Tuesday, October 15, 2013


[‘BOTB  #6’  Is  Dedicated  To  Kimberley  At  ‘Staples’,  Store  #377  On  Peoria  Avenue  In  Phoenix,  Airheadzona.]

Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –

Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (BOTB).
I have enough potential 'BOTB' match-ups to last me from now until ‘The Twelfth Of Never’. Until recently, I had those match-ups scribbled on paper in three different places: a pocket notebook, the back of an old employer memo, and a sheet of computer paper. On October 3rd, I decided to combine them all into one source and then to xerox the source in case I lose my original copy.

So I went to my local Staples and asked Kimberley, the young woman with the good personality behind the Copy counter, to xerox my ‘BOTB – 2013’ list. When she returned, she said to me, “I can’t help being nosey. What does ‘BOTB’ stand for? Best of the best?”
“No”, I answered. “It means, battle—”
She cut in quickly, BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!”
“Right”, I answered.

Then looking at the first match-up at the top of my list she asked, “Did ____ ___ really do a version of the song ‘________ __ ______’?!”
Understanding her surprise, I laughed and said, “Yep. Hard to believe, isn’t it?”

Kimberley and I went on to have an entertaining discussion about weird, warped, and wacky things related to music. At one point she mentioned Warren Zevon’s song ‘Excitable Boy’ and asked me if I was familiar with it. Why, of course! Agreement: ‘Excitable Boy’ is just too creepy for our tastes.

Warren Zevon? He’s the One-Hit-Wonder whose one hit, ‘Werewolves Of London’ went to #21 on Billboard’s Pop Chart in 1978. The weirdness known as ‘Werewolves Of London’ was written at L.A.’s Venice Beach. Where else? Surely you weren’t thinking “London”, were ya? 
I suggested to Kimberley that she should someday compare the lyrics of Warren Zevon’s original recording of his song ‘POOR, POOR, PITIFUL ME’ with the lyrics in Linda Ronstadt’s Top 40 Billboard cover version.

I already had “POOR, POOR, PITIFUL ME: Warren Zevon Versus Linda Ronstadt” on my ‘BOTB -2013’ list and figured I’d get to it eventually, but had something else in mind for #6. However, it was while having this discussion with Kimberley @ ‘Staples’ that I made the decision to make this my next ‘BOTB’ entry. My spontaneous conversation with Kimberley, combined with the fact that Linda Ronstadt has been in the news lately for announcing her decision to cease singing publicly due to her problems with Parkinson’s Disease, convinced me to bump this battle up to the top (a.k.a. "today").
Yes, in 1978, Linda Ronstadt took her version of Warren Zevon’s song to #31 on the Billboard chart. Zevon recorded his song in 1976 and it appeared on his self-titled ‘Warren Zevon’ LP, which would have been his debut album if not for the fact that he had previously released an album. (Funny how that works.)

Ronstadt’s version of the song appeared on her album ‘Simple Dreams’, but below is a picture of her album cover for ‘Hasten Down The Wind’ (the title of another song written by Warren Zevon), which I am posting instead for no pointicular reasons:
Lyrically, there were some expected changes considering the shift in gender viewpoints. For example:

Linda Ronstadt: Well, I met a man out in Hollywood
Warren Zevon: Well, I met a girl in West Hollywood

He/She put me through some changes, Lord
Sort of like a Waring blender.

But the REAL lyrical surprise occurs when comparing the third verses of each rendition (understand, I’m yakking “verses” here, NOT “choruses”).

Linda sings:

Well, I met a boy in the Vieux Carré
Down in Yokohama
He picked me up and he threw me down
He said, “Please don't hurt me, Mama.”


Warren saw it differently when he penned it. But first, before the infamous third verse, a little background info is in order...

The ‘Sunset Strip’ in Los Angeles is located in WEST Hollywood, not Hollywood. The ‘Sunset Strip’ is where the world famous nightclubs and concert venues were/are located. Right next to The Roxy is The Rainbow Bar, where all the visiting Rock stars like Donny Osmond John Denver Jimmy Page and Robert Plant hung out when in town for sold-out shows. Further East down The Strip was the Hyatt House Hotel (also known as “The Riot House’), where Led Zeppelin would stay and throw TV sets out of their windows into the swimming pool below. 

