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Published on April 22nd, 2019 | by Gerry Galipault

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All About the Songs: Kim Carnes’ ‘Bette Davis Eyes’

(This is the first in a series of features on the classics, in the artists’ own words … culled from past interviews with Pauseandplay.com.)

Kim Carnes on “Bette Davis Eyes” (EMI America, 1981)

We worked (on it) for about three or four days. Because I like to record live, we would go in and rehearse before going on the road to get all the arrangements right and then go into the studio. It took a few days to figure out what we were going to do with it.

“I knew I was passionate for the song but we had to change it. After several days, we finally came up with the right arrangement, the chords, and when I recorded it, everybody knew – the band, myself, Val Garay, who produced the album. We all went, ‘This is it.’ Then we went in the next day and got it on the second take.

“We knew when we cut it that we had a winner. Beyond a doubt, we all really knew it. By the time it came out, so many people were convinced … but then there was talk at the record company of something else being the first single. I don’t think I’ve ever fought so hard for anything. Fortunately, it all worked out.

It worked out, indeed. The song, written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, was the biggest-selling song of 1981 and won two Grammy Awards (for Song of the Year and Record of the Year).

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About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



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