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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Battle of the Bands: When I'm Dead and Gone

November 1st is Day of the Dead

        ...But it's also the day of the Battle of the Bands!

          Some of you might also think of November 1st as All Saints or All Souls Day.   In many other parts of the world this official day of remembrance of the Roman Catholic Church calendar celebrates those who have passed from this life.  It's a huge celebratory day in Mexico known as Day of the Dead that has now been tied in with the celebration of Halloween.  Though primarily a religious holiday, the day has become one of parties and public gatherings.

However Let Us Remember

          For many bloggers the 1st and 15th of each month is now celebrated as Battle of the Bands Day.  Twenty-four times per year  a group of bloggers join in with BOTB founders Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes to present different versions of one song for you the readers to vote upon your favorite.  Each participating blogger picks their own songs to use for the event.   After several days we all will announce which of our contestants has received the most votes to be named as the favorite in their contest.   After you've voted on my choices, I hope you will visit the participants listed at the bottom of this page and vote on their Battles.

In Honor of Day of the Dead

         In my Battles I usually try to do some kind of thematic tie-in that will present something to offer for the readers who don't care about BOTB.  I always hope that everyone will be willing to jump in with us to listen and vote, but in the event that anyone doesn't want to or even can't  listen to the song offerings I like to have an issue or idea for us to think about.   In the case of this current song I will be doing a tie-in with my Insecure Writer's Support Group post coming up on Wednesday November 5th.

        Also of late I've had a secondary theme in a sense of pitting female artists against males.   In this Battle the boys are back in town for a guys only Battle.   That doesn't mean only the guys can vote.  I'm counting on you ladies since you're the majority of voters in each contest.   Even if you don't know the song or like it or whatever, please try to find something that stands out for you to make one or the other version the one that you prefer.  I think it will be interesting to see how those of you for whom this song is a new one will run with this contest.

        In this round of Battle the contest is one of subtleties.   In the past some other participants including me have posted versions that were very similar.   This Battle is one of those, but there are also some very distinct differences that make each stand out from the other.   The song presentations are virtually the same so please rather than dismissing them as such, listen a bit more closely to determine which version you prefer and tell why you think so.  I have a definite preference based on something very specific, but I'll tell you what that is when I announce the winner next Friday November 7th.

McGuinness Flint  "When I'm Dead and Gone" (1970)
      After my good friend Marvin started raving about this song in early 1971 I started to take note.  He and I had similar tastes in music, but often the music I was keeping up with was different that the songs that caught his ear.  He was mostly picking up with what was being played on the top 40 radio where I wasn't listening to that much radio--at least not the mainstream rock stations.  Soon after the song caught on with me I bought a copy of the very fine album by McGuinness Flint, the only album I would own by them and their only album of note.  The group didn't last long, but the members went on to play roles in other groups.

        The song was inspired by the life of bluesman Robert Johnson.  In the U.S. this song peaked at number 47 on the charts, but it made it to number 2 in their homeland of the United Kingdom.  "When I'm Dead and Gone" has been covered by a number of artists over the years.  Co-writer Graham Lyle's most well known song is the Tina Turner hit "What's Love Got to Do With It".   

Def Leppard  "When I'm Dead and Gone" (2006)

        The cover version I decided to use is by rockers Def Leppard.  They're the band with the drummer who  lost his arm.  Ironically, though drummer Rick Allen appears in the video photo montage, there is no drumming in their version of the song.   "When I'm Dead and Gone" appears on the 2006 album Yeah which being a collection of covers might be ripe picking for future Battles.   Others can feel free to use the other songs as I've got songs lined up for a long time and may not get to this album for a while.

Time to Vote!

           Which version do you like best?   Show some life don't play dead, perk up and cast a vote for your favorite.   Leave your vote in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose.  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.


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands




           The results of my Battle will be announced on Friday November 7th.  I'll also be talking about zombies in that post.

          Are you familiar with the song "When I'm Dead and Gone"?    What differences did you hear between the two versions?   Do you want people to come to mourn at your grave when you're dead and gone?


  1. Never heard of the song but I'll vote for Def Leppard cause I've heard of them and not the other artist.


    >>... Def Leppard. They're the band with the drummer who lost his arm.

    Oh, I thought they were the band with the drummer who spontaneously combusted.

    I don't think I've ever heard this song. But I'm voting FOR McGuinness Flint because I've never heard of them before, but I have heard of Def Leppard.