[For Rock ‘N’ Roll Trivia Buffs: It’s the roof of the Hyatt House Hotel where the ‘END OF TOUR: Los Angeles’ scene in the movie ‘This Is SPINAL TAP’ was filmed. That scene, by the way, includes what to me is probably the funniest line in the entire movie... “...cranking out some mediocre head-banging bullshit!” Ha!]
Alright, keep that stuffs in mind when you get to the Warren Zevon original. But first, Linda Ronstadt’s hit version:

Linda Ronstadt - 1977-07-Poor Poor Pitiful Me

And now Warren Zevon’s 1976 original (listen for the 3RD verse difference!)

Warren Zevon - Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Alright now, you know the gig... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. (NOTE: Comment Moderation is activated. All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.)
After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to FAE’s ‘Far Away Series’ and Arlee Bird’s ‘Tossing It Out’ blogs to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their BOTB blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to ‘Far Away Series’ and ‘Tossing It Out’ to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
Voice Your Vote @ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.

Find  The  True  Meaning  Of  Christmas:  Win  Money!-Money!-Money!  Spectacular,  Super-Colossal  Neighborhood  Christmas  Lights  And  Display  Contest!

Find  The  True  Purpose  For  Voting  On  ‘Battle  Of  The  Bands’  Installments:  Win  Compact  Discs!-Compact Discs!-Compact Discs!  Spectacular,  Super-Colossal  Blogosphere  ‘Battle  Of  The  Bands’  Voting  Contest!

Here’s The Deal: By voting on the ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits here and at the ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ and ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ blogs, you can win the compact disc of your choice. Every 4 months, FarAwayEyes, Arlee Bird and I will add up how many times you voted on our blogs, and the person who has participated most often (i.e., submitted the most eligible votes) will get to select one compact disc that contains any one of the songs that were included in any of our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (“Super-Colossal” expensive boxed-sets, imports, and ‘out-of-print’ compact discs not included). In the event of a tie, the names will be put in a Stetson and the name drawn from the cowboy hat will win the CD.

Rules For Voting: FAE, Arlee Bird and I post new ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits on the 1st and 15th of each month. We also post our own personal votes for the respective blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month (i.e., six days later). For your vote to be counted, it must be submitted in our comment sections BEFORE we post our own votes (BEFORE we make our own votes known on the 7th and the 21st).

Every 4 months there will be a new compact disc winner. In other words, ‘Battle Of The Bands’ #1 was posted on August 1, 2013, so at the end of November, one of you lucky voters is going to win a CD that includes one of the songs we’ve featured in our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (you get to choose, and it doesn’t matter if the song won or lost its battle – if you like it, it’s YOURS!)

Alright, now... VOTE ON and ROCK ON! (while we 
‘Count On...’)

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

POSTSCRIPT: If you are a blogger participating in the BOTB posts but are not involved in the vote-counting for the compact disc prize, please be sure to mention your BOTB blog bit in my Comment Section, so that others (including li’l ol’ me) will know to visit your blog and cast a vote.

Links To Previous 'BOTB' Installments:

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement. 


  1. This is a fun post. I like all the Hollyweird pictures, BUT I have to tell ya; I bet you have never been to Arron Russo’s Electric Theatre. Think about that, along with one of my blog comments that really caused you to pound your head on the screen. It was at a time when I wasn’t sure exactly who or what you knew, and when you posted an interview with Mr. Russo, I thought you would make the connection. Course my time at the Electric Theatre was always under an alias (for more reasons than one). Just a little more trivia for ya to ponder.

    Now to get down to business. It might surprise you but I have got to vote for Warren. I have to admit that I never cared for him much, but it was more due to some of his associations rather than his musical talents. In the past few years YOU have re-educated and re-exposed me to Mr. Zevon and he does kinda grow on ya. ANYWAY…Warren gets my vote. Linda does a pretty fair job on this one but it never quite felt right. I think it’s just not a song meant for a woman.

  2. This is one of those songs that never turned me on that much. Innocuous foot tapping listen to in the background of whatever I'm doing stuff. Otherwise I've heard Ronstadt's version but never paid close attention to it.

    I honestly thought this was an old Buddy Holly song or something. Didn't realize that this was a Zevon song. In fact I think this is the first time I've heard Zevon's version. I like it especially for the music arrangement and the fiddle part. I've never been a big Zevon fan. Not that I don't like him, I just never listened to his music that much.

    I like Zevon's version the best. Ronstadt's is okay but like I say it's a song that never grabbed me. If I'd heard Warren Zevon perform this back when it came out I might have paid closer attention to it.

    Warren Zevon gets my vote in this battle.

