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"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WWF (Wow What Fun) Grudge Match - Round One: "Your Airplane Spin Keeps Lifting Me... Higher and Higher!"

Welcome to

WWF (Wow What Fun)

Grudge Match!

WWF Grudge Match is inspired by the
pro wrestling exhibitions I watched on TV
as a boy. In this series I will present modern
recordings that either cover or sample old hits.
There are two pairs of recordings in each post.
Think of each pair as a wrestling tag team.
They do not compete against each other.
They compete together against the
opposing tag team (song team).


WWF Grudge Match



 "Higher and Higher" 


Jackie Wilson, "The Titan of Soul,"
scored a top 10 Pop/#1 R&B hit
in 1967 with "(Your Love Keeps
Lifting Me) Higher and Higher."

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me)
Higher and Higher" Jackie Wilson
Sept. 1967, highest chart position
#6 Hot 100/#1 R&B)


In 2014 English dance-pop hit maker
Pixie Lott released a cover of "Higher
and Higher" on her first greatest hits
album Platinum Pixie: Hits.

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me)
Higher and Higher" Pixie Lott
(from November 2014 album
Platinum Pixie: Hits)


 "Oh How Happy" 


In 1966 the Michigan blue-eyed soul
group Shades of Blue brushed the
top 10 with "Oh How Happy."

"Oh How Happy" - Shades of Blue
(June 1966, highest chart pos. #12)


UK electronic music and video producer
Ste McGregor goes by the name Kidda.
In 2009, Kidda released "Strong 2Gether,"
a single that samples the Shades of
Blue hit "Oh How Happy."

"Strong 2Gether" - Kidda
(2009 single)

Okay, it's time for you to choose.

(Remember: votin' is verboten :)

 Which tag team won the

WWF Grudge Match?...


Jackie Wilson and Pixie Lott

singing "Higher and Higher"?

...or The BLUE TAG TEAM, 

Shades of Blue and Kidda

performing "Oh How Happy?

Stay tuned for Round 2 of

  WWF Grudge Match

coming soon!

Have a Shady day!


  1. I am not a fan of pro wrestling— but I like this new twist on the old battle of the bands concept. You picked two great songs and two great covers.

    I like Jackie Wilson. He is the only artist in this post I knew— but I enjoyed all four and that made it hard to decide which tag team won the match. I determined the winning team by using a grading scale of 1 to 10. I gave Jackie Wilson a score of 9 for his original of Higher and Higher. I gave his partner— Pixie Lott— a score of 7. Their combined total is 16 points. I gave Shades of Blue a 7 and Kidda's song— which samples Oh How Happy and which I like even more— an 8, for a combined score of 15. Using that system— the green team won the match by one point.

    This wrestling theme series is going to be lots of fun— and I can’t wait for the next round!

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thanks for being the early bird today. WHAT??? You don't like pro wrestling? You are the very first person I ever met who has said that! :) Knowing you don't dig wrestling, I am all the more pleased that you appreciate the concept of this new series based on the "sport."

      You apparently don't remember, but Pixie Lott has appeared on the blog before. I used the English dance-pop artist's hit “Boys and Girls” to kick-off my Riley’s Rave series last year. Remember?

      You came up with an excellent method of deciding which team wins my imaginary tag team wrestling match. When I applied your scoring system, I gave Jackie Wilson a 9 and Pixie Lott an 8 because I am very impressed with Pixie's version of "Higher and Higher." On the blue team, I gave Shades of Blue and their original of "Oh How Happy" a 7. I have always liked that record but not quite as much as as the soul and R&B sounds of the 60s. On the other hand, I was delighted to hear what Kidda did with the song on his recent recording "Strong 2Gether" and I assigned it a higher score of 8, bringing the blue team's total to 15. That gave the green team a 17 to 15 victory in the match.

      Thanks again for joining the fun and playing along, Kathryn. Have a great day!

  2. My vote is for the Green Tag team.

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Welcome back, dear friend!

      While "votin' is verboten" (because I am no longer running band battles :) I am always curious to know which tunes my friends like and why.

      Thanks again and have a great week yourself!

  3. Oh man! This is kind of a tough one, Shady! I always loved Jackie Wilson for anything he sang! And, Pixie Lott did a great job of covering the song "Higher and Higher".

    Then we have Shades of Blue-I always like the song "Oh How Happy", for whatever reasons! Actually it is musically and vocally sound. And, then the teammate Kidda-wow! Again, vocally the song "Strong 2Gether" is really great, and so, so similar to "Oh How Happy".

    It is a tough one for someone who likes both songs, but I will have to go with Jackie and Pixie. It is already a fantastic great, and this young lady took on this "hard act to follow" with a vibrant and energetic, "I'm going for it", attitude! I'm going Green!

