Battle of the Bands: Using the Mind to Solve This Matter

Welcome to another Battle of the Bands! This month’s battle comes from a song that I wanted to use in a #SongLyricsSunday post a couple of weeks ago. The topic was “mind / brain / think / thought”. I eventually used the song “Stop & Think” by an unknown 80s singer named Michelle Goulet (but still one of my favorite songs). However, I also thought of using another 80s song that went by the name of “Mind Over Matter”, but eventually I scrapped that idea.

Now, for March’s Battle of the Band, I want to revisit “Mind Over Battle” and the two (maybe) well-known version by former Blondie singer Debbie Harry and actress and voice actress E.G. Daily (who you might know as the voice of such iconic characters like Tommy Pickles from Rugrats and Buttercup from The Powderpuff Girls). Before we pick our favorites, let’s first take a look at the history of the song.

Movies and Label Disputes

“Mind Over Matter” was written by Michael Jay (who wrote 80s hits like Gloria Estefan’s “Hot Summer Nights” for the Top Gun soundtrack and Martika’s “Toy Soldiers”) and Rick Palombi. It is described by Jay as an “anthem pop song”.[1] Before Harry or Daily had a chance to record the tune, Dutch-born Nikki Leeger was the first to release as a single in 1986. You can hear this version in the trailer for the 1987 movie Summer School, in which Harry’s and Daily’s versions would be included on some pressing of the soundtrack.

Originally, Debbie Harry recorded the song for the Summer School soundtrack. However, Chrysalis Records refused to release Harry’s version as a single. The reason was that, at that time, Harry just left Chrysalis for Geffen. “While Chrysalis was given clearances to include Debbie’s version on the movie soundtrack album, they would not be allowed to release it as a single. The song was always positioned to be the hit single to help promote the film. Not being allowed to use Deborah Harry’s version for that purpose meant that Debbie would need to be replaced with another artist.”[1]

The Cover art for E.G. Daily’s single “Mind Over Matter”

This caused Jay and Palombi to scramble to find a new singer for the track, which the duo called E.G. Daily to ask her to lend her vocals (Jay previously worked with Daily, so they knew each other well). Daily recounts that the decision was very quick. As soon as she said “yes” to Jay’s and Palombi’s offer, she was flown to London to record with Stock, Aiken, and Waterman (who also produced the track). After finishing recording, the singer/actress flew back to the States and recorded a music video with the movie’s cast.[2] Daily’s version ranked in various charts all over the chart, including #7 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.

So Who Will It Be?

So, who sang “Mind Over Matter”: Debbie Harry or E.G. Daily? Listen to both songs below and let me know the one you like the best in the comments. Afterwards, check out the battles of other participants in the links below!