Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Covers of “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

The battle for love, or finding out what love is, has been fought and a winner is being declared. Two amazing female artists, Tina Arena and Wynonna Judd, put out some awesome vocals to earn their place in the winner’s circle, singing one of the all-time great love songs by Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

It was a pretty decent battle actually. Most voters really like the song. Some folks knew right away who they were going to choose and others wavered a bit, trying to decide which one to pick for the win. That’s how it was for me too. I thought both versions were incredible, all the way around: powerful vocals, musical quality, background vocals & harmonies, the emotional delivery…these two had it all and both came together to bring us two fantastic covers of this incredible song.

I listened to both versions several times and thought to myself how I could easily have each of them playing on a continuous loop and really never get tired of hearing them because every time I listened to each song, I found something new to appreciate. It was a tough call for me to make but in the end I chose Wynonna Judd’s version.

A tally of the votes shows Wynonna Judd as the clear winner, capturing 7 of the 11 votes. But Tina Arena had quite a respectable showing with 4 votes overall. Speaking on the toss-up I had in determining my vote, the final tally could’ve easily been Wynonna with 6 and Tina with 5. So there you go.

The prize is awarded to WYNONNA JUDD as the winner in this battle for Foreigner’s love song “I Want to Know What Love Is”. 

In searching for covers of this song, I found one that I almost used in this battle but I felt pretty strongly that had I chosen to use this version, it might not have been a close race. Considering how popular this artist is, it might’ve been a blowout. You’ll have to tell me. So I’ll close now with yet another fantastic version of “I Want to Know What Love Is by one of the biggest-selling artists in music history: Mariah Carey.

Give a listen to her version and let me know what you think. Would you have voted for Mariah over either or both of the others? Or would your vote have stayed the same?

 

As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you next month, on March 15, for my next battle!

 

BATTLE OF THE BANDS – Valentine’s Edition: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS by Foreigner

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day! I’m keeping the Love theme going with today’s Battle of the Bands featuring “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. 

A quick refresher because it’s been since (yikes!) November that I had a battle here. I’ll introduce the song and feature two contenders doing cover versions. You give a listen and then vote in the Comments section on which cover version you like better (and if you care to share, let me know why you made that choice). Then I’ll be back in 6 days to post the battle results. Stephen McCarthy pretty much runs the battle hop (although he denies that) so if you’re interested in participating, get in touch with him over at his place.

Now, let’s get started:

This amazing Foreigner power ballad is one of my all-time favorite love songs. The very nature of power ballads are that they are an emotional style of music that often deal with romantic and intimate relationships, and to a lesser extent, war (protest songs), loneliness, death, drug abuse, politics and religion, usually in a poignant but solemn manner. (Example: Wind of Change by the Scorpions and several U2 songs). Ballads are generally melodic enough to get the listener’s attention.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” is plenty melodic. It was one of the several songs I featured in my Monday’s Music Moves Me post of favorite Rock Love Songs. But I didn’t share all that I learned about the song in that post. Here’s another interesting tidbit relayed by Mick Jones, who in 1976 formed Foreigner with Ian McDonald and recruited lead singer Lou Gramm; he also co-produced all of the band’s albums and co-wrote most of their songs with Gramm. And Jones wrote the band’s most successful single, “I Want to Know What Love Is”:

Foreigner recorded for Atlantic Records, and their 1981 album 4 spent more weeks at #1 than any album released by the label. Ahmet Ertegun, who was the head of Atlantic, cried when he first heard this song. Mick Jones explains: “Part of my dream at the beginning was to be on Atlantic Records, because of the heritage: all the R&B stars of the ’50s, people like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. It meant so much to me and my growing up in music. So it meant a lot to have Ahmet Ertegun, who had been a part of that magical era and a person who I respected and looked up to, come into the studio. I took him aside and I said, ‘I have a song to play you, Ahmet.’ I took him into the studio, and we just sat there in two chairs, and I put the song on. Halfway through I looked over and indeed, there were tears coming out of his eyes. I thought, Whoa, this is a major moment for me. I’ve been able to impress this man who has heard some of the best, and produced some of the best music in the world. And here he is, and I’ve reached him emotionally. By the end of the song we were both in tears. Wonderful moments like that, they’re just very meaningful.”

