Sight for Sore Eyes

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"Sight for Sore Eyes"
Single by M People
from the album Bizarre Fruit
Released 7 November 1994
Format 7" single, 12" maxi
CD single, cassette
Recorded 1994
Genre Electronica, House
Length 3:57
Songwriter(s) Mike Pickering, Paul Heard, Heather Small
Producer(s) M People
M People singles chronology
"Sight for Sore Eyes"
"Open Your Heart"
"Sight for Sore Eyes"
"Open Your Heart"
Music video
"Sight for Sore Eyes" on YouTube

"Sight for Sore Eyes" is the tenth overall single from the British band M People released as the lead single from multi-platinum album Bizarre Fruit. Written by Mike Pickering, Paul Heard and Heather Small and Produced by M People. It was released on 7 November 1994. The song peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart.


The band had scored four consecutive Top 10 singles from the previous album Elegant Slumming and toured the UK and Europe twice, but over the summer of 1994, worked quickly to record new album Bizarre Fruit, for which "Sight for Sore Eyes" was the first single.


The song was recorded at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London. The song starts with a gospel-esque 'harmonised' warm-up by the backing vocalists accompanied with a building piano with lead vocals by the unmistakable voice of Heather Small. The key refrain #"Ain't love, ain't love, ain't love a surprise"# is bellowed by Heather and then other key elements are introduced, most notably synths and a subtle allegro acenato (quick and accentuated) piano movement during the verses with Small's vocals more prominent than on previous singles. In the chorus breaks, an Italo house style chord progression and sequenced bleeps granuliser synths[clarification needed] lead up to the verses. Like "One Night in Heaven", the melody line is guided by the deep Moog bass line, programmed drumming, percussion drumming and layered hi-hat synths and a four-to-the-floor house beat. This is underlined by subtle strings and big chords during the actual choruses. The Italo house style is most punctuated during the middle-eight piano-break.

Chart performance[edit]

"Sight for Sore Eyes" became the band's sixth consecutive single to enter the Top 10. It also, for only the second time since "One Night in Heaven" seventeen months previous, climbed the next week. It is only the second M People single to climb within the top 10. It entered the chart at number 8 and following club play and performances on British television, most notably Top of the Pops, saw an increase in sales to then peak in its second week at number 6.

Within two weeks the single had sold over 150,000 copies, continuing but also improving on previous successes. "Sight for Sore Eyes" became M People's third-biggest selling single, behind "Moving on Up" and "One Night in Heaven".

The single entered the chart at number 8 with sales of 79,000 copies in its first week and another 89,000 copies in its second week to rise and peak at number 6 and a further 63,000 in its third week to chart at number 9. The single spent three weeks in the Top 10 and nine weeks on the chart overall, leaving in early January 1995.


"Sight for Sore Eyes" was serviced to radio five weeks before its physical release on 1 October. The single was added to radio playlists quickly, with most airplay coming from stations in the Capital Radio group, Galaxy and BBC Radio 1, who all placed the song on their A-List or as Single of the Week. By the end of its first week of airplay, the single had become the highest new entry being played 539 times on UK radio, placing it at number 45.

The single subsequently climbed from 45 to 31 to 19 to 9 in the week before its physical release. The song then peaked at number 3 at airplay for two weeks and stayed in the top 10 for another three weeks. It then took another ten weeks to leave the Airplay Top 75, and was still being played when its successor "Open Your Heart" was released to radio. This had only happened once before with "One Night in Heaven" and "Moving on Up" and would happen again with future singles "Just for You" and "Fantasy Island".

Music video[edit]

The music video features the four main members of the band performing the song throughout, with Andy Gangadeen on drums, Paul Johnson and Lynieve Austin on backing vocals. Within the studio, there are two main colour themes, red and blue. The opening shot features empty cars leaned up against each other and twelve people dressed in dark mechanic overalls with their backs facing the camera all dancing against the cars in the background. Heather is then shown dancing happily, surrounded by Mike Pickering on guitar, Paul Heard on first and second keyboard and Shovell on bongos.

To incorporate the overall metal theme of the new album there are cutaways of sparks flying as metalwork is carried out, with mechanics and close-ups of booted-feet dancing to the music.

The video was filmed entirely in a North London studio by British photographer and film director Terence Donovan, and filmed in one day on 29 September 1994. Donovan had taken several promotional photos of the band for merchandise and tours between 1994–1996 and was considered[by whom?] a very good friend of the band. They dedicated their next album Fresco (1997) to him following his untimely death.

Live performances[edit]

"Sight for Sore Eyes" has become one of the band's fan favourites, alongside "One Night in Heaven", "Moving on Up" and "Search for the Hero". During the Bizarre Fruit and Bizarre Fruit II tours as well as T in the Park in 1995, the song was played with additional percussion obligato by Shovell in the middle-eight break to add to the Italo house style. Some additional rhythm guitar and saxophone ad-libs are also played throughout.


At the time of release only one remix of the single was readily available by the Hed Boys and their 'Post Op' Mix. The E-Smoove Mix became a significant dance club hit but was not made available for general issue until it featured on CD2 of successor single "Open Your Heart" nearly three months later.

The B-side was album track "Sugartown", a funk soul song.

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Radio Edit) – 3:57
  2. "Sugartown" – 4:36
7" Mini
  1. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Radio edit) – 3:44
  2. "Sugartown" – 4:36
12" Maxi
  1. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Radio Edit) – 3:57
  2. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Master Mix) – 6:13
  3. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Hed Boys Post Op Mix) – 10:12
  4. "Sugartown" – 4:36
CD Maxi
  1. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Radio Edit) – 3:57
  2. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Master Mix) – 6:13
  3. "Sight for Sore Eyes" (Hed Boys Post Op Mix) – 10:12
  4. "Sugartown" – 4:36


Chart (1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA) 20
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[1] 24
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[2] 8
New Zealand (RIANZ) 17
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[3] 6


  1. ^ Belgian peak
  2. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  3. ^ UK Singles Chart [1] (Retrieved 28 March 2009)

External links[edit]