Eyes Without a Face (song)

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This article is about the song. For the 1960 film, see Eyes Without a Face.
"Eyes Without a Face"
Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol single cover.jpg
4 track EP cover
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Rebel Yell
B-side "Blue Highway"
Released 1984
Format Vinyl (7" and 12")
Recorded Studio A, Electric Lady Studios, New York, 1983
Genre New wave,[1] synthpop[2]
Length 4:58
4:08 (7")
Label Chrysalis Records
Writer(s) Billy Idol, Steve Stevens
Producer(s) Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Rebel Yell"
(1983)
"Eyes Without a Face"
(1984)
"Flesh for Fantasy"
(1984)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Eyes Without a Face" is a song by Billy Idol, co-written with guitarist Steve Stevens from Idol's 1983 album Rebel Yell. The song is softer and more ballad-like than most of the album's other singles.

Song information[edit]

Released in 1984, this was the second single from the Rebel Yell album. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Idol's first Top 10 hit in the USA.[3]

In the liner notes for the Expanded Edition of Rebel Yell, Idol notes that this song was one of the first three written for the album (the other two being the title track and "(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows"). The original track was recorded in Studio A at Electric Lady Studios in New York, with a Linn drum machine and the bass parts played by Steve Webster.[4]

The song is notable for the female voice of Perri Lister (who appeared in the banned video for "Hot in the City") that sings "Les yeux sans visage" (French for "Eyes without a face") as a background chorus.

The title of the song refers to French director Georges Franju's movie Les yeux sans visage (1960).

In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song. He wrote: "The music plays against the dark tone of the lyrics with a ballad-styled melody comprised of yearning verses that slowly build emotion and a quietly wrenching chorus that relieves the emotional tension in a cathartic manner."[5]

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Eyes Without a Face"
  2. "The Dead Next Door"
  • UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Eyes Without a Face"
  2. "The Dead Next Door"
  3. "Dancing With Myself"
  4. "Rebel Yell"

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by David Mallet and begins with a close-up of Idol's sneering face, interspersed with three female singers. During the song's bridge, the scene changes to Steve Stevens soloing on guitar while Idol poses dancing in a flaming hexagon surrounded by hooded acolytes. The highly aggressive imagery of the video contrasts with the relative slowness and restraint of the song.

The video was released in June 1984 and subsequently nominated for MTV Video Music Awards for "Best Editing" and "Best Cinematography". It was shot over an exhausting three-day period on a set with fog machines, lighting, and fire sources. Immediately after the shoot, Idol flew to perform in Arizona, where he discovered that his contact lenses had fused to his eyeballs, attributing this to the harsh video shoot and dry plane air. He was taken to a hospital where the lenses were removed, his eyes bandaged for three days, and his scraped corneas grew back.[6]

Charts[edit]

Production[edit]

"Eyes Without a Face" was written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens and produced by Keith Forsey. Credits on the song include:

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schneider, Steven Jay (2007). 100 European Horror Films. British Film Institute. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-84457-164-2. 
  2. ^ Heller, Jason (19 August 2013). "New wave in the front, heavy metal in the back". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Billy Idol – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Reesman, Bryan (1 June 2006). "Classic Tracks: Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell"". Mix. Retrieved 28 September 2006. 
  5. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Eyes Without a Face – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob; Marks, Craig (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Penguin Books. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-1015-2641-5. 
  7. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Ultratop.be – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  9. ^ Chart Number 1438 – Saturday, July 21, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6758." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. ^ European Top 50 Singles – compiled by Europarade – Week Ending 25.08.84 at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 August 2014). World Charts.
  12. ^ "Lescharts.com – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Eyes Without A Face". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  15. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1984" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Billy Idol - Eyes Without A Face search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Archive Chart: 1984-07-29" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Billy Idol – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Billy Idol.
  22. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending June 30, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  23. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41 no. 17. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  25. ^ (German) Jahrescharts – 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 May 2015). Offiziellecharts.de. GfK Entertainment.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1984". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  27. ^ The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  28. ^ Dukes, Billy (16 August 2011). "Watch Trent Reznor Sing Billy Idol's 'Eyes Without a Face'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Bush, John. "Paul Anka – Rock Swings". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 

External links[edit]