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"
4 track EP cover
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Rebel Yell
B-side Blue Highway
Released 29 May 1984
Format Vinyl (7" and 12")
Recorded Studio A, Electric Lady Studios, New York, 1982
Genre New wave
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"
"Eyes Without a Face"
"Flesh for Fantasy"
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 on 29 May 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.[1]

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. [2]

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."[3]

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.[4]


Chart (1984) Peak
German Singles Chart 10
Italian Singles Chart 14
Swiss Singles Chart 21
UK Singles Chart[5] 18
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] 4
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 5


"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]


  1. ^ a b "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. 1955-11-30. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  2. ^ Reesman, Bryan (2006-06-01). "Classic Tracks: Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell"". Mix Magazine. Penton Media, inc. Retrieved 2006-09-28. 
  3. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Eyes Without a Face - Billy Idol : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  4. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob; Marks, Craig (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Penguin. p. 16. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Watch Trent Reznor Sing Billy Idol’s ‘Eyes Without a Face’". Ultimateclassicrock.com. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 

External links[edit]