Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scratchy And Scratchy(Foiled Yet Again).

Here I was, going to do a post that included the promo video for Kim Carnes' hit "Bette Davis Eyes," but I can't find an embeddable copy.  So you'll just have to watch it in a separate window.

In any case if you were around to pay attention to pop music in the early '80s you probably know this song.  Trolling around YouTube last night it came to mind and so I found the video for it and watched it.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry for the tune I was surprised to learn it was actually written in 1974 by '60s pop singer Jackie DeShannon and her collaborator at the time Donna Weiss.  It appeared on DeShannon's 1974 album New Arrangement, and as you can hear it had a rather different arrangement.  Carnes' version not surprisingly has a New Wave sound to it given its 1981 release date, and it's not hard to suspect keyboardist Bill Cuomo, who came up with the arrangement, was thinking of Blondie, then at the peak of their career, when he came up with it.  The simplicity of the arrangement and the production used results in a recording that actually sounds quite contemporary.

A number one hit in various parts of the world, it appeared on the album Mistaken Identity, pushing sales of the album to over 8 million copies.  Although Carnes wouldn't see such success again she continued to do well in the music business, including having considerable success as a songwriter.

I suspect the success of the song may have led to the success of another raspy voiced singer, Bonnie Tyler.  In fact as is often the case of similiar sounding singers I wouldn't be surprised if some people think that Tyler's breakout hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was actually done by Carnes.  The promo video for that song you can actually watch and listen to below.

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