Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kim Carnes--Bette Davis Eyes (1981)

     Kim Carnes has been working as a singer/songwriter since 1969, with her first album, "Rest on Me" coming out in 1972. She spent much of the decade recording and writing, having several songs recorded by Barbara Streisand in the late 70's. Carnes also had some chart success, first in 1978 with "You're A Part of Me", a duet with Gene Cotton, and then a top 5 breakthrough with Kenny Rogers on "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" in early 1980.
     "Bette Davis Eyes" was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon in 1974. DeShannon had success as a vocalist with self-penned , "Put a Little Love In Your Heart", and "What the World Needs Now" (written by Bacharach/David). The song as written bears no resemblance to Carnes version (in fact...we have included her version here as well), as keyboard player Bill Cuomo added those hypnotic synth runs and producer Val Garay totally reworked the song.
      The song went on to win two Grammy's (Record of the year, Song of the Year), and was the number one song on the Billboard charts for a total of 9 weeks. It is the second most popular song of the 80's in terms of sales. (First was Olivia Newton John's, "Physical) and also garnered the appreciation of it's namesake, Bette Davis herself. Carnes developed a friendship with the legendary actress up to Davis' death in 1989.
      Carnes finished the 1980's with a total of 9 top 40 hits through the 1980's. She lives in Nashville and continues to tour around the country. The first video is DeShannon's version...with Carnes below it.


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