These Eyes

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"These Eyes"
Single by The Guess Who
from the album Wheatfield Soul
B-side "Lightfoot"
Released December 1968 (Canada)
April 1969 (US)
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Pop, Rock
Length 3:45
Label

Nimbus 9 (Canada)

RCA (US)
Writer(s) Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings
Producer(s) Jack Richardson
The Guess Who singles chronology
"Of a Dropping Pin"
(1968)
"These Eyes"
(1968)
"Laughing"
(1969)

"These Eyes" is a song by the Canadian rock band The Guess Who. The song was co-written by the group's lead guitarist Randy Bachman and lead singer Burton Cummings and originally included on the band's 1969 album Wheatfield Soul. It was first released as a single (backed by "Lightfoot"), in their native Canada, where its chart success (#7) helped land them a U.S. distribution deal with RCA Records. It was then released in the U.S. in April 1969, and became a breakthrough success for the group, as it would be their first single to reach the top ten on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at number six, and would eventually be certified gold by the RIAA for sales of over one million copies. While it was actually the 18th single released by the band, it was the first from the quartet of Cummings, Bachman, Jim Kale, and Garry Peterson as produced by Jack Richardson.[1]

Background and writing[edit]

Bachman had the original piano chords with an original title of "These Arms". Cummings changed the title to "These Eyes" and added the middle eight.[2]

Content[edit]

The song is noted for its repeated long section which starts in C Major, then goes up a whole tone to D Major, then up a whole tone again in E Major, and in the Coda, finally, to F Sharp Major, before the fade, with the words: "These Eyes/ Are Crying./ These eyes have seen a lot of love but they're never gonna see another love like I had with you".

Covers[edit]

There have been a number of cover versions released over the years, perhaps most notably Junior Walker & the All-Stars' version. Released as a single in October 1969, this version was also a chart success in the U.S., reaching number three on the R&B Singles Chart and number 16 on the Billboard Pop Singles. The song was also covered by jacksoul on their 2006 album mySOUL.

Alton Ellis' cover of this song is featured on his 1970 album Sunday Coming.

Canadian hip-hop artist Maestro sampled this song for his 1998 Canadian hit "Stick to Your Vision" from the Built to Last album. In addition, the chorus (of which the first part states "These eyes/Seen a lot of shame in the game/These eyes/Seen a lot of pain in the fame/These eyes/Seen a lot of highs and lows/But that's just the way life goes") uses Burton Cummings' vocals for the words "these eyes" in a call-and-response manner.

Canadian musician Lawrence Gowan released a cover of the song on his best of... greatest hits release in 1997 as a tribute to the Guess Who being the first concert he ever saw when he was a child.

The song was also featured in the 2007 American comedy film "Superbad" where it is sung by Michael Cera.

In 2008, Gregg Gillis, better known to the public as Girl Talk, sampled the song for the track entitled "Set It Off" from his fourth album, Feed the Animals.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1969-1970) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 100
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6

References[edit]