Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Started on the Far Away Series, and refined by the bloggers noted below, I've been somewhat of a wannabe player in the Battle Of The Bands blogfest, which happens on the first and fifteenth of each month. These guys are to blame for this foolishness:

Far Away Series

Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

The way it works is, I put up two versions of a song and you tell me which one you like better.

Simple right? If you look at past comments, some people agonize over this decision, but I'll let you in on a little clue.....there's no wrong answer! Whatever you like IS the right answer!

There's supposed to be a post in five days or so where I tally up the votes and disclose my preference, but I'm generally not motivated enough to do that second post. Plus, if you can sit infront of a computer, I am assuming you can count.

Sometimes, a cover song becomes more popular than the original-in fact, sometimes the original goes largely unheard and people assume that the cover is the original.

The preceding paragraph pretty much sums up Rod Stewart's career in the 90's, as he made a fortune off of syrupy covers of songs that (for me) lacked the power of the original.

A good example is Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately."

Now I am giving away my vote here, but for me, Stewart never comes close to capturing the passion that Van does in the original.

Van wrote the song with spiritual intent, so he's singing to God, and you can feel the emotion coming off of the grooves (or the bytes, if you're playing a CD).

Rod makes it a love song, and does a serviceable job. But it sounds like he's singing a song somebody else wrote to score a top 40 single.

In fairness to Rod, it worked charting in both the US and the UK, and becoming his last (to date) top five single.

Listen for yourself and see what you think.

Interestingly enough, Van Morrison covered himself, performing the song with The Chieftains on their album The Long Black Veil. Here is that version-not intended to be part of the voting, but heck, if you like it best, why not?


  1. Original is still the best. And I confess, Stewart grates on my nerves, so not a chance there.

    1. Alex-I like Stewart, but am not sure if I can ever forgive him for the disco years...


    2. And had to come back and check on my comment. This morning I couldn't comment on any with an embedded comment box and after numerous tires, feared you would have dozens of comments...

    3. No need to stuff the ballot box with dozens of votes, Alex-Van is winning handily!

  2. Van Morrison gets my vote--I can't vote against him since I'm a big fan.

    Now if the vote would have only been between Rod and Van with the Chieftains then Rod would have gotten my vote because I don't care all that much for the Long Black Veil album--too novelty Irish for me. Don't hate it, but it's an album that I've listened to only a few times.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Lee-

      With you on TLBV-it's collected it's share of dust on my shelves as well.

      Even if I were not a big Van fan (I am), he simply chokes his version with emotion, where Rod comes off like a hired gun (at least to me).

  3. Here is the thing... I really wanted to like Van Morrison more than Rod Stewart. Why? Because knowing how the song was intended to be perceived, I really like the lyrics in that context. I did prefer Van Morrison covering himself with The Chieftains over his original. I am not familiar with The Chieftains, but their instrumentation had a bit of celtic sound to it and I liked that a lot.

    However, I have always liked Rod's raspy voice. And his taking this song and turning it into a love song worked. More than ever I appreciate - even in his take - that we should give thanks and pray to the One, to the One. So, I have to go with the one I actually prefer and not the one I wish I preferred... ah. Tangles. Vote for Rod Stewart.

    1. So far, you're the lone Rod voice, Robin.

      I like his voice as well, but like I've said a few times, I just don't feel like he captures any emotion on his recording.

  4. That Rod Stewart version sounds like something they'd play overhead while I was in the dentist's office getting half my face drilled off.

    Definitely Van Morrison on this one.

    1. Bryan-

      My dentists actually has a rock station playing but I know what you mean. Rod did five CD's of "The Great American Songbook", so a dentist could pretty much just buy a CD changer and play that all day long...

  5. LC ~
    Yeah, I'm with you on this one, and for all the same reasons. (Plus, I'll mention the great piano playing by Van in the original.)

    It's strange... How does one explain that Rod Stewart had a #5 Billboard hit with this song while Van's original didn't chart at all. Maybe Van didn't release it as a single(?)

    Do musical acts still release singles and send them to radio stations?

    About a year ago, I heard on my truck radio one of Stewart's covers from one of his 'American Songbook' albums. I hadn't heard his take on it before and I swear I thought I was listening to a husky-voiced female singer. Then I was shocked at the end when the DJ said it was Stewart.

