say I came up with this battle because it’s a good one, but this is all compliments of Stephen McCarthy. I’ve been quite overwhelmed with personal stuff lately and he generously offered to share with me a few battle ideas he had so I wouldn’t have to sit this one out. Today is one of those battles. Thank you Stephen! XOXO

“2120 South Michigan Avenue” is an original instrumental by the Rolling Stones recorded for their second EP Five by Five. It was also released on their second US album 12 X 5 in 1964. Composer credit goes to Nanker Phelge, a title giving credit equally to all members of the band. In the book Rolling with the Stones, Bill Wyman recalls that the composition process started with him playing a bass riff and that the others followed on jamming.

The title refers to the address of the offices and recording studios of Chess Records and Checker Records in Chicago where the five songs for the EP were recorded in June 1964.

George Thorogood did a cover of the Stones song on their album titled 2120 South Michigan Ave.:

2120 South Michigan Ave. is a studio album by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It was released on June 14, 2011 on the Capitol Records label. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. The title refers to the address of the offices and recording studios of Chess Records in Chicago. The album contains ten covers of songs recorded on Chess Records by artists such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters; plus a cover of The Rolling Stones’ instrumental “2120 South Michigan Avenue” and two original songs about Chess Records artists. Capitol Records approached Thorogood with the idea for the album and selected most of the songs. Buddy Guy and Charlie Musselwhite perform on the album, although their work was added after primary recording was complete. (Source: Wikipedia)


Today’s battle is pitting the Rolling Stones classic against George Thorogood’s cover. I’m especially excited about this battle because I saw both of these bands in the same concert back in 1980. It was a great lineup: George Thorogood opened, then Loverboy, followed by Journey and then the Rolling Stones. What a show! It rained the entire time —and I mean it POURED — during the first three acts. Typical Buffalo NY weather. Like magic, the rain stopped and the sun burst out just as Mick Jagger ran on stage. What a trip that was. And it wasn’t the acid either, I promise! J

Here are the battle contenders:

Contender #1: The Rolling Stones


Contender #2:  George Thorogood

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:


29 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – 2120 Michigan Avenue

  1. Morning Angel,
    I could not listen to any of your versions posted on your blog. The GEMA in Germany block both songs. So I took the time and went on YouTube to hear them. My vote is for GEORGE THOROGOOD. I just like the way he jumps in there and does his thing. Just like Chuck Berry would.
    Shalom aleichem,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Patricia,
      Sorry the links didn’t work for you but I really appreciate you taking the time to go listen to them on YouTube. Thanks for that!
      The first vote in this battle goes to George. Thanks for your vote! Have a great weekend…


  2. To my recollection I’ve never heard this song. It would have been a cool one for Brian Auger to have covered as well since it sounds like much of the stuff he did.

    Both versions seem pretty similar so despite the presence of the fabulous Charlie Musselwhite I’m going to have to go with the original by the Stones.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  3. Hi, Michele!

    I hope this day finds you and your family in good health and in good spirits.

    How lucky you were to have seen those titans of rock and blues rock together in a single show!

    Usually I am not keen on instrumentals, but both versions of “2120 South Michigan Avenue” rocked and I thoroughly enjoyed them. As in Debbie the Doglady’s battle, your contest requires the listener/voter to choose between a recording waxed in the mid 60s and one made in the 2010s with the benefit of advanced technology. I always try to use my imagination and perform a little “mental remastering” on older recordings in an effort to level the playing field. While I enjoyed George Thorogood’s cover, it strikes me as the “menu” while the Rolling Stones’ original is the “meal.” That historic Stones jam session in the Chitown studios of Chess/Checker Records yielded a classic. I love the wailing harmonica. The Stones’ rendition is funkier, earthier, more organic, more spontaneous sounding, and more deep down pleasing than Geo. T’s, and therefore I cast my vote for Mick & his Merry Mates!

