BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hello, Stranger”

“Hello, Stranger” was a 1963 hit by Barbara Lewis, who wrote and recorded it in 1963 at Chess Studios in Chicago, backed by The Dells, who were recruited by Barbara’s manager, Ollie McLaughlin. It hit #1 on the R&B chart and it crossed over to the Pop chart and reached #3. Here’s a link to the song, in case you haven’t heard it before, though it’s hard to imagine you haven’t, seeing as how it’s been recorded a whole bunch of times, including by the two artists who will be competing in this battle.

Here are your choices:

The Capitols In 1966, Ollie McLaughlin produced The Capitol’s hit record, “Cool Jerk” (which I featured in my November 1 BotB), and suggested they cover the song for the “B” side.

Yvonne Elliman The lovely Ms. Elliman, whose first appearance was as Mary Magdalene on the Jesus Christ, Superstar album, recorded “Hello Stranger” for her 1977 Love Me album. The song reached #15 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

So, you know the drill: listen to the two covers of the song, decide which is better, and leave a comment below telling me who it is and (optionally) why. Then, go visit Stephen T. McCarthy’s Battle of the Bands blog, vote in the battle he has there, and then check out the right-hand column, where he has a list of other Battle of the Bands participants, visit their blogs, and vote in their battles.

I’ll publish the results of this battle next Saturday, December 8, so be sure and get your vote to me by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Yvonne Elliman and The Capitols!

10 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hello, Stranger”

  1. Golly! You dragged me into a musical time machine. I remember this great tune and it’s seems like a mighty long time since I’ve heard this.

    Elliman’s version is slickly produced and arranged. She does it beautifully.

    But there’s something about that jagged discordant style of the Capitols that appeals to me. I’m casting my vote for those “cool jerk” Capitols.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like Yvonne Elliman’s version more as it more modern and the instrumentation is more consistent. Also, I love the soul that is featured in the music.

    Liked by 1 person

    I had forgotten all about this one, and I probably haven’t heard it since about 1977 (my senior year in high school).

    I just got home today from a 2-week vacation (my first in 8 or 9 years) which was all about nostalgia and reminiscing — going to see neighborhoods and houses I grew up in — and THIS song really just hit the sweet spot.

    Gonna go with YVONNE on this one, but I could be nearly as satisfied listening to The Capitols or the Barbara Lewis original!! The 1960s in Orange County, California; the 1970s in Santa Monica, California — oh, man, this song captures the mood of both places for me. Sure was a mighty long time ago.

    Loved this Battle, John. I’ll probably return just to listen a few more times over the next couple of days.

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


  4. I had to venture to Youtube to hear The Capitals and so glad I did because they get my vote. I loved that off beat they used and it didn’t drag the way Yvonne’s did for me so they get my vote


  5. Huge fan of Yvonne Elliman here, but — in all honesty, I like both covers!


    Happy holidays, friend!


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