Indeed, Foreigner’s song is meaningful. Here is their #1 hit “I Want to Know What Love Is” for your enjoyment only; Don’t vote on this one. The battle contenders are below. Foreigner’s song features backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir affiliated with the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holliday, and featured keyboard work by Thompson Twins frontman Tom Bailey. The choir also appears in the song’s music video. You can read more about the choir’s moving involvement in the making of the music video at my Best Rock Love Songs post.

Now, on to today’s battle:

Battle Contenders:

Tina Arena – “I Want to Know What Love Is” was covered by Australian singer Tina Arena and her recording was released as a single in 1998 from her album In Deep. Arena’s version of the song was produced by Foreigner band member Mick Jones, who wrote the song. This version of the song includes a previously unrecorded bridge between the second and third choruses, specifically written for Tina Arena by Mick Jones.

The song peaked at #13 in France and finished 60th on the end-of-year chart of 1999.

This is a magnificent cover:

 

Another fabulous cover by:

Wynonna Judd – “I Want to Know What Love Is” was covered by American country singer Wynonna Judd and her recording was released in August 24, 2004 from her album What the World Needs Now Is Love as fourth single. Wynonna’s version of the song was produced by Narada Michael Walden, known for his work with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and George Michael, and Wynonna. This version of the song was included in a popular Brazilian soap opera, Senhora do Destino.

In the US, Wynonna’s version peaked at #14 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. On the Hot Dance Club Songs of Billboard, it debuted at #50 and peaked at #12. It is also her first single to chart in Sweden, where it debuted at #67 and peaked at #15.

 

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:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back on the 21st to post the results. Until then, let us know if you know what love is

 

F is for Fleetwood Mac, Firefall, Fine Young Cannibals, Foghat, Free, the Fixx and Foreigner!

F

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…

If there weren’t so many wonderful F bands, I’d just dedicate the entire letter to one band and that would be Fleetwood Mac:

F is for Fleetwood Mac – the British-American band formed in 1967 in London. Others, though great, pale in comparison when it comes to passion. Fleetwood Mac’s music sinks into your soul and courses through your bloodstream. It’s brilliant!

I will still list other F bands that I love; however, just a warning: there are a lot of Fleetwood Mac videos here.

What is your favorite Fleetwood Mac song? Can you pick a favorite? Man, I have several. I tend to really fall in love with songs that don’t get the airplay that others do. In this case, my favorite, even though it’s very popular, it wasn’t as popular as many of their other songs, is the incredible The Chain. This is video of their 1982 Los Angeles concert on the Mirage Tour:

Here’s Go Your Own Way because sometimes you just gotta get a good hit of Fleetwood Mac. Here’s one with the lyrics (so we can see if we’ve been singing the wrong words all these years…)

Rhianon – from a 1976 performance. Stevie Nicks kicks ass!

Dreams – From the 1977 album “Rumours” (with lyrics):

Don’t Stop – “Don’t Stop” is a song by Fleetwood Mac, written by vocalist and keyboard player Christine McVie. Sung by Christine McVie and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, it was a single taken from the band’s 1977 hit album, Rumours. It is one of the band’s most enduring hits, peaking at number three on the Billboard singles chart.

You Make Lovin’ Fun – 

I wish I could simply post full albums here but copyright issues prevail. In addition to their Greatest Hits album (from 1988), I love the Tango album (1987).
Their “Tango” album is refreshing, especially with the vibrant cover art.

Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night album cover

My favorite songs on this album are Big Love, Little Lies, Everywhere, Mystified, Isn’t It Midnight. 

 

 

Big Love

Little Lies

Everywhere

Mystified

Isn’t It Midnight

 

F is for Firefall – I was fortunate enough to work with one of the original members of Firefall, singer/songwriter/guitarist Larry Burnett. I was working in Sales at WCXR, a classic rock radio station in Washington, DC and he was a DJ there. Great guy. I’m thrilled to see that he recently joined the other bandmates for a reunion back in 2008. And he’s busy with a solo career. You can read about Firefall’s history here but this is how they started back in 1974:

“In 1973 Rick Roberts and Jock Bartley first crossed paths when Bartley was on tour with Gram Parsons as a member of his backing band The Fallen Angels. Both The Fallen Angels and Roberts were performing in New York City at the same venue on consecutive nights. After the two were reunited back in their native Colorado, Roberts was impressed by Bartley’s guitar work and the duo soon began practicing together. Encouraged to form a band, they contacted bassist-singer Mark Andes (a former member of the bands Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, who had temporarily retired to the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado), and Washington D.C. singer-songwriter-guitarist Larry Burnett, whom Rick had met in his travels earlier that same year, and coaxed them into joining their band, which they christened Firefall in 1974.

