Ah, "American Woman," what could be more patriotic than this classic hit, improvised on the fly at a curling rink by a Canadian rock band that gained their name from a failed marketing ploy. This one goes out to Engineerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (I forgot how many "r's" he uses, that should be close enough).
After a week of voting the first Battle of the Champions has closed. Six of the eight contenders received votes, an indicator that we had some quality performers in the ranks. But at the end of the day it was the artist who rivaled the song's "original" performers who took it home. Spiderbait's "Black Betty" won the battle by three votes over a tie between Five Finger Death Punch's "House of the Rising Sun" and the surprisingly well-supported Muppets "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Well fought.
What was not well fought was the battle for the best cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World." The covers were, well they were awful really, likely even more so than Smells Like Teen Spirit's, and it shows in the voting with no single cover getting more than three votes. In the end Nicotine and Joy Williams tied for the best cover, a tie which I shall break with the following fact: Nicotine earned twice as many votes for "worst" as it did for "best." It also earned 50% of the total worst votes. Ergo Joy Williams wins.
Silence your dissension! Just because you have the right to vote doesn't mean this is a democracy! This is a dictatorship!
Despite bearing the name "American Woman," the song's origins are ridiculously Canadian. The band was playing a concert at a curling rink (seriously) in Waterloo, Ontario, and while moving into their second set they started improvising a rhythm to liven up the crowd. Lead singer Burton Cummings liked what was being put down and started improvising lyrics on the fly. When the song ended the band looked at eachother, knowing they had just done something special. They saw a kid with a tape recorder in the front of the crowd, recording a bootleg of the concert, and asked him for the tape. The studio version is almost completely unaltered from their improvised live song, all they did was add a couple lines. The song was a smash hit, topping the charts in both the U.S. and Canada. Not too shabby, Canucks.
The most depressing thing I found while making this battle was the ridiculous number of people convinced this is a Jimi Hendrix song. Both the original and the Kravitz cover are credited as having been done by Hendrix in some YouTube uploads. The original is also attributed to Led Zeppelin. And trust me on this, you don't want to delve into the comments on those videos.
Krokus - (1982)
Butthole Surfers - (1986)
Anal Cunt - (1995)
Lenny Kravitz - (1998)
Jello Biafra - (2002)
Devil's Train - (2012)
LEST YE FORGET! If you want to check back on the results of previous rounds, or see what covers are coming in future rounds, there is now a Google Drive spreadsheet with past rounds and the upcoming battle schedule.