BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “You Light Up My Life”

I thought about doing this a while ago, and almost did it last time, but a better option became available. But I still wanted to do this, and now seemed like the perfect time, because I didn’t know what else to do…

You Light Up My Life was a 1977 movie that starred Didi Conn, Joseph Silver, and Michael Zaslow. IMDb has this plot summary.

Laurie has been in show business since she was a child. Her dream is to be a singer, songwriter and actress. Her father wants her to be a comedian like him and Laurie only tries because it pleases her father. But she is a lousy comedian. She auditions for everything and is engaged to Ken, but Ken does not understand her needs. She has a one night stand with Chris, only to later find that he is a director. She has many emotions that have not yet been addressed and she must face them before she can get on with her life.

Mary and I went to see it before we were married, and it was a mostly forgettable movie with a great soundtrack, written by Joe Brooks, for which he received Academy Awards in 1978 for Best Original Song, a Grammy and an Oscar for Song Of The Year, and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture. The soundtrack album reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 200 and finished 1978 as the #10 most-popular soundtrack album.

The adorable Ms. Conn’s voice was dubbed by the equally-adorable Kvitka (Kasey) Cisyk, who sadly died in 1998 from breast cancer. Ms. Cysik’s version of the title song reached #80 on the Hot 100 in 1977. It might have gone higher had it not been for the fact that the also-adorable Debby Boone (daughter of Pat), with the encouragement of producer Mike Curb, recorded a version of it and released it before the original cast version could be. Ms. Boone’s version shot to the top of the Hot 100 and stayed there for ten weeks, the longest any song had spent in that position to that point, and earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and a Golden Globe for Favorite Pop Single for 1977.

The main difference between the two versions has less to do with the song itself and more to do with the motivation. Ms. Cisyk’s version was intended as a love song, fitting with the plot of the movie; Ms. Boone, perhaps by her association with her father, transformed it into a Christian worship song. Both are excellent, but one must be a little more excellent than the other. So, here are the two versions of the song.

CONTESTANT #1: Kasey Cisyk

CONTESTANT #2: Debby Boone

So the question is, which of these versions is the more excellent of the two? Give them both a listen, decide which you like better, and vote in the comments. A short explanation of your choice is appreciated but not necessary. After you finish voting in my battle, please hie thee over to Stephen’s Battle of the Bands blog and vote in his battle, and check the other BotB blogs (of which he has a list in the right-hand column) for other battles being held today. I’ll announce the winner of my battle next Thursday, so be sure and get your vote in by then.

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Kasey and Debbie!

14 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “You Light Up My Life”

  1. I remember buying the 45 of this song by Debby Boone. I think that puts me in the “old” category…LOL I listened to both and for me Debby Boone WINS hands down


  2. John,

    I was thinking about using this song on the 15th but I just couldn’t find an interesting enough twist to pull a battle together. I’m not ruling it out entirely but it might not happen this month. We’ll wait to see how things go, though. I thought Kasey did a fabulous job and I didn’t know there was a movie with the same name until I did the research for my 4M post. That’s pretty neat that you’re using this song in BoTB. You’re right the versions are very close. I think I like Debby still slightly better even though her voice is a bit high pitch. Perhaps it’s more out of sentimentalness than anything because I loved this song so much and it came out during DH & my dating years. My vote goes to Debby Boone! Thanks for lighting up my life with this song. 😀


  3. My vote goes to Debby Boone because I think she has the better voice. But only by a slight margin. Both versions were equally good. Not my favorite song, but it’s okay.


  4. I remember Debbie Boone being everywhere and I wanted her to blow up on SCTV…hahahaaa. I prefer Kasey much more because it is not so preachy. It actually sounds…nice. How sad when a song is so overplayed that one still has nightmares about it…hahahaaa. Actually, for the first one, I was thinking of my mom.


  5. I reckon I’m in the minority. I LOVE this song. I never saw the movie… or even heard of it… but I listened to both of your versions, just to be fair. Although I like both of them, I still have to vote for Debby Boone. I was never over-exposed to this song as some others claim, because I didn’t listen to the radio all that much back then, but when I did hear the song, it always made me feel good.


  6. Yeah, like LEE mentioned — overplayed. One of the most overplayed songs of all time, which undoubtedly led to the public backlash.

    Two others that the DJs wound up torturing me with were BLACK WATER by The Doobies and HOTEL CALIFORNIA by The Eagles, of course. Too bad, because I actually liked both of those songs up until the godzillion and sixth time I heard them.

    In this Battle my vote goes to KASEY. Mostly because her voice isn’t as high-pitched as Debby’s. Real high female voices get on my nerves pretty quickly. Debby’s gets on my nerves in exactly 1 one minute and fifty-six seconds. I know that because that’s the point where I was forced to stop her video and give my vote to KASEY.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents ‘Battle Of The Bands’


  7. Seriously, John? One of the most reviled songs of the seventies?

    Actually I’d considered using this, but I’ve never added it to my queue. Now you’ve saved me from using this one. Actually I do like this song–I think it’s very pretty. It just got overplayed I guess.

    Kasey’s version is very nice, but I still prefer Debby Boone. More power and depth to her version in my opinion.

    Brave man for using this tune.

    Tossing It Out


  8. LOL I think I saw this movie three times. I remember being disappointed that Didi Conn didn’t sing it. Can’t remember whether this was before her Grease role or after. Anyway, loved the song but then I was just falling in love with my first husband at the time so…Give my vote to Kasey. I always was mad that Debby Boone took this song. Thanks for the memory, John. My first marriage didn’t last long but it was my first real romance.


  9. I recall watching the movie when it came out. I also remember driving my family crazy singing the song constantly. Both are really close, but I think I’m going to cast my vote for Kasey. Thanks for the earworm!

    Jingle Jangle Jungle


  10. Always ignored this song – guess I’m immune to schmaltz. I wanted to gag Debby Boone when she sang it.

    That all comes from a time when I wanted more complexity and melody in music, and was playing a lot of Steely Dan onstage. Now I’m just happy for a competently-sung melody, and ecstatic if there’s any chord structure at all. The quality of pop, rock and (mostly smooth) jazz has really descended, and no one seems to be writing anything new. It’s all hip-hop, rap and slickly sung, unoriginal pop now.

    Liked by 1 person

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