Battle of the Bands (BOTB) – Battle of the Sexes, Round 2: The Women cover Lee Michaels’ “Do You Know What I Mean”

It’s November 1st and time for another Battle of the Bands. Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween last night. As per my usual tradition, we turned all the lights out, pretended not to be home to avoid incessant doorbell ringing by neighborhood trick or treaters and watched scary movies (Scream and Scream 2).

Speaking of scary movies, I’ve been a long-time fan of the original slasher film Halloween, directed and scored by John Carpenter back in 1978, which introduced the world to the creepy (and until now, apparently indestructible) Michael Myers. Last year on Halloween night, I introduced my Mom to that movie and its many sequels. Yesterday I took her to the new 2018 Halloween.

Set 40 years after the original film, the plot follows Laurie Strode as she prepares to face Michael Myers when he returns to Haddonfield, Illinois, after his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978. Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their roles as Strode and Myers, respectively, with stuntman James Jude Courtney also portraying Myers.

So how was it? Well, the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus gave it a 79% and had this to say:

Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic – yet still effective – ingredients.

I liked it okay. Jamie Lee Curtis was fantastic, in my opinion. And she looked terrific. I loved her attitude. And I really liked her hair…although that was probably a wig. But then, I’m a Jamie Lee Curtis fan. At the end I asked my Mom if she liked the movie. She said, “Honestly?” Yes Mom, honestly. “No.” So there ya go…

And that’s it for Halloween. Today’s battle has nothing to do with the creepy holiday. It is the second of a three battle event, the Battle of the Sexes for covers of Lee Michaels’ hit “Do You Know What I Mean” and will feature the Female cover artists competing for the chance to take on the winning Male cover artist later this month.

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In case you missed it, the first round was the Male round on October 15th, featuring Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys battling Myles Goodwyn (with Lee Aaron).

The Male Round RESULTS post announced that Kevin Naquin & his Ossun Playboys would be advancing to the final battle, to take on the winner from today battle.

So now we’re on to the Female cover contenders as they battle it out for the gender win in this three-part battle. If you’d like to listen to the original song by Lee Michaels for reference, this link will take you to YouTube to hear it. It is a great song and one of my favorites from the 70s.

Now let’s listen to our female contenders:

Female Contender #1:  Gwen McRae

Gwen McCrae (née Mosley, December 21, 1943, Pensacola, Florida) is an American singer, best known for her 1975 hit “Rockin’ Chair.” She began performing in local clubs as a teenager, and singing with local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met a young sailor named George McCrae, whom she married within a week.

From 1963, she recorded as a duo with her husband George; the couple received a solo recording contract, with Henry Stone’s TK Records. The couple were discovered in 1967 by singer Betty Wright, who helped get them signed to Stone’s Alston record label.

Signed to TK subsidiary Cat as a solo artist, she found success on the U.S. R&B charts with her cover version of Bobby Bland’s “Lead Me On” in 1970, followed by “For Your Love”. Following husband George’s unexpected solo success with “Rock Your Baby”, Gwen went on to have a major hit of her own in March 1975 with “Rockin’ Chair”, a #1 R&B hit which also reached number 9 in the United States’ Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up “Love Insurance” also made the R&B chart (#16).

After TK Records collapsed, McCrae moved to New Jersey and signed with Atlantic Records, recording two albums and having another hit with “Funky Sensation” in 1981 (#22 R&B). She continued to record and the success of some of her earlier recordings on the UK’s Northern Soul scene maintained her popularity as a live act in Europe. McCrae moved back to Florida, recorded this cover, a one-off single for the small Black Jack label in 1984 called “Do You Know What I Mean”, and then temporarily retired from the music industry.

This is her long version so there is a lengthy introduction with a lot of “Do You Know What I Mean” line repeats and can get a bit monotonous when time is of the essence so to get right into the song, start at the 1:00 minute mark:


Female Contender #2:  Genya Ravan

Genya Ravan, a.k.a. Goldie (born Genyusha Zelkovicz; April 19, 1945) is an American rock singer and producer. She was lead singer of The Escorts, Goldie & the Gingerbreads, and Ten Wheel Drive.

Genya was born in Łódź, Poland, and arrived in the United States in 1947, accompanied by her parents and one sister. They were the only family members who had survived the Nazi Holocaust in Europe; she also had two brothers, who both died. They did not speak any English. Genya was named ‘Goldie’ by her mother, who claimed Genyusha was not American enough.

Goldie’s career started in 1962 on a dare in a Brooklyn club called The Lollipop Lounge, which is also the title of her autobiography published by Billboard Books. On a dare in a bar, she jumped up to sing. “That was the first time I ever heard my voice”. She was asked to join the band The Escorts. In 1963 she formed Goldie and The Gingerbreads after Genya met drummer Ginger Bianco in a Greenwich Village bar.

After seeing the band at a party for the Rolling Stones, Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegün signed them to Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. Goldie & the Gingerbreads were the first all-girl rock band in history to be signed to a major label and climb the charts.

