BATTLE OF THE BANDS!
I've spent so much time in the last seven days listening to Train that I suspect many of you thought it'd be a Train match-up here today. Can't say the thought didn't cross my mind, but no. (Hand to God: most of the time you lovely folks vote against the version of the song I like best, and I couldn't bear to see my beloved Train lose in one of these things.) So, we're doing something else.
The song is Cold, Cold Heart. Wikipedia actually has some interesting stuffs to say about this song. I'll let you decide how much is true. (I know what you're thinking... if it's on the Internet it MUST be true.) And still... the Internet was created by human beings. Ergo... Moving on to Wikipedia and Cold, Cold Heart.
Cold, Cold Heart" is a country music and popular music song, written by Hank Williams. This blues ballad is both a classic of honky tonk and an entry in the Great American Songbook.
Williams first recorded and released the song in 1951, originally as the B-side (MGM-10904B) to "Dear John" (MGM-10904A). "Dear John" peaked at #8 after only a brief four-week run on Billboard magazine's country music charts, but "Cold, Cold Heart" proved to be a favorite of disk jockeys and jukebox listeners, whose enthusiasm for the song catapulted it to #1 on the country music charts. The song achingly and artfully describes frustration that the singer's love and trust is unreciprocated due to a prior bad experience in the other's past.
That same year, it was recorded in a pop version by Tony Bennett with a light orchestral arrangement from Percy Faith. This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 39449. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on July 20, 1951 and lasted 27 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1.
The popularity of Bennett's version has been credited with helping to expose both Williams and country music to a wider national audience. Allmusic writer Bill Janovitz discusses this unlikely combination:
- "That a young Italian singing waiter from Queens could find common ground with a country singer from Alabama's backwoods is testament both to Williams' skills as a writer and to Bennett's imagination and artist's ear."
So, it started as a B-side on a country record, became more popular than the A-side, was then recorded as a pop song and charted again. Since then it's been covered by MANY people and we're going to listen to two of them today. No, I didn't choose Hank Williams or Tony Bennett for this battle (though I'm interested in your thoughts on their version if you're familiar and want to share).
One of the first people to cover this song was Louis Armstrong way back in 1951. Yep, the same year that Hank Williams recorded it. Honestly, that says something (to my way of thinking) for the universal appeal of this song.
Here is Louis Armstrong with his take on Cold, Cold Heart:
One of the things that I particularly like about this battle is that both contenders have distinctive voices (and their arrangements are very different... or different enough... whatevs). Up next is a much more recent recording of this song by Norah Jones. Cold, Cold Heart is the third track on her 2002 album Come Away With Me. If you're unfamiliar, this debut album won five Grammys, though nothing for Cold, Cold Heart.
Here is Norah Jones with her take on Cold, Cold Heart:
For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:
- Far Away Series
- Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog
- Tossing it Out
- This Belle Rocks
- Mike's Ramblings
- Curious as a Cathy
- Book Lover
- The Sound of One Hand Typing
- dcrelief ~ Battle of the Bands
- Alex J. Cavanaugh (sometimes)
Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did!