Roberts took the name from the Yosemite Firefall (1872 to 1968), a summertime tradition of dumping a cascade of flaming embers off Glacier Point in California’s Yosemite National Park.” Source: Wikipedia

I always like to know how bands got their names. I can just picture in my mind the Yosemite Firefall, can’t you? And their music is so fitting for that image. Firefall makes me want to sway and sing and it just makes my heart feel good. You know how music just does that to you sometimes?

These are my favorite Firefall songs.

Strange Way – Loved finding this live studio video, especially because it starts with a shot of Larry Burnett:

Livin’ Ain’t Livin’ – studio version from their first self-titled album (audio only):

Cinderella – this song was written by Larry Burnett and was one of their charting hits. Here’s a lyric video:

You Are the Woman – Live performance video: not sure of the year but looks to be a reunion performance:

Just Remember I Love you – from a 1979 concert in Houston, Texas:

So Long – from the 1978’s Elan album; studio version (audio only):

Goodbye Love – From the Elan album, 1978; photo-montage video:

Sweet & Sour – another song from the 1978 Elan album:

 

F is for FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS –  “The Fine Young Cannibals was a British band formed in Birmingham, England in 1984, by bassist David Steele, guitarist Andy Cox (both formerly of The Beat) and singer Roland Gift (formerly of the Akrylykz). Their self-titled 1985 debut album contained “Johnny Come Home” and a cover of “Suspicious Minds”, two songs that were top 40 hits in the UK, Canada, Australia and many European countries. Their 1989 album, The Raw and the Cooked, topped the UK and US Album charts, and contained their two Billboard Hot 100 number ones: “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing”.

In 1990 the band won two Brit Awards: Best British Group, and Best British Album (for The Raw and the Cooked). Their name came from the 1960 film All the Fine Young Cannibals starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.”  (Source: Wikipedia)

Good Thing – performing on the Arsenio Hall Show, October 1989:

She Drives Me Crazy – music video:

 

F is for FOGHATFoghat is a British band formed in London in 1971. Their style is blues-rock, also known as “boogie rock.” They had much more success here in the States than they did in Britain, with eight gold records, one platinum record and one double-platinum record. Here’s Foghat from their tour last year (2013) doing Slow Ride: 

Fool for the City – from their 1975 album “Fool for the City”

Stone Blue – LOVE THIS SONG!! (audio only; video is static still of the 1978 album cover)

I Just Want to Make Love to You –

F is for FREE – Free was a British rock band that formed in 1968 and is best known for their hit Alright Now. They disbanded just three years after Alright Now came out and Paul Rodgers went on to become the frontman for Bad Company, taking Simon Kirke with him as drummer. Interestingly, after leaving Bad Company for a solo career in the 80s and 90s, Paul Rodgers joined up with Queen in 2008 as “Queen + Paul Rodgers.” He performed Free and Bad Company songs while on tour with Queen. Recently he and Simon Kirke are once again touring with Bad Company (2014).  Here’s Free performing their one big hit back in 1970:

F is for the Fixx  is a British rock and new wave group formed in London in 1979. One Thing Leads to Another was my theme song for awhile and my excuse for getting into trouble. “Well, one thing just led to another and…”  Here’s the music video by The Fixx performing One Thing Leads To Another. (C) 2004 Geffen Records

Their other hit, Saved by Zero, is another really good song. Here’s the music video by The Fixx performing Saved By Zero. (C) 1983 Geffen Records

F is for Foreigner – How about some Foreigner? I used to cruise around in my ’71 Monte Carlo with Foreigner blasting from my 8-track player. Do any of these songs bring up fond memories for you? Tell me what these songs remind you of…

Feels Like the First Time (from their first album, Foreigner, 1977): this is the official video, from RhinoEntertainment.

Headknocker (Foreigner, 1977

Blue Morning, Blue Day (from their 2nd album Double Vision, 1978) VEVO Music video by Foreigner performing Blue Morning, Blue Day. (C) 2011 Trigger Productions, Inc. Under exclusive license to Razor & Tie Recordings, LLC

Back Where You Belong (from their 2nd album Double Vision, 1978)  Audio only; video is a static still of the album cover.

Head Games (the title track of their 3rd album, 1979)

 

Which of these do you like best?  Who are your favorite F bands? Who did I forget?