While playing New York City’s hot spot The Wagon Wheel on 45th Street in Times Square, Mike Jeffries, Eric Burdon, Hilton Valentine, and Chas Chandler spotted them, and wanted them to come to England. Goldie and The Gingerbreads toured with the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and Manfred Mann. They reached the charts with their hit “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat” in 1965.

They recorded three albums for Polydor Records: Construction number 1, Brief Replies, Peculiar Friends Are Better Than No Friends. They had many fans, but the group did not take off. Genya left the band in 1971. She was signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis where she made one album in 1972 titled simply Genya Ravan. Four more solo albums followed through the 1970s.

Ravan performed at the Atlanta Pop Festival, twice at Carnegie Hall and twice at Madison Square Garden, along with various clubs in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, including the famous CBGB. She appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, The Johnny Carson Show, Della and The Dick Cavett Show television shows.

In 2011, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum included Goldie and The Gingerbreads in their Women in Music exhibit which traveled from state to state. Genya Ravan toured in 2013, selling out New York City’s Iridium and is going back by popular demand.

Also in 2013, Genya released a new album entitled Cheesecake Girl. This cover of the Lee Michaels hit is from that album:

TIME TO VOTE! Which version of the Female contenders do you like better and why? The winner of this battle will go up against the the Male Artist cover winner in the grand finale Battle of the Sexes on November 15th! 

When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! Voting will be open until midnight on the November 9th and I’ll post results on the 10th or shortly thereafter. Until then, Rock On my friends…


Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs About Aging & Getting Old(er) – Part 4 of 4: TIME TRAVEL

It’s the final Monday in this month of October and I’ve been thrilled to be the Honorary Co-Host of the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop. I’d like to thank Marie and all the other hostesses, Cathy, Alana, Stacy & Collette, for such a warm welcome into the circle of 4M co-hosting. I’d also like to thank all the 4M participants for playing along with my two themes this month. I hope you all have had as much fun with them as I have. This final week is a Freebie and I’m looking forward to seeing what you all have put together. My freebie offering is the last of my Songs About Aging and Getting Old(er) Series.

Today’s post is PART 4 of my SONGS ABOUT AGING AND GETTING OLD(er) Series. If you missed Part 1, entitled Time Passages, you can check it out here. Part 2 was about one of my favorite things to do: Reminiscing. Check it out here. And Part 3 is titled something that I find myself saying all too often lately, Gettin’ Old Ain’t for Sissies! and can be found here.

As for the series’ finale, Part 4 songs explore traveling through life’s paths with all its twists and turns along the way. Join me in a playlist of fabulous time-traveling songs.


Here is a list of the songs in this playlist, with a little background info for ya:

The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles (1970) – “The Long and Winding Road” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1970 album Let It Be. It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. When issued as a single in May 1970, a month after the Beatles’ break-up, it became the group’s 20th and last number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It was the final single released by the world’s most famous quartet, commonly referred to as the Fab Four.

FUN FACT: Paul McCartney offered this song to Tom Jones in 1968 on the condition it be his next single. He had “Without Love (There is Nothing)” set for release so he turned down the offer, something he would later regret. Speaking with Media Wales in 2012, Jones explained: “I saw him (McCartney) in a club called Scotts Of St. James on Jermyn Street in London. I said to him ‘When are you going to write me a song then Paul?’ He said, ‘aye I will then.’ Then not long after he sent a song around to my house, which was ‘The Long And Winding Road,’ but the condition was that I could do it but it had to be my next single.

Paul wanted it out straight away. At that time I had a song called ‘Without Love’ that I was going to be releasing. The record company was gearing up towards the release of it. The timing was terrible, but I asked if we could stop everything and I could do ‘The Long And Winding Road.’ They said it would take a lot of time and it was impractical, so I ended up not doing it. I was kicking myself. I knew it was a strong song.”

“Without Love” did well for Jones – it reached #5 in the US and #10 in the UK, but didn’t have anywhere near the staying power of this Beatles classic. Jones did eventually record a Paul McCartney song, but not until 2012 when Paul wrote “(I Want To) Go Home,” which was released on Jones’ album Spirit in the Room.

FUN FACT: This was the only Beatles song where John Lennon played bass. He was ordinarily their rhythm guitarist. Harrison and Ringo had their parts removed by Phil Spector, so they don’t appear on this at all.

This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore by Elton John (2001) – This piano ballad finds Elton John in a reflective mood, looking back on his past glories and thinking about how he feels now. Using a railroad metaphor, he sings about how he used to be a huge star (“the main express”), but now he’s done with those days (“this train don’t stop there anymore”).

These are not the words of Elton John, but of his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, who throws light on one side of Elton’s personality. His days of high excess may have ended, but Elton’s train kept going and making lots of stops along the way, as he kept touring, continuing to put on grand performances.

The song has a very memorable video directed by David LaChapelle and starring Justin Timberlake as a young Elton John at the height of his fame. Timberlake walks in slow motion as he lip-syncs the track, mingling with fans and industry associates along the way. Paul Reubens also appears in the clip.

