BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”


From The Blogger’s Best Friend:

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is a song written by Jimmy Webb. Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965, it was covered by American country music singer Glen Campbell on his album of the same name. Released on Capitol Records in 1967, Campbell’s version topped RPM’s Canada Country Tracks, reached number two on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, and won two awards at the 10th Annual Grammys. Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named it the third most performed song from 1940 to 1990. The song was ranked number 20 on BMI’s Top 100 Songs of the Century. Frank Sinatra called it “the greatest torch song ever written.”

Glen Campbell died a week ago today, and he’s best known for this song, so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to feature it in today’s Battle. And just for fun, I decided this will be a battle between members of The Rat Pack. I only wish that Sammy Davis Jr. had covered it… Anyway, here are your choices:

CONTESTANT #1: Frank Sinatra From his 1966 album Cycles.

CONTESTANT #2: Dean Martin from his 1969 album Gentle On My Mind.

So, which version of the song did you prefer? Whether it’s for Frank or for Dino, cast your ballot in the comments below. Then, visit STMcC Presents Battle of the Bands, because he has the list of all the current participants in this monthly challenge, and visit them as well.

I’ll announce the winner of today’s battle next Tuesday, so be sure and get your vote to me by then. And remember, you needn’t be a participant in Battle of the Bands to vote.

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Frank and Dean!

33 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”

  1. Neither version would rank with my favorites of this song, but these pros cover the tune solidly. I thought Dean’s version was a bit more schlocky–if that’s the right way to express it–but I liked the pacing better. Frank’s version dragged a bit for me, but it had more of the feeling that the song suggests.

    I’m going to go with Sinatra on this Battle.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreeing with Arlee Bird! Having been a musician and composer, I felt that the version sung by Frank Sinatra is much better arranged and has greater depth than the version sung by Dean Martin. In any case, it is quite uncanny and noteworthy that “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” greatly resembles the slow and lyrical middle portion of “McArthur Park”, also composed by Jimmy Webb.


  2. JOHN ~
    As you probably remember, I’m a big Glen Campbell fan (I feel some sort of unexplainable kinship). I got to see him live in Vegas in the late ’70s and met him backstage. I’m really glad someone (meaning: YOU) did a tribute BOTB for Glen.

    I probably would have, but I’ve used him in BOTB twice before, and in both cases he lost Battles I really felt he ought to have won.

    As others have already stated, Glen owns this song. His is the porridge that is just right, while Frank’s is the porridge that is too slow, and Deano’s is the porridge that is just too… well, he sounds almost chipper about the whole thing.

    I really did not care for the musical arrangement of the Dean Martin version, nor his vocal approach to it. So, give mine to “Frankie Baby”.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    [Link:) STMcC Presents ‘Battle Of The Bands’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My most favourite song sung by Glen Campbell is “Wichita Lineman”, probably the first existential rock/pop song, which was also written by Jimmy Webb, as far as I know.

      Thank you for the tribute, John. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the tribute to Glen Campbell, John. I cringed when I saw we had Frank and Dean – love them both, but I couldn’t imagine anyone else singing one of GC’s classics (although James Taylor did a fine job with “Wichita Lineman.”)

    I agree with Arlee – Sinatra’s version dragged. In this case, I’ll vote for Martin.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. John,

    I prefer Dino to Frank typically but not this time. I found Sinatra’s slow-temp cover and more raw-like vocals expressed the sentiments truer or at least that’s the way it came across here. I’m going with Blue Eyes in this round. Good battle, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry it took me an extra day to return to cast my vote, which is for Dean Martin. Frank’s voice is very smooth, but I’ve always found that his sound lacks feeling. I don’t think he cares what’s happening by the time he gets to Phoenix. It’s also too slow. Dean has more sadness in his voice, and the arrangement doesn’t drag.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never thought I would go for Frankie but this round I do because I like the arrangement better and as Arlene put it, Dino’s version sounded schlocky. Blue eyes anger man gets my vote

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh and my mom is back at Heidehof and doesn’t even remember she was in the hospital! I don’t think this will be the last time but this crisis is done and I’m glad about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I so love Glen Campbell doing this song. It’s his all the way, in my opinion. Was sorry to hear of his passing and very sad that his end had to come with such hardship, going through that terrible disease. RIP Glen!
    As for your battle contenders: I like Frank Sinatra but his version was just too dang slow for me. I liked Dean Martin’s. I got into the story more with his voice and tempo. So give my vote to Dean.

    Nice tribute to the great GC!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve got to go with Dean Martin on this one. Unlike the zillion other people on this planet who think Frankie is a god (little g), I just never found myself wowed by him. Which is weird, ’cause I love Michael Buble, who is often compared to him.

    I’m a mystery. Wrapped in a riddle…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is an impossible choice if I go with the vocals alone! I agree with the comments that Dino’s version was a bit gimmicky – and that Frankie’s dragged. However, I MUCH preferred the orchestral arrangement that backed Blue-Eyes, so I’m going with Sinatra. RIP to the man who, I must agree, OWNS the song. His spirit is singing now for the angels. (btw- jumped over from BrewNSpew)
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

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