It’s time for another Battle of the Bands and today I’m featuring a well-loved classic from the 60s.
“To Sir With Love” is the theme from James Clavell’s 1967 film To Sir, with Love. The film, one of my favorites, is a 1967 Technicolor British drama film that deals with social and racial issues in an inner-city school. It stars Sidney Poitier and features Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall and singer Lulu making her film debut. James Clavell directed from his own screenplay, which was based on E. R. Braithwaite’s semi-autobiographical 1959 novel To Sir, With Love.
The song, performed by Lulu (Lulu Kennedy-Cairns, best known by her stage name Lulu, a Scottish singer, actress, and television personality who has been successful in the entertainment business since the 1960s and renowned for her powerful singing voice), was written by Don Black and Mark London (husband of Lulu’s longtime manager Marion Massey).
“To Sir With Love” was initially recorded by Lulu (with The Mindbenders, who also acted in the film). It was released as a single in the United States in 1967 and in October reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for five weeks. The single ranked No. 1 in Billboard’s year-end chart. Canada’s RPM Magazine put the song at No. 2 for the year 1967. “To Sir with Love” has the distinction of being the only record by a British artist to reach No. 1 on the US charts while not charting in the UK, where it appeared only as a B-side to “Let’s Pretend.”
Here is Lulu’s version but it’s not a contender in this battle. It is presented here for your enjoyment only.
Now for today’s battle, here are the two contenders. Give a listen to each and vote on which one you like better. Let me know why you voted the way you did and I’ll post the results in 6 days!
CONTENDER #1: 10,000 Maniacs (Natalie Merchant) featuring Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)
This version is the performance at the MTV inaugural ball for Bill Clinton in 1993:
If that video isn’t available in your country, please check this one out:
CONTENDER #2: Tina Arena
Australian singer Tina Arena released her version of the song as the first single from her 2007 album Songs of Love & Loss.
If that video isn’t available in your country, please check out this one:
Thanks Debbie for the alternative videos! Much appreciated.
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: