I’m going to try something a little different. The three versions of this song are are more-or-less contemporaneous, recorded in the late 1960’s, and all sound pretty similar to one another. Or do they? You get to judge!

Today’s song is “Hush.” It was written by Atlanta native Joe South, who also wrote “Games People Play,” “Down In The Boondocks,” “Yo-Yo,” and Lynn Anderson’s big hit, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden.”

CONTESTANT #1: Billy Joe Royal

Billy Joe Royal was also from the Atlanta area. He recorded four of South’s songs, “Down In The Boondocks,” “I Knew You When,” “Yo-Yo,” and recorded the first version of “Hush” in 1967. His version only did so-so, reaching #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Here’s his version.

CONTESTANT #2: Deep Purple

The following year, a band from England by the name of Deep Purple recorded the song. It reached #4 in the US and #2 in Canada, but strangely was mostly ignored in the UK. It was on their album Shades of Deep Purple, and featured Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Paice (drums), Jon Lord (organ), Nick Simper (bass and backing vocal), and Rod Evans (lead vocal). This is the original music video, although it was probably shot on film.

CONTESTANT #3: Joe South

In addition to his work as a sideman and a songwriter, Joe South was also a performer, who had hit records with “Games People Play,” “Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home,” and “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.” Here’s his version, from the 1969 album Games People Play.

Now, it’s time to vote….

So, what did you think? Whose version was the best? Billy Joe Royal’s original, Deep Purple’s cover (and the biggest hit), or songwriter Joe South’s version? Lines are open now… leave me a comment letting me know which you like the best! Results next Sunday!

And, hey, once you’ve voted here, how about checking out the other blogs having their battles today?

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover

Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

13 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hush””

  1. None of the artists deviated much from the original sound. Joe South’s version was new to me so sounded the most different to my ears, but it seemed overly frantic or something. Recording quality and production were good though.

    I recall when Billy Joe Royal came out with his version. It got a lot of play in Tennessee. It’s fine, but I much prefer his recording of “Down in the Boondocks”.

    Deep Purple is the version I listened to the most–got a lot of play on the 8 track of my friend Vernon’s Firebird. I think it has more originality to it and better rock musicianship. Don’t know what that guy in the towel is all about in the video–that’s kind of weird.

    I vote Deep Purple.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


  2. Deep Purple for me! The first one sounded a little like Janis Joplin to me which I liked and the 3rd was good but nothing unique. I enjoy the most famous one for the music and the way they sang the actual words “Hush”. Obviously they must have been pretty happy especially since that one guy is in his teeny weeny bathing bottoms


  3. Well, if you’re gonna be naked in a video, at least have the decency to have a well built body!! All three were pretty good, but I did like Billy Joe just a smidge better. My second choice would be Deep Purple though; they have a “fun” sound to them.


  4. I gotta echo some of what was said before me…

    Yeah, I liked all 3 versions. The only one I’d already heard (and many times) was the Deep Purple cover. But I never knew until just now that it WAS a cover; I’ve always thought it was a Deep Purple original.

    I vote for Deep Purple. Not because it’s the only version I’d heard before, but primarily because of the electric organ – which is my favorite musical instrument and which sounds great on this song. (That long electric organ intro to Deep Purple’s ‘LAZY’ is fantastic!)

    That was a bizarre video though. It appeared to be a montage of different footage of the band, and I’m pretty sure the drugged-out joker in the bathing suit was the lead singer (Rod Evans?)

    The original by Billy Joe (he never shoulda jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge) was really good but… it didn’t have the organ and… I too thought he sounded like a female. In fact, at first, I thought you might have written the name wrong and that it was supposed to be “Billy Jo”, until I really paid attention to the album cover in the video and saw the similar spelling.

    I think the Joe South version could have been left out of this BOTB completely, because it wasn’t bringing much to the table that wasn’t already accounted for in the original and the more famous Deep Purple cover.

