Saturday, October 1, 2016

BOTB-FIGHT TO SURVIVE



Ah, the Seventies! 




Bad hair. 





Bad fashion. 




But for my money this was the most diverse time for popular music on radio airwaves, with Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult, Lynyrd Skynyrd and James Taylor all sharing time on DJ playlists.

Those playlists were discretionary (meaning no one told the DJ what to play) which led to radio exploration of deeper album cuts (rather than the lip-service that term has been given for the last thirty years), and it was before MTV, so a performer did not have to be a supermodel to get signed-they had to be talented.

In the middle of all that was disco-often derided, but no question that it had an impact on pop culture.

Gloria Gaynor had one of the genre's landmark songs, much to the chagrin of anyone who has been in a bar where they host karaoke.

Here is Gaynor's original, 

This is for REFERENCE only-if you vote on this, it's kind of like a vote for an independent candidate-I'm not going to count it.





I was one of those people to whom the words "Disco Sucks" had religious significance in the seventies, and there was a time when I would have said it's not hard at all for a cover to top a disco single.

But as I've aged, I've mellowed, and I will allow that Gaynor's song is somewhat iconic. However, alternative rock band Cake do an excellent job, tweaking the lyrics and breathing new life into the song with their trademark guitar sound and other touches.






Another version by Chantay Savage keeps the song in the R&B side of things but slows the tune down to a 90's ballad. While Savage is not necessarily unique enough as a performer to separate herself from the other R&B artists of her decade, she still has an interesting take on the song.

This is the version I am pitting against Cake's cover.




Savage's version hit #28 of Billboard's Hot 100, ad Cake's reached #24 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, but you can decide for yourself which attempt is better and let me know in the comments.

And remember-if you vote for Gaynor's version, you may not be punished in this life, but you will spend your afterlife listening to really bad karaoke singers!

You may feel that's an empty threat, but think about it-they're going to heaven, too, and they're gonna need an audience. 

25 comments:

  1. I agree with your assessment on the music of the 70's. It was a time of exciting musical discovery for me. So many exciting artists came onto the scene, though for me the 80's did come in a not too distant second.

    If you had pitted Cake's version against Gaynor's my choice would have been very difficult. Between the two artists you gave us to choose from, for me Cake is the easy winner by a long shot. I've always liked their version. Never heard Chantay's version which was okay but it didn't grab me.

    I vote for Cake.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I would not have expected any votes to go against Gaynor...too much of a staple.

      Sorry I am late getting to this-went to Notre Dame this weekend where Todd Rundgren capped off a week long lecture series as an artist in residence with a concert.

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  2. Oh, this is EASY. One vote for Gaynor! She just understands me, as a strong, independent woman.

    Okay, now that I've given you a mini-stroke, make that vote Cake. I always loved their quirkiness, and this cover just reminds me that they can make anything - even Gaynor - tolerable.

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    1. A joke? Gloria certainly understands ME!

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  3. Cake kicks butt for me. Chantay Savage does not sound as if she'll survive. Please give my vote to Cake. I agree with you about the '70s. It was a great time for music. I don't love disco, but it was sure fun to go dancing.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. There just was so much variety back then!

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  4. I do love a good 90s ballad, but for this song, I do believe that Cake... well, they took the cake! Giving my vote to Cake.

    Interesting Battle!

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. Although Cake is pitching a shut-out so far...

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  5. I am going to recuse myself on this one, as I absolutely despise Cake and couldn't possibly be objective. I would definitely take a song sung by Mr Ed before Cake's best ever.

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  6. Hokey-Smoke! LC, I've heard of Cake before but this must be the first time I've actually heard a recording by them because, believe me, I'd REMEMBER if I'd heard that "singer" before.

    Honestly, for awhile I thought maybe this was supposed to be a joke. (Truthfully, I'm still not sure it's not.) Is Cake supposed to be a novelty kind of act, or are they meant to be taken seriously?

    The music is total shit. (What are they, 13 years old and 2 months into their junior high school music lessons?) Actually, the bassist isn't bad, but the rest of it...

    Worst of all though is that "singer". Flatter than Kris Kristofferson (no lilt to his voice at all), singing in what, 666 different keys? WTH?! One of the worst professional singers I've ever heard. Quite possibly THE worst. He actually makes Dylan and Neil Young sound good!

    I give all 12 of my deceased-Democrat-person votes to CHANTAY.

    ~ Head-Shakin, Head-Scratchin' D-FensDogG

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    1. And you prevented the shut out!

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    2. Just For StMcC:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5KmB8Laemg

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  7. Let me eat Cake...no really, I'd really love a piece. I was not wild by either but I prefer Cake over Chantay. I didn't care for her rendition and am not a fan of that style so Cake it is

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    1. Cake was a good band name choice-how can anyone not like the name?

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  8. Hey LC -

    I'm confused: if Gaynor is going to heaven, and you are going to heaven, and I am going to heaven... how can we be punished??? Isn't listening to Gaynor what you get when you go to the other place? I think heavenly voices may be more akin to the sound of John McCrea... lead singer of CAKE.

    I love Cake and have for years. "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" is probably in my top ten of "most played" on iTunes.

    Their interesting version blows away Savage's (and Gaynor's.)

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    1. It's the bad karaoke versions that will be the punishment...unless all of them get angelic voices in the afterlife...

      I do like Cake, and while this track is not my favorite, I like that they puta spin on it.

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  9. Hi Larry. Wow, what different takes on this iconic Disco classic! I liked both of them and because they were so different, I had to evaluate which one I'd enjoy listening to more. As of today, I'm going to go with Chantay Savage. She did a really nice rendition of this song.
    Great song choice!
    And the 70s was a great decade for many reasons but especially for the music!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Six votes for Cake, two for Chantay so far. I actually thought this would be closer!

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  10. I vote for Gaynor. No, just kidding.
    I guess that means I vote for Cake then. Wait, no. The cake is a lie.
    I guess that leaves me to vote for Chantay Savage. True, it's a slower song, but I like the way it turned out. The other version was to disjointed for me. Made me think William Shatner was singing it.
    Yes, please give my vote to Savage.
    IF you get a chance, please stop by and visit my music battle. :)

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    1. Wow-you mean you are not a fan of the Shatner voice?

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  11. I like both of these covers. After listening to Cake I thought, "They have my vote." Savage's version doesn't have a great start, but once it gets going, it's quite good. About mid-way through I decided my vote wasn't as locked on Cake as I thought. By the time Savage finished singing, she'd won me over. How about that? A vote for Savage please!

    But I really liked both!!!

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    1. Savage did a good job-I had one or two of her albums, but my only problem with R&B in the 90's was that it was so homogenous.

      Although I love the Motown sound and you could say the same about that.

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  12. Sorry so late, but you hadn't yet posted on my first stop and I have had a busy week, ha ha.

    CAKE TAKES THE CAKE. Love that one.

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