BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Fly Me To The Moon”

First, Happy Birthday, Dad! He’d be 86 today. In his honor, I’m going to use one of his favorite songs as the basis for this battle.

“Fly Me To The Moon” entered this world as “In Other Words.” It was written by Bart Howard in 1954, who made enough money off the song to live comfortably the rest of his life (50 years). It was first recorded by Kaye Ballard as the flip side to “Lazy Afternoon,” from the show The Golden Apple, in which Ms. Ballard was performing at the time. By the time Frank Sinatra recorded his definitive version of the song (accompanied by the Count Basie Orchestra, arranged by Quincy Jones) in 1964, it had been recorded more than a hundred times, including by Miss Peggy Lee in 1960. She was responsible for convincing Howard to channge the name to “Fly Me To The Moon.” Sinatra’s version was played for the crew of Apollo 10, and Buzz Aldrin played a cassette recording of the song after he stepped on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Many years late in 2012, Diana Krall sang it at the memorial for Neil Armstrong. To date there have been over 400 recordings of the song, according to the website Second Hand Songs.

For today’s battle, I’ll be pitting two of my favorite female singers against each other.

CONTESTANT #1: Astrud Gilberto

Astrud was the singer who sang on many of the great bossa nova hits, specifically “Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl From Ipanema”). Hers is one of my favorite voices. Her version was recorded in 1965.

CONTESTANT #2: Angelina Jordan

Angelina is what you might call a “phenom.” She just turned 12 a couple of weeks ago, but has been singing professionally since she was seven, when she won “Norway’s Got Talent.” She has no official recordings aside from the ones on YouTube. For one so young, her voice is rich and mature. This video was recorded a year ago, when she was eleven.

Now, it’s time to vote. Listen to both versions, decide which you like better, and leave me a comment with your choice, and, if you feel like it, some of your reasons for that choice. Then, head on over to Stephen’s Battle of the Bands page. He has a list of the current participants in Battle of the Bands, so, if you’d be so kind, check out those blogs and vote in those battles, as well as in Stephen’s. I’ll announce the winner of this battle a week from today, on February 22 (once known as Washington’s Birthday), so be sure and get your vote in by then.

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Astrud and Angelina!

15 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Fly Me To The Moon”

  1. I’d love to write a song that I could live off of for the rest of my life. “Fly Me to the Moon” has been performed and recorded so much–I’ve been hearing it for my entire life.

    Angelina Jordan’s got talent for sure and her version is very nice, but to my ears there was a weird sort of affectation to her voice that kind of bugged me. Yes, it’s a matter of vocal embellishments and control of the pipes, but for me it was distracting.

    I wasn’t totally sold on the Bossa Nova treatment of the song, but I’ve been a fan of Astrud Gilberto’s sultry voice since I was a pubescent dreamer (yes, we are all dreamers). I vote for Astrud Gilberto.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  2. This is tough. I agree with Arlee that there is something off-putting about Angelina’s version. Maybe I think that an 11 year old shouldn’t be singing about love and being kissed? Not sure I like Astrud’s version either but I think I’ll go with that one too.

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  3. John,

    Two excellent covers. I’m giving my vote to Astrud Gilberto. Her vocals are beautiful and clear. A real burst of nostalgia associated with her version. Angelina is a good singer but she makes me think of so many other artists today. There’s nothing fresh or original about it. She has talent but needs a new direction. Great battle!

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  4. Both good but I really liked Astrid Gilberto’s version better. Smooth, nice tempo and I like the little bit of jazz that was added. Good crossword puzzle music.

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  5. JOHN ~
    Start with a great song in a BOTB contest and one is already halfway to a successful Battle. And ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ is indeed a great song.

    I love Astrud Gilberto — she is perhaps my second favorite female vocalist of all time (after Karen Carpenter) and her version of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ is perhaps my second favorite rendition of all time (after Bobby Darin’s).

    “One of these days, Astrud — Bang!-Pow! — TO THE MOON! …Just you ‘n’ me.”

    Astrud Gilberto singing ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, now that’s a great way to start the day!

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

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  6. I tried not to watch either version, just listened without influence of video. It’s hard to imagine that voice coming from an 11yr old girl that way.

    That being said… I did prefer Astrud’s version.

    Stop by and have a drink with me if you haven’t already..

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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  7. That little girl doesn’t have an amazing set of pipes. I love that she is taken with these types of songs but I feel she is too young to understand, truly, what the words mean so I go with Astrud. I like her voice which is a little different from the norm

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  8. This is such a fabulous song. I didn’t realize the background of it, especially its deep connection to our astronauts during the Apollo 10 & 11 missions. And how special that Diana Krall sang it at Armstrong’s funeral. Thanks for providing all the cool info.
    Although I appreciated Angelina’s lovely voice at such a young age, I much preferred Astrud’s voice. I’m not familiar with her and will look forward to checking out more of her music. For me, it’s a vote for Astrud Gilberto.

    Question: you mentioned Kaye Ballard as being the first to record this song. Is that the same Kaye Ballard that was a regular on Hollywood Squares?? I think that was her name on Hollywood Squares… That was such a fun show. Great comedians showcasing their humor each week…

    Nice battle John. I enjoyed.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  9. John, you made it difficult! I’m familiar with Astrud’s voice, and it does evoke Summer, samba, frozen drinks on the beach….
    Angelina is a real talent. I did not enjoy watching her lip sync this song, but, as Mary B wrote, listening with eyes closed was a better experience.
    In the end, I’m going with Astrud. The song belongs more with a grown woman than with an 11-year-old girl.
    (P.S. Diana Krall nails it, too!)

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