Stop This Train by John Mayer (2006) – The song “Stop this Train” was written during a time of, what Mayer calls, “solitary refinement;” He was in bed suffering from double kidney stones and living in a hotel while finding a new residence. He explained to the Daily Mail December 21, 2007 that this song about getting older touched on a time when he suffered from a ‘quarter-life crisis’ in 2001: “My 20s were so great I could have rented them out. But, at 27, I crashed. Now, at 30, I’m more settled.”

My Generation by The Who (1965) – from the My Generation album this song is the Who’s most recognizable song. A nod to the mod counterculture of the time, one outstanding line in the lyrics is “I hope I die before I get old.” In 1965, Roger Daltrey stood by this song’s lyric and claimed he would kill himself before reaching 30 because he didn’t want to get old. When he did get older, he answered the inevitable questions about the “hope I die before I get old” line by explaining that it is about an attitude, not a physical age.

Pete Townshend wrote this for rebellious British youths known as “Mods.” It expressed their feeling that older people just don’t get it. The song has been said to have “encapsulated the angst of being a teenager.” Townshend wrote this on a train ride from London to Southampton on May 19, 1965 – his 20th birthday. In a 1987 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Townshend explained: “‘My Generation’ was very much about trying to find a place in society. I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.”

Incredibly brief it was for The Who drummer Keith Moon: he died of a drug overdose in 1978 at age 32.

Back in 1967, Pete Townshend called this song “The only really successful social comment I’ve ever made.” Talking about the meaning, he explained it as “some pilled-up mod dancing around, trying to explain to you why he’s such a groovy guy, but he can’t because he’s so stoned he can hardly talk.”

Roger Daltrey sang the lead vocals with a stutter, which was very unusual. After recording two takes of the song normally, their manager Kit Lambert suggested to Daltrey that he stutter to sound like a British kid on speed. Daltrey recalled to Uncut magazine October 2001: “I have got a stutter. I control it much better now but not in those days. When we were in the studio doing ‘My Generation’, Kit Lambert came up to me and said ‘STUTTER!’ I said ‘What?’ He said ‘Stutter the words – it makes it sound like you’re pilled’ And I said, ‘Oh… like I am!’ And that’s how it happened. It was always in there, it was always suggested with the ‘f-f-fade’ but the rest of it was improvised.”

The song was released as a single on October 29, 1965, reaching No. 2 in the UK, The Who’s highest charting single in their home country but it never cracked the Top 40 in America, reaching only No. 74. I found that an odd fact, given the song’s wild popularity and frequency of air-play.

Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds (1965) – “Turn! Turn! Turn!” – sometimes known as “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” – is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title, which is repeated throughout the song, and the final two lines, are adapted word-for-word from the English version of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song was originally released in 1962 as “To Everything There Is a Season” on folk group the Limeliters’ RCA album Folk Matinee and then some months later on Seeger’s own The Bitter and the Sweet.

The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was adapted by the American folk rock group the Byrds. The single entered the record chart at number 80 on October 23, 1965, before reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965. In Canada, it reached number three on Nov. 29, 1965, and also peaking at number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song is notable for being one of a few instances in popular music in which a large portion of the Bible is set to music, other examples being the Melodians’ “Rivers of Babylon”, Sister Janet Mead’s “The Lord’s Prayer”, U2’s “40”, Sinead O’Connor’s “Psalm 33” and Cliff Richard’s “The Millennium Prayer”.

The song’s plea for peace and tolerance struck a nerve with the American record buying public as the Vietnam War escalated. The single also solidified folk rock as a chart trend and, like the band’s previous hits, continued the Byrds’ successful mix of vocal harmony and jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar playing. Pete Seeger expressed his approval of the Byrds’ rendering of the song.

A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon & Garfunkel (1966) – “A Hazy Shade of Winter” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on October 22, 1966 initially as a stand-alone single, but was subsequently included on the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends (1968). The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Paul Simon wrote the song and uses seasons as a metaphor for the cycle of life. Dating back to Simon’s days in England in 1965, the song follows a hopeless poet, with “manuscripts of unpublished rhyme”, unsure of his achievements in life.

Like “Turn, Turn, Turn”, this is another song that uses the ebb and flow of nature as a metaphor for the cycle of life. Now in the winter of life, or old age, the central character reflects on the “springtime” of his youth and decisions he made. The singer seems to be lamenting how he was looking for something (or someone) perfect, but never found it, and now time is running out on his dreams.

The lyrics recall the transition from fall to winter, repeated in the final chorus of the song:

I look around,
leaves are brown
And the sky
is a hazy shade of winter

Look around,
leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground.

