Battle of the Songs: Whenever You Need Somebody

It’s mid-February already! My, my, my! Where did this month go? It flew by too fast! I am still recovering from the chocolate overload of Valentines. But, while I am getting over the massive intake of chocolate, please enjoy the next “Battle of the Songs”. Well, this time is more of a “Battle of the Bands”.

SAW: The Legendary Powerhouse

Was I able to rickroll you? Yes, Yes, Yes?

This song was the pivotal part of a meme that was popular about ten years ago. I really didn’t follow it. My sister tried to rickroll me a couple of times, but I avoided it like a ninja. I knew her intentions before opening those links.

Yet I feel like the rickroll meme is the only thing that the newer generations know about Rick Astley and the powerhouse 80s’ music team Stock Aiken and Waterman (or SAW). Now, I am considered “young” (but I hate to be called that because for me “young equals stupid and naive” and I always wanted to be an adult) since I was born in 1989, but I have been a SAW fan for a long time. It is all thanks to my mom as she listened to a lot of music when I was growing up, mostly British. She knew I was a SAW fan in high school because she would buy me Bananarama records and a Steps CD when I was in high school.

I am a massive fan of SAW’s music. I researched and listened to a lot of artists, major and minor ones, produced by the team (or at least one member). Yes, I know the big ones like Bananarama, Dead or Alive, Rick Astley, Mel & Kim, and etc. But, I know the minor ones like O’Chi Brown, KAKKO, and Princess. Actually, one of my prized possessions in my record collection is a signed 7-inch single of KAKKO’s “We Must Be Dancing.” KAKKO, who now goes by the name Anju Suzuki, wasn’t much of a success with SAW and her singing career in the early 90s. But, she is now a successful actress and personality here in Japan.

The Gloves Are Off

Today’s battle two artists who worked with the musical powerhouse trio: one who recently had a birthday and one who was a one-hit wonder. I love SAW music because I love the Eurobeat sound. In fact, I wrote a big paper, which is now lost in cyberspace, about the evolution of the Eurobeat sound and influences back in college.

Listen and tell me which one is your favorite!

O’Chi Brown – Whenever You Need Somebody (1985)

We start off the competition with O’Chi Brown with her original rendition of “Whenever You Need Somebody”. She was a one-hit wonder as this 1985 single was the only one out of her discography to land on the top of some chart: the US Dance charts. After that, her career just fizzled out by the end of 80s.

You could tell that this song was written in the early part of SAW’s career. It has more of the early 80s’ high-pitched synthesizers, a drum kit straight out of Ollie And Jerry’s “There’s No Stopping Us”, and slower tempo. Even though the instrumentation feels slowed down and somewhat cheap, Brown’s vocals are the opposite. They are powerful and full of texture. I love how they are like a chameleon: going from powerful to sultry to cool without any troubles.

Rick Astley – Whenever You Need Somebody (1987)

Ok, ok, ok! I admit! I did pick Rick Astley because his birthday was last week. And also, “Whenever You Need Somebody” can be a great (post-) Valentine’s day song, right?

“Whenever You Need Somebody”. is one of my favorite Rick Astley’s song. I also love the album it came from. If you do intend to listen to the album Whenever You Need Somebody after this, please listen to “Slipping Away” and “You Move Me”. Those are great songs (and usually album-only songs are overlooked).

I like the instrumentation of Astley’s better because it is more polished and mixed better. This was made in the period when SAW produced their songs with a really great sound. It also somewhat sounds really modern. I have a feeling that this song could be a hit today with Bruno Mars singing this and little changes in instrumentation. (This makes me wonder what would the 1987 “Whenever You Need Somebody” sound like if I substituted Astley’s vocals for Brown’s?)

Before You Go…

Here is an interesting fact: These two have worked with each other before in the mid-80s. Before becoming famous, Rick Astley worked at the PWL Studios as a tea boy and a backup singer. One of his first recording opportunities was with O’chi Brown on the 1986 single “Learning To Live”. Although Astley was uncredited on the initial pressings, he was credited on the reissues.

What Will It Be?

Now it is your turn to vote! Who will be the victor of the first-ever “Battle of the Songs”? Tell me in the comments below! Also, tell me why you choose a particular version! I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

I am also part of The “Battle of the Bands” blog collection. After you vote, please visit the other battles from this blogger circle. There are really interesting battles!

🌞 Visit TOSSING IT OUT by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit MIKE’S RAMBLINGS’by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit CURIOUS AS A CATHY by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit ANGELS BARK by clicking HERE.
🌞 Visit THE DOGLADY’S DEN by clicking HERE.

