Saturday, August 15, 2015

#BoTB: I'm Waiting For The Man (Bowie vs. Wee Cherubs)

The original: The Velvet Underground
Written by: Lou Reed
Original release: 1967, debut album (The Velvet Underground & Nico)
Cool trivia: Also released as Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground in 1971 (with There She Goes Again on the B side)


Andy Warhol footage of Velvet Underground rehearsals (c. 1966)




The Battle Contenders



David Bowie recorded several versions of this song: with The Riot Squad, in the Live: Santa Monica '72 album (this version is the one used for the movie Almost Famous -- which, if you haven't seen, you absolutely must), and one performance during the 1976 Isolar tour made it into the Live Nassau Coliseum '76 collection.

(P.S. -- Would you help us non-native English speakers here settle an issue? Is it Bowie as in take a bow? or as in bow and arrow? Thanks!)




A very different version from The Wee Cherubs (UK, 1984). I'd never heard this one before. Very curious to hear your thoughts on it.

~ * ~

I'm waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I'm waiting for my man

Hey white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh, pardon me, sir, it's the furthest from my mind
I'm just lookin' for a dear, dear friend of mine
I'm waiting for my man

Here he comes, he's all dressed in black
PR shoes and a big straw hat
He's never early, he's always late
First thing you learn is you always got to wait
I'm waiting for my man

Up to a Brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody's pinned you but nobody cares
He's got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah, then you got to split because you got no time to waste
I'm waiting for my man

Baby, don't you holler, darlin', don't you bawl and shout
I'm feeling good, you know I'm going to work it out
I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine
Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time
I'm waiting for my man

I'm walking home


Actually, I'm walking hopping off to visit the other battles at



So. Bowie or Wee Cherubs? Who does it better? Vote in the comments, get into the ins and outs of why one version is better (or worse) than another if you feel like it, and come back on the 21st to check the results. In the meantime, happy weekend!

33 comments :

  1. You raise several important questions here. The first is how do you say Bowie? It's Bowie, as in bow and arrow.

    Did I watch the movie Almost Famous? Yep, I did. It's a great movie. I really liked it and would watch it again anytime!

    I actually like both versions of this song. The second one is very different (as a cover should be). However, I still prefer the Bowie version, so chalk one for Mr. Bow and Arrow.

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    1. I'm glad you liked them both, Robin. I'd never heard the Wee Cherubs one (had never heard of them, either), but -- like you say -- they did a good job on giving a classic a new twist. First vote chalked up to Bowie -- and thanks for explaining the pronunciation :)

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  2. Loving this battle, Guilie! ☺ Robin answered your question about Bowie and he gets my vote. No contest, hand down! I also saw "Almost Famous" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Movies based on true stories are usually good and now I want to see it again. Have a good weekend.

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    1. So happy to hear you like the pairing, Debbie! Another vote for Mr. Bow and Arrow :) Almost Famous is brilliant; yeah, it's time to see it again. Happy week for you!

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  3. GUILIE ~
    I owned the original by Velvet Underground - both the studio and live versions - on LP way, way back when LP was a thing.

    Bow-Wow Bowie - the dog of glitter and discordant guitar - gets my vote. Although he'd have gotten slaughtered against Lou Reed and the The V. Underground.

    OK, I lied TWICE in ONE comment.

    As Girl Wonder said, it's "Bow And Arrow Bowie", not "Bow-Wow Bowie" (although I do think he's kind a dog).

    And, I really liked the version by THE WEE CHERUBS better. I never heard of them before, but it was very interesting how they took a dark, dirty, ugly song about a guy who is sick, strung out on drugs and badly in need of a fix, and surrounded it with this soft, delicate chiming musical sound. I liked the dichotomy they set up between the lyrics and the instrumentation which seemed to express the shattered mind / body disconnect of the drug addict. Interesting approach to the song.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I'm with you, Stephen... I found the Wee Cherubs version so completely different -- not just in musical arrangement but in the feel of it -- that I had to give it a shot at battling Bowie -- who, indeed, would've had zero chances at all vs. The Velvet Underground. (I've learned my lesson, I think, on pitting certain originals vs. covers :D )

      Aaaaaand The Wee Cherubs get their first vote!

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  4. I'm a David Bowie fan and he's getting my vote for this battle. The Wee Cherubs did an interesting version of this song for sure but Bowie just sounds better. Great battle!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Thanks, Michele! Another vote for Bowie :)

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  5. It's bow like bow & arrows - at least as far as I've been lead to believe! But I'm saying it now like take a bow and it sounds super weird... I don't know. Either way, he gets my vote. I've never heard of the Wee Cherubs and it is a weird take of it and I'll give them that, but it's just too monotonous for my taste, unfortunately.