Fade In/Fade Out by Nothing More (2017) – Nothing More is an American rock band from San Antonio, Texas. Formed in 2003, the band spent much of the 2000s recording independent albums and struggling to maintain a steady lineup or attract record label interest. Towards the end of the decade, the band’s long-time drummer, Jonny Hawkins, decided to switch to being the band’s frontman and lead vocalist, stabilizing the band’s core lineup along with other long-time members Mark Vollelunga (guitar) and Daniel Oliver (bass). The band self-funded and recorded their fourth studio album, Nothing More, over the course of three years and used it to gain the attention of Eleven Seven Music record label, who signed the band to a five album record contract upon hearing it. The album became the band’s breakthrough release in 2014, with multiple charting singles, including “This is the Time (Ballast)”, which hit number 1 on the Mediabase Active Rock chart and number 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and “Mr. MTV”, Jenny”, and “Here’s to the Heartache” all charting in the top 15 of both charts.

The band began working on a follow-up in 2016 while continuing to tour in support of their self-titled release, and in September 2017, released their fifth studio album – their second on a major record label – The Stories We Tell Ourselves.

“Fade In/Fade Out” is from that album. Said Mark Vollelunga:

“I got the idea for this song when my wife and I finally decided on the name of our son, Fenix. I can only hope that my fire continues to burn in him long after I fade out; the same fire my father passed on to me. May we all remember our parents and never let words or feelings left unsaid. Don’t let it be too late.”

Yesterday, When I Was Young by Roy Clark (1969) – French singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour wrote and recorded this in 1964 as “Hier Encore,” or “Only Yesterday.” Herbert Kretzmer wrote the English-language lyrics that tell of a man reflecting on his life. He recounts how he had wasted his youth on self-centered pursuits, and that, now that he is older, he will not be able to do all that he had planned; this implies that he may be close to his impending death.

Country singer Roy Clark, who had just started his long-running gig as the co-host of Hee Haw, covered the song in 1969 and landed in the Top 10 on the country chart. Peaking at #19, this was Clark’s highest-charting hit on the pop tally and his only entry in the Top 40. In Canada, the song reached #7 on the pop chart, #2 on the country chart, and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Clark’s spoken-word intro leads into a somber recollection of a wasted youth that led to a lonely adulthood:

It seems the love I’ve known

Has always been the most destructive kind

I guess that’s why now

I feel so old

Before my time

FUN FACT: Clark honored a request from Mickey Mantle and sang this at the former New York Yankee’s funeral in 1995.

Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra (1953) – This pop standard was written by Johnny Richards and Carolyn Leigh. Originally an instrumental by Richards called “Moonbeam,” it became “Young at Heart” when Leigh added the lyrics. Frank Sinatra, who had been absent from the pop charts for a few years, came back with a million-selling hit when he was the first to record the song in 1953. Three years after releasing it as a single, he would include it on his 1956 album This Is Sinatra!

Sinatra’s friend and frequent arranger Nelson Riddle introduced him to the song. “Nelson told me he had a song that had been floating around Vine Street [Capitol Records] and other companies for weeks or months,” he recalled in Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra. “‘I think it’s a good song,’ Nelson said, ‘but nobody wants to do it.’ I didn’t even ask him if I could hear it. I just said let’s do it, and it turned out to be ‘Young at Heart.’ We did a single, and it was a big hit.”

The single was so successful on the (pre-Billboard Hot 100) pop charts that the film Sinatra was working on with Doris Day was renamed Young at Heart. The song plays during the opening and closing credits.

Forever Young by Rod Stewart (1988) – “Forever Young” is the second single released by Rod Stewart from his Out of Order album in 1988. The song was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #12, and #7 on the Canadian RPM Magazine charts.

The structure of the lyrics in this song is very similar to a Bob Dylan song of the same title. After its completion, the song was then sent to Dylan, asking whether he had a problem with it. The two men agreed to participate in the ownership of the song and share Stewart’s royalties.

Stewart wrote the song with two of his band members: guitarist Jim Cregan and keyboardist Kevin Savigar. Stewart told Mojo magazine in 1995 that he considered “Forever Young” to be one of his favorite songs and the reason for writing it was:

“I love ‘Forever Young’, because that was a real heartfelt song about my kids. I suddenly realized I’d missed a good five years of Sean and Kimberly’s life because I was so busy touring all the time. With these kids now I don’t make that mistake- I take them on tour with me, so I can watch them grow up. So that’s another favorite. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a big hit in England, but it’s like a national anthem here (America)”.

The video for this song features Stewart singing to a child [played by Alex Zuckerman] while scenes of rural America pass by.

Both Sides Now by Judy Collins (1968) – “Both Sides, Now” is one of the best-known songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. First recorded by Judy Collins, it appeared on the U.S. singles chart during the fall of 1968. The next year it was included on Mitchell’s album Clouds (which was named after a lyric from the song). It has since been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson and Herbie Hancock.

Shortly after Mitchell wrote the song, Judy Collins recorded the first commercially released version for her 1967 Wildflowers album. In October 1968 the same version was released as a single, reaching #8 on the U.S. pop singles charts by December. It reached #6 in Canada. In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance. The record peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Easy Listening survey and “Both Sides, Now” has become one of Collins’ signature songs. Mitchell disliked Collins’ recording of the song, despite the publicity that its success generated for Mitchell’s own career.

