BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Wonderful World”

Feels like we just finished the last one and already we’re doing a new one. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?

We’re reaching back in the vault to 1960 for this gem by the great Sam Cooke, “Wonderful World.” It reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts that year. As always, this is presented for comparison purposes only, and not part of the competition.

A great song, to be sure, and one that’s been covered a few times, two of whom will be competing today.

CONTESTANT #1: Herman’s Hermits

As was the case with so many bands in the British Invasion, Herman’s Hermits covered a lot of American rock and rhythm & blues that they learned by listening to the records and turning out copies that were as good, if not better, than the originals. Their version of “Wonderful World” was released in April 1965 and reached #4 on the Hot 100, as well as #7 in their own country. It’s pretty faithful to the original, but a little faster and more upbeat.

CONTESTANT #2: Art Garfunkel featuring Paul Simon and James Taylor

Art Garfunkel recorded the song in 1978 backed by his old buddy Paul Simon and James Taylor. Rather than try and reproduce the Sam Cooke original, Art sang it as a ballad. It reached #17 on both the Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts that year.

So now, it’s time to vote. Which of these two versions did you like better? Is it the rocking Herman’s Hermits version, or the slower, harmonized, ballad-style Art Garfunkel one? Whichever you prefer is fine with me, but you have to tell me what it is to have your vote count. And no write-in votes for Sam Cooke will be accepted, although I’m sure you’ll tell me whether you found it preferable to either of the other versions when you cast your vote.

And, after you vote, be sure and check out the other battles going on 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
Alex J. Cavanaugh will be doing his tomorrow.

Lines are open now! Results of this battle one week from today!


Author: John Holton

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

11 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Wonderful World””

  1. Not that the Garfunkel & Co. version is bad. They are very professional and cover the song nicely.

    But…Herman and the Hermits capture the youthful ebullience of the song’s message and the spirit of the era.

    So, after waking up after the Garfunkel version, I cast my vote for the much more fun Herman’s Hermits version. Always had a soft spot for that band anyway. They did fun stuff and this cover is no exception.

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


  2. Herman’s Hermits for me. I love ballads and Garfunkel’s voice very much but this song, to me, deserves the uplifting fun sound that HH gave so they get my vote


  3. John, such a happy battle! I love this song in all versions presented.
    Each within it’s own time frame was ‘my favorite,’ as I never tire of it.
    I remember when Art, James, and Paul came out with this and knew,
    even in the slower format, it would be one I’d treasure more!

    My vote goes to Art, James, and Paul! (Great battle!)


    1. John, my battle is still open if you’d like to vote. I thought to close it but got talked out of it… Ha! If not, I’ll see you on the 1st.


  4. John, fabulous song choice. Art & Company did a beautiful job, but this song done as a ballad doesn’t fit the feel. Herman’s Hermits upbeat youthful appeal in their cover makes me smile and wanna dance. Give my vote to Herman’s Hermits!


  5. Honestly, I liked both versions of this song. I could put BOTH of them on a playlist… just different ones. Herman’s Hermits would make the dance playlist and Art & Co. would make the mellow playlist. What I’m trying to say is that I could/would easily listen to both on a rotation.

    But, which is better?

    Ah, tough question. I thought it would be Herman’s Hermits. The uptempo is so danceable and fun. So, hearing Art & Co directly after was a bit disconcerting (talk about a change of pace). However, a few bars in, I settled into it and loved the harmony going on there. It occurred to me (again) that Art Garfunkel was quite possibly the better singer in the Simon & Garfunkel duo, though Simon gets more name recognition. I just love Art’s harmonies. So, Art & Co. get my vote.

    Really liked this battle!


  6. JOHN ~
    I still has no Internet service and I can’t really play the songs because I’m in a public library and they’d kick me out. But thanks to my immense musical knowledge (and a little help from a good friend) I’m able to cast a vote anyway…

    Give my vote to: SIMON & GARFUNKEL W/ JAMES TAYLOR.

    If I manage to get Internet service prior to the 21st, I will return and correct my vote (should I determine I got it wrong the first time… which is highly unlikely).

    Excuse the “copy & paste” job but at least I ain’t totally AWOL in this installment of BOTB. I should be back at 100% before too long.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


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