Friday, August 1, 2014

BOTB: WITHOUT YOU





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

Far Away Series

STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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!

Where I fail to follow rules is, there's supposed to be a post in five days or so where I tally up the votes and disclose my preference.

Well usually I disclose my preference in the comments, I assume anyone who can get to this site can also count, and I'm generally not motivated enough to do that second post. Plus, I stink at following rules!

For this one, I tried to go back through everyone's prior posts to see if it had been used before. 

Problem is, there is no way to easily search blogs (that I know of), and after dealing with getting past 30 A to Z posts for two bloggers, and opening every post to see what song was used, I said the heck with it. If it's a repeat, everyone knows how they'll vote. 

That effort led me to rethink my naming convention for these posts-usually I try for a clever name, now I will use the title of the song. I even went back and re-titled past BOTB posts just in case any of the other participants ever have the same issue.

But I digress-you are not reading to learn of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Back to the tunes.

"Without You" was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, and first appeared on Badfinger's No Dice album (closes side one for you vinyl hounds).

Both Ham and Evans felt the song had little potential, but it has been covered more than 180 times, was a number one hit for Harry Nilson and a number three for Mariah Carey.

Sadly, both Ham and Evans took their own lives during the decade following their release of the song, and never saw how enduring a hit it became, once being called "the killer song of all time" by Paul McCartney (who may have written a song or two himself, I am told).

Interesting (for me) tidbit-the follow-up album was started with George Harrison as producer, but he pulled out due to the Bangladesh concerts (bloody quitter). 

A certain whiz-kid producer named Todd Rundgren came in to save the day and finished the album. The album spawned two hit singles ("Day After Day" reached number 4, and "Baby Blue" reached number 14), the former with a clear Harrison sound, the latter sounding more like Rundgren (but not as heavy handed as he often is). 

The album itself reached number 31 (back when that meant something) and featured uncredited performances by Harrison (slide guitar on "Day After Day") and Leon Russell.

But I digress even further...so without further ado...

First up is the original Badfinger version of the song....



And from a couple of decades later, here is Mariah's version.





This next version is not intended to be part of the battle-I simply remembered they'd done it and thought I'd give you a listen to the Heart version....although nothing stops you from voting for it if you are so inclined...

I mean, it's not like the US Government is spying on you and would know that you voted on an unauthorized BOTB cover....is it?




You know how this works...the suspense is killing me!


32 comments:

  1. I had heard Badfinger's version after a comment I heard of Arly Bird's. I will take their version here, though Harry Nilsson's remains my favorite.

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    1. CW-

      Everyone's on my case for not posting the Nilsson version.

      I'm partial to Badfinger myself...

      Delete
    2. Not on your case, buddy, just that I went through this with Arlee on my blog and thought Nilsson had more emotion in it. All the BOTB songs have versions that the host left out, and you have to remember that Harry DID hit #1 with his- it's gonna get mentioned.

      Delete
    3. Just having fun with this, CW...but I did give Harry credit for his #1 version in my narrative...

      Delete
  2. Can I break the rules and vote for Nilsson's version of the song? If that's breaking them too much I'll just be a bit rebellious and vote for Heart.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I took a lot of flak when I included five version of a Todd Rundgren song, but now it seems that three versions are not enough!

      Delete
    2. Just a song that's been covered so many times. Lee might hate it, but I seen I wasn't alone mentioning my vote would've gone for Nilsson.

      Delete
  3. Since you've gone with one of my favorite groups who did some of my favorite albums there is no match beyond what they did. Technically Mariah's vocals are probably superior and Heart's production is excellent, but Badfinger will always have the best version as far as I'm concerned.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Lee.

      Badfinger was such a tragic story, although Joey Molland released an album earlier this year.

      Delete
  4. Good choice of videos. Classic rock sound for Badfinger, and a powerful voice from Mariah Carey. She can really belt it out. I've always found her too cheesy though. Heart winds my vote. The rock influence with the strings in the background along with Ann Wilson's voice. Yeah. Heart.

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  5. i'd vote for Mariah's version. Her vocals are the difference. Heart was more competition, offered more soul but I think Mariah's voice wins out.

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    Replies
    1. Two Badfinger, two Heart, one Mariah...although it seems like if Nilsson were a choice he'd be the favorite...

      Delete
  6. Well, I guess I can scratch this one off my 'Future BOTBs' list now. (I had Harry Nilsson going up against Heart.) I was under the mistaken impression that Nilsson wrote this one.

    I guess you couldn't find a studio version by Badfinger, so you went with a live version. But the sound quality was so poor that I couldn't even let the thing play itself out.

    I was sure I would hate the Mariah Carey version ("Ears, prepare yourselves for some hyper-ultra-mega-screeching!") but actually she surprisingly under-vocally-stated it (for her). Not bad at all.

    The Heart version isn't much different from the Mariah Carey version (even though Heart came first).

    Tough choice. If the Badfinger take had been the studio recording, there's a good chance I'd have voted for that. And if Harry Nilsson's #1-charting version had been an option, I probably would have voted for that above all others.

