MACARTHUR PARK – BATTLE OF THE BANDS #BOTB

48 CommentsBattle of the Bands (BOTB), Blogfests, Music

Happy November and welcome to another edition of
BATTLE OF THE BANDS

When you’re finished here, please scroll down for an exciting announcement!

Battle of the Bands BOTB

BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB), hosted by Far Away Series and StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. is where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. Two “Battles” per month, on the 1st and 15th. Votes will be tallied and posted the following week. (See below for further details.)

♫♫ This is another battle of the sexes,
pitting disco against prog rock. ♫♫
Heads up: Long song and write-up!

MACARTHUR PARK

HISTORY:
[reference only – please do not vote on this one]

From Wikipedia: “MacArthur Park” was written and composed by Jimmy Webb in the summer and fall of 1967. The inspiration for the song was his relationship and breakup with Susie Horton. MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, California, was where the two occasionally met for lunch and spent their most enjoyable times together. At that time (the middle of 1965), Horton worked for a life insurance company whose offices were located just across the street from the park. In an interview with Newsday in October 2014, Webb explained:Everything in the song was visible. There’s nothing in it that’s fabricated. The old men playing checkers by the trees, the cake that was left out in the rain, all of the things that are talked about in the song are things I actually saw. And so it’s a kind of musical collage of this whole love affair that kind of went down in MacArthur Park.”

“MacArthur Park” was first recorded by actor Richard Harris, after he met the composer at a fundraiser in late 1967. Webb had been invited to provide the musical backdrop at the piano. Out of the blue, Harris, who had just starred in Camelot, and had performed several musical numbers in the film, suggested to Webb that he wanted to release a record. At first, Webb did not take Harris seriously, but later received a telegram from Harris, requesting Webb “come to London and make a record.” Webb flew to London and played Harris a number of songs for the project, but none seemed to fit. The last song Webb played was “MacArthur Park,” originally written for The Association, whose members had rejected it because of its length, complex arrangement, and unorthodox lyrics. Harris chose it for his debut.

 

The recording appeared on his album A Tramp Shining in 1968 and was released as a single. It was an unusual choice, at its more than seven minute length and multi-part structure. It topped the music charts in Europe and Australia and peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the U.S. In 1969, “MacArthur Park” received the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

The foregoing serves as background information only.
Now, on to the actual contest……


DONNA SUMMER

LaDonna Adrian Gaines, better known as Donna Summer, (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012) was a Boston-born singer, songwriter, and painter, who came to prominence in the Disco Era. She released a multi-million selling vinyl single disco version of “MacArthur Park” in the fall of 1978.

It reached #1 on the American pop music sales charts for three weeks and was nominated for the Grammy Award, in the Best Female Pop Vocal category.

VS

THE NEAL MORSE BAND

Neal Morse (born August 2, 1960) is an American singer, bandleader and prog rock composer based in Nashville, Tennessee. “MacArthur Park” is an uncharted bonus track, from the album The Grand Experiment, released in February of this year.

The album was composed and recorded over a short period of time, with no preparation work before entering the studio. This is the first time Morse has recorded this way, with no pre-prepared material (and as a completely collaborative effort with his new band), hence the album’s title.

VOTE NOW!

Please state your preference in comments below and why you chose it.
Click on your preference here too:

[socialpoll id=”2305058″ width=”375″]

Voting remains open until 10 am ET, Nov. 7,
after which I will count the votes, add mine and publish the results.

COMING NOV. 9!

Miracle of Small Things Blog Tour

You are cordially invited to drop by The Doglady’s Den and visit with BOTB regular,
author Guilie Castillo-Oriard (Quiet Laughter), as she talks about her new release,
“The Miracle of Small Things”

 

Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao
anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career.
But the paradise we
expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

“MacArthur Park” is a song that holds special meaning for Luis Villalobos, the book’s main character, who’s spent his adult life as a serial monogamist. As an international tax attorney, he lives a jet-set kind of gypsy life, never in one place more than a few years, and always with his eye on the next big financial center, the next tier of achievement. Most of his lovers understand this; most are part of the same world. In the song’s opening lines he sees the inevitability of the end… It can’t be helped, “spring was never waiting for us”. It’s a song that validates his belief that everything is transitory, nothing lasts, and it’s a mistake to believe otherwise. It takes a dog, rescued by accident, to show him that it’s not the length but the strength of the commitment that matters.”

Intrigued? Come back on Nov. 9 to learn more.

These are the other BOTB regulars and semi-regulars.
Please cruise on by their sites and, if they have a post up, vote on their selections as well:
[Check back – there’s no set posting time]

Angels Bark / Book Lover / Cherdo On The Flipside / Curious as a Cathy / DC Relief BOTB /
Far Away Series / Holli’s Hoots & Hollers / J.A. Scott /Jingle Jangle Jungle / Mike’s Ramblings /
Novel Brews /
Quiet Laughter /
Sound of One Hand Typing / StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands /
Tossing It Out / Women: We Shall Overcome / Your Daily Dose
HOSTS

As always, “Sharing is Caring”. Spread this musical joy all over your social networks.
Hashtag is #BOTB

Until next time.

