Today I'm being interviewed by Chrys Fey at Write with Fey so be sure to visit her blog after you've voted on the Battle of the Bands.
Battle of the Bands--May 15th 2015
It's kind of hard to believe that it's the middle of May and summer's a-comin'. And once again it's time for another Battle of the Bands. This event has become a favorite of mine. We have Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series to thank for conceiving this musical appreciation thang. Stephan T McCarthy acts as the list steward and official BotB host--you can find his blog with the list of participants at StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
A Two Fer U
I've got a double whammy this time around. Today it's Battle of the Bands. Then on Monday May 18th I'll be joining Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather Gardner for the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest. I'm connecting the two events to make things a bit more interesting. On Monday I'll be telling you about the movie and you'll have to come back for that. Today it's the song from the movie. Some of you might know the movie because you know the song. Or some of you might get ambitious and look up the song to see what movie it originally came from. No matter what, I think it's a good pairing here--a song that's been a long time favorite of mine and a movie that I saw when I was a kid and it's a minor classic of sorts.
But enough of this chatter. Let's get on with the song choice for this Battle of the Bands installment.
Look for a Star
"Look for a Star" is a song that is rarely heard these days. At least I never hear it played anywhere. The song first made its appearance in 1960 in the film to be featured in my post on Monday. After being released the song was all over the charts--literally. It's kind of a strange story, but true nevertheless. Let me explain.
The songwriting credits go to Mark Anthony who was actually better known by his real name of Tony Hatch. Hatch not only recorded on his own as a vocalist, pianist, and orchestra leader, but he was also a record producer responsible for many well known hit songs. Most notable was his association with Petula Clark for whom he wrote many hits such as "Downtown". But you can find Hatch's name (or those of his alter egos Mark Anthony and Fred Nightingale) on many releases by a slew of well known artists on both sides of the Atlantic.
The song "Look for a Star" was first recorded by Garry Mills who charted with it at #7 in the U.K., but his success with the song in the U.S. was a bit diluted as three other similar sounding versions were released simultaneously. The song only charted at #26 in the U.S. with the version recorded by Garry Mills while a nearly identical version by one Gary Miles peaked at #16. Miles was actually Buzz Cason who later went on to work with a number of other artists under his real name. Obviously the pseudonym tactic was devised to create confusion which may have prevented the original by Mills to reach number one.
To add to the confusion, another nearly identical sounding release by Dean Hawley rose to #29 on the U.S. charts while an instrumental version by Billy Vaughn made it to #19. Tony Hatch probably came out okay on the deal, but the artists and their recording companies saturated the market with all the simultaneous releases. After that initial onslaught of recordings, the song became a minor standard recorded by many artists--some of those versions rather strange.
Taking this song story a bit further I discovered that apparently the song became quite popular in the Latin American countries which saved me from battling similar version against each other. That gives me two very different versions of "Look for a Star" to put into competition. I hope you'll enjoy these.
Garry Mills "Look for a Star" (1960)
This is the original version used in the film (which as I noted above I will tell you about on Monday). In this film the vocal version is used about four times if I remember correctly and at least once as an instrumental. It's featured very prominently in the film which is why it stuck with me so strongly after I saw the film. Besides, it's a nice melody with positive lyrics. I'd say just about everybody who left after seeing the film was singing this song afterwards. I usually don't remember lyrics, but this is one song where the lyrics stayed with me.
The song has a classic early 60's sound with a teen dream vocal and a popcorn poppy guitar rift throughout. The shimmering organ runs and the horn break are particularly nice touches as are the do-do-do backing from the female vocalists. Like a Lay's potato chip you might not be able to just listen to this song one time. But why don't I just shut up and let you hear it for yourself...
Carlos Campos and his Orchestra "Mirando una Estrella" (19??)
There are so many Latin versions of "Look for a Star" that I had a difficult time choosing just one. Sometimes called "Mirando una Estrella" and at others "Buscando una Estrella", but any way you listen to it the melody is "Look for a Star". The version that I actually found most interesting was one by Los Tres Reyes, but I decided to avoid it since I thought the Spanish lyrics might be off putting to some. I also avoided any of the mariachi versions, not that they weren't interesting, but they were mariachi and I wasn't sure how that would go over. After all I don't want a shut out for this contest.
The version by Carlos Campos is the one that triggered the most memories for me. Not that I'd heard this version before, but the style was reminiscent of what I used to hear a lot back in the early 60's. My mother went through a phase where she would frequently listen to cha-cha and mambo records. I don't recall any Carlos Campos in her collection, but Perez Prado and the Francis Bay Orchestra are two that I particularly remember her listening to repeatedly. She'd have those records blaring throughout the day as she did her housework. It never bothered me because I too loved the music.
Carlos Campos y su Orquestra fits into the same musical tradition as that music my mother listened to so his version of "Look for a Star" was easy on my ears and I figured at least a few of you voters might like it as well. Take a listen and you can decide...
Time to Vote!
Which do you prefer? ? It's up to you to determine the winner. Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose. Will it be the contender from the U.K. Garry Mills or Carlos Campos from Mexico? Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
Shady Dell Music and Memories
The Doglady's Den (a new participant!)
Angel's Bark (another new participant!)
Cherdo on the Flipside (And another new one!)
Results on May 22nd
|What movie introduced "Look for a Star"?|
Find out in the Blogfest coming on Monday.
Now head on over to visit Chrys Fey at Write with Fey to read her interview with yours truly, Arlee Bird.
Without peeking do you know the movie this song came from and have you seen it? Have you ever heard this song before? Are you a fan of Latin style music?