Battle of the Bands RESULTS: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

battle-of-the-bands-botb-top-photo

It’s time for the Battle of the Bands Results from my May 1st battle featuring the song I Heard It Through the Grapevine. I pitted Marvin Gaye against Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I suspected this was going to be a tough battle and I was right. Both artists duked it out until the end. At first they were neck and neck with 3 votes each. Then CCR took the lead with 7 votes, but Marvin quickly picked up another 4 votes, tying it at 7 each. The next two votes tied it again at 8 votes each. Marvin came in with 3 votes and then the last vote (before mine) was cast by my Mom for CCR (her first battle vote!), leaving the tally at Marvin Gaye – 11 votes and CCR – 9 votes.

Now it’s not going to make a difference who I vote for at this point but I’ll tell you what I decided to do. Not sure if this is permissible (Stephen, FAE, weigh in here) but I’m doing it anyway. I am so absolutely torn as to who to cast my vote for that I’m splitting my vote, giving 1/2 to Marvin and 1/2 to CCR.

I grew up on CCR and have always loved their version, spending many a night in the bars dancing to this song. But I also frequently play Marvin Gaye’s version, especially when I’m setting up my table for jewelry shows. I have Marvin’s Greatest Hits on my iPhone and that’s always my Go-To music which makes the tedious job of setting up my jewelry much more enjoyable.

Final tally:

Marvin Gaye:  11.5

Creedence:  9.5

In my battle post, I went back in and added the California Raisins commercial because it was such a great fit. Some of you early voters didn’t get to see the spot so I’m posting it here again. For that reason and just because it’s so darn cute! Enjoy…

 

As always, thanks for your participation in my battle! See you on the 15th for the next battle, which is going to be another good one (I think…).

Battle of the Bands: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

battle-of-the-bands-botb-top-photo

It’s time for another Battle of the Bands. First though, I’d like to say a heartfelt Thank You to all my BOTB friends, my old friends and now my newfound friends who faithfully came by and visited my A-Z posts. I so appreciated your visits!

Since I did my A-Z on classic TV show theme songs and intros from the 60s and 70s, it seems only fitting that I’m in a Motown frame of mind so I thought I’d feature one of my favorite songs. Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966. The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Whitfield on Gladys Knight & the Pips and released as a single in September 1967; it went to number two in the Billboard chart.

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles included their version on their 1968 album, Special Occasion. The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label (Tamla).

The Gaye recording has since become an acclaimed soul classic, and in 2004, it was placed on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. On the commemorative 50th Anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 issue of Billboard magazine in June 2008, Marvin Gaye’s “Grapevine” was ranked 65th. It was also inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value.

In addition to being released several times by Motown artists, the song has been recorded by a range of musicians including Creedence Clearwater Revival, who made an eleven-minute interpretation for their 1970 album, Cosmo’s Factory; and has been used twice in television commercials – each time using session musicians recreating the style of the Marvin Gaye version: the 1985 Levi’s commercial, “Launderette”, featuring male model Nick Kamen, and the 1986 California raisins promotion with Buddy Miles as the singer for the clay animation group “The California Raisins.”  I remember the California Raisins commercial! Do you?

 

For today’s battle, I’m pitting the two best-known versions against each other: Marvin Gaye vs. Creedence Clearwater Revival. If I’m correct in my assumption, this should be a tight battle. I know I’m going to have a tough time choosing my favorite because I love both of them.

CONTENDER #1:

MARVIN GAYE: Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American soul singer, songwriter, and musician. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) and I Heard It Through the Grapevine, and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul.