FUN FACT: Judy Collins version is featured as the end title music of the 2018 supernatural horror film Hereditary, written and directed by Ari Aster, in his feature directorial debut. It stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne as a family haunted after the death of their secretive grandmother. It was acclaimed by critics, with Collette’s performance receiving particular praise, and was a commercial success, making over $79 million on a $10 million budget to become the American independent entertainment company A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide. I didn’t see this movie but I want to as I’m a Toni Collette fan.

It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra (1965) – Ervin Drake wrote this examination of the various stages of his love life – at ages 17, 21 and 35 – for The Kingston Trio in 1961, when he was 42 years old. Frank Sinatra’s 1966 cover is the preferred version, especially for the dignified way he sings the final verse, in which Drake imagines himself looking back from a ripe old age and realizing that every moment is as precious as the last: “Now I think of my life as vintage wine / From fine old kegs / From the brim to the dregs / It poured sweet and clear / It was a very good year.”

Sinatra’s version, with its dramatic vocals and lush instrumentation, won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male in 1966. Gordon Jenkins was awarded Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the Sinatra version. This single peaked at #28 on the U.S. pop chart and became Sinatra’s first #1 single on the Easy Listening charts. That version can be found on Sinatra’s 1965 album September of My Years.

The song recounts the type of girls with whom the singer had relationships at various years in his life: when he was 17, “small-town girls on the village green”; at 21, “city girls who lived up the stair”; at 35, “blue-blooded girls of independent means”. Each of these years he calls “very good”. In the song’s final verse, the singer reflects that he is older, and in the autumn of his years, and he thinks back on his entire life “as vintage wine”. All of these romances were sweet to him, like a wine from a very good (i.e., vintage) year.

Ervin Drake’s inspiration to write the song was his then wife-to-be, Edith Vincent Bermaine. She was a showgirl, whom he had dated, and eventually married twenty years after the song was written. Said Ervin Drake on Sinatra’s rendition, arranged by Gordon Jenkins:

“Someone played it to me down a telephone. It wasn’t a great phone line, but I knew I’d heard a masterpiece, and I fell in love with it, and I’ve never stopped loving it.”

The song was covered by a great many over the years. In 1966, nine months after Sinatra charted with his rendition, Della Reese made #99 with her version, which flipped the gender and changed the lyrics appropriately (“Small town boys and soft summer nights,” “blue-blooded boys of independent means”).

FUN FACT: This was parodied on The Simpsons episode “Duffless” (1993) as Homer poured his beloved Duff beer down the drain. He sang:

When I was seventeen

I drank a very good beer

I drank a very good beer

I purchased with a fake I.D.

My name was ‘Brian McGee’

I stayed up listening to Queen

When I was seventeen…

Back in Time by Huey Lewis and the News (1985) – I would be remiss if I didn’t include this song in a collection called Time Travel. “Back in Time” is a song by Huey Lewis and the News written for and featured in the 1985 film Back to the Future, the top-grossing film of 1985. The song is heard near the end of the film when Marty McFly wakes up in his own bed, after returning from 1955, to the song playing on the radio. The lyrics are essentially a summary of the movie.

It is also played during the closing credits. Lewis wrote the song with his bandmates Johnny Colla, Chris Hayes and Sean Hopper specifically for the film, incorporating plot elements in the lyrics:

Tell me, doctor

Where are we going this time?

Is this the ’50s?

Or 1999?

In contrast to the band’s number-one hit from the movie, “The Power of Love”, the lyrics for “Back in Time” specifically refer to the story and characters of the film.

Although not released as a commercially available single, the song (mixed by Bob Clearmountain) reached number three in September 1985 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. The video for the song features bloopers and “never-before-seen” clips from the band’s other hit videos, including “I Want a New Drug”, “If This Is It”, “Heart of Rock & Roll”, and “Heart and Soul”.

100 Years by Five for Fighting (2003) – “100 Years” is a song by American singer John Ondrasik (born January 7, 1965), known by his stage name Five for Fighting. Best known for his piano-based rock, he adopted the name “Five for Fighting”, an ice hockey term that means a five-minute major penalty for participating in a fight. Ondrasik is a lifelong fan of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings.

“100 Years” was released in November 2003 as the first single from the album The Battle for Everything. The song’s melody is borrowed from “Plainsong” by The Cure, originally released in 1989. The single reached number one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

This song is a simple reminder about how precious life is. How we should sink in every moment. How we should look up to what we have. John Ondrasik wrote the lyrics about his life: when he was 15 he couldn’t find a girl, at 22 he found the girl and got married, at 33 he had his first child.

The music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy and premiered in January 10, 2004. It placed at number 30 on VH1’s Top 40 Music Video Countdown of 2004, spending 18 weeks on VH1’s weekly Top 20 countdown. The video shows Ondrasik at a magic piano where he appears at various life stages: images of Ondrasik singing and playing the song at the piano are intercut with fictional, idealized versions of himself as a 15-year-old boy, a man in his middle 40s, and a 99-year-old man, reflecting the song’s lyrics. At the end of the song, Ondrasik meets his older self.