    Tossing It Out

  3. My vote goes to Terri Clark...oh wait not a choice. Ok well then my second choice is Linda. She is close to Terri or I guess the truth is Terri sings it a lot like her. I also just have a hard time listening to a guy whine about anything, especially poor, poor pitiful me. Also his version drags a bit for my taste.

  4. I will be the lone voice in the wilderness. I preferred Ronstadt's version. I did find that third verse change interesting (and your "education" helped to piece that scene together), but I just don't care for Zevon's voice.

  5. I vote for Warren. Linda has a lot to like (vocally, as well as for how she looks on album covers.. yowza!), but Warren gives it a truer rendition. Plus I especially like it because -- well, I don't want to talk about it....

    So Zevon for me.

  6. I feel like aksing me to pick between Warren Zevon and
    someone else is like aksing LC to pick between Todd Rundgren and anyone else (yeah, I said it, Larry).

    So... Zevon. And not just because he's one of my all time favorites, but because I definitely love his version better. With that said, Linda Ronstadt's is pretty good... but come on man, Zevon.

    (I can forgive him for being a newborn factory worker with all of his other great songs...)


  7. I'm gonna cheat here a little bit, This song is one of a very very short list of Linda's tunes I don't care for. And if I don't like it even with her involved, I SURE ain't gonna like it from someone else. So, call it a back door vote for Linda.

  8. Hello, ALL, EVERYONE, And EVERYBODY ELSE... I "say Hello to friends I know and everyone I meet" ...which may seem a shade redundant ...but tell that to Sam the Snowman ~

    No, I've not finally lost my last marble... but I just woke up after a much needed Temazepam-induced sleep and I'm somnambulating before the Dodgers/Cardinals game starts and the cold beer welcomes me with frothy open arms.

    Thanks to all for the votes and comments. I hope they continue rolling in, as is the last Battle Of The Bands contest I intend to participate in...

    ...until Nov. 1st.

    >>> FAE... --- Nope, I've never been to The Electric Theatre... but I have been turned on. I remember the post with the Aaron Russo interview but don't recall your comment that had me pounding my head against a fifth of bourbon (or was it gin?) Is that comment to be found under the Russo Interview post, or elsewhere? Can you, will you... post a URL to it here for me? (URL acceptable... it doesn't have to be a working "link". I can copy & paste it in my browser.) Thanks.

    Yeah, hang around me long enough and most of the sickos will grow on ya.
    ~ McMutineerDogg

    >>> BOIDMAN... --- Fiddle? There's a fiddle player on Zevon's zong? Why, yes indeed. That would be one David Lindley, who hisself is penciled in as a featured performer in a future 'BOTB' blog bit. Not sure when I'll get to him though. Probably not until 2014.

    >>> LUMA13... --- But the whining stopped when he shouted "Never Mind!" (I think it was the S&M fringe benefits that convinced him to keep that job and quit complaining.)

    >>> ROBIN... --- A little more "Riot House" history for ya: Jim Morrison once lived at the Hotel for awhile until he was evicted for hanging out of a window by his fingertips, dangling over the sidewalk below. Little Richard lived there for much of the 1980s. The Hyatt House Hotel once prominently displayed a photograph of an anonymous, long-haired man with the words of advice for the Hotel's employees: "Treat this man with respect - he may have just sold a million records".

    >>> CHRIS... --- You make valid points... ALL of them! Seems like you and I may have a similar sense of humor.

    >>> 4-B OLD SOUL... --- Can't fault Zevon for having such a strong work ethic that he was willing to do factory work while still in or just barely out of diapers, eh?

    >>> BROTHER MARTIN... --- A vote for the better version of a weak song is still a vote; it still means one thing: One (for Linda).

    ~ Stephen

  9. Who needs a printer when you have a Kimberley?

    >...but below is a picture of her album cover for ‘Hasten Down The Wind’ (the title of another song written by Warren Zevon), which I am posting instead for no pointicular reasons:

    It's pointless for me to comment further regarding those points you made a point of mentioning.

    I actually found my cassette tape of 'Excitable Boy' today. It was recorded from the album 32 years ago for me by a kid I met in college. I thought I wore it out but it still sounds like new. Those Maxell Ultra Dynamic cassettes must have been made really well.

    When they cremate me the only thing left will be that 'Excitable Boy' cassette...and bones since they don't really turn to ash; they have to get crushed afterwards since the temperature in the oven is not high enough to disintegrate bone. I guess someone can "build a cage with the bones." Imagine, 'Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner', 'Excitable Boy', and 'Werewolves of London' back to back to back on one album!