On April 1, 1984, Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., fatally shot him at their house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Since his death, many institutions have posthumously bestowed Gaye with awards and other honors—including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here is Marvin Gaye’s version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine:

 

CONTENDER #2:

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: Creedence Clearwater Revival, often shortened to Creedence and abbreviated as CCR, was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. Their musical style encompassed the roots rock, swamp rock, and blues rock genres. Despite their San Francisco Bay Area origins, they portrayed a Southern rock style, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River, and other popular elements of Southern US iconography, as well as political and socially-conscious lyrics about topics including the Vietnam War.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is still a staple of US radio airplay; the band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and are included in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Their album Cosmo’s Factory was released in July 1970, and included an eleven-minute jam of the 1968 Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” – a hit when an edited version was released as a single in 1976. (Source: Wikipedia)

I’m providing two videos here: one of CCR performing the shortened single version and the other is the 11-minute album version, provided for your enjoyment. You can choose to watch either video, just depending on how much time you have to spend with this battle:

 

11 minute version:

 

I had to add this, for the sake of nostalgia. Here is one of the California Raisins commercials utilizing the song. I especially liked this particular spot which is from, I believe, 1986. (Hope it loads!):

 

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:

I’ll be back in 6 days to post the results. Thanks for voting!

 

 

Battle of the Bands – “Proud Mary”

battle-of-the-bands-botb-top-photo

Today marks the start of another Battle! I’m presenting two very different versions of the same song and both versions are charting hits.

“Proud Mary” is a rock song written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released by Fantasy Records as a single from the band’s second studio album, Bayou Country, January 1969. The song became a hit in the United States, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1969.

In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard. “In the liner notes for the 2008 expanded reissue of Bayou Country, Joel Selvin explained that the songs for the album started when John Fogerty was in the National Guard, that the riffs for “Proud Mary,” “Born on the Bayou,” and “Keep on Chooglin'” were conceived by Fogerty at a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, and “Proud Mary” was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a “washerwoman named Mary.” The line “Left a good job in the city” was written following Fogerty’s discharge from the National Guard, and the line “rollin’ on the river” was from a movie by Will Rogers.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Tina Turner first covered “Proud Mary” in 1970 with her husband at the time, Ike Turner. The Ike & Tina Turner version was released as a single from their Workin’ Together album and the song differed greatly from the structure of the original, but is also well known and has become one of Tina’s most recognizable signature songs. The Turners’ version was substantially rearranged by Ike Turner and Soko Richardson. The song started off with a slow, sultry tone; after the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song is then turned into a funk rock vamp with Turner and assorted background singers delivering soulful vocals. It reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version was at its peak, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972. (Source: Wikipedia)

Both Creedence Clearwater Revival’s and Ike & Tina Turner’s versions of the song received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998 and 2003, respectively. And both versions charted in Billboards top five, #2 and #4, respectively. So this battle may be a toss-up. I know I like both versions.

To make it most fair, I’m presenting live performances by each band:

Creedence Clearwater Revival version:

 

Ike & Tina Turner version:

 

Such a great song! “Proud Mary” placed at #155 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Now it’s time for you to vote! Who’s version do you like best and why?

To check out the other Battle of the Bands participants, here is a list with links. Lots of great battles to explore:

Don’t forget to cast your vote! And thanks for playing along…

 

 

 

C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Charlie Daniels Band, Chicago, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Collective Soul, The Cars and Chic!

C

DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:

Welcome to the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life! I have wanted to put something like this together for a long time now and the A-Z Challenge just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve compiled stories, trivia, research, music videos and live concert footage on all the bands and musical artists who have been important to me over the years, especially during my youthful years in the 60s and 70s. At first glance, the posts may seem long – and some of them are due to the number of videos included – but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, see or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and listen to the great music that you’ll find here. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! In addition to individual songs, there are some full albums here for those who may want to enjoy some music while they’re surfing or working. I hope you find that the stories are entertaining, the information educational and the trivia interesting. It would be a tremendous honor if you would bookmark the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life as a resource for great music and music information! Now, let’s get started with…

C is for CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: Oh how I was on a CCR kick all those years ago. In particular I loved their Vietnam War protest song Fortunate Son, which talks about the young boys coming of age and not being able to avoid or escape the draft because they were not politically connected (sons of Senators, Congressman, etc).  Great YouTube video I found for this song that features both Vietnam and Iraq war and protest images:

Here’s Run Through the Jungle. The video shows very graphic images from the Vietnam War. I try to stay away from controversial subjects when writing my blog, for many reasons, but it was interesting to see the great debate that still continues over this war. Many opposing views in the comments section at the YouTube site for these videos. Feel free to engage here in my comment section. I’ll get into a dialogue if anyone wants to engage.