    I've never been a Rod Stewart fan. I would say his stuffs that I liked the best was his real EARLY recordings with Jeff Beck when they were doing Bluesy songs. I had both 'Truth' and 'Beck-Ola' way, way back in the day, and those were the only Stewart vocals I ever really liked much (although I used to like 'Maggie Mae' until I got sick of hearing it).

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I liked him (Stewart) during those years as well, and have liked his post-disco stuff ok, but as you know, I prefer people who write and perform their own songs.

      Van's version did chart on the adult contemporary charts at number 12, but I could not find mention of a place on the top 100.

      There is still a top 100, and I guess now the singles are digital downloads, but I have not listened to much radio since the early 90's (none at all in Airheadzona), so who knows what they play these days. I always make sure I go places armed with CD's.

      And good call on that piano playing observation...

  6. Sheboyganboy SixJuly 1, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    There seems to be a consensus here, except for Robin. The Van the Man original is best.

    I like the Chieftains enough to have paid to see them in concert, but that version is the worst of the three to me.

    I have always liked Rod, but I'm with you about the disco years. However, I admire how he has always managed to reinvent himself in ways that capture the public's imagination and money. He was LEAST effective in capturing their money in my favorite period, which is the same early era that others have mentioned. Maggie May may have been the biggest hit, but the best song on that album was "(I Know) I'm Losing You." What energy! A raw, tough song. He may eventually have realized that his voice would be gone (like Roger Daltrey's) if he did not switch from hard-rockin' raspy screaming to slow ballads. In any case he does a nice ballad.

    So, a vote for Morrison.

    1. VI-I do not dislike Rod, but he is kind of like Linda Ronstadt is for me-a good singer who does not write her own material...and the artists who writes and performs their own stuff will always be more interesting to me.

      I love that early period as well (although for me the Temptations OWN "(I Know) I'm Losing You")-"Every Picture Tells A Story," "Cut Across Shorty," "Maggie May," even "Tonight's The Night." And back then, Rod even wrote a song or two.

      And some of the 80's stuff was pretty good, too (Rhythm Of My Heart comes to mind). Heck, the Great American Songbook titles are not bad, although those songs have been mined by almost every aging rocker-I'm waiting for the AC/DC version to hit stores any day now.

  7. I wasn't sure if I'd heard van's version at first. I had, and it is so smooth, so rich. Rod's okay, but Van sings circles around him. VM for CWM.

    1. Hard to argue with Van's version. A good friend used Rod's version for his wedding, and was so pissed at him-had I ever gotten married, it would have been on my list, but if you're gonna steal my idea, use the VM version!

      They split up within five years. I blame the choice of the cover version.

  8. I'm listening to the VM version with the Chieftains and yes I've got tears running down my face. It's been an emotional couple of days and heck, I'm a girl.

    The last stop was Your Daily Dose where I said I was a huge, Huge, HUGE fan of Tom Petty but that doesn't come close to how much I like Van. He is in fact the man, and this is probably one of my favorites of his.

    Actually, I should take a minute and thank you for posting this. 'Hae I Told You Lately' is probably my very favorite VM song, any rendition, but I like the first one better.

    All that said, I do like Rod Steward but mostly his earlier stuff and when it comes to this one; NO CONTEST.

    I vote for Van the Man, just in case you didn't already get that.

    1. FAE-You are not alone.

      Simply put, this is one beautiful song. And the original by Van cannot be improved upon.

      Sorry the last few days have been tough-glad this post provided at least a brief escape!


  9. Interesting BOTB! And I clearly HAVE been out of the Blogosphere for a while -- there's no Todd Rundgren song anywhere to be seen!

    For me, Rod Stewart pretty much peaked with "Stay With Me" with Ronnie Wood and The Faces back in the early 70s, and has been on a steady downward slide ever since -- he went through the years of Disco-Rod and has now turned into a lounge act, with all the negative connotations that go with it.

    Van Morrison has always been a favorite. He can be so soulful, and shows it here -- WAY than Rod.

    So Van the Man for me, easily.

    1. Yeah Chris, I pretty much had mined the TR songbook by March. Was considering backing out at tha point, but as long as I can find interesting songs (and find them on You Tube), it is a fun group post...