Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the one, the only Battle of the Bands brought to you by those fantabulous bloggers at Far Away Series and StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This is the event where you listen to two versions of one song and then vote on the one you like best. Don't forget to visit our hosts to vote on their contests as well as the other sites that you will find listed at the end of this post.
Now let the show begin...
The Man I Love
George Gershwin is indisputably (for those in the know) one of the finest composers of melody of all time. Teamed up with his brother, the genius lyricist Ira, the pair wrote some of the finest songs ever written. "The Man I Love" is a perfect example to offer as proof of the argument (and there is no argument as far as I am concerned).
The song was initially written in 1924 as "The Girl I Love", but became more known in its present form becoming a standard for many a female singer. The melody is haunting. The lyrics are impeccable. In my opinion this is one of the most perfect pop songs ever written and the two versions I present here provide strong evidence for my case.
"The Man I Love" by Lena Horne (1941)
Lena Horne is one of my favorite female singers. Smart, beautiful, and incredibly talented, Lena Horne left an amazing legacy not only as an entertainer, but as an outspoken activist for the Civil Rights movement from the 1940's until her death in 2010 at age 92.
The sultry forlorn sound of Horne's interpretation of "The Man I Love" is achingly beautiful. Seductive winds back up the vocals with weeping strings and guitar. A steady percussive effect behind it all suggests the beating of the longing heart or perhaps the tick tock of the passage of time. At the 2:08 mark a plaintive violin plays a brief solo. Hearing this song takes me back through time and almost makes me want to stay.
"The Man I Love" by Benny Goodman (1938)
Take away words of this song and you have the elegant simplicity of perfect melody. It doesn't get much better than this jazz rendition by Benny Goodman and his Quartet in a live performance at Carnegie Hall. No flash or flamboyance, instead we are dazzled with pure rhythm and melody with only the slightest variations in the tasty solo work of Teddy Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton on vibes. The often showy Gene Krupa isn't pounding the skins here, but softly keeping the steady beat with brushes.
"Wow!" is all I have to say every time I listen to this version of the song by Goodman and the Quartet.
Now You Tell Us
What do you think? Hopefully we won't be getting a lot of "I don't like this kind of music" because it's hard to imagine anyone having this opinion of near perfect music. So give us the positives. What did you like about the song and these versions of the song? Which did you like the best? Listen and give us your vote and reasoning in the comment section.
Don't Forget the Other Battles
Click the following links to find other possible participants and if you're doing a Battle and aren't included in this list then please tell us in the comment section:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'A WRITER'S LIFE IN PROGRESS'
‘CREATIVE OUTLET OF STRATPLAYER’
The results of my Battle will be posted next Friday. Vote!!!!