Iconic Song: “This Guy’s in Love With You”

via www.45cat.com

The way I think about music varies. I might:

  1. Think about a band and its entire musical catalog

2. Crave a specific album

3. Find myself in the mood for a certain genre of music OR

4. Be hyper-focused on one song.

This story falls in the “#4” catagory!

Today Burt Bacharach’s classic “This Guy’s in Love With You” popped into my head. I had intended to share a handful of favorite versions, but it has evolved into my biggest exploration of one song to date!

I am including my TWELVE favorite versions! And truthfully I could turn this into fifteen or twenty.

Now I’m a sucker for a sweepy, dreamy, melancholy tune, so “This Guy’s in Love With You” is tres Bonnie. Even so, I had no idea that I would enjoy this many versions!

This is one of those songs that has its everyday fans, but also has A LOT of fans who are musicians and/or in the music business. Critical acclaim and a popular following do not always go hand-in-hand.

This song transcends genre, decade, and gender! Without further adieu…

Bonnie’s Favorite Versions of “This Guy’s in Love With You” (in No Particular Order):

I may be a big Noel Gallagher fan; however, technically that’s not the reason I’m featuring this song first. More precisely, Noel’s interpretation of this classic tune captured my attention several years ago. I was so enraptured by it that it was responsible for me hearing “This Guy’s in Love With You” with fresh ears.

It retains the melody of Herb Alpert’s famous version, but the production is scaled way back. In fact, it feels almost acoustic for well over the first minute.

Noel’s typical swagger is nowhere to be found. It’s a confident but restrained vocal. It feels ageless. I think it’s sublime. OK, yes, it’s my favorite.

If you are a Gen-Xer and you’ve never heard this, I’m about to BLOW your mind! This outstounding and very unlikely version is by Faith No More (of “Epic” fame). While Noel Gallagher opts for understated, Mike Patton brings the D-R-A-M-A!

The drumming and harmonica add some interesting layers, but the star of this show is unmistakable. That big, booming, commanding vocal. It’s a riveting performance!

This version slinks along. It feels feline to me. Backed by angelic female singers, Jackie Wilson croons, seduces, and charms his way through the entire endeavor.

Additional listenings are recommended to truly appreciate the vocal complexities that Jackie Wilson brings to this iconic tune. The last 15 seconds bring an unanticipated desperation. It’s a very nuanced, special interpretation.

I didn’t know Pat Upton by name, but his voice seemed vaguely familiar. A quick search revealed he is the lead singer of the Spiral Starecase, the band responsible for the 1969 top 20 hit “More Today Than Yesterday.”

I was skeptical about this rendition the first few moments, but found myself won over fairly quickly. Although it feels very groovy (not really my thing), Pat’s unique tone and his vocal interpretation REALLY work.

Upon reflection, the music isn’t terrible, but it’s Pat Upton that I’m drawn to. He manages to sound relaxed, slightly pained, and sincere. He is single-handedly responsible for my feeling called to include this version on my list.

For something WAY outside the box, I offer The Reels’ early 80’s fragile rendition. Dave Mason has the chops, which makes his vocal choices fascinating. He opts for slow, trepidatious, and timid.

Its delicate handling by the band was rewarded: it became a top 10 hit in their native Australia. Music fans lapped up this new-wave(ish) interpretation. It’s still endearing!

Speaking of endearing, oh my stars! Admittedly I am a Monkees fan, but listen to Davy Jones. I adore this solo effort!

A strong vocal that conveys something more underneath. A little raw, a little raspy with a lot of heart. There’s no pretense here.

I must admit that I had a very strong reaction to hearing this the first time. What can I say? It’s a beautiful song sung with great care by Davy. It makes me smile to hear this!

If I were posting this list in order of favorites, this take by Ronald Isley would be much higher! Ronald infuses some velvety R&B into his interpretation.

Smooth, sultry, swoony, dreamy, and absolutely lovely. I had NO idea it was going to be this good. It is such a joy to watch him perform!

The Queen of Soul will rear her head soon enough, but I was compelled to add this second female cover. LOTS of amazing women covered this song, but I’m not including them. Brenda Lee’s version is THAT good.

This song makes me a Brenda believer! Her tone, ever-so-subtle twang, her sexy relaxed vibe, her confidence. She is riveting, mesmerizing, stunning. Bonus: the music is really great on this more uptempo version. This is WAY better than you think it’s going to be.

I’m a fan of B. J. Thomas, but feared this may sound too similar to Herb Alpert’s version. Very loosely there is a parallel to the version for the first half of the song, but B.J. Thomas amps up the vocal to make this his own.

And, of course, B.J. Thomas has that unmistakable tone. Additionally, he makes some musical choices that are unique to his style. Bottom line: there is no confusing this take with Herb Albert’s!

I went back-and-forth, but here’s the thing: there’s a reason that 60s/70 easy listening was so popular. It would be unfair of me to be dismissive of someone like Andy Williams solely because he was a part of that group of (mostly) out-of-vogue musicians.

His voice is perfectly suited for this song. Mr. Williams isn’t phoning this one in either: his vocal is pleading and evocative. The music wisely channels a little Henry Mancini, so it avoids being too saccharine or cloying. It’s a powerful performance that honors Burt Bacharach beautifully.

I hadn’t planned to include any female versions until I heard this one. (Once I decided to make an exception for the Queen of Soul, I decided to add the Brenda Lee version as well.)

Aretha Franklin can truly can do no wrong! A vibrant, soulful, and impassioned vocal. And, thankfully, the music is REALLY, REALLY good, too. Not to be missed!

I listened to a lot of instrumentals and had decided not to include one. At the last possible moment I accidentally stumbled upon this one performed by Ronnie Aldrich and the London Festival Orchestra.

Although it does sound a bit dated, I imagined myself sitting with eyes closed at Royal Albert Hall in London listening to a big band playing this version. I would be absolutely swept away! (And I knew I HAD to include it.)

Unsurprisingly the piano-playing is excellent but check out the trombones, the rest of the brass section, and strings. Dated or not, it’s a divine, soaring performance with some solid musicianship.

Honorarable mentions go to: James Brown & Lyn Collins, Rumer, Dionne Warwick, and Nat Stuckey.

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Bonnie Barton

Bonnie Barton

5.2K Followers

Queen of mixtapes. Lover of music, travel, and fashion. Authentic sharer of life lessons and dating foibles.