    This was truly fun and a great mix of the old and new, and, a close call on both counts.

    I hope you're having a pretty great week, Shady. We're having a mix and match of weather here in the Lone Star State. It is 78 degrees right now. Have a marvelous evening. See you soon! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      I'm just getting back off the road after a day of traveling and pleased to see that you paid me a visit.

      Thank you very much for hustling over on day one of my new post and joining the fun as I present my new series, WWF Grudge Match, based on memories of the pro wrestling matches I watched on TV as a kid.

      I'm happy to know you found the "tag teams" to be evenly matched and had a little difficulty deciding which team to favor. Your ears seem to match mine on Jackie Wilson and you also appreciate the worthy covers/samples recorded by Pixie Lott and Kidda. I was pleasantly surprised by both artists and their excellent versions of these 60s songs.

      I still remember how broken up I was when I read the news that Jackie Wilson had suffered a heart attack and collapsed on stage during a Dick Clark oldies show. I sent him a get well card and he lingered, drifting in and out of a coma, for nearly a decade after, but never recovered. It was sad, tragic end for the charismatic and energetic performer.

      Looks like team green has team blue on the mat in a submission hold and the boys in blue might be down for the count. We shall see if team blue can get back in it in the days to come.

      It's way too warm here in central Florida. It feels like winter (what there was of it) is fading fast. I don't think the temp dipped down to freezing at all this season which is very unusual.

      Thanks again for checking in with me, dear friend Suzanne. Take care, have a wonderful week, and I will be chatting with you again soon!

  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Alex!

      Another "vote" for team green, even though it clearly states in the text that "votin' is verboten." The word that we now use is "choose.":)

      Thanks, Alex!

  5. Jackie Wilson can do no wrong, so the green team for a take down. Is a take down OK ?
    I am shutting down for a few weeks but I knew I have missed your blog for a few posts.
    thehamish will post a photo for his Friday.

    cheers, thehamish and parsnip

    1. Hi, Gayle!

      Thanks for coming by, dear friend. It's great to see you again!

      The greatness of the Titan of Soul, Jackie Wilson, seems to be the deciding factor with most people, enabling Team Green to take the Blues to the mat.

      I am sorry to learn that you are shutting down your blog for a while. I hope it is just to allow you to take a needed break and perhaps do some traveling. i hope you will return to us with more updates on thehamish, the javelinas and your awesome home and property there in the Arizona desert.

      Thank you again for swinging by, dear friend Gayle, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  6. Ok I'm not sure if I have it right but I listened to the green and to the blue. Now, in the green team I have to still give the edge over to the original, Jackie Treen over Pixie but her voice is great and does a wonderful job with this song. For the blue team, I am actually giving it to Kidda because the original sounds too Pat Boone to me. Who wins overall?? Even though blue is my favourite colour, I am giving this to the green team because I love the song better and find Pixie really shone in the remake. Wishing you a beautiful day Shady. Today it is 15C but by tomorrow, -1C....gotta love Canadian weather.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you very much for coming down to play WWF Grudge Match with me, dear friend!

      Yessum, you did an excellent job of evaluating all four recordings and then deciding which team should be the overall winner of the match based on which song you like better and strong performances by both team members singing it. It's a good thing you didn't actually cast a vote because "votin' is verboten" and I would have been forced to make a citizen's arrest. :) You chose the Green Team and that means Jackie and Pixie continue to build upon their commanding lead.

      I'm excited to know that you found value in Pixie Lott's cover of "(Your Airplane Spin Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." :) I think she did a great job with it and I plan to buy her Platinum Pixie collection just to get that song. Your ears and sensibilities are also closely aligned with mine on Shades of Blue. Their original is too "goody two shoes" for my taste. Try as I might, I don't like it as much as I want to and as much as millions of other people did back in the 60s when it was released. Like you, I am more impressed by the Kidda song which heavily samples "Oh How Happy."

      My Floridian weather is a lot like your Canadian weather, Birgit: chili today (80 degrees)...and hot tamale (90+ degrees :)

      Thank you very much for reporting in, dear friend BB!

  7. My favorite is the Jackie Wilson song. That always made me feel wonderful when I heard it. I guess I should listen to it again. Thanks for reminding me it's still out there.

    I'm back from my amazing February break. I'm still trying to settle into my social media again. Seems as if I've been away for ages. Great to be at your blog again.

    1. Hi, Cheryl!

      Welcome back to the blog circuit, dear friend! I hope you are feeling well these days and that the month of March finds you in good spirits.

      I'm happy to know that you like the song "Higher and Higher," one of Jackie Wilson's greatest hits, covered here by English songbird Pixie Lott.

      Take care, dear friend C-Lee!