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    1. Haha... "weird" is right :D Especially if you're familiar with the original, and with Bowie's version... Plus, like Stephen mentioned above, it doesn't seem to jibe with the overall sentiment of the lyrics. (Though that's exactly what made it interesting for me... And although I'm not yet sure which way my vote's going to go, I think there'll be a wide, wide margin in Bow & Arrow's favor ;) ) Thanks for the visit!

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  6. I prefer the Wee Cherubs so I am against the grain so far. I love the more quieter version and I love the dreamy feel to it. I like Bowie but it was just so loud to me. Cherubs for me

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    1. Birgit, I knew I could count on you to give the Wee Cherubs at least one vote -- thanks for that :) Their version definitely has charm.

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  7. Bowie as in bow wow, at least that's how I've always called him. Bowie as in bow and arrow sounds quite ok though and I've heard that too .. I love David Bowie, his 'Sorrow' gets me every time. His version though of Waiting for the Man was a little clangy for me, maybe because it's early morning here in SA. Whereas the Wee Cherubs sounded more rhythmic and musical. So WC gets my vote!

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    1. Susan, you're the first to mention pronouncing Bowie as in bow-wow -- thank you! I was beginning to feel weird, haha. At home we've had a long-standing impasse on this issue: the boyfriend insists it's bow and arrow, but I always said it as in bow-wow. He'll be happy to have the majority opinion in his favor, but your input makes me feel vindicated :D Name aside, yes, he's a marvelous artist and I love him, too. But I'm really glad you swung in the Wee Cherubs' direction this time!

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  8. I really liked both versions. The Wee Cherubs was so different and had more pep. BUT, I am big fan of the movie Almost Famous and I am huge fan of David Bowandarrow. My vote goes with DB!!

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    1. Glad you liked them both, Holli! The Wee Cherubs one really is different, isn't it? Another vote for Bowie!

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  9. I say Boo-ee as in Jim Bowie. But his version here kind of annoyed me. Wee Cherubs was more in the spirit of the original and much more pleasant for me to listen to.

    I'm a fan of the Underground but that video kind of nauseated me. Think I'll stick to the original studio recordings.

    I vote Wee Cherubs.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Boo-ee, eh? Never heard that one before -- and I love it. I think I will solve my home dispute by switching to your version, Lee :) Aaaaand another vote for the Wee Cherubs! Wow, they're doing better than I expected -- glad you enjoyed them. (About the Velvet video: yeah, Andy Warhol tended to get overly enthusiastic about that zoom :D )

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    2. Here's a link that settles the argument of the pronunciation from David's standpoint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDd5Ps4YqPQ

      But I'm also right according to Jim's pronunciation as illustrated here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d9KY2q3e9E

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  10. I hate to admit it, but I don't think either song really knocked me out. Out of the two, I am more familiar with Bowie's songs, so I'll place my vote that way. Perhaps that's the reason I liked it the bit that I did.
    As for pronunciation, I've always heard it pronounced Bowie (bow and arrow).

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Jeff. Thanks for giving them a listen :) Another vote chalked down to Bowie (bow and arrow ;) )

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  11. I enjoyed The Wee Cherubs, so they get my vote. Even though I think the music was more ballad like and not how I'd envision a guy waiting for his next fix, but for me it was easier to listen too. Although I think Bowie will win hands down, I liked his the least.

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    1. And yet ANOTHER vote for the Wee Cherubs, care of the wonderful Yolanda Renee! Not that they'll ever find out, but I'm sure they'd be very pleased if they did :) You're so right about the disconnect between lyrics content and music... And yet, somehow, it works. Well, sort of ;) Thanks for the vote, Yolanda!

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  12. Bowie gets my votes rocks a bit more.

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  13. David Bowie really rocks this one. My vote goes to him. Great battle!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Mary. Another vote for Bowie!

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  14. There is very little that Bowie did that I like and this is not one of the few. The Wee Cherubs put a very unusual spin on a rather creepy song and for that they get my vote. Their ethereal sound really toned down the creep factor.

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    1. Haha... I hear you, FAE. A vote for the underdog Wee Cherubs -- who, by the way, are doing a lot better than I thought they would :)

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  15. First: it's pronounced as in "bow and arrow."

    And while I'm on the subject, he did a better job than the Wee Cherubs. I also didn't like the cracks and pops in the recording, whether they were naturally-occuring from a vinyl recording or added for that "vintage effect." Bowie gets my vote.

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    1. John, your vote has been recorded for Mr. Bow-and-Arrow :) Thank you! (True on the crackles, too... not sure if they're natural or added, but they do sound weird.)

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  16. Gullie, Give my vote to Wee Cherubs.

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