A Return to Battle of the Bands: Devil Woman by Cliff Richard

After a brief (well, maybe a bit more than brief) break from this bi-monthly music feature fondly known as Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy of StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands, I am returning to spotlight one of my very favorite songs from the 70s.

Devil Woman is a 1976 hit single by Cliff Richard from his album I’m Nearly Famous.

In case you’re not familiar with Cliff Richard: Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb, October 14, 1940) is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist. Richard has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. He has total sales of over 21 million singles in the United Kingdom and is the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

“Devil Woman” was written by Terry Britten and Christine Holmes (singer of the Family Dogg) and also recorded by Holmes under the name “Kristine”.

A No. 9 UK hit in June 1976, “Devil Woman” became Richard’s first single to reach the Top 20 in the US, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was Richard’s highest peaking single. “Devil Woman” is the third biggest-selling Cliff Richard single with over two million copies sold worldwide. It was certified Gold by the RIAA in the US and the CRIA in Canada.

The song is told from the point of a view of a man jinxed from an encounter with a stray cat with evil eyes, and his discovery that the psychic medium (a Gypsy woman) whose help he sought to break the curse was the one responsible for the curse in the first place.

The song is heavily guitar-driven, with soft-distortion lines doubling the melody in the chorus and long, high, sustained single notes providing atmosphere over the verses. A Rhodes electric piano, bass guitar, drums and percussion are the only other instruments.

Here’s is Cliff Richard’s hit. Give a listen and be sure to Crank It Up! It absolutely should be listened to at high volume…and you’ll surely see why it’s one of my favorites. Such a great song. (But don’t vote for this version; it’s only here for your enjoyment. Vote on the covers presented below).

 

Cover #1: RIOT

Riot is an American heavy metal band founded in New York City in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale. Reaching a peak in popularity in the early 80s, the band has continued a long-running successful career.

Riot has toured with AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar, Kiss, Vandenberg, Black Sabbath and Rush among others.

Riot’s sound initially started out as straightforward heavy metal, but since their 1988 release Thundersteel their musical direction has been more along the lines of power metal.

In 2013, Riot V, a new iteration of the band, was launched by the surviving members, post the passing of founding member and band leader Mark Reale.

Their cover of Devil Woman appeared on Riot’s 1983 album Born in America:

 

Cover #2:  ALL ABOUT EVE

All About Eve was an English band known for their alternative and gothic rock style. The band’s name was taken from the 1950 film starring Bette Davis. The initial creative core consisted of Julianne Regan (vocals) and Tim Bricheno ( guitar) and Andy Cousin (bass guitar) with other members changing over the years. Their biggest commercial success was “Martha’s Harbour” (1988), although the band’s tenure ran between 1984 and 2004, and included four UK Top 50 albums. The band have been recognized for their “unique, folk-rock-influenced take” on the gothic rock style and Regan has been described as “certainly one of the more talented singers” of the scene in the late 1980s.

All About Eve did the Devil Woman cover as a B-side of their 12″ single Flowers in Our Hair in 1987.

 

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

 

I’ll be back on the 21st with results for this battle. Thanks for participating!

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18 thoughts on “A Return to Battle of the Bands: Devil Woman by Cliff Richard

  1. Hi, Michele!

    Welcome back to the action, dear friend! You and Cathy Kennedy both ran songs that I plan to present in future posts on SDMM, but that’s a good thing, because it means that we share the same taste in music. Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman” single and brilliantly restored/preserved video is a 70s rock classic, and the two covers in your battle can’t compare to its greatness. Julianne Regan, front woman of All About Eve, has a good voice, but I didn’t like the way the band raced through the song. My ears demand that the song and it lyrics be savored a little more, as in the original. That’s why I am going with Riot (not to be confused with Quiet Riot) and their version which has a pace similar to Richard’s. Released in 1983, Riot’s rendition brings us the sound of the period when pop metal hair bands ruled. Although their recording sounds dated (curiously more so than Richard’s version from the previous decade) I am voting for the cover by Riot.

    I hope you and your mother had a nice Mother’s Day. Thank you very much, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Morning Shady! Thanks for checking out my battle. It’s good to be back in action. So glad that you are equally fond of Cliff Richard’s hit. The first vote in and it’s for Riot…

      Like

  2. So good to see you back in the blogging arena and especially with BOTB.

    I remember this song when it came out, but the artist never registered with me at the time. Later in the eighties I got into Cliff Richards when he put out “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and I bought several of his albums.

    I definitely prefer the Richards original over the covers. He has such a smooth sound.
    The cover artists present credible versions. All About Eve is a bit frantic for my taste. Riot was truer to the original and has a sound that I prefer a bit more.

    A vote for Riot.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lee. Thanks for coming by. I’ll be headed over to your battle here in a few minutes. It’s good to be back.
      I too like Richard’s We Don’t Talk Anymore but I prefer Devil Woman over that one. He sure was popular across the pond back in the day.
      Another vote for Riot. Thanks

      Like

  3. This is a nice surprise! Welcome back, Michele. 😀 You picked a great song for your return. I remember Cliff Richard well from when I was living in Europe. He was a huge star! Given my penchant for heavy metal music, this is no contest, for me. ‘Riot’ all the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Girl! Thanks, good to be back. Yes, Cliff Richard sure was big in Europe and I’m glad that he made some inroads over on this side of the world. Of course I knew without a doubt that you’d be going with Riot. 🙂
      However, I’m fearing that my return is going to start with a shutout…

      Like

    • Hey Mary! I missed you too! So good to be back. I’m headed over to your battle in a few minutes. Riot is running away with this one. Ut-oh… 🙂
      Nobody is seeming to like All About Eve’s version. I like it. I’m still undecided…
      Thanks for coming by!

      Like

    • Hey Pamela. Thanks for stopping by! Riot is racking up the votes in my return battle. Not a great way to come back into the fold, with a shutout… Oh well, it’s not over yet! 🙂

      Like

  4. Welcome back to BOTB, Michele!

    Here I come to save the da-aaa-y! There’s no need to fear, D-FensDogG is here!

    Yep, I’m breaking up this shutout with a vote for ALL ABOUT EVE. This was a tough one to decide on and I had to listen to both recordings twice. But in the final analysis, I simply have NEVER liked that “Heavy Metal Hair Band” sound. Yep, it is just ONE sound and it is all the same. (Back in the ’80s, I’m pretty sure there was a giant factory in China churning out all those Hair Bands. It was really just one band with different names attached to it. Some of them they called Riot, some Poison, some Ratt, some Twisted Sister. But it was ALL pretty twisted if ya ask me. Ha!)

    Anyway, I’ll throw mine EVE’s way and bust up this shutout. I’d hate to see you wind up with a shutout your first Battle back.

    ~ Stephen
    [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Stephen, you rock! Thanks so much for saving me from a shutout on my first battle back. I’m glad someone is voting for All About Eve. I just don’t think that version is that bad.
      There are songs that I like from all the Hair Bands that you listed but mostly just the popular songs that got a lot of radio play. Most of their other stuff, not so interesting to me. I did, however, dig all the hair… 🙂

      Thanks for coming to the rescue. (I’m picturing you with an Underdog cape on… )

      Like

    • Hey Cathy! Thanks for stopping by. Most people are referencing the fast tempo of All About Eve’s version as what cost them the vote. I’m still undecided.
      Heading to your place now…

      Liked by 1 person

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