February Battle of the Bands

Not too long ago, while I was researching information for a theme that I had been working on, I stumbled across this interesting tidbit about a song that I am sure many of us are familiar with. 

Today’s battle song: Black Velvet

"Black Velvet" is a song written by Canadian songwriters Christopher Ward and David Tyson, and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Alannah Myles. It was released in December 1989 as one of four singles from Myles' 1989 eponymous album from Atlantic Records. It became a number-one hit for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1990 and reached number one on the Album Rock Tracks chart, as well as number ten in her native Canada and number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song also reached number one in Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland and was a major success in several other countries. It contains blues verses with a rock chorus.

Myles won the 1991 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song and the 1990 Juno Award for Single of the Year. Since its release, the power ballad has received substantial airplay, receiving a "Millionaire Award" from ASCAP in 2005 for more than four million radio plays.

The song is a paean to Elvis Presley — whose portrait was often painted on black velvet, and who used a hair dye named Black Velvet. Co-writer Christopher Ward, who was Myles' then-boyfriend, was inspired on a bus full of Elvis fans riding to Memphis attending the 10th anniversary vigil at Graceland, in 1987. Upon his return to Canada, he brought his idea to Alannah and producer David Tyson, who wrote the chords for the bridge. The song was one of three in a demo Myles presented to Atlantic Records, which eventually got her signed to the label.

Atlantic Records, much to the disappointment of Myles for whom the song had been written, gave the song to country artist Robin Lee to record. In the United States, Myles' version was released in December 1989, while Lee's version was released two months later in February 1990. This led to Myles being promoted by Atlantic on the pop and rock radio stations, and Lee on the country radio stations. Lee even filmed a videoclip of the song very similar to Myles' video.

Given this information, I thought it would be fun for these two versions to battle it out here. 

Our first contender is: Alannah Myles

Our other contender is: Robin Lee

In the event that you are new here, or you have simply forgotten… Here’s a review of how a battle works:

  1. Listen to each of the contenders. Try not to be persuaded by the videos.

  2. Pick the contender that you prefer the most

  3. Leave a comment with the name of the contender you have chosen. Feel free to expound upon your choice. 

  4. Visit the other bloggers that have battles taking place. Their battles are different from each other, so be sure to check them each out. 

    1. Stephen McCarthy

    2. Tossing It Out

    3. Mike’s Ramblings

    4. The Sound of One Hand Typing

    5. Curious As A Cathy

    6. Storms & Stardust

Alright now… Cast your votes in the comments!

Voting results will be posted on February 8!

You can find today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me post here


  1. Mary,

    What an incredible battle! I surely didn't know the tidbits behind the story. These ladies have different vocal styles with each just the right music arrangement. Myles has a gritty sexy rock vibe whereas Lee has a pureness to her voice along with a southern rock sound. Normally, I'd got with Alannah I think but this morning Robin steals the show with me!

    BoTB 2021 Round 3 showdown Goldfinger

  2. I am biased by rock stations I listened to. I just love the gritty voice that Myles brings to the song. She gets my vote. Perhaps there's an underlying association of Black Velvet with Aqua Velvet!

  3. Myles is the more famous rendition but I really like Robin Lee so she gets my votes. I think she has a stronger voice.

  4. There's so little difference between them, but I feel like I connected better with Robin Lee, so I'll vote for her.

  5. Maybe I have a national bias, but Alannah's version gets a lot of airtime on Canadian rock radio and it's ingrained in my brain. ☺ Robin was good, but I have to go with the original. I had read about the history behind the song before. Interesting story!

  6. Both versions are pretty similar and both are good. I prefer the deeper sound of the Myles version. Give my vote to her.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  7. MMQE ~

    Well, I'll be damned! I figured this song was about Black Velvet - the Canadian whiskey.

    Back in my wild years, I had a metal Black Velvet whiskey photo ad hanging on my bedroom wall at the 824 Bay Street house in Santa Monica. I don't recall how I came by it, but I know I didn't steal it. (Some Canadian woman probably gave it to me as a Thank You gift.)

    The ad (obviously intended for liquor stores) featured a hot chick wearing some black velvet:


    I also don't recall what happened to that metal sign, but I probably gave it away or threw it away because the woman was wearing too much clothing and it was bad for my reputation.

    OK, onto the Battle! . . .

    The second recording didn't add anything new or different to the original, so gimme the original with Alannah Myles... and make it a double, with a single ice cube... "if you please".

    ~ D-FensDogG
    DogGtor of Alcohology &
    King of Inebriation Nation


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