ROCK ON!

Debbie

♫♪♫♪♫ Rockchick Rapture!

Follow THE DOGLADY’S DEN ‘s board BATTLE OF THE BANDS #BOTB at THE DOGLADY’S DEN on Pinterest.





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THANKS FOR SHARING!
Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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48 thoughts on “MACARTHUR PARK – BATTLE OF THE BANDS #BOTB

  1. I was so tied up with the first week of NaNo, I didn’t get here in time to vote, but Donna Summer would have won my vote. So glad to see she won! I loved her, played her constantly in 78 / 79 – She was my go to girl! I’m sure I drove my neighbors crazy with her music. Even today, they make me want to dance and sing! Thanks, putting her music on now and dancing the afternoon away!

  2. I’ve always liked Donna Summer’s voice, and when this one swung into disco I said, yeah, that’s it. Then I heard Neal Morse, and, well, I realized I’d rather listen to prog-rock any day. I like the Yes/ELP sound he gives this one. I think I even like his version better than the original. Of course, every time I hear the original, I think of Dave Thomas on the old SCTV show…

    1. Hi, John; That clip is hilarious! 😀 I used to watch SCTV all the time but don’t remember it. Thanks for your vote, with high praise for Neil Morse. You’re the second person who has mentioned the similarity to Yes. Love ELP!

  3. This is a good song. I like the original.
    As for the battle, I think this time I’m going to go with Donna Summer.
    I love her disco-ish rendition.
    Someone left the cake out in the rain?
    If you ask me, the cake is a lie.

    1. HI, Jeffrey; I love the original and remember it so well. A 7+ minute song on the radio was a real aberration in those days. 🙂 Another vote for Donna. It will be interesting to see who wins this one! The cake in the rain does seem unlikely, but you never know….Maybe somebody was taking a cake to a party, cut through the park, got spooked by someone or something, dropped it and ran off. Then, it started raining 😉

  4. It’s a strange song, but I’ve always kind of liked it.

    I was born and raised in L.A. and been to MacArthur Park a number of times, and driven past it countless times on my way to Dodger Stadium. In fact, my Pa and Ma met for the first time at a dance right across the street from MacArthur Park. Of course, that was in the late 1950s and the area wasn’t bad then. Today, it’s pretty scroungy and not where you’d want to be after dark.

    I think my favorite version of this song is probably the recording by WAYLON JENNINGS. But between these two, I vote for DONNA SUMMER. She’s a bit over-the-top, but she still beats the ProgRock by Neal Morse. I hate ProgRock. I think I hate it even more than I do Rap. It’s such pretentious bullshit! And Neal Morse is one of the worst purveyors of that B.S. style of music (in my opinion).

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    1. You’re probably the only one here who’s been to the real MacArthur Park, Stephen. 🙂 Too bad the neighbourhood has gone downhill, but that happens a lot, everywhere.

      Waylon’s rendition of the song is beautiful. I didn’t choose it for the battle though because it was somewhat similar to the original. He sure had an amazing voice!

      That’s the strongest negative opinion about Prog Rock I’ve seen, so far. 🙂 Personally, I like it (The Moody Blues, ELP and King Crimson come to mind), but everybody has their own taste, which makes these battles so interesting.

      Another vote for Donna Summer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      1. DEBBIE ~
        I do like some (not many) recordings by ELP. I’ve never heard anything by King Crimson that I liked. But, interestingly, I like A LOT of The Moody Blues’ songs. In fact, I don’t really even think of them as ProgRock. I’m not certain why I don’t, and would have to give that some deeper contemplation. But off the top of my mind, and off the cuff, I would say that The Moody Blues aren’t often guilty of what I consider one of the true hallmarks of ProgRock: Abrupt changes.

        Generally, ProgRock (aside from leaning heavily on synthesizers) is loaded with abrupt changes. Sudden, non-organic changes in tempo and tone. It usually comes across to me like a “patchwork quilt” of sounds and “segments” of music which don’t flow naturally into the other parts. And then there’s that “Oh, look at us borrowing ideas from Classical music!” pretentious nature of the music which turns me off.

        In short, I would say ProgRock (most of it, but not all) gives me a severe case of “musical whiplash”. It always leaves me agitated because of the nature of it, with all those fast, slow, up, down, stop, start patchwork segments of sound.

        However, ‘Benny The Bouncer’ always amuses me. And note that the opening lines at the top of my blog are a quote from ‘Karn Evil 9’ (1st Impression, Part 2). So, there are exceptions to the rule.