    Interesting how Waddy Wachtel and Linda Ronstadt sung backup vocals on "Excitable Boy'.

    I think the only women who like Warren Zevon are women who laugh at the Three Stooges. It's a theory.

    I love Linda Ronstadt like Warren loved vodka but I'll go with Warren's version; good Lindsay Buckingham background vocals there too ( I had to look that one up).

    Well, I met a girl at the Rainbow bar
    She asked me if I'd beat her



      "Genius"... comment (and not your first, either).

      Before I fuhgeddaboudit... thanks for the Gutzman Email. Will reply sooner than later.

      Dodgers lost (again) tonight. Crying in my beer (literally!), but can see through the tears barely enuf to reply to yer Zantastic comment. (Then I need to go to bed again for the second time today. These "graveyard" shifts are such fun!)

      >>... It's pointless for me to comment further regarding those points you made a point of mentioning.

      Ha! Glad you caught and appreciated the wordplay (as I appreciated yours).

      Maxell was always my favorite cassette tape for pirati-- er... for recording music from my LPs onto.

      Zevon zongs contained more twists than did Route 66.

      >>... Interesting how Waddy Wachtel and Linda Ronstadt sung backup vocals on "Excitable Boy'.

      Yep. It's also interesting how the background vocals in that song lend it a kind of late '50s / early '60s feeling... but with THOSE lyrics. Talk about a "twochotomy"! Also... I dig the fact that my very favorite Zevon zong, 'Desperados Under The Eaves', includes closing harmonies by 'The Gentlemen Boys' (a pseudonym for some of 'The Beach Boys'). It was a California thang.

      >>... I think the only women who like Warren Zevon are women who laugh at the Three Stooges. It's a theory.

      Hmmm... Interesting theory. Could hold some watdka. Or... how about women who laugh at 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'? 'Football Follies'? Anyway... definitely some spirits for thought there.

      >>... Well, I met a girl at the Rainbow bar
      She asked me if I'd beat her ...genius

      In 1983, I also met a girl at The Rainbow Bar. She asked me if I'd go home with her. I didn't know Jesus then... so I did.

      Slipping under the covers I discovered that (s)he was more "manly" than I was. I "bolt"ed from that apartment faster than Usain could have, and... I don't wanna talk about it.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  10. Sig's comments touched on a bit of what I was going to say in his mention of the players involved. I don't know for sure, but my sense is that a whole bunch of these great singers, songwriters, and musicians were friends or at least knew each other pretty well. YOU would know because you've read the biographies.

    But when you look at the musician list on hundreds of songs of Zevon, Taylor, Ronstadt, Browne, Bonoff, etc., you see the same names of Wachtel, Kunkel, Kortchmar, Edwards, Gold, Souther. etc., etc. etc. Heck, they all put out albums and they all were on each other's. (One of my favorite albums of all time is the first Karla Bonoff album.) So, it is not surprising that both of these two recorded this song, and that they BOTH SOUND GREAT!

    I really like Zevon a lot, though I have always considered him a very dark personality. As others have mentioned: "Excitable," "Headless," S&M, Werewolves. I can only take about one side of an album of his at a time. Ronstadt? I can take both sides of her.

    I really listened carefully to these songs and dig both versions. Warren's version rocks really well, and I love when he just stops at 2:06 for the third verse. However (and it was really close for me), I vote for Linda. What tops it for me is the prominence of Rich Marotta on the syn-drums. Her version rocks just a tad more. Also, as Sig made a point of pointing out, Ronstadt has a couple of other points in her favor. I think when all the voting is in, Ronstadt wins on points.

    I think THIS version may beat them both for me:

    It also features Waddy Wachtel playing guitar. Also has Pat Metheny's bass player and Bonnie Raitt... though I did not see her in the vid.

    thanks! Fun BOTB. A close vote for Ronstadt.

      It seems we're both posting comments to each on my blog at the same time... only on different blog bits.

      OK, another vote for Linda's fine points.

      >>... Ronstadt? I can take both sides of her.

      Yeah, me too (you sly dog you!)

      [*For the record... I deliberately reinterpreted your meaning. I KNOW you did not really mean what I pretended you meant.*]

      >>... Her version rocks just a tad more.

      Oooooh! See, that's a good example of where our ears don't hear alike, the way our minds often think alike.

      I don't want to say too much now, saving my vote and commentary for the 7th, but... briefly... there are things about Linda's version I like better.. But I would say her version is more polished with greater production values; Warren's version is rougher-edged but Rocks a bit harder.