    No, actually I'm voting for the original because it's got more interesting instrumentation and I like the quirky beat of the drummer.

    I also liked that little blast on the sax just after the 2-minute mark, and... am I hearing a kazoo in there somewhere?

    Anyway, pour me a McGuinness.

    ~ McDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. McGuinness Flint gets my vote. The haunting melody did it, and the visuals.

    I tire of seeing visuals of the band (any band) and prefer images that seem to merge with the song.

    I know Def Leppard has many fans so they don't need my vote. . .

  4. I have never heard the song before....glad I hadn't but Def Leppard gets my vote only because the other group too are unknown to me.
    I remember Def Leppard years back aslo one of my children liked the group.

  5. I remember the song from the Yeah CD. Not crazy about the tune itself, but definitely Def Leppard for me.

  6. JoJo-- I guess that's a legitimate reason. Got your vote for DL.

    STMcC-- Yes you heard a kazoo--or maybe more than one.

    DG-- I find it to be a catchy tune that I have more than once sang in idle times.

    Yvonne-- I'm surprised you aren't familiar with McGuinness Flint as they are a UK band and were apparently popular there for a while. The song was a #1 charter in UK.

    Alex-- Yeah for Leppard, but no for Flint.


  7. Its been years but Yes, totally, Def Leppard get my vote.

    Its funny how some things stick in your head. Two versions? Really? I think theres a third version but its hardly surprising, it has such a fun, memorable beat.

  8. Since McCarthy beat me to the "pour me a McGuiness" joke, I'm voting for Def Leppard.

    Seriously, I am voting for Def Leppard, and it may be because of my familiarity with their version (had not heard the original until a few minutes ago).

    The original also has a much more dated arrangement to me, and what STMcC termed "interesting" I found to be quirky.

    So count me in for Def Leppard.

  9. I love old cemeteries. I hope one day to go to New Orleans, Metairi I think is the big one in that area. Was that a kazoo and wash board near the end of the McGuinnes song? It has almost an energetic vibe.

    Def's version is heavy on the guitar, has a deep melancholy air about it. I think I hear an accordion near the end, but with the age of synthesizers, who knows what instruments are actually used.

    I'm voting for Def Leopard for this song, but its a really close race.

  10. Don't cry for me Argentina!
    Big toss up on this one. In 1971 I liked the McGuiness Flint... then 2006 well, Def did it with a whole new atmosphere.
    Still I think I like the McGuiness best. Such a catchy-ness to the tune and treble is nice set against that strong drum beat. I believe the word is rhythmic. Yep.

  11. Funny, I listened to the song first and recognised it, then read your info. Realised that's why I recognised it as it was No 2 in the UK. And 2 British Bands, go us! LOL
    I really like the original, but am a Def Leppard fan ....... On balance I prefer the edginess to DL's version so they get my vote :) x

  12. First, I want to say a Big Thank You for putting up a song that I like. I've never heard it before, but it is completely listenable.

    Second, I liked both versions. The instrumentation in the first one was BY FAR more interesting than the DL version, which relied heavily, and solely, on the guitar. Saying that, they still did a good job with it. I liked it.

    I am pretty sure that the first one used a kazoo. Now that isn't an instrument one often hears! I listened to the first one, the second one, then the first again... because this really was a difficult choice.

    In the end, I find (once again) that I am not a guitar girl. If I am going to listen to just one instrument drive a song, I am pretty sure I'd prefer a piano. So, give one to McGuinness Flint for their impressive use of the kazoo--among other things!

  13. Spacer -- I believe there are at least 6 versions, maybe more.

    Larry-- I really thought you of all readers would recognize this song and band, but I guess MG faded into obscurity far sooner and faster than I had expected.

    Dolorah -- The washboard wouldn't surprise me and I don't recall hearing an accordion. I'll have to listen to both a bit more closely again.

    Dixie -- Finally someone who recognizes the band and I guess the song.

    Suzanne - From what I've read this song was a big one in the UK and the fact that it's one that Def Leppard was influenced by enough to include it on their album of covers means something.

    Robin -- I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I thought more people would like it more than has been indicated so far because it captured the heart of my ears back when I first heard it. I still enjoy listening to their album.


  14. I love it-Such an upbeat style but singing dead and gone:) I choose the first one because I really like that one guitar (what is the musical instrument? A ukulele?). I love the instruments in the first one more so I choose McGuinness Flint. Of course I want to be remembered and I want some fun music at my wake

  15. Between this post and your last one, you can tell you're a fan of this spooky time of year, Lee! :)

  16. Great Battle Mr. Bird.

    I was prepared to NOT like the Def Leppard version, but have to admit it wasn't too bad.