        ~ D-FensDogG

        1. Welcome back. Stephen; It’s all a matter of personal taste. Like metal, prog rock has sub-genres, and not every one of them is necessarily appealing: http://www.progarchives.com/Progressive-rock.asp
          For instance, Rush is considered to be prog and I can’t stand them at all 😛 Not only their musical style but Geddy Lee’s vocals make me cringe! 😛
          “Borrowing ideas from Classical music” is something The Moody Blues have always done. 🙂
          Definitely true about the exceptions, disco for example. Not my thing, especially this song, but some of it is not bad. Thanks for adding more meat to the discussion. I’ll leave you with this:

  5. I had no idea everything in the song was real. It didn’t seem to make much sense when it came out. I vote for Donna Summer and her beautiful voice. My comment about the Neal Morse Band might sound crazy, but the singer holds too long on consonants. In fact, he holds vowels too long, too. I appreciate good diction, but the Neal Morse band overdoes it. It sounds strange.

    Love,
    Janie

    1. That was a revelation to me too, Janie. 🙂 Interesting observation about Neil Morse. I’ll have to listen again! So, that’s another vote for Donna. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      1. I learned quite a bit about diction in my high school music classes. I applied it to my debate and forensics competitions. Judges said all the time that I had beautiful diction.

  6. Whoa… Debbie, I predict this is going to be a closer-than-close battle. Great, great match-up. I absolutely *loved* the prog-rock version, had never heard of them but I’ve added them to my must-listens. I have to vote Donna, though. As gorgeous (and beautifully modern w/o losing the essence of the original) as the second version is, hers still gives me chills… And makes me want to set the dance floor on fire 🙂

    Excellent battle. (Who am I kidding? All your BoTBs are.)

    And WHEEEEEEEE on the mention! I’m beyond honored to be hosted at your place. Debbie… Very much looking forward to it.

    P.S. — Sorry for the belated visit… I’m in Mexico this week, and internet is spotty. I’ll catch up, though 🙂

    1. Hi, Guilie; I’m glad you enjoyed the battle and thanks for the compliment. 🙂 Donna’s version was so popular back in the day. Your vote for her is duly noted.

      You’re most welcome for the mention; I too am looking forward to your post. Enjoy your time in Mexico. Cheers!

  7. Richard Harris’ version is my all-time favorite, but I did like Summer’s cover when it released in the 80s. I thought I’d vote for her today, but I reckon it’s the mood I’m in because Neil Morse’s cut moved me to vote for him. It may have been the rockability of the music arrangement minus the disco vibes that I liked and this is coming from someone who liked disco back in the day. I’m not sure how I feel about Morse’s vocals. He sang the lyrics differently than Harris and Summer, so I’m not sure what to make of it just yet. Great battle. Glad to hear another artist doing this song other than what I already know. Thanks for voting in my BoTB. Have a tunetastic week!

    1. Hi, Cathy; Richard Harris certainly did it best. 🙂 I too was surprised to see another cover besides Donna’s. Neil’s take is quite different and I thank you for your vote. Your battles are always interesting and it’s my pleasure to participate in them. Cheers!

  8. I always learn stuff with your battles. I’d heard this song before, but knew nothing of its history. Sometimes I feel like I stand outside myself while I’m in the middle of a budding relationship. I just know that if I saw a cake left out in the rain while I was with my SO that would scream to me that my life/romance is going to look very much like that cake (sooner or later). I guess it made an impression on Webb, too.

    Give my vote to Donna Summer on this one:)

    1. I always considered the cake to be symbolic, as well. 🙂 Most people have no idea what this song is all about, so I thought it would be a point of interest. Glad you enjoyed reading about it, Robin. Your vote for Donna Summer is duly noted.

  9. Donna Summer for me, for coming fairly close to the haunting sense of loss conveyed by Richard Harris. I’ve always been a fan of Donna Summer, but I grew up hearing the original version. I do think the Neal Morse Band has an interesting cover 😉

  10. Oh, girl – I love Donna Summer! This was the only easy vote I’ve cast today and I thank you for it, ha ha ha.

    Actually, I have to say both songs are great. Donna-love wins out this time, though.

    Nice battle!

  11. I vote for the Donna Summer version. Listening to her version reminded a bit of Russ, and she has a nice voice. Disco isn’t exactly my thing, but the Neal Morse doo-hickey made me feel like I was listening to a very strange cartoon and did absolutely nothing for me. So, as I said, Donna gets my vote, although Richard Harris’ is the best.

  12. I always thought this song was pretty weird. BUT, the Donna summer version was weirder than weird, IMO. It somehow just felt wrong. I mean, the instrumentation was nice and she has a pretty voice and all, but something seemed very off. Normally, I’m not a fan of prog rock, but the Neal Morse version was even better than the original (Richard Harris) IMO. Therefore, give my vote to Neal. Nice job.

