On this date in 1981, Kim Carnes’ version of “Bette Davis Eyes” won the Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. It also spent nine non-consecutive weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and became Billboard’s biggest hit of 1981.

“Bette Davis Eyes” was originally written and composed by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon in 1974. In this original incarnation, the track is performed in an “R&B lite” arrangement. However, it was not until March 1981, when Kim Carnes recorded her version of the song in a radically different synthesizer-based arrangement, that it became a commercial success.

Actress Bette Davis, at the time 73 years old, wrote letters to Carnes, Weiss, and DeShannon to thank all three of them for making her “a part of modern times” and said her grandson now looked up to her. After their Grammy wins, Davis sent them roses as well.

Gwyneth Paltrow recorded a cover of “Bette Davis Eyes” that was included on the soundtrack to the 2000 road trip film Duets. It was released as a single in Australia and earned a platinum certification. During his live concerts, Brandon Flowers (The Killers) often covered this song, too.

The music video below, BETSIE GØLD interprets “Bette Davis Eyes”. I’m not saying she’s bad, she’s still great and rocking. But I still prefer Kim Carnes better. More smoky and charismatic. But, hey, let’s give a big applause to the young blood who tries to show respect to a synth pop’s classic.

The music video below by Walkman, more harmonious, a bit Fleetwood Mac-esque, less pop punk-y, compare to BETSIE GØLD interpretation.


Text: This Day in Music, Wikipedia.


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