    Thank you, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love a wailing harmonica!! Besides the violin, I have to say it’s one of my favorite instruments.
      That was one crazy show, especially with the rain and all. Everyone was covered with tarps. It was really a miserable time sitting there but the show was fantastic overall… However, it would’ve been so much better had the sun been shining the whole time. It was a great birthday present though! Which means it was just about 36 years ago. Wow. Hard to believe it was that long ago…
      I’m glad you liked the battle song, despite it being an instrumental. I have to be in the mood for instrumentals.
      Thanks for stopping by and voting Shady. Gotcha down for the Stones…


  4. Hi, MIchele; I hope life is getting a little easier for you, now. Best wishes!

    This is a song I’ve never heard before and I enjoyed both versions. Had to hunt for an alternate George Thorogood video as this one wasn’t available in Canada (see below). Hard to choose! In the end, the guitar riffs in The Stones recording won me over. Please give my vote to The Rolling Stones. Wishing you a good weekend and beyond!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Debbie. Things are starting to lighten up a bit now so I’m coming out of the weeds. Thanks for the well wishes.
      Glad you liked both versions. It’s an awesome jam for sure.
      Thanks for your vote for the Stones. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll go with George Thorogood. Memphis Charlie Musselwhite is a much better harp player than Mick Jagger or Brian Jones — I forget which one played on this one.

    I hope this makes it to the comments…. WordPress has been tossing my comments in the spam bucket lately…

    Liked by 1 person

    • WordPress is funky sometimes, that’s for sure. But your comment made it.
      Another vote going to GT. Thanks for stopping by John…


  6. I haven’t heard of this song before. I am going with George here. I just liked it better. Don’t know why. I am not a big instrumental girl myself!! Hope all gets worked out for you soon. Sending you a big hug!


    • Thanks for the hug Paula! And thanks for coming by to vote. I’ll put you down for George Thorogood. I’m not an instrumental gal myself but I really like this one….


  7. Mr. McCarthy is a pretty cool guy. I’m glad he helped you out so you could be with us. I vote for George Thorogood. I admit I don’t have a reason related to the music. Both versions are equally good. I choose George because I used to have some friends who went to high school with him.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Well that’s pretty darn neat!! I wish i went to school with a rock star…
      And yes, Stephen is a great guy!
      Thanks for your vote Janie. Another one for George Thorogood…


    Listen to Janie; she knows what she’s yakkin’ ’bout!

    First and foremost, I got your E. Sorry I’m behind the 8 ball in replying but… situation normal, status quo, Mr. McCarthy sux. (Will get back to you ASAP, I promise. Also, I’m running for political office, so my promises are just barely good enough to use as “terlet” paper.)

    Wow! Great Battle! You sure know how to make it tough on a voter. ;-D

    Seriously, this really IS tough. I love the Rolling Stones rhythm section (even though I strongly suspect that’s mostly studio musicians playing behind Mick’s vocals).

    And then there’s George Thorogood with Charlie Musselwhite on harp. Unless a person REALLY knows their Blues, they probably won’t recognize the Musselwhite name. Phenomenal Blues harmonica player. Personally, I would rate him barely behind the legendary Little Walter, and just ahead of the legendary James Cotton.

    I loved Lee’s comment referencing Brian Auger because… He’s totally right: this does seem like an instrumental just ripe for a Brian Auger interpretation (I never thought of that before, but it’s spot-on). Auger is one of my very, Very, VERY favorite musicians of all time, and Lee and I have BOTH used him in previous BOTB installments (and I ain’t done yet).

    Also, weirdly coincidental, we’re listening to Musselwhite and LEE mentions Auger, right out of the blue. …Until it was discontinued, I went every year to ‘The Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival’ in Glendale, AZ. (basically just a suburb of Phoenix). They had two stages operating simultaneously, the Jazz and Blues stages. They always saved the biggest acts for the final show on the final day — Sunday. Swear to God, the 2009 festival featured the following final performances:

    Jazz Stage: 4:30-6:00 PM
    Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

    Blues Stage: 4:45-6:00 PM
    Charlie Musselwhite

    GAH! I was forced to choose! What a buncha bovine excrement! Why couldn’t they have saved Charlie for the 2010 festival? I was so happy and bummed at the same time.