    But between these 3 options, I think I'll go with Hea-- Mariah Carey. (Yeah, color me surprised... and color me a little ticked off that Nilsson wasn't an option.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no pleasing you bloggers.

      If I select obvious covers, it's unimaginative.

      Now everyone's pissing and moaning because I didn't include the obvious (Nilsson) cover (even though I posted a nice tender Nilsson song a couple weeks ago and it only generated one comment)..

      I must have just hit the wrong choice on the Badfinger version-I'd listened to a studio cut.
      I noticed today that it seems like a lot of votes get swayed by the video.

      I usually play the tracks and switch to another window and just listen while doing something else-I never watch the videos.

      I guess the people who notice the video are the MTV generation...

      Delete
    2. Sorry to steal your post, by the way...and you made this a three-way tie!

      Delete
  7. The version of this song that I'm most familiar with is Harry's and it would have garnered my vote had you chosen to include it.

    I really wanted to vote for Badfinger, because I am not a Mairah fan on other than one or two songs and this isn't one. But, that live version was pretty bad - I know, I know, Thank you YouTube.

    But being the good little rule following and totally honest person I am, but having no fear of the government spying on me; ha, ha, ha! I want to vote for Heart over Mariah, but their version has such an abrupt end, I was dissapointed.

    Oh, what the heck. I vote Heart anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAE breaks the tie and puts Heart in the lead!

      Delete
  8. This is such a good choice of videos! Thanks for sharing.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is one of those songs that everyone has covered, and it's usually a cover that I don't care for. I mean -- it's so hard to do this song and not sound whiny and pitiful, But I'll also say that the Nilsson version is THE version for me, and I'd have voted for that one.

    And I agree with StMc that the live, low-fidelity phone-recorded Badfinger video really detracts from their version. This unfortunately does not do the original song justice. The studio recording had some tasty blues guitar licks and overall better dynamics and sound.

    I can respect Mariah Carey's incredible vocal talent. Her voice has an amazing range and powerful dynamics (and she's damn easy on the eyes, too). But too often she's one of those singers who annoyingly has to put all those swoops and swells and flourishes in every freakin' note. But here, she shows some surprising restraint, and the heavy reverb helps create depth.

    Heart is one of those bands that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love the harder, earlier stuff ("Barracuda", "Magic Man", "Crazy on You", "Heartless") and don't care for the sappier stuff ("What About Love", "These Dreams", etc). Their rendition of this falls solidly into the "sappy" category.

    So I'd have voted for the Badfinger studio version, but with the live version in the BOTB, I have to go with Mariah.

    Yes -- I'm as surprised as you...


    ReplyDelete
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    1. See my note to Stephen-I must have just selected the wrong version, as I'd found a studio cut...

      Heart and Mariah are tied again with three votes each, but Badfinger is right there with two votes...

      Delete
  10. For what it's worth (not much I'd say), I'm glad you didn't include the Nilsson version as it is one that I've never particularly liked since I was so taken by the original version. I find Nilsson to be rather annoying much of the time. After all, he's the guy who wrote and first recorded "Coconut"--what an annoying song.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee-

      I'm just joking around with people anyway-everyone has gotten creative with what they've put up for BOTB, and like CW says up above, there will always be a version someone likes better.

      Delete
  11. I HATE HATE HATE live recordings on YouTube. So often the sound quality is so poor that it makes my ears bleed. This was no exception. I immediately clicked off Badfinger, opened up a new tab, and went to YouTube to see if I could find a studio version of this song. So, this is the version I used in my comparison:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49dquH8tn6E

    Otherwise, it was giving the win to Mariah without even playing her version.

    As it is, I give the vote to Mariah after listening to the studio version of both. Color me surprised because I am not a Mariah fan. I confess I didn't listen to Heart since it was not intended to be part of the battle... and catching up on blogging has eaten my entire Saturday morning. Bah.

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    1. Robin breaks the tie, and Mariah takes the lead...

      Delete
  12. Like Robin, I disliked the Badfinger clip from the get go, because it was a live recording. It was a very choppy with not great quality audio, making it hard to listen to.

    I gave the studio version a chance, and still didn't like it as much as the others. And between the remainders, I'll give it to Heart. Just barely, though.

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    1. Heart and Mariah tied at four, and Badfinger with only two.

      Delete
  13. Hmm, I'm voting for Mariah because the sound quality was better. Normally I'd probably go with Badfinger though.

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    1. Donna-on a subsequent post I put up a studio version of the Badfinger version (which was my original intention anyway). Thanks for dropping by!

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  14. I also vote for Mariah, but only because I am actually a fan of her music, and her version of this song always brings tears to my eyes. AND I rang up a song contest phone line when I was about 11 or so, and won $100 singing this song. :P

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    1. Thanks for voting, Trisha-actually you should think about participating in this event (first and fifteenth of each month-it would be right up your alley!

      I want to buy the first copy off the press of your new album when it comes out!

      Larry

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