Saturday, March 9, 2019

"Innocent Eyes" by Graham Nash

Song#:  2702
Date:  04/26/1986
Debut:  94
Peak:  84
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Synthpop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Throughout the 60s and into 1970, Nash scored several hits with his two bands, The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young for 1970's Déjà Vu). It wasn't until 1971 that he issued out his first solo album Songs for Beginners. It would be a #15 gold seller. He would bounce around with his other three CSNY band mates in various iterations over the years and in between he would put out two more solo discs. The 80s would see Nash having success with Crosby, Stills & Nash (the platinum Daylight Again in 1982) and a reunited Hollies. With both of those projects done for the time being it seemed like an opportune time to record a fourth solo album titled Innocent Eyes. Opting to keep up with trends, Nash added modern 80s touches like synths and programmed drums to songs with commercial appeal such as this title-track first single. The ploy worked fairly well at Rock where the song made it to #14, but it couldn't find a more mainstream audience and the song stalled early on the Pop chart. It would be Nash's last solo song to reach the Pop chart. He would not issue out another solo album until 2002 with Songs for Survivors, which generated the #28 AC track "I'll Be There for You."

ReduxReview:  Nash was no stranger to commercial pop music thanks to his hits with The Hollies, but after his years writing and performing acclaimed folk-leaning tunes that were based on experiences, social issues/events, and even politics, Nash had a reputation as being an artist with something to say. He and his CSNY band mates basically helped to provide a soundtrack for the late 60s/early 70s generation. His reunion with The Hollies in '83 put him back in the commercial pop spotlight and that bled over into his solo album. While keeping current, having a little fun, and trying for some pop chart recognition wasn't a bad thing, it was still a bit jarring to hear Nash's voice floating above the synths and fake drums of this pop track. He's certainly not the first respected artist of a different generation to succumb to the new trends in music, but it's just weird to hear the guy who wrote "Chicago," "Just a Song Before I Go," and "Our House" sing this fluffy 80s tune. The song itself is fine. It's not particularly memorable but it and the production are a minor step up from some of the tracks from the Hollies' reunion LP. Yet it still just ends up being an odd footnote in Nash's career overshadowed by far superior work.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Swedish singer Björn Skifs. Written by Paul Bliss, Skifs recorded it for his 1984 album If...Then..., an English language disc that featured pop/rock originals and cover tunes by artists like Bryan Adams, Walter Eagan, Michael Bolton, and Eric Clapton. The album was a Top 10 success in Sweden. While Skifs never made a name for himself as a solo artist in the US, he did top the US Pop chart with his band Blue Swede. Their remake of "Hooked on a Feeling," originally a #5 hit in 1968 for B.J. Thomas, made it to #1 in 1974. Many remember Blue Swede's gold-selling version thanks to the "ooga chaka" chant that came courtesy of an earlier 1971 remake of the song by UK singer Jonathan King. Blue Swede's version was prominently featured in the 2014 hit film Guardians of the Galaxy. The band could have easily become a one-hit wonder, but they escaped that tag by reaching #7 the same year with another remake, "Never My Love," which The Association took to #2 in 1967.


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