Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel song)
|Single by Art Garfunkel|
|from the album Fate for Breakfast|
|B-side||"When Someone Doesn't Want You"|
|Art Garfunkel chronology|
"Bright Eyes" is a song written by Mike Batt, and performed by Art Garfunkel. It was used in the soundtrack of the 1978 British animated adventure drama film Watership Down and as such is considered the theme song of the film and the later television series adaptations. The track appears on UK and European versions of Garfunkel's 1979 Fate for Breakfast and on the US versions of his 1981 album Scissors Cut. It was the biggest selling single of 1979 in the UK.
Written by Mike Batt for Watership Down at the request of director Martin Rosen, the song relates to the transition into death highlighted by the close shave of Hazel, a rabbit character in the film, when he is shot by a farmer, and then, years later, when Hazel (then Hazel-rah) finally departs his body and enters the world of spirit.
The song was immensely successful in the United Kingdom, staying at number one in the British charts for six weeks in 1979, selling over one million copies, becoming the biggest selling single of that year in the UK. It has sold 1.2 million copies. In the United States, it failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #27 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
The song was re-recorded in 1980 by Matthew Butler, a 6-year-old who had featured in the UK Children's Television series Tiswas, that originally aired 1974-1982. This version was produced by Neil Innes and the single reached #121 in the UK Charts. The track also appeared on Tiswas Presents the Four Bucketeers album.
A live solo electric version by James Dean Bradfield of The Manic Street Preachers, recorded in 1994 at the last gig played by the original four-piece, was released as a cassette single B side in 1996. This version is included on the rare tracks compilation Lipstick Traces. Philip Hall, the band's first manager, had died from cancer earlier in 1994.
The song was later covered by Stephen Gately in 2000 and used as the theme song of the Watership Down animated television series. It was released as a double A-side with his single "New Beginning". While Mike Batt, who wrote the original song, composed an entire new score. This new cover went on to earn the TV show a nomination for a Gemini Award, for best original score. 
Cliff Richard covered the song on the VHS/DVD release of The Countdown Concert in 2000.
Tommy Steele released a version on his Family Album.
Manchester band Puressence played the song as their required cover version during a session on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday 29 September 2007. It was very well received and the band have been inundated with requests to release it as a future B-side.
Mike Batt released his own version of the song on the compilation album "A Songwriter's Tale".
Isabel Suckling sang the song on her 2010 album "The Choirgirl".
Spymonkey ended their Moby Dick theatre adaptation with a rendition of the song, featured by a full choir.