Yep -- it's the birthday of Beverly D'Angelo!
Beverly (born 11/15/1951) is one of those actresses who has been in a ton of roles and always looks familiar to me on the screen, but who I can never quite remember her name. I always find myself asking, "Who's that lady?" when I see her. I'm not sure why -- she's pretty well-known. She's often associated with her role as Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon Vacation series of movies, but she has also played supporting roles in a host of other movies and TV shows.
But besides being Beverly's birthday, November 15th is also the day for another entry in the Battle of the Bands (BOTB) blogfest. This blogging event was originally started by Stephen T. McCarthy and FarAwayEyes back in August of 2013. It occurs on the 1st and the 15th of every month, and I think it's a fun way to share and discuss music. Each of the bloggers taking part offers their readers a choice of two (or occasionally more) versions of the same song, performed by different recording artists. And the readers get to vote for their favorite rendition.
It might seem odd to start a BOTB post with a mix of Beverly D'Angelo and a picture of the Isley Brothers, but it is Beverly's birthday, and after all -- they ARE connected:
- Beverly D' Angelo played Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon's Vacation.
- National Lampoon's Vacation was directed by Harold Ramis.
- Harold Ramis was one of the writers of National Lampoon's Animal House.
- National Lampoon's Animal House featured the classic toga party with a performance by the 'band' Otis Day and the Knights.
- During that toga party in the movie, Otis Day and the Knights sang the song, "Shout".
- "Shout" was originally written and recorded in 1959 by the Isley Brothers.
Anyway, speaking of the Isley Brothers...
Let the Battle Begin!
In 1973,The Isley Brothers went from the original threesome of vocalist brothers O'Kelley, Rudolph, and Ronald to an extended family group which included younger brothers Ernie on guitar, Marvin on bass, and brother-in-law Chris Jasper on keyboards. To highlight the new makeup, they chose the title "3+3" for their album that year -- their 11th as a group, but the first with the mix of the three original members and the three 'official' new additions.
They also had a hit from that album, titled, "That Lady," although it was called "That Lady (Part 1)" for the shortened single version. The song featured Latin-sounding percussion and a psychedelic-funky-sensual vibe with prominent distorted guitar by Ernie.
Take a listen to the full album cut:
Great song, isn't it?. And do you like the guitar? I do. Ernie Isley's guitar playing has often been referred to as "Hendrix-influenced," although that could probably describe 99% of the guitarists in 1973 at some level. But with Ernie, the comparison was legitimate and deeper than most: Hendrix had played and toured with the Isley Brothers from 1963-1965 and had lived in the Isley home during much of that period. Young Ernie was definitely influenced.
But besides the trippy Hendrix-ish guitar, Santana-like percussion and organ parts, and abrupt ending (made worse by the above video cutting off the last note), there's something else interesting about this song:
It's a cover.
And you know who did the original version? The Isley Brothers.
In 1964, they had actually released it as a single with some different lyrics under the original title, "Who's That Lady?" However, back in 1964, the single was pretty much ignored and never charted.
But I think that original version is a cool, smooth, soulful rendition with a nice horn break and some organ that I know Mr. McCarthy will definitely appreciate. Here's the original 1964 version, also by the Isley Brothers:
Oh, and speaking of Santana -- did you know he also did a cover of this song? In 1990, for the album Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, featuring Alex Ligertwood on vocals. It's a little different rendition. I don't often include a third rendition in BOTB battles, but I think this one is interesting enough to add to the mix. Based on the comments on the YouTube page of the video, some people don't care for it at all. Others love it.
See what you think:
So now it's your turn to add your input: Which version do you like better? The funky hit 1973 "cover" version by the Isley Brothers, their 1964 original version, or Santana's 1990 interpretation?
I invite you to listen to all three and give them each a chance. And remember that this is a contest about the music -- not the images in the videos, While there shouldn't be much in these videos that might sway you, please use your ears to judge, not your eyes.
After listening, please vote in the comments as to which version you think is best, or which speaks to you the deepest. Feel free to also share as much as you would like about how any of the above videos strike you, even if it's less than positive.
Then -- afterwards, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:
- Far Away Series (FarAwayEyes)
- Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog
- Tossing it Out (Arlee Bird)
- Your Daily Dose (Robin)
- DiscConnected (DiscConnected)
- Mike's Ramblings (Mike Pain)
- Curious as a Cathy (Cathy Kennedy)
- John Hilton (The Sound of One Hand Typing)
- And even Alex J. Cavanaugh sometimes...
Thank you very much for listening and for voting -- come back and visit again next week to find out how the voting has gone. I'll make a post then with my own vote and also announce the winner.
And in the meantime -- take some time to enjoy a classic old comedy movie like National Lampoon's Animal House with John Belushi, or National Lampoon's Vacation with Chevy Chase and... errr, ummm... who's that lady???