BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “The Loco-motion”


It was a year ago today that I joined the group of bloggers doing Stephen T. McCarthy’s “Battle of the Bands,” and I think I’ve just about got the hang of it.

“The Loco-motion” was written by the songwriting superduo of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and it was a hit in three successive decades. It reached #1 for Little Eva in 1962. Here is her original version, for comparison purposes only (i.e. she’s not in the Battle, don’t vote for her).

Wikipedia tells me the song was written for Dee Dee Sharp, but that she turned the song down for whatever reason. Her loss.

Anyway, that was the original version. Here are the contenders for the battle.

CONTESTANT #1: Grand Funk Railroad

Flint, Michigan’s favorite power trio (although by then they had added Craig Frost on organ) scored a #1 with the song in 1974, making it the second song to have reached #1 in the United States by two different artists (“Go Away, Little Girl,” featured here a couple of Battles ago, was the first). It was on their 1974 album Shinin’ On.

CONTESTANT #2: Kylie Minogue

Australian actress and singer Kylie Minogue also had a hit with the song. It was on her 1988 album Kylie, and as a single it reached #3 in the US, her only song to crack the US Top Ten.

Now, it’s time to vote…

So, which of these versions of “The Loco-motion” did it for you? The hard-rock power trio (plus one) version by Grand Funk Railroad? Or the ’80’s pop/dance version by Kylie Minogue? Whichever one you choose, let me know what it is in the comments by Tuesday, September 8 (I figure that Monday is a holiday in the US and Canada, so I’ll give you some more time). The winner will be announced Wednesday, September 9.

And, after voting here, the blogs below might or might not be holding Battles, so be sure to visit them and vote on theirs as well.

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

Again, I’ll announce the winner of this Battle on Wednesday, September 9. See you then!

22 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “The Loco-motion”

  1. Oh I like the original but I will go with Grand Funk Railroad. Even though the 80’s was my fun time, this version always grated on me-it was too bubblegum. I like the edge of GFR


  2. John, there’s no contest here, I’m totally voting for Grand Funk Railroad! This is the band I grew up listening to and dancing to The Loco-Motion. Thanks for bringing back some fun memories!


  3. Kylie’s version is so cheesy, it’s got to be a product of the 80’s. Oh, it is. Fortunately, I like cheese. The song has never been on of my favourite’s, but it is a fun song to listen to. GFR does a great job, but I’m going to have to cast my vote for the Doctor Who companion,
    Kylie Minogue.
    Thank you very much.
    PS – You stole one of my upcoming battles.


  4. So all this time, I thought that Debbie Gibson had done a version of this song. Turns out I was wrong. (that happens sometimes) But no one does it better than Grand Funk Railroad! They get my vote for sure!


  5. Happy Anniversary! I have to give my vote to Grand Funk for this one. I grew up on that version and it evokes fantastic memories. The other version just doesn’t do it for me. It’s okay but Grand Funk gets me moving.
    Michele at Angels Bark


  6. Well, JOHN, looks like it’s time I scratch this song off my ‘Future BOTB Songs’ list. Ha!

    I hadn’t yet decided who I was going to put up against Grand Funk Railroad, so I guess I could still use this song with one or two different competitors, but… with so many other song possibilities… why? (I was leaning toward a GFR/Little Eva contest, which I think would have probably ended in a small vote margin victory for one of them. However, I think Kylie will likely get klobbered.)

    Surprisingly, to me, Kylie’s vocal wasn’t the total disaster I anticipated. She had lots of energy and made it sound fun. Unfortunately, that constant percussion effect was really hokey and made it sound like something you’d see in a kid’s cartoon. I could imagine hearing that song while watching Scooby-Doo and Friends running from multiple crooks dressed like ghosts.

    Easy win for GRAND FUNK RAILROAD.

    Congratulations on your 1-year BOTB anniversary, John!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  7. Some things crack me up. Often it’s stuff I just don’t know. For instance, I thought Grand Funk Railroad was the originator of this song. My parents had an 8 track with a variety of songs by different artists. GFR’s Locomotion was one of those songs. Ergo, I thought it was the Original. Hahahaha. Not so. However, I like enormously and it brings back ever so fond memories of dancing around my living room and singing into my hairbrush. Whereas, Kylie’s version isn’t bad, but it doesn’t beat GFR for me. Plus, I have no hairbrush memories of her version;)


  8. Not a fan of Kylie Minogue’s at all (the voice!) but admittedly, she did a good job with this. Nonetheless, my vote goes to Grand Funk Railroad. Great guitar riffs!


  9. Kylie’s version is nicely done, but it sounds a bit overly canned with too many artificial ingredients.

    I’ve got a bigger emotional investment and more personal history connected with Mark Farner and Grand Funk RR and I like the way they rocked this song. My vote is for GFRR.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


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