“The sea is high

And I’m heading into a crisis

Chasing the years of my life”

The Best is Yet to Come by HinderHinder is an American rock band from Oklahoma that was formed in 2001 by lead singer Austin Winkler, guitarist Joe “Blower” Garvey, and drummer Cody Hanson. The band released four studio albums with Winkler; Extreme Behavior (2005), Take It to the Limit (2008), All American Nightmare (2010) and Welcome to the Freakshow (2012). After Winkler left the band in 2013, they looked for a new lead vocalist, and added Marshal Dutton. When The Smoke Clears (2015) was Hinder’s first album featuring the new lead vocalist. The band was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

This song is from their 2008 album Take It to the Limit. Drummer Cody Hanson told MTV News that he thinks a lot of people will relate to this track, “because it’s a song about all those dumb things that you do when you’re young, and you just learn to embrace it, because that’s what happens in life – you learn from it, and things get better as you get older.”

It can be hard for musicians to pick just one of their favorite songs from their own catalogues because their songs are so personal, but in 2012, Cody Hanson told us that “The Best is Yet to Come” was one of his picks.

Hmm. The best is yet to come. Is it? Is it really?? You tell me…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And that concludes my series on Songs About Aging and Getting Old(er). As one who is painfully aware of the aging process of late, I’ve enjoyed exploring the songs that speak to life’s inevitable process. I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along on this journey with me. 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Colette of Jamerican Spice and Alana of Ramlin’ with AM. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:

Battle of the Bands RESULTS – “Do You Know What I Mean” – the Male round

Wow, was this ever a close race! The two contenders for the Male round of the battle of Lee Michaels’ “Do You Know What I Mean“, Kevin Naquin and Myles Goodwyn, were neck and neck until the very end.

I liked both of these covers, which is why I chose them for this battle. Not everyone agrees of course, but I truly had a hard time deciding where to place my vote. In the end I went with Myles Goodwyn. I preferred the music and also the added vocals of Lee Aaron.

However, Kevin Naquin earned ONE more vote than did Myles. Final Tally:

Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys:   7 votes

Myles Goodwyn w/Lee Aaron:    6 votes

So Naquin will be in the wings awaiting the outcome of the battle of the Female artists who covered this song. On November 1st, be sure to come listen to the two Female covers and vote for the one you like best. The winners of that battle will face off with Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys in the mid-month November battle, the upcomingDo You Know What I Mean” Battle of the Sexes.

Although it was Kevin Naquin who won, I’m going to leave you with some early songs by Myles Goodwyn, back when he was fronting the Canadian rock band April Wine. A founding member of the band, Myles was the lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter. I remember loving the name of the band and I had their 1979 album Harder…Faster. Here is a playlist of all the tracks on that album. The first song is their signature song.

Thanks for participating in the premier battle in the Do You Know What I Mean Battle of the Sexes. Come back on November 1st for the Female covers of the song.

Until then, rock on…


Monday’s Music Moves Me – Songs with Weird, Funky or Cool Instruments

It’s Monday and you know what that means: It’s time for Monday’s Music Moves Me. I’m honored to be serving as one of this month’s Co-Hosts. My final theme for the month, songs with unique or unusual instruments, is one I’ve been looking forward to working on for a few months now. And I bet none of you will be surprised that I’ve decided to turn it into a series. Haha. That’s right, welcome to Part 1 of my Songs with Weird, Funky and Cool Instruments series. At this point I haven’t yet decided on how many parts this series will have but I’ll figure that out soon.

I’m starting off with a simple and not very unusual instrument because when I chose the theme, this instrument was the first that came to mind. I’m also keeping it short because, well, some of you already know that I had a little bump in my road a few days ago. I fell on my deck, and as Murphy’s Law would have it, I fell on my GOOD shoulder. Most of you know that I had shoulder reconstruction surgery back in April due to two full-thickness tears in my rotator cuff that resulted from a fall, when I slipped on a still wet freshly mopped floor and my shoulder came crashing into the fireplace bricks. The surgery I had, arthroscopic superior capsule reconstruction for irreparable rotator cuff tears (aka SCI) is fairly new (5 years) and quite intense. I’m still in physical therapy for that one and my range of motion is very limited still (only at 60 degrees). So the other day, when I fell over, like a damn tree falling in the woods, and hit hard the cement pad with my good shoulder, I knew immediately it wasn’t good. I laid there for a few minutes while the dogs all gathered around me, sniffing at my face, — and do you believe not one of them offered to help me up! Not one! Good grief!–

I went to see my orthopedic surgeon on Friday. His P.A. saw me and after looking at the x-rays told me there were no broken bones. BUT the fact that I am unable to lift my arm over my head it is indicative and symptomatic of a rotator cuff tear. I couldn’t believe it. And in my already fragile state, I just started to cry. I can’t even express how mad I am at God right now. Where the hell were my angels when I was falling? Why didn’t they catch me? After everything I’ve been through over these last several years and now this? I’m real fucking pissed off.

