“I Only Have Eyes For You” was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1934 movie Dames, which starred Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. Here’s the original version, from the movie. It’s done later in the movie as a Busby Berkeley production number.
This song has been done a lot, most notably by The Flamingoes in the Fifties; their version was copied by Art Garfunkel in the Seventies. I’m not going to use either of those versions in this battle, because people are quite familiar with them. Likewise, Frank Sinatra is famous for the song, so I won’t use him, either. Instead, here are a couple of obscure versions you might not have heard.
CONTESTANT #1: Ben Selvin and His Orchestra, Howard Phillips vocal From 1934. Ben Selvin started recording for Victor in 1919 and for a number of labels until 1927, when he signed with Columbia. He was A&R director for Columbia from 1927 through 1934, and again from the late 1940’s until the mid-1950’s.
CONTESTANT #2: Freddy Gardner with Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra Freddy Gardner was a well-known British saxophonist who by the late 1940’s was a featured soloist for Peter Yorke, who was heard regularly on the BBC. This is from 1948.
So, now it’s up to you: which version of the song did you prefer, Ben Selvin’s or Freddy Gardner’s? Let me know by leaving a comment below, telling me your choice and a little bit as to why. Then, bop on over to Stephen T. McCarthy’s Battle of the Bands blog, where you’ll find a list of the other blogs which might or might not be doing a BotB today as well. I’ll announce the winner as part of next Sunday’s The Week That Was post, so get your vote to me before then.
The lines are now open. Good luck to Ben and Freddy!