#TBT: Bette Davis Eyes


  Time for another round of Throwback Thursday!

This is where we get to listen to some great music from days gone by.

Today’s music comes to us from 1981.

Wikipedia tells us this about today’s tune:

The song was written in 1974 by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, the latter of whom recorded the song that same year on her album New Arrangement. In this original incarnation, the track is performed in an 'R&B lite' arrangement, featuring a prominent uptempo piano part, as well as flourishes of pedal steel guitar and horns. However, it was not until March 1981, when Kim Carnes recorded her version of the song in a radically different synthesizer-based arrangement, that "Bette Davis Eyes" became a commercial success.

According to producer Val Garay, the original demo of the tune that was brought to him sounded like "a Leon Russell track, with this beer-barrel polka piano part." The demo can be heard in a Val Garay interview on TAXI TV at 21:50. Keyboardist Bill Cuomo came up with the signature synth riff, using the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer, which now defines Carnes's version. The song was recorded in the studio on the first take.

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.

See you again soon! Share with me your thoughts about this theme.  If you have a favorite oldies song or artist, let me know and I’d be happy to feature them.  


  1. Mary,

    I don't know if I knew this about Betty Davis Eyes was first recorded in 1974, but after listening to DeShannon's recording on YT I can say with certainty that I didn't. I prefer Kim Carnes' 80s dance beat cover.

    1. I'm with you on that! Hope you're having a great day.

  2. Always liked Kim Carnes's version of this. I need to go hear Jackie DeShannon's. Meanwhile, I saw this comedian named Bruce "Babyman" Baum at the Punch Line here in Atlanta, and he had recorded a parody called "Marty Feldman Eyes" that Ms. Carnes was none too pleased with... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ZK-lxws4

    1. I had to look up a pic of Marty Feldman. Yup, I can see why Ms Carnes was not too happy... Great parody!


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