  8. Going with the Green team!! I grew up with wrestling in Dallas with a famous family called the Von Eriks. The dad was Fritz Von Erik and he was famous for doing The Claw. LOL. Then he had some sons Kerry, Kevin and another one i think. They all had a tragic life and died for various reasons too soon. My little old great grandmother loved watcing wrestling on Saturday nights on her black and white TV. That cracked me up!! She would tell us all about the other wrestlers.
    Fun Post!

    1. Hi, Holliwood N. Vine!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for coming. I'm pleased to see you!

      It's nice to see so many people going Green. :) If this was a BOTB, (and it Shirley isn't), and if voting was allowed, (and it Shirley isn't because votin' is verboten), then it looks like we would have a shutout in the making.

      Thanks for sharing your story about the famous Von Erich pro wrestling family of Texas. I remember their tragic tale being told in a documentary that I watched a couple of years ago. Thanks also for sharing that your great grandmother was hooked on TV wrestling matches. I vaguely recall a little old lady who was always in the front row of the audience at those televised exhibitions. She was obviously a plant and her job was to beat the villains with her umbrella and/or purse whenever they flew out of the ring and landed close to her. Her antics were intended to boost the fun and excitement. Like your great grandmother, I watched wrestling back in those black and white years of the 50s, and during that same period, I also enjoyed watching roller derby (the San Francisco Bay Area Bombers). Roller derby was another "sport" that was mainly another staged good vs. evil spectacle.

      I'm thrilled to know you had fun with the post, dear friend Holli. Happy March to you. Thanks again for your visit and comment and please come see me again soon!

  9. Replies
    1. Hi, Jo-Anne!

      Thanks for coming, my dear Australian friend!

      Holy cow...

      The Blue Team's in this thing!!!

      The Blue Team's in this thing!!!

      The Blue Team's in this thing!!! :)

      "Oh How Happy" you have made me, dear Jo-Anne, because, now that I know you fancy the Blue Team, it makes my first tag team match at least a little more balanced.

      Thanks for reporting in, dear friend Jo-Anne!

  10. Maybe because Spring is only a few weeks away but I'm going Green Team all the way! Loved both versions and the song brought back some fun memories...hope all's well down south. Snow heading our way as the warm patch is being blown out by wind and storms...crazy weather!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thanks for coming, dear friend! I am happy to give you a front row seat as I present my first tag team wrestling match between the Greens and the Blues.

      I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed both versions of "Higher and Higher." Your ears certainly match mine on that one. I also thought Kidda's reworking of "Oh How Happy" was quite good but, the way things are going, it might not be enough to enable Team Blue to mount a comeback at this stage of the match.

      I'm sorry to learn that your weather is on the roller coaster again, dear friend. I hope winter's return isn't too harsh in your neck of the woods.

      Thanks again for joining the fun and enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Yaya!

  11. Hi, Shady,

    Wow! This is hard because the newer ones sound similar to the older songs. I was shocked because I was expecting radically different.

    I'll have to vote for Kidda. I like his take on "Oh How Happy." Video made me smile too.

    Have a great Thursday!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      I'm happy to see you this morning. Thanks for joining the fun, dear friend!

      Sorry folks. Park's closed. "Votin' is verboten." The moose out front shoulda told ya. Voting is no longer allowed here on SDMM because I am no longer presenting band battles. So instead, let's put it this way: You like Kidda. You pick Kidda. You choose Kidda. :)

      There's still a problem, though. You still need to like, pick or choose either the green team as the overall winner of the match or the blue team as the overall winner based on which song you prefer and contingent upon strong performances by both team mates singing that song. Get it?

      Thanks again, dear friend JM!

  12. Hi Shady!

    Let's see, 16 to 17 - Blue favor. But I happen to prefer the uplifting song performed by the Green team. Color me cyan, my friend ;-)

    1. Hi, diedre!

      Thank you very much for coming by, dear friend!

      I'm happy to know you decided to use Mrs. Shady's scoring system to determine the winner of my very first WWF Grudge Match. In doing so, Blue Team claimed a narrow victory, in your opinion, even though you prefer the Green Team's song. It means that the Blue Team is still in this thing. Shucks, by the time my 1,000 followers in Tasmania render their verdicts, Blue could be in the pink and Green could be seeing red. :)

      Thanks again for joining me, dear friend diedre, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  13. When I was a kid, I thought wrestling is real. :P

    1. Hi, Luxie!

      How are you, my phine Philippine phriend? :) Thank you for coming!

      Same here. When I was a boy, many people swore pro wrestling was real. I'm sure there are still many who do. Even at a young age, I realized pro wrestling was a "good vs evil" play rather than a sport, but I appreciated the athletic ability of the combatants and the spectacle of it all.

      I hope you enjoyed the tuneage in the post.

      Thanks again for joining me, dear friend Lux, and have a great weekend!


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