Private Eyes (song)
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|Single by Hall & Oates|
|from the album Private Eyes|
|Released||August 29, 1981|
|Format||7" Vinyl record|
|Writer(s)||Daryl Hall, Sara Allen, Janna Allen and Warren Pash|
|Producer(s)||Daryl Hall, John Oates, Neil Kernon|
|Hall & Oates singles chronology|
"Private Eyes" is a 1981 single by Hall & Oates and the title track from their album of that year. The song was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two weeks, from November 7 through November 20, 1981. This single was the band's third of six number one hits (the first two being "Rich Girl" and "Kiss on My List"), and their second number one hit of the 1980s. It was succeeded in the number one position by Olivia Newton-John's "Physical," which was in turn succeeded by another single from Hall and Oates, "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)."
Background and writing
In an interview with American Songwriter, Daryl Hall states: "That’s a real Janna Allen [co-writer and sister of Sara Allen] song. Janna, and I, and Warren Pash wrote that. Warren and Janna wrote most of the song, and I took it and changed it around – changed the chords. Sandy [Sara Allen] and I wrote the lyrics. It’s a real family song, the Allen sisters and me."
The single carries a similar rhythm to the duo's number one hit from earlier that year, "Kiss On My List," with the difference being a handclap chorus that has made the song an audience-participation favorite at live Hall and Oates shows. It was one of the duo's first songs to appear in heavy rotation on MTV.
The music video featured the band dressed as detectives and was the first to feature the backup band of guitarist G. E. Smith, bassist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, drummer Mickey Curry, and saxophone/keyboardist Charles DeChant.
In popular culture
The song is performed by private investigator Vinnie Van Lowe in the Veronica Mars episode "Kanes and Abel's." After Veronica tries to bug Vinnie's office, he asks his receptionist (also his mother) who his favorite band is, then leans out the window and sings the song to an eavesdropping Veronica. At one point he changes the chorus from "Private Eyes" to "Veronica Mars/I'm watching you." There was a popular reworking of this classic at Rockness 2010, performed by the Shire Sect and was appropriately renamed "Scanty Eyes", to encourage the practice of scanting, in particular, towards mothers on Valentine's Day.
Captain Kangaroo in the early '80's had a puppet vignette of the song.
In episode 3.16 of Psych, An Evening with Mr. Yang, Detective Lassiter is shown singing along to the song playing on his iPod. USA Network later parodied the original music video to "Private Eyes" in a promo for the television series.
In the film Knight and Day, the song is being played on a stereo system in a safehouse of a fugitive who is an inventor who is a fan of the duo, who later sports a vintage pin.
It was made available to download on January 10, 2012 for play in Rock Band 3 Basic and PRO mode utilizing real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards plus vocal harmonies.
In 1998, Towa Tei (one of the founding members of Deee-Lite) did a cover of this song on his "Sound Museum" solo album. The Bossa Nova flavored song featured Bebel Gilberto on vocals.
In 2010, The Bird and the Bee covered the song for their tribute album Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2012, Joel Dickinson remixed the song for club play for a new generation adding electro touches and an all-new drum arrangement. However, the signature claps were kept and used to great effect throughout the mix.
|Canadian Singles Chart||6|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||19|
|South African Singles Chart||14|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||33|
|UK Singles Chart||32|
"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" by Christopher Cross
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single
November 7, 1981 - November 21, 1981
"Physical" by Olivia Newton-John