Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1371
Date:  03/12/1983
Debut:  85
Peak:  8
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This English duo of Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher developed Naked Eyes in 1981. The pair were fans of 60s girl singers (Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, etc.) and thought it would be fun to cover one of those hits to go with their demos. They chose this Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune and this song, along with their others, got the immediate attention of EMI Records. The duo signed on and proceeded to formally record their self-titled debut LP (titled "Burning Bridges" in the UK). This tune that they chose to cover then got issued as the album's first single. In the US, the song slowly gained momentum until it finally peaked at #8 during the summer. In their UK homeland, the tune was basically ignored. It could only muster a #59 showing. It would be the duo's only Top 10 hit.

ReduxReview:  I think this song was perfect for a synthpop remake. There was something about all the early versions that just did not connect with an audience. Most were dramatic recordings with soft, pretty verses that led to loud choruses with blaring horns that sounded like a taunting child. It usually ended with a screaming finale. It was all just too much. Of the chart versions (see below), Warwick had the most classic Bacharach/David arrangement, but R.B. Greaves' soul/pop take was a much smoother ride and probably the best version up to that point. But Naked Eyes' take kind of blows them all away. They took a rough song and sanded it down to the basics to create something slicker and more attractive. The consistent feel along with all the fun Fairlight sounds made the tune far more pop friendly. It also helped that they added that instantly recognizable opening. I loved it right from the start and it still plays well.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  As mentioned above, this is a remake of a Bacharach/David tune written in 1963 and originally titled "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me." That year, Dionne Warwick sang on the demo, but the song was then give to singer Lou Johnson to formally record. His version came out the following year and reached #49 on the pop chart (his biggest hit). Later that year, English singer Sandie Shaw covered the tune and took it to #1 in the UK (this is the version that inspired Naked Eyes to record the song). However, Shaw's single would only get to #52 in the US. Then in 1968, Dionne Warwick gave the song a shot but it still failed to gain interest and could only reach #65. Singer R.B. Greaves became the first artist to reach the Top 40 with the song when his 1970 version got to #27 (#50 R&B). And then finally, twenty years after the song was written, it hit the Top 10 with the Naked Eyes version.


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