Here we are in the middle of July and rushing toward summer's end. But it's only the 15th of the month and that means it's time for another Battle of the Bands. Yes sirree, this is an event that takes place on the 1st and 15th of each month. Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series gets the credit for first conceiving this homage to music. Stephen T McCarthy maintains the participant list and answers your questions about the event--you can find his blog with the list of participants at StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This is not at all complicated: 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 Battles to vote on.
How High the Moon
Since my last Battle covered the vast Milky Way galaxy I thought I'd bring this one a little closer to home and focus on the moon. Or more precisely, how high the moon. Actually this song has nothing to do with the 238,900 miles from the Earth to the Moon, but is merely a somewhat nonsensical poetic rumination on love, romance, and the longing heart. The song written by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis first appeared in the 1940 Broadway stage musical revue Two for the Show.
Now a standard jazz tune, "How High the Moon" has been recorded by numerous artists and performed by a great many more. If all of the performances of the song were to be placed one after another they would reach to the moon. Actually I made that up, but it somehow seemed appropriate.
It was very difficult to pick just two versions so I went with two contrasting versions. This is one of those songs that could be used for many Battles in the future. So many great stylings of the song to be had, but here are the two I settled for:
Les Paul and Mary Ford "How High the Moon" (1951)
Probably the most well known recording of this classic song is by this duo. Their version was #1 on the charts for nine weeks. With the innovative multitrack recording pioneered by inventor and guitar virtuoso Les Paul, the recording portended the effects that became commonplace for artists to follow. Fast and snappy, this version rocks.
Mitchell Ayres and his Fashions In Music with Mary Ann Mercer "How High the Moon" (1940)
A hint of his classical music background comes through on this recording by Mitchell Ayres. After his short stint with his Fashions in Music orchestra, Ayres went on to conduct orchestras for artists like the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como. In 1969 Ayres died at age 60 after being hit by a car in Las Vegas where he was working as the musical conductor for Connie Francis at the Landmark Hotel. Coming a decade prior to the hit by Les Paul and Mary Ford, this is among the first recordings of "How High the Moon"--a bit more sophisticated than the 1951 hit without the rocking and rolling.
Time to Vote!
There you have it--two great versions of one great song. Which do you like the best? Please don't use the excuse that you don't like the music or you don't know this song. You don't have to like the music and it doesn't matter if you've never heard it before. Just judge what you hear. Which version do you prefer? It's up to you to help 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 version you chose (or which one was the least objectionable to your ears). 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
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Alex J. Cavanaugh
J. A. Scott (New this round!)
Results on Monday July 20th
Are you aware of Les Paul's contributions to modern music? Do you like to hear old standards ramped up a bit with rock and roll rhythms? Have you ever written romantic poetry using the moon as your inspiration?