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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st of each month and on the 7th, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of DOG BITE High Gravity Lager (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Saturday, July 31, 2021

2021, AUGUST 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, THE LENNON SISTERS VS. ANDY WILLIAMS)

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...

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BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB)

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Yes, it's time once again for Battle Of The Bands (BOTB).

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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...

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My bloggin' buddy-ette, [link> Birgit, recently posted a 'Thursday Movie Pick' blog bit about Summer Breaks. In my comment, I mentioned the movie 'A Summer Place', and *THAT* was the inspiration for today's BOTB contest. So, my thanks to Birgit for being the spark that ignited the kindling that burned into a BOTB conflagration. (Betcha didn't think I knew that word, didja?!)

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August being the last month of Summer, I decided to use in this round of BOTB the Theme From 'A Summer Place' - one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard. Theme From 'A Summer Place' happens to be the theme music from the movie 'A Summer Place', which is merely an odd coincidence. The 1959 movie starred Sandra Dee, Troy Donahue, George Bailey's mother, and other performers whom movie-lovers have seen many times.

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Theme From 'A Summer Place' was a MONSTER hit for Percy Faith & His Orchestra in 1960 (17 weeks in the Top 40, and NINE weeks at #1!!) If you were alive in 1960, you heard Percy's recording at least a million and 14.4 times before Jan. 1, 1961. No way in hell would I have put a cover version up against that!!!

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Because this is literally one of the most moving, gorgeous, and bittersweet melodies ever composed, it's been recorded almost countless times, and therefore it took me quite awhile to decide which artists to use. The Art Of The Match-Up is the art of BOTB; take it lightly and you will find yourself in Shutout-land.

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Although my favorite renditions of this Theme are instrumental recordings (a la the original by Percy Faith), I decided to use vocal versions for this Battle, and to use a female vocal group, The Lennon Sisters, against a solo male singer, Andy Williams:

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Wackypedia sez:

For thirteen years, from 1955 to 1968, [The Lennon Sisters] appeared regularly on The Lawrence Welk Show before having their own television variety show called Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters with Jimmy Durante. After their show was cancelled, they partnered with Andy Williams to create a successful Las Vegas residency, which lasted a decade.

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The Lennon Sisters versus their old Las Vegas entertainment partner Andy Williams -- you see what I'm doing here?

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In my BOTB Results post, I am going to have more to say about The Lennon Sisters - or, more specifically, about Dianne "Dee Dee" Lennon (whom I have met in "real life") - so please return for that on August 8th.

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The Lennon Sisters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjASn7pxsQI

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Andy Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SeDGvfR0HU

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After you've voted for your favorite of these two recordings here, please be sure to vote in the BOTB contests at the blogs of the other BOTB participants (see the list of Participants in the sidebar to the right... to the right... over THERE --->)

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Stephen T. McCarthy

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

BOTB RESULTS: 2021, JULY 1 (Or, TOM PETTY VS. WARREN ZEVON)


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Hokey-Smoke 'n' Hoo-Wee! I am late, Late, LATE to this "wrap-party". Sorry, but I been busy beginning a business. (Somehow, I'm not sure that STMcC is really the businessman sort.)

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The Battle Of The Bands contest took place [link> HERE. It was another in my 'Battle For Los Angeles' series and it featured Tom Petty's 'Century City' versus Warren Zevon's 'Desperados Under The Eaves'

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I had a lotta goofy fun in the comment section, and I thank y'all for stopping by to cast yer two cents into the BOTB kitty. Believe it or not, BOTB wouldn't be much fun if no one bothered to listen and vote. "Sailor Jerry" even showed up at one point, but that old sea dog was too drunk to bote!

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Initially, I was skeptical that I would get much of a turnout for this Battle, but y'all came out in full force and I'm truly grateful for your participation. Thank you: MMQE, CAThy, Honest John, Arlee Boid, Birgit, Julio Seis-Abeja, G-DogG, Sheboyganboy VI, Gem Julie, dIEDRE, Mike, Flyin' Aardvark, Judge Al Bondigas, and Wild Thing. (Wild Thing, I still owe you a comment and a response - both "flying in" tomorrow, because... I can't do that sober.)

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As for my own vote in this Battle - although I'm a real fan of both artists - I had to side with Warren Zevon in this match-up. First of all, 'Desperados Under The Eaves' is my favorite Zevon zong of all time. Both Number Six and Judge Al described it as being hymn-like, and they're right. 

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Also, there are just so many things about that zong that tickle me. The singer is sure that if all of California fell into the sea due to a massive earthquake, his motel would still be standing until he paid his bill. Guffaw-Out-Loud! There have been times in my life when I too have had that same level of... optimism.

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Warren Zevon sings that "all the salty Margaritas in Los Angeles" he's "going to drink 'em up". I happen to know from a biography I read that Zevon was a big fan of the Margaritas at El Coyote Mexican Restaurant in L.A., so that's probably the place he had in mind when writing that line. (And, by coincidence, back in the day, El Coyote was also MY favorite place for Margaritas -- and that was a great many years before I learned that Zevon sang the same praises! In fact, I had moved to Phoenix years before I learned about the Zevon & El Coyote connection.)