All their songs weren’t war and protest related. CCR had so many great songs! So many wonderful sing-along songs. Here’s the group performing Here Comes the Rain. There was no information available on this particular video so I don’t know what year it’s from, but most likely late 60s or very early 70s. (I just wrote that last sentence and said “Well that’s kind of a Duh sentence;  like, no shit, Michele. Duh!” J

And here’s Bad Moon Rising. Okay, be honest: who among you used to think that the lyrics were saying “there’s a bathroom on the right” instead “there’s a bad moon on the rise?” Post in the comment section YES if you did and NO if you didn’t: I’d really be curious to find how it shakes out in a small sampling of readers as to what percentage of us were singing our hearts out with the wrong lyrics. I’ll throw the first YES in here…

GREAT early music video: Lookin’ Out My Back Door  

Check out Down on the Corner with the washboard and another resourcefully designed instrument! Anybody know what that is??

And one more CCR, doing Proud Mary

The following text was taken from J.R. Ramos YouTube channel and tells the story of the song: “Proud Mary” is a song written by John Fogerty and recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival (in which Fogerty played lead guitar and sang lead vocals) on the 1969 album Bayou Country.
The phrase “Proud Mary” reminded John Fogerty of a domestic washerwoman, which is what he started writing the song about. When he wrote the music, the first few chords reminded him of a paddle-wheel going around, and he thought of the Mississippi River. Instead of “Proud Mary” being a clean-up lady, “she” became a boat.
Proud Mary was Released as a single in January 1969, it became CCR’s first top-ten hit on the U.S. Pop charts. Bob Dylan said this song was his favorite single of 1969. It was the first of five singles that the band released that would peak on the charts, a record for most number-two singles for a group without ever having a number-one song.

For an interesting read, check out Wikipedia’s presentation of the history of the song with particular attention being paid to Tina and Ike Turner’s cover of the song. Proud Mary was covered by numerous artists [at least 20, according to this article] and “placed at #155 on Rolling Stones 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Both CCR and Ike & Tina Turner’s versions of the song received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998 and 2003, respectively.”  Which version do you like better: CCR’s or Tina Turner’s?

 

C is for CHARLIE DANIELS – Here’s some foot-tappin’ Southern Rock with the Charlie Daniels Band. Here he is performing Long Haired Country Boy sometime in the late 70s on a TV show that I’m not familiar with. Maybe you know what it is?

This next song got a ton of radio airplay and the one for which Charlie Daniels is best known. Showcasing his fiddle expertise, here he is performing The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

C is for Cream: My next C band to spotlight is CREAM. Glorious Cream! Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce: what an incredible trio!

Here’s a retrospective video set to their hit Badge

This is Cream performing White Room at their Farewell Concert in London, 1968. Taken from theeshrimpking’s YouTube channel:

“Cream – Whiteroom live at Royal Albert Hall, London.
November 26th, 1968  “Farewell Concert” is the live recording of the Cream’s final concert at the Royal Albert Hall on November 26th, 1968. Directed by Tony Palmer, the film incorporates pieces of six performances with narration by BBC announcer Patrick Allen, along with interviews with the band members themselves, showcasing their playing abilities. The film has often been criticized for both its mediocre sound and visual effects.”

Tales of Brave Ulysses: I LOVE LOVE LOVE the brown suede fringed boots! Boy, that fashion statement brings back some memories, huh?

 

C is for CROSBY, STILLS, & NASH (& YOUNG)

Suite Judy Blue Eyes (with lyrics)

Our House (with lyrics) is a sentimental song for me. When my parents retired, my brother and I threw them a going away party as they were leaving Niagara Falls and moving to North Carolina.We presented them with a beautifully matted and framed black & white photo of their home and I put together a mix tape (yes, it was on a cassette!) with snippets of meaningful songs, including CSN’s Our House; in particular the chorus lyrics “Our house is a very very fine house.” That was an emotional evening and mom and dad were surrounded by friends and family and it was such a good time; bittersweet for their friends though because they were moving away. My parents are good people: they have a lot of people who love them. Here’s a live performance video of Our House:

Ohio – The story of the song, as reported on Wikipedia: “‘Ohio’ was written following the Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970, and was a staple of anti-war rallies in the 1970s. The song was quickly recorded by CSN&Y and immediately released as a single, even though CSN&Y’s “Teach Your Children” was still climbing the singles charts. In the late 1970s and for much of the 1980s, Young refrained from performing “Ohio” live, as he considered the song to be dated. In the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Young revived the song in concert, often dedicating it to the Chinese students who were killed in the massacre. Crosby, Stills & Nash, as a trio, also returned the song to their live repertoire around the same time, even though Young had provided the lead vocals on the original recording.” Here’s a great video with tribute to the victims of the Kent State tragedy:

So many other CSN(Y) songs! Which are your favorites?

C is for CHICAGO – Who doesn’t love Chicago (the band, not the city, although most people I know love Chicago the city too). I love listening to Chicago full blast while flying down the highway on a sunny Spring day, windows down and the wind blowing through my hair. For me, Chicago is some feel good music. I think one of the elements of the band that attracts me is the horns. OMG, that is some incredible brass! Mmm.

If you have an hour and a half you can likely catch most of your favorite Chicago songs from watching the entire July 1970 concert at Tanglewood.

If you’re interested in learning more about Chicago, its classical yet eclectic styling and its members, check out this 20 minute documentary from NBC’s ‘First Tuesday’ newsmagazine show.

But for a shorter stay, get your Chicago fix right here with music videos of some of my Chicago favorites:

Saturday in the Park:  

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day – WHO HASN’T CLAIMED THIS CLASSIC AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL ANTHEM AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE??!  Another great J.R. Ramos video of this song performed live in studio from back in 1973:

25 or 6 to 4 Here’s a treat:  Chicago and REO Speedwagon jam out together to “25 Or 6 To 4” Live at Red Rocks Ampitheater!

For a little bit of mellow, here’s If You Leave Me Now (performed in 1977)  

The next time Chicago comes to Austin, I’m bound and determined to go!

C is for Collective Soul – Collective Soul always reminds me of working out. Why? Because my personal trainer used to play it all the time during our sessions. And he knew these guys somehow. So every time I hear Collective Soul now, I want to get real healthy again. I should be playing them constantly, come to think of it…

They’re an American rock band that formed in the early 90’s. I’ve always dug their name and come to find out, they dug the phrase and got it from reading “Fountainhead,” a novel by Ayn Rand. According to front man Ed Roland: “We’re not preaching Ayn Rand, objectivism, egoism, or anything…we just dug the name.”

Here are a few of my favorite Collective Soul hits:

December

 

The World I Know – FANTASTIC performance of Collective Soul with the Atlanta Youth Orchestra! Video contains lyrics.

Shine – official music video (Atlantic Records/© 2006 WMG)

Where the River Flows – lyrics video

C is for The Cars: The Cars is an American rock band that emerged from the new wave scene in the late 1970s. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1976, with singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Ric Ocasek, singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson.

The Cars were at the forefront in merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synthesizer-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and which would flourish in the early 1980s. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described the Cars’ musical style by saying: “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the ’50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.”[1]

The Cars were named “Best New Artist” in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won “Video of the Year” for “You Might Think” at the first MTV Video Music Awards. Their debut album, The Cars, sold six million copies and appeared on the Billboard 200 album chart for 139 weeks. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are my favorite Cars songs:

Moving in Stereo and Candy O (from the Midnight Special)

Just What I Needed

Good Times Roll

You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

Bye Bye Love

It’s All I Can Do

Dangerous Type

Since You’re Gone

You Might Think

Drive

Magic

C is for Chic – Now most of the music that represents my nostalgia is classic rock but I did have a momentary fling with Disco. This song hung in the Number One slot for seven weeks. Here’s Chic in 1978 performing Le Freak:

And don’t we all want Good Times?

Hopefully you’ve had a good time grooving through my favorite C bands. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE C BANDS? Which videos did you like best in this post? I loaded it up, that’s for sure. If you can’t stick around long, be sure to bookmark my blog and you can come back and find this post in an easy-to-find indexed Page. Just look under the Pages tab on my Homepage and you’ll find all the 2015 A-Z Musical Journey through My Life posts.