    Congrats to Guillie.

    1. It’s definitely an unusual song and I was quite startled when Donna Summer turned it into a disco number. It was a huge hit, though, so her gamble paid off. Thanks for coming by to vote. That’s another one for Neil Morse.
      Guilie’s book is so good! Hope you come back on the 9th. 🙂

  13. I loved the intro to Donna Summer and then she went all Disco which is, well, Donna Summer. I thought I would be voting for Neal Morse after the Disco fest but I am not! Neal Morse just was too rough for me in their style and it didn’t leave me with much so I am going with Donna because, yes it is Disco, but I love her voice and she gets my vote

    1. Hi, Birgit; Not a fan of Disco, I see. 🙂 Yes, Donna was the Queen of the genre, but at the time, I was quite startled to see a favourite song turned into a disco number. Is nothing sacred? LOL
      So, another vote for Donna, based on her vocals. Thanks for playing!

  14. Good morning Debbie, It’s always a delight to be greeted with a new music challenge. I like Morse’s version a wee bit more than Summer’s. She was screaming more than singing. But I never liked this song… and don’t care if I never have the recipe again. lol…. Have a wonderful Sunday!

    1. Hello, Angelika; Hopefully, you will like one of the future battles a bit more. 🙂 So then, I will put you down for Neil Morse as being the least objectionable? 😉 Thanks for participating, regardless.

  15. At first I thought I was going to vote for Donna Summer because I liked her disco version of the song…and I’m one of those rockers who also dig (some) Disco. But the Neal Morse band blew me away. They sound a bit like Yes. Love what they did with this song! Really impressive. So give my vote to Neal. Really great battle!
    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the battle, Michele. Even I liked some Disco, but not a whole lot. We partied hardy, regardless, back then. 🙂 Nice to see so much enthusiasm for a contestant. Your vote for Neil Morse is on the books.

  16. Hi, Debbie the Doglady! Ain’t it nice that we get an extra hour to check out the tuneage on the BOTB circuit? 🙂 Jimmy Webb’s masterpiece “MacArthur Park” is one of my all time favorite songs and the Richard Harris recording of it will always be definitive in my mind and heart. I was not the biggest fan of disco queen Donna Summer. I simply didn’t get what all the fuss was about. There are recordings of hers that I dislike more than this one, but I didn’t understand the need to make a disco record out of this great song. Records like this one helped fuel the “Disco Sucks” movement among rockers and precipitated the downfall of the genre, allowing the New Wave 80s to rush in and fill the void. If given a choice between disco and prog I will choose prog almost every time and this is one of them. THE NEAL MORSE BAND took us on a long ride and I wouldn’t exactly call it eleven minutes in heaven. Truth be told, the best moments of the track came when Morse stopped singing and allowed the band to jam. They really got cookin’ in the last few minutes and I enjoyed it. King Richard still rules but my vote goes to THE NEAL MORSE BAND.

    1. Hello, Shady; Sorry for the late response, but better late than never, yes? 🙂 We have similar opinions once again. I was a bit startled when Donna Summer came out with this Disco version of a favourite song, but many people loved it. I had a “Disco Sucks” T-shirt back in the day, but we still partied hardy a la “Saturday Night Fever”. Some stuff was actually pretty good, but bands like KC and the Sunshine Band made me gag 😛 Your vote for Prog rocker Neil has been duly noted. Thanks and have a great week!

      1. ITA about KC & the Sunshine Band. (I just threw up in my mouth a little.) However, I too embrace the best of almost every genre, and I have in the pipeline a series titled Disco That Doesn’t Suck in which I will present….. disco that doesn’t suck 🙂

        1. Oh cool! I’ll look forward to your “Disco That Doesn’t Suck” series. 🙂 “Miss You”, by the Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” top my list. I like the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”, too. Every time I hear it, I see John Travolta’s feet, bouncing down the sidewalk. “Saturday Night Fever” sure captured the spirit of the times. We were out every weekend. Rambling on…..Hard not to, when the subject is music. Thanks for coming back to reply.

  17. This is one of my favorite songs. I had the A Tramp Shining album in 8-track cassette back in the early 70’s and later added the CD to my collection. I think it’s a wonderful album.

    I’d never really listened to the slow into of the Donna Summer version. The strings in that opening are so beautiful. I’ve always liked the faster disco parts as well. It’s a great version of the song.

    I had never heard this version by Neal Morse Band. They nailed it. The song sounds like it was written for them.

    I definitely cast my vote for Neal Morse. But wow, what a great Battle!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. It’s nice to know you’re such a fan of this song, Lee! 🙂 I was surprised to learn there were more covers out there than Donna Summer’s. First vote goes to Neil Morse. Thanks for your thoughts.