    BUT, those McGuinness Flint Guys have a much more interesting version. I noticed a couple of the comment are going on about a kazoo.'s quirky, fun, and makes me want to sing along. Kinda a 'blue grass' feel, like something the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band might have done. Give the McGuinness boys a round of applause from me and my VOTE. Their version was so much fun, I think I'll go listen to it again.

  17. Birgit-- The instrument you are wondering about is a mandolin. According to Wikipedia this is one of the first rock hits to feature a mandolin. You can hear the mandolin used in Rod Stewart's "Maggie May", a number of Seals and Crofts songs, and many other songs over the years.

    Suze -- I always loved Halloween when I was a kid. And then I worked for nearly twenty years in the Halloween business. I do enjoy scary genres in film and literature.

    FAE-- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is a good comparison. Flint does a style that became quite popular in the early 70's. It is fun music I will agree.


  18. Of course! I love that instrument and my grand mother could play one. Actually, after visiting one of the others I saw the mandolin-where the songwriter took all the songs done on youtube and pieced it all together. I think I saw one with the mandolin there

  19. I'm with JoJo and will vote for Def Leppard. They rock!

  20. A perfect theme for this time of year! Though it was a tough choice, Def Leppard gets my vote. With this song, I think less is more.


  21. I love Def Leppard and When I'm dead and gone. Very fitting for Halloween thoughts.

  22. Hey Lee! Sorry for the delay in getting to your BOTB -- I was away from the Innerwebs all weekend.

    I don't recall hearing this song before. The first original version was fun and catchy. The singer really reminded me of John Lennon. The instrumentation was quirky and entertaining.

    Def Leppard's version was a little too slick. Interesting, too that the video images all feature the drummer, and you specifically referred to him when introducing the song, and yet the song features NO drums at all -- just some tambourine. LOL!

    While Def Leppard did an acceptable job, I much prefer the original. It had WAY more personality and soul.

  23. I like Def's version better, only because the instrumental in McGunness' drown out the words.

    I vote for McGunness! Didn't expect that, right? They need a vote, and I like siding with the underdog. Smiles.

  24. Okay, Arlee. I actually liked both versions. What put it over the top for me was the visuals for the first one. McGuinness Flint gets my vote.

  25. Birgit-- I think I saw that in the video you're talking about.

    Stephen Tremp-- Another vote for Def.

    Julie -- I think the Def Leppard "Yeah" album must be an acoustic one.

    Teresa -- Hope you didn't mean you love when you're dead and gone, but were referring to the song.

    Chris -- I'm surprised about all the more musical knowledgeable people who are not familiar with this song.

    Robyn -- A Def-defying vote!

    Susanne -- Okay, I get the picture.


  26. I knew the MGF version coming in, and really wasn't expecting much from Lepperd. But I was surprised that they did a pretty decent job.

    But... MGF gets the vote.

  27. I liked the visuals of McGuiness Flint and it's a catchy foot tapping song with interesting guitar instrumentation, though a little repetitive.
    I prefer the Def Leppard one though, there's more energy somehow in it and the sax always introduces an enjoyable swing to any music.

  28. CW--Since Def Lep are long time pros, rock and roll vets, I would expect them to do well.

    Susan Scott-- You've made the second reference to a saxophone in this contests and each reference has been about different versions. I don't know if I'm just not hearing this or each of you are mistaken about the sax cause I'm not hearing it. But anyway I'm recording your vote for Def Lep.


  29. McGuiness gets my vote. I love the tone of the song, it has a catchy rhythm and the guitar just adds to it perfectly. Def Lep just didn't draw me in.

  30. I am familiar with this song and of these two versions, I prefer the Def Leppard version.

  31. Sheena-Kay-- Thank you for your vote in this round. Hope you'll come to other Battles.

    Pat-- Def it is for you.


  32. I do like DL, but I will vote for Flint. The cover is more of just a change of pace for Def and not enough separation on the song for me to go against the original.

  33. Sadly, I've never heard this awesome song before. That said, I'll have to go with Def Leopard. I like the richness of the chords and auto-tune harmonies:)

  34. Trying to catch up here. I found the mandolin in the McGuinness Flint version of the song annoying, so I'm going with Def Leppard. The vocal is better with the DL version and I much prefer the 12-string guitar to the mandolin.


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.