      I'll elaborate a bit more on the 7th, when I cast my vote for the Donny Osmond / John Denver duet version.

      ~ STMcMe


    2. >>... Ronstadt? I can take both sides of her.

      Yeah, me too (you sly dog you!)

      [*For the record... I deliberately reinterpreted your meaning. I KNOW you did not really mean what I pretended you meant.*]

      As Carson would say: "WRONG-O, BAR RAG BREATH!" That is exactly what I meant!

    3. HA! So you REALLY ARE a sly dog! Sheesh... You're as bad as I am.

      ~ Rupert Van McOslow

    4. Oops. And re-reading my post I had a typo: it is RICK Marotta, not Rich.

  11. Stephen...this is not a battle, but a massacre....or a serial killing, with Zevon's version doing the Excitable Boy all over Ronstadt's version.



    I pretty much ceased listening to Top 40 radio (or any music on the radio other than the Blues and Jazz at 88.1 FM: KLON – Cal State Long Beach) by 1985.


    Therefore, it’s safe to say that I probably hadn’t heard Linda Ronstadt’s version of Warren Zevon’s ‘POOR, POOR, PITIFUL ME’ (PPPM) more than 2 or 3 times since that year.

    When I went to YouTube to get a video for it, to put up against the Zevon original, I was surprised how good it sounded to me all these years later. I’m not really a Ronstadt fan. I still like her version of ‘Hurt So Bad’, and that’s about it. I did own 1 or 2 of her albums back in the era of “Licorice Pizza”, but I never played ‘em much.

    Right from the get-go, with the echo on the drums, Ronstadt’s take on ‘PPPM’ got my attention. And, interestingly, it seems Zevon’s friend Waddy Wachtel played the electric guitar on both Zevon’s original and Ronstadt’s cover. However, I like his tone better on the latter.

    And that’s where Ronstadt’s edge in the competition ends for me.

    True, Zevon did not have a good voice, but his voice and the rough-edged musical style of his recording fit the edge of the song much better than Ronstadt’s voice and musical style did. We’re talking about a suicide attempt and roughhousing in the bedroom here. Does anyone believe Ronstadt when she sings about that?

    Also true that this song is sort of a “novelty” tune, so it’s not meant to be taken too seriously – it’s funnier and sillier than it is serious. But still, it should have some sort of an edge to put it across, in keeping with its edgy theme. Zevon’s version has that edge, both vocally and musically.

    Furthermore, that third verse seals the deal for me! And Zevon ending it not with a line sung, but with a statement spoken – “I don’t wanna talk about it” – still makes me laugh.

    So, for a variety of reasons, I vote “Zevon”. And that gives us the following total:

    WARREN ZEVON: 7 Votes

    Winner... WARREN! And, yes, I’m a little surprised by that. Since it was Ronstadt’s version that had gotten all the radio airplay, I expected her to win this ‘BOTB’ contest. I knew Zevon would get at least 3 votes (DiscConnected’s, 4-B Old Soul’s [from ‘A Beer For The Shower’], and mine), but I thought that might be all the votes he’d get in a pretty easy win for pretty Linda. Goes to show ya what I know, and why I find the ‘BOTB’ contests so interesting.

    I’m a bit disappointed though by how much the ‘BOTB’ voter turn-out has diminished at F-FFF. It seems you can’t keep a bad blog up.

    Sheboyganboy Six: I went to listen to the version you prefer above both Warren’s and Linda’s... but I clicked off the video shortly after Jackson Browne totally blew the “wonderful Warren” third verse.

    Warren made it surprising and funny. Ronstadt had to change it, but at least it still had something of a twist (the man picks her up and throws her down, and then asks her not to hurt him – emotionally, of course). But in a bonehead move, Jackson Browne tried to use Ronstadt’s version and just switch the genders. Not funny, no subtlety, nuttin’ to think about. It was like aksing Sylvester Stallone to perform Shakespeare. Sorry, Bro, but when Jackson Browne blew the very best part of the song, I’d heard enuf from him.

    But, hey, we’ll always Tom Petty!
    :-) [Smile!]

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  13. I'm also a bit surprised by the outcome but then again I think your voters are more musically discerning so maybe the superior take winning should be no surprise.

    Tossing It Out

  14. Just got back to this ( wanted to know your reply)


    Everyone whines sometimes...isn't that a song...no its hurts everyone hurts...

    Anyways glad you have a sense of humor....at least I think u do


All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted and responded to as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.