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197 thoughts on “Battle of the Songs: Whenever You Need Somebody

  1. marjiemare says:

    I always said that I never heard of the artists I had the pleasure to discover through your post. Today, as I am sharing this post with my daughter, she knows about them.

  2. Matija Antonić says:

    Never gonna give you up ensured so many laughs, and it was fun to try to rick roll somebody especially with hiding the links, 90-s was a great time for music, so many godo hits were made back then

  3. Stephen T. McCarthy says:

    AMY ~
    I’ll cast my vote for Rick Astley.

    Both songs sound to me like they could have even come out of the late-1970s Disco era, which wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse, but I preferred the melody and enthusiasm of Rick’s recording.

    ~ D-FensDogG

  4. Elizabeth Nunes says:

    What a great collection of music you have here! Thank you so much for putting together this list.
    Elizabeth | Tired Mom Supermom

  5. Got to be Rick for me. Did you know he’s actually performed Never Gonna Give You Up with Foo Fighters? They did it live…like a mix of Smells Like Teen Spirit and NGGYU…it’s brilliant. Should be on YouTube somewhere!

  6. Got to be Rick for me. Did you know he’s actually performed Never Gonna Give You Up with Foo Fighters? They did it live…like a mix of Smells Like Teen Spirit and NGGYU…it’s brilliant. Should be on YouTube somewhere!

  7. This is such a cool idea for a series of posts, I love throwbacks like Rick Astley. Aside from the obvious Never Gonna Give You Up, I don’t actually think I’ve listened to any of his other music so I’ll have to give the songs you’ve included a listen!

    Alice x

  8. helenevlacho says:

    Rick Astley is a favorite singer from the past, as I grew up at 80s. Music was so different then and I recall so many memories every time I hear a song from this decade.

  9. Ann says:

    Oh my! Never gonna give you up fever way back high school or elementary days. Have a feeling we are the same age hehe. LOve the 80s and 90s, nothing compares.

  10. Geraline Batarra says:

    I’ll go for Risk Astley, ‘Never gonna give you up”, this song is so lively, easy to remember and the lyrics are so clear. Plus he is handsome.

  11. Rick Astley takes my vote. I grew up listening to his songs in the car with my aunts. I like a lot of the 80’s and 90’s music because that is when I grew up. Music just isn’t the same anymore.

  12. mommabear226 says:

    I am totally not a an 80’s rock band person at all but this was a great look at some of the best songs and I loved the battle feel. My favorite was O’Chi Brown!

  13. Jazmin Williams says:

    Rick Astley for sure! I got really fed up with him as a kid when the Rock Roll’d meme was constant but honestly whenever I’m at a wedding or something and he comes on, I do join in and sing (poorly)!

  14. Angela Tolsma says:

    I’ve heard of Rick Astley but not O’chi Brown. I’m voting her because support women artists! And it’s not over played.

  15. Kemi says:

    I def prefer Rick Astley’s version because it’s smoother and more polished. Plus, I’ve always loved his voice and he’s a classic. The videos are so 80s lol.

  16. It’s still nice that I am still a huge fan of old school music like , ‘whenever you need somebody’ ; so I can understand when you say that you’ve listened to most of SAW’s music because of such much love.

  17. Arlee Bird says:

    I almost missed this Battle just like I apparently missed this song back in the eighties. I guess I was listening to different music back then though I do remember a lot of music with this sound. Astley I remember well while O’Chi doesn’t even ring a note of recollection for me.

    Give my vote to O’Chi. I think the song fits her voice better.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • aisasami says:

      Thanks for the vote. Check back on Wednesday to see who is the winner! Don’t worry about not remembering Brown’s version, it was #1 in the UK and a minor one.

  18. WhoMadeTime says:

    HAHAHA the Rick – Never Gonna Give You Up has trolled me on so many things on the internet. But it actually isn’t a bad song. But he will forever be known as the rickrolled. 🙂

  19. Lyosha Varezhkina says:

    what a nice song! It makes me wanna dance disregarding the version. Never heard it before but I am sure I will again soon. Thanks!

  20. marta_the_traveler says:

    Thanks for sharing – it’s the first time I am listening to their song… It’s not my favourite kind of music, but I am still interesting, who will win the battle 😉

  21. I was DJ in the 80’s at parties and weddings. Rick was popular at least for one song, I had to play it a lot. I don’t know if I would have included him and his music as rocknroll or power house, Pop ok. The other two I can’t say I ever came across them. This particular genre of pop dance changed very fast it you didn’t break the top fourty, your song was lost in the abyss of white noise. Interesting dig into a favourite time in music for me.

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