    Ultimately, I HAD to sneak away for about 10% Musselwhite, but 90% of my viewing time went to Brian Auger, my all-time favorite Hammond B-3 player. (Got to meet him after the show, too, and shake his bear-sized paw. He’s a great guy, and that was a dream come true. But I sure wish I could have seen 100% of a Charlie Musselwhite show, because that guy has unbelievable Blues harp chops!)

    Anyway, I will always be glad to lend a hand, Michele. And a vote to…


    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Stephen. I can feel your pain in having to choose between two great shows. I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of Brian Auger (what’s wrong with me?!) — or maybe I’ve heard his stuff but just didn’t know who I was listening to. Anyway, right now I’m listening to his Oblivion Express -Second Wind album. Wow, amazing music! Now I want to add this to my collection for sure. How cool that you got to meet him.

      I absolutely LOVE the harmonica. I was just telling Shady that it’s one of my very favorite instruments. I’ll have to get into some Musslewhite, huh?

      Thanks again for giving me this battle.It really helped me out of a battle jam. And It’s shaping up to be a good one! You’re the best!

      Re: the email: I’ve already got my battle set up for the 15th, featuring a song off the album I was telling you about… Should be interesting, IF people give it a chance, that is…

      talk soon. Have a great weekend! Yay, it’s a holiday!!


  9. MIchele, This is a new one on me. I’m not a Stones fan, so that doesn’t come as a surprise at all. The original is nice and funky, but that harp drove me a bit batty. Too much for my ears to take throughout the song, but George Thorogood’s version was easier or more pleasing to listen to, so kindly give George my vote. I hope what ever life is throwing at you I hope things settle down. Blessings to you and good battle! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Cathy, Thanks for your well-wishes. Things are starting to settle down a bit so that’s a relief.
      Glad you liked the battle. Stephen rocks! 🙂
      Thanks for your vote: I’ll put you down for Geo. T…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Michele! Tough choice for me. I don’t know the song but I know, and like the artist. The clincher was the harmonica in George Thorogood’s version. Show my vote or him, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another vote for GT! I love me some harmonica! That always puts me over the top too. Thanks for your vote Dixie. Have a good weekend…


  11. That McCarthy dude is a really nice guy! But hey.. I have a serious proposition for you. I will share my google spreadsheet with you for battle ideas. It also has previous battle info on it (but winners aren’t noted, except in the case of my battles) Whenever I hear a song or writing up posts about other artists and I see they’ve done a cover I note it (sometimes) on this spreadsheet for the days that I have trouble coming up with something. hit me up on Facebook or drop me an email and I’ll get you taken care of (if you’d like)

    So I don’t think that I’ve ever heard this song before. Going in, I thought I would be giving my vote to Mr Thorogood because, well.. he’s bad to the bone. And Mick is well… Mick.

    But having listened to the song (both versions!) I am more inclined to cast my vote for Mick.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon and life gives you a little reprieve!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Mary. Life is slowing down a bit and I’m not spinning like I was so that’s good. What a generous proposition you made! That’s really sweet. I’m impressed that you do a BOTB spreadsheet. That’s way cool. And a good idea. I’ll be sure to hit you up if I run into a snag again. Thanks for the awesome offer. You rock!

      Thanks for your vote too. I’ve got you down for the Stones…
      Have a great weekend…


    • It was a great show, even though most of it was rained out. Great memories for sure.
      Thanks for coming by. I understand how it would be hard to place a vote because I’m unsure at this point who I’m voting for. I like both versions! Thanks for checking it out Sarah…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Pamela, Glad to have introduced you to the song. I love it. It’s a really good jam. Thanks for casting your vote: I have you down for GT.
      I’ll say Have a good weekend but I know you always do! Have fun, whatever you guys are doing… 🙂


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