    Good installment of BOTB.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  5. Interesting BATTLE John. they all sound pretty similar, but different. Am I making sense?

    I didn’t care much for Billy Jo Royal. It kind of sounded like he was ‘hurling’ when he sang ‘HUSH’.

    The Joe South (original) had more of a ‘southern thing’ going on, but then of course. I didn’t mind and it was good, BUT…

    Give my vote to Deep Purple. It was the more familiar version, but also smoother sounding to me and the vocals where better than either Joe or Billie in my head.

    I do have to agree with Donna, about the naked vs better body thing. BUT again their video was at least rather interesting, of course, it was the 60’s’.


  6. I prefer Deep Purple’s cover to the others. I like their type of music better, and I’m already a fan of the band. I see what you mean about similarities, though. Sometimes even with the similarities, it just comes down to what’s more familiar and a type of music you like better 🙂


  7. Hey John.

    I never knew Joe South wrote “Hush.” I loved his “Down in the Boondocks,” but I’m thinking it was the Billy Joe Royal version. I used to keep score for my Dad’s softball team. This one team member would drive up game time, blasting that song! Had to ask my Dad what the song was all about. ha! Strange I’m not into his version of “Hush.” I really thought I would be.

    Deep Purple – I thought they did the original. Boy, this has been a battle for learning for me today. I’ve always liked this version. Pitted against the other two, I still find it to be the most pleasing.

    Interesting three way. Thank you for the memories, (smile).

    My vote goes to Deep Purple.


  8. I haven’t heard this song in forever. I’m not sure which version I’m most familiar with, though. I suspect it’s Joe South, since his recording is the most current of the three. I liked all of your versions and I was able to narrow my choice to two easily ~ Deep Purple and South. I think I prefer the over-all style of Deep Purple. However, I could have done without the lead singer loosing his bath towel. What’s up with this anyhow? I didn’t get the point of that whatsoever! Sooo, strange! All I can say is it’s a good thing I listened to the music and didn’t watch the video completely. lol Deep Purple gets my vote, John!


  9. Growing up as a kid, my dad played Deep Purple. Of course, he followed it up with the Beach Boys. I have heard both #2 and #3 before. I have to say Deep Purple did it best, with Joe South coming in 2nd.


  10. I don’t know why it is, but when I’m faced with three versions I become overwhelmed. (I find this to be true even when I’m composing my own battles. If I have three versions of a song and cannot narrow the field to two, I will sometimes just dump the entire battle. I am overwhelmed!)

    So, I listened to all three and had no idea who to vote for when it was over. I think that Deep Purple’s version added to the dilemma with all of the “crazy” going on in the video. Why on earth did the lead singer decide to record this video in a “bathing suit”/towel while everyone else in the band is wearing coats and it’s clearly cold??? Also, the amount of sideburns on display completely distracted me from the song. What was up with that fashion statement????

    Anyway, I had to go back and start stop all of them in an attempt to sort it out in my mind. Turns out, not crazy about the style of contender number one. That “na na na” that he started the song with didn’t hit me in the ears right at all. Nix him.

    Deep Purple was better when I didn’t watch the video at all. Much better than the first one. Although, I remained haunted by the lead singer in a bathing suit.

    I think I preferred the last one best, though. The songwriter Joe South gets my vote. I see I’m the ONLY one voting for him, but I’m cool with that.


  11. This is one instance where I like all three! Joe South is a great songwriter, by the way. Although I liked them all, I have to pick, so I’m going with Deep Purple. Billy Joe Royal would have been my second pick.


  12. Reblogged this on The Sound of One Hand Typing and commented:

    This is an encore presentation of a Battle of the Bands from March. I heard today that Billy Joe Royal, who did “Down in the Boondocks,” “Cherry Hill Park,” and of course “Hush” in the 1960’s, died in his sleep yesterday in Marietta, North Carolina. He was 73. My condolences to his family.

    Voting is closed on this BotB; Deep Purple’s version won.


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