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And lastly, the way Zevon sings over and over "Look away, down Gower Avenue" has always intrigued me! First of all, Gower is a street (not an avenue) in what used to be a very scroungy part of Hollywood, where the tourists wouldn't go. I remember it well. It ran adjacent to the western side of Paramount Studios, and just to the north of Paramount was the Hollywood Cemetery where (if memory serves me) Rudolph Valentino and/or Bela Lugosi are buried. I used to hang out in the "Gower Gulch" area sometimes. I understand they've cleaned it up quite a bit since the 1970s, but it used to be a real scummy area full of winos, druggies and people like me.

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The way Zevon sings that lyric, it seems to imply that he believes there is some sort of redemption or salvation down on Gower. And I have ALWAYS WONDERED what he had in mind while singing that line over and over toward the end of the song. (Maybe he was thinking of some prostitute he knew who worked on Gower?! I dunno. But 45 years later, I still find it intriguing!) 

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Tom Petty = 4 votes

Warren Zevon = cranked up to 11... votes

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Once again, I thank you all for your BOTB participation and for the fun exchanges in the comment section. I hope to see all y'all here again for my next Battle scheduled for August 1st.

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~ Stephen T. McCarthy

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

2021, JULY 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS VS. WARREN ZEVON)

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Welcome Back To BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB).

This is going to be another installment in my periodic series 'The Battle For Los Angeles'.

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{All of the still photos of Los Angeles used in this post come from 'Koyaanisqatsi', my favorite movie of all time.}

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As most of you know, I was born and raised in L.A. - 17 blocks from "Dogtown" Beach - and back then in those olden days, it was a terrific place to be. But in 1986, I could see and feel the city changing, and in October of 1992, I got the hell out of Hell.

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Although they are officially a part of the city of Los Angeles, there are certain areas of L.A. that have their own names. Some examples would be Hollywood, Venice, Westwood Village (where I was born and where I went "cruising" on Friday & Saturday nights during my teen years)...

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...Mar Vista, Echo Park, Pacoima, Northridge and Century CityAnd that brings us to today's contestants...

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I planned on using the Warren Zevon zong 'Desperados Under The Eaves', but couldn't decide who his competitor should be. I toyed with songs like 'L.A. Woman' (The Doors), 'Walking In L.A.' (Missing Persons), 'Hollywood Nights' (Bob Seger), 'Hotel California' (The Eagles), and 'Free Fallin'' (Tom Petty). But I really didn't want to use a song that everyone has heard two million and fourteen times.

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I finally settled on the song 'Century City' by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and it was essentially Nick Lopez's story in the video comment section that sealed the deal:

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Nick Lopez

2 years ago

True Story: 

I first heard this song when I was 20 years old. Got the album for my Birthday in July. This song made me drive to Century City (near Santa Monica & Hollywood) and just drive around playing this song over and over really loud. I had a 67 Mustang I had bought from my cousin a year earlier. 

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As I’m cruising around, I spotted the Playboy club. So I stopped in and asked how I could become a member. The bunny at the door told me I had to be 21 or older to join. But then she whispered in my ear... “Just buy a copy of the magazine and mail in the card. They don’t bother with checking ID on mailed applications." 

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So I went right over to a liquor store, tore out the paper application, sent it in with the fee, and three weeks later I was back at the club (dressed really well) and walked right in with my brand new Playboy Key Card. 

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I was then told that I was entitled to either a free copy of the magazine, or a cocktail (a ONE SHOT deal) so I took the drink. I ordered a scotch on the rocks because I knew nothing about drinks and alcohol (and Scotty on ‘Star Trek’ drank only scotch). I thought it was just awful. The next drink I ordered was a Martini (vodka) and that was worse. So I want to thank Tom for introducing me to both Century City and alcohol. You were and still are my hero!

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Century City lyrics excerpt:

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Sometimes I get discouraged

Sometimes I feel so down

Sometimes I get so worried

But I don't know what about

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But it works out in the long run

Always goes away

And I've come now to accept it

As a reoccurring phase

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We're gonna live in Century City

Go ahead and give in, Century City

Like modern men, modern girls

We're gonna live in the modern world

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CENTURY CITY -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE-F5vuQJjo

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FUN FACT: There really existed a "Hollywood Hawaiian Motel", and when Warren Zevon was still a young, struggling songwriter, he was staying there for awhile but he couldn't pay his bill. So a friend of his drove down the alley behind the motel, and Zevon tossed all his stuff out the back window of his room and sneaked away without paying his motel bill.

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This had always bothered Warren's conscience, so years later, after he had become successful and wealthy, he went back to the Hollywood Hawaiian Motel to pay what he owed them. But by then, all they wanted was an autographed copy of his latest record album. (*That's the way you do it!...*)

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DESPERADOS UNDER THE EAVES -- Warren Zevon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H207KiuYvv0

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Well, my friends, thanks for voting in the comment section for your favorite between these two songs. And please be sure to vote in the BOTB contests presented by the other BOTB Participants (see the sidebar list on the right side of this blog!) 

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I will return on July 8th with my own vote and the Results of this Battle Of The Bands contest. I hope all y'all have a very fun but safe 4th of July!

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~ Stephen T. McCarthy

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