Battle Of The Bands: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Here’s how it works: I’ll be posting two versions of the same song and after you give a listen to each, place your vote for your favorite and reason for the way you voted in the comments section. I’ll tally the votes and post the results in another post 6 days later. The Battles take place on the 1st and 15th of each month, and the results will be posted on or around the 7th and 21st. The other blogs participating in the Battle of the Bands are posting different battles (different songs), So once you’re done voting and commenting on my battle, take a moment to visit the other participants and vote & comment on their battles. There are some really good battles going on!
The Song: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
Wikipedia tells us this:
"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is a song written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, and Sol Marcus for the jazz singer and pianist Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" has been covered by many artists, including a 1965 blues rock hit by The Animals. A 1977 disco-flamenco and Latin rearrangement by Santa Esmeralda was also a hit.
The beginnings of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" came with composer and arranger Horace Ott, who came up with the melody and chorus lyric line after a temporary falling out with his girlfriend (and wife-to-be), Gloria Caldwell. He then brought it to writing partners Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus to complete. However, when it came time for songwriting credits, rules of the time prevented BMI writers (Ott) from officially collaborating with ASCAP members (the other two), so Ott instead listed Caldwell's name on the credits.
The Original: Nina Simone
"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was one of five songs involving the writing of Benjamin and Marcus, presented for Nina Simone's 1964 album Broadway-Blues-Ballads. There, it is taken at a very slow tempo and arranged around harp and other orchestral elements; a backing choir appears at several points. Simone sings it in her typically difficult-to-categorize style. Horace Ott's involvement did not end with his initial songwriting; he was the arranger and orchestral conductor for the entire album. Backed with "A Monster", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was released as a single in 1964, but failed to chart.
To some writers, this version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" carried the subtext of the American Civil Rights Movement, that concerned much of Simone's work of the time; while to others, this was more personal, and was the song, and phrase, that best exemplified Simone's career and life.
Decades later, a commercial for Christian Dior's perfume J'Adore, starring Charlize Theron, featured Simone's version of the song, as did the final scene of the 2009 Polish film drama Rewers. In 2010, Simone's version was used for the end credits of the first season finale episode of BBC's crime drama Luther; in 2011, it was used again in the trailer for the show's second season.
PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR NINA SIMONE. She is not a contender in this battle.
The First Contender: The Animals
The Animals' lead singer Eric Burdon would later say of the song, "It was never considered pop material, but it somehow got passed on to us and we fell in love with it immediately." The Animals sped up the tempo and started off with an electric guitar-and-organ doubled riff from Hilton Valentine and Alan Price, that was picked out and expanded from an element that originally appeared in the Simone recording's outro. This riff immediately led into Burdon's trademark deep, impassioned vocal line:
Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad.
But don't you know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When things go wrong, I seem to be bad.
(group unison) But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good:
(just Burdon) Oh Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood ...
The group gained a trans-Atlantic hit in early 1965 from their rendition, rising to number 3 on the UK Singles Chart, number 15 on the U.S. pop singles chart, and number 4 in Canada.
This single was ranked by Rolling Stone at #315 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In Animals concerts at the time, the group maintained the recorded arrangement, but Burdon sometimes slowed the vocal line down to an almost spoken part, recapturing a bit of the Simone flavor.
The Second Contender: Santa Esmeralda
Santa Esmeralda's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was used as the opening theme of the 1980 pilot for the U.S. game show Bullseye, after which a sound-alike was used in regular episodes. This version of the song was also used on German ARD soccer television show Sportschau from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, in the introduction for the "goal of the month" segment. Santa Esmeralda's rendition is featured in the 1992 film American Me and the 2001 English comedy Blow Dry. It became widely popular with a later generation after its inclusion in the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Volume 1, where its instrumental passage plays over the duel between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii, and the accompanying Kill Bill Vol. 1 Original Soundtrack, where it is incorporated in a full vocal form that runs over ten minutes. A rendition appears in the trailer for the 2005 film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, as well as the 2008 Korean "ramyun western" film The Good, the Bad, the Weird, played in the chasing sequence in the Manchurian desert.
Who will you choose?
Alright now, it’s time to cast your vote! In the comments, please enter who you are voting for and why you chose them. Stay tuned, results will be posted on or around the 7th and 21st!
And don’t forget to visit these other battles going on today!
What does tomorrow bring?
Tune in to find out!
Hey did you know ...
You can now submit a request for a specific Artist, Song, or Theme
Check it out up at the top of the page under "Requests"
Check it out up at the top of the page under "Requests"