The Second Disc

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Archive for May 12th, 2010

Reissue Theory: Naked Eyes

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Eighty-two years ago today, a Kansas City, Miss. couple named Bert and Irma Bacharach welcomed a son, Burt, into the world. In 1957, the young songwriter met a lyricist, Hal David, at a meeting in the Brill Building in New York City. The rest, as they say, was history, with some of the most enduring popular songs of century flowing from their pens.

This is a difficult fact to grasp if you’re a young person. Nowadays, people couldn’t really care less who writes the songs that make the whole world sing (even if one of the more high-profile songs of the current pop era, Kara DioGuardi, is a judge on American Idol). But in those days, songs could just grab a hold of people’s ears and not let go for generations.

There is perhaps no greater example of this than “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” a melancholy Bacharach/David composition written in 1963 with Dionne Warwick originally cutting a demo. Warwick wouldn’t release a proper version until three years later, long after the song had ascended to the top of the U.K. charts when it was gaily recorded by Sandie Shaw.

Warwick’s version, along with a version by pop singer R.B. Greaves in 1970, performed well enough, but it was never a capital-h Hit in the States until the summer of 1983, where a U.K. duo called Naked Eyes burst onto the scene with a bombastic, Linn-drum-and-Fairlight-synth version that climbed all the way to No. 8.

This cover of the Bacharach/David tune earned Naked Eyes a place in American pop history, but it oddly stiffed in their homeland. Follow-up single “Promises, Promises” (a remix of which featured backing vocals from an up-and-coming singer named Madonna), a Top 20 U.S. hit, fared even worse in England, and after another LP, Naked Eyes were more or less kaput. Co-founder Rob Fisher died in 1999, and Byrne did session work here and there until returning under the Naked Eyes banner in 2007.

Despite those early U.S. hits, Naked Eyes are nonentities on CD, save for a few compilations here and there. In honor of Bacharach’s birthday – and one of the most enduring covers of one of his most enduring songs – The Second Disc presents you with a Reissue Theory look at these two lost pop LPs. Remind yourself after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 12, 2010 at 15:31

Posted in Features, Naked Eyes, Reissues

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