But like Steve (the P.A.) said, it was only the second day since the injury. He said to give it a few days to calm down. And let’s just pray that it’s only a contusion (bruised muscle). They are sending me for an MRI, which is scheduled for Wednesday this week. I’m holding out hope but I don’t think I’ll be that lucky. I still can’t lift it over my head. My life sucks sometimes…

Because I’ve been hanging out with ice packs for the last few days I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on the 4M post. So I’m going to start off with a simple playlist of songs that utilize the cool instrument known as the COWBELL

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It may not be particularly unusual as many bands incorporate cowbells into their music. Actually many more than I expected. But I love a cowbell.

What is a cowbell, you ask? Well, it is exactly what it says it is. It’s a bell that was used for cows. The bell was hung around a cow’s neck in order to help locate the animal by the noise it makes. its origin can be traced to freely roaming animals. Though the bells were used on various types of animals, they are typically referred to as “cowbells” due to their extensive use with cattle.

At some point it was discovered to also be useful in making music. Wikipedia says “The cowbell is an idiophone hand percussion instrument used in various styles of music including salsa and infrequently in popular music.” But I’ve discovered that the cowbell has often been used in popular music.

The song that most screams cowbell to me is Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” because it was featured on one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable skits. Airing in April of 2000, the sketch, called “More Cowbell”, is unforgettable with guest host Christopher Walken and the hilarious Will Farrell and other SNL cast members Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell, Chris Kattan and Horatio Sanz.

I so wanted to include the video of the complete sketch here but apparently copyright issues are keeping it from being available. There are snippets of it here and there but I can no longer find a video that has the sketch in its entirety. If you have never seen this particular SNL sketch, do yourself a favor and try to find it somewhere. (If you do find the whole thing, please let me know!).

Since I can’t embed the actual performance video for you, I’ll just provide the Wikipedia synopsis, in case you’re interested in what all the hoopla is about this most memorable SNL skit. If you’re not interested, just scroll through the next few paragraphs.

Here is a 44-second snippet blend of the SNL original More Cowbell sketch:

“More Cowbell” is a comedy sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live on April 8, 2000. The sketch is presented as an episode of VH1’s documentary series Behind the Music that fictionalizes the recording of the song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer “The Bruce Dickinson”, and regular cast member Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch with playwright Donnell Campbell, as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, whose overzealous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson. The sketch also starred Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.

The sketch is often considered one of the greatest SNL sketches ever made, and in many “best of” lists regarding SNL sketches, it is often placed in the top ten, being ranked number nine by Rolling Stone. As a result of its popularity, “more cowbell” became an American pop culture catchphrase.

Sketch Synopsis

An episode of VH1’s Behind the Music documenting the band Blue Öyster Cult showcases footage of the group from a 1976 recording session that produced the band’s biggest hit, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” The producer (played by Christopher Walken) introduces himself as “The Bruce Dickinson” and tells the band they have “what appears to be a dynamite sound.” The first take seems to go well but the band stops playing because the cowbell part is rather loud and distracting. Dickinson, to the surprise of most of the band, asks for “a little more cowbell” and suggests that the cowbell player, Gene Frenkle (Will Ferrell), “really explore the studio space this time.” Frenkle’s exuberance in following this advice causes him to bump into his bandmates as he dances around the cramped studio, thrusting his pelvis wildly in all directions, and the band aborts another take.

Frenkle sheepishly agrees to tone down his performance in the spirit of cooperation. He passive-aggressively plays the cowbell very close to Eric Bloom (Chris Parnell)’s ear and fails to keep time with the rest of the band. The rest of the band expresses frustration with Frenkle, but Dickinson remains focused only on getting more cowbell onto the track. Frenkle makes an impromptu speech to the rest of the band, declaring that Dickinson’s stature lends a great deal of weight to his opinion about the cowbell part and that the last time he (Frenkle) checked, they didn’t have “a whole lot of songs that feature the cowbell” and therefore he would be “doing himself a disservice, and every member of the band” if he “didn’t perform the hell out of this.” In the end, the band agrees to let Frenkle play the cowbell part his way. The sketch ends with a freeze frame on Frenkle with the superimposed message: “In Memoriam: Gene Frenkle: 1950–2000.”

It may be hard to see the actual SNL sketch in its entirety online for free at this time but there are a bunch of remakes and tributes to it on YouTube. This isn’t the best one but it gave me a chuckle when I watched it, especially because they portray Blue Oyster Cult with a two-man band. From the 2016 Sycamore Junior High Talent Show, here are Casey Johnson, Andrew Sprowl, and Connor Carto:

Okay, so that’s it for Blue Oyster Cult & “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” My next favorite song that I thought of immediately when thinking cowbells is Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog.” There are actually several great classic rock songs that utilize the cowbell. But since I’m tired and I really want nothing more than to take a pain pill, grab the huge ice pack that is waiting for me in the freezer and hit my bed, I’m just going to list the songs I’m featuring in the Cowbell playlist. I may come back and add some informational tidbits over the next few days so feel free to stop back by. I may even add more songs. But right now, I just wanna go to bed with my ice…

Oh, before I go, let me just tell you a little bit about the series before I sign off. Each part of the series will describe instruments that are not widely used or not widely known, followed by a playlist featuring songs using those particular instruments. The series is still under construction so you’ll have to join me on the 4M dance floor for the rest of the it, dates to be announced later. It won’t be next week though because that Freebie week will feature the final installment in my Aging and Getting Old(er) series.

Without further ado, here is Part 1 of Songs with Weird, Funky & Cool Instruments, featuring the Cowbell Edition playlist:

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Hair of the Dog by Nazareth

Mississippi Queen by Mountain

Never Been Any Reason by Head East

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by BTO

Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo by Rick Derringer

Honky Tonk Woman by Rolling Stones

Fool for the City by Foghat

Slip Kid by The Who

You Can’t Do That by the Beatles

Drive My Car by the Beatles

Low Rider by War

Time Has Come Today by the Chamber Brothers

We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad

Down On the Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Born on the Bayou by CCR

Funk #49 by the James Gang

Nightrain by Guns & Roses

Out Go the Lights by Aerosmith

Photography by Def Leppard

Rock of Ages by Def Leppard

Working for the Weekend by Loverboy

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

Rock Lobster by the B-52s

How cool was that for a total hit parade of classic rock classics?! This may be one of my favorite playlists that I’ve put together. And the other thing that’s cool about it is that it totally qualifies to be part of Mary’s Rocktober Music Fest at her blog Jingle Jangle Jungle! Yay! She’s had some really kickass rock songs every single day this month and there’s still more to come. Be sure to check it out! #RocktoberMusicFest

That wraps up the Cowbell edition. What is your favorite Cowbell song? Come back in a few weeks for Part 2 of the Weird, Funky & Cool Instruments series. What instruments do you want to see featured? Can you guess what instrument(s) I’m going to bring to Part 2? 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Colette of Jamerican Spice. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below:




Battle of the Bands (BOTB) – “Do You Know What I Mean” by Lee Michaels

It’s time for the mid-month Battle of the Bands and I think I have a fun one for you. (by the way, if you are looking for my Monday’s Music Moves Me post, click here. Or you can always find posts by title on the sidebar of my Home Page. But stick around first (or come back) to check out my battle and vote for your favorite!)

My mid-month battle song is Do You Know What I Mean” by Lee Michaels.

The song, written and performed by Lee Michaels, reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box Top 100 in the summer of 1971. The song was featured on his 1971 album, 5th. The single ranked #19 on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1971.

Lee Eugene Michaels (born Michael Olsen, November 24, 1945, Los Angeles, California) is an American rock musician who sings and accompanies himself on organ, piano, or guitar. He is best known for his energetic virtuosity on the Hammond organ, peaking in 1971 with his Top 10 pop hit single, “Do You Know What I Mean”.

Here is the original for your reference and for your enjoyment. This is NOT one of the contenders!

(If copyright issues remove the embedded video, you can go directly to YouTube to hear it with this link)

I love that song! And I certainly like Lee Michaels doing it. But there are a few covers that intrigued me, four in fact, and therein was born an idea. Uh-oh. I know, I can hear you all sighing, “Aww man, now what is she going to make us do??

Here’s my idea: I liked these four covers. Coincidentally, two of them are male artists and the other two are female artists who have changed the lyrics to depict the gender change. So, let’s have a male vs female showdown!

First up will be the Male artists.

My next battle will be the Female artists.

And then the third battle will be the YIN YANG Hoedown Male vs Female Showdown!

So let’s kick off this Yin Yang showdown with the MALE contenders. 

Male Contender #1:  Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys

Kevin Naquin is a Cajun accordion player in south Louisiana from Ossun, Louisiana. Naquin is the lead singer and accordion player in the Cajun band Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys. In 2000, he won the CFMA – 2000 Album of the Year with his album “Pour La Premiere Fois” and CFMA – 2000 Song of the Year. He has recorded with Swallow Records and Bayou Groove Productions.

He released a version of this song on his 2014 album, No Guarantee.

 Male Contender #2:  Myles Goodwyn

Myles Francis Goodwyn (born Miles Francis Goodwin, June 23, 1948) is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, lead vocalist, main songwriter, and founding member of the veteran Canadian hard rock band April Wine. As the longest serving (and only original) member, Goodwyn has led the band from its modest garage band roots to multi-platinum sales.

Following the band’s peak years during the 1970s and early 1980s, Goodwyn disbanded the group to pursue a solo career. After a brief relocation to the Bahamas, Goodwyn returned to Canada and reformed April Wine in 1992. He continues to lead the band to the present day.

Myles Goodwyn featuring Lee Aaron released a version of this song as a single in 1988 which reached #47 in Canada. It was featured on his album, Myles Goodwyn.


TIME TO VOTE! Which versions do you like better and why? Please choose one contender from the Male Artist covers

The next battle will feature the Female covers…so be sure to c’mon back!

When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! Voting will be open until midnight on the 22nd and I’ll post results on the 23rd or shortly thereafter. Until then, Rock On my friends…