|Single by The Guess Who|
|from the album Wheatfield Soul|
|Released||December 1968 (Canada)
April 1969 (US)
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Label||Nimbus 9 (Canada)
RCA Victor (US)
|Writer(s)||Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings|
|The Guess Who singles chronology|
"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), along with the influence of CKLW-AM Windsor's radio station music director Rosalie Trombley, 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.
Background and writing
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.
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".
- Burton Cummings - Lead Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
- Randy Bachman - Guitars
- Jim Kale - Bass Guitar
- Garry Peterson - Drums, Percussion
Among the many cover versions released over the years, Junior Walker & the All-Stars' version reached number three on the R&B Singles Chart and number 16 on the Billboard Pop Singles in October 1969.
Alton Ellis' cover of this song is featured on his 1970 album Sunday Coming. This reggae arrangement was produced by Coxsone Dodd. In 1971 another reggae adaptation followed: "These Eyes (Crying every night)" by Stranger Cole (produced by Byron Smith) followed by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics instrumental version titled "Mighty Alley". Subsequently U-Roy and Hopeton Lewis sang and toasted new lyrics over "Mighty Alley" to create the recording "Tom Drunk", both recordings produced by Duke Reid. Herman Marquis also issued an instrumental version titled "Tom's Version", produced by Byron Smith.
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.
Angie Stone did a soulful version of the song on her 2016 Covered in Soul album.
- Robert Christgau (1 January 2000). Any Old Way You Choose it: Rock and Other Pop Music, 1967-1973. Cooper Square Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-8154-1041-6.
- The Guess Who, "These Eyes" Canadian Chart Position Retrieved March 6, 2015
- The Guess Who, "These Eyes" U.S. Chart Position Retrieved March 6, 2015
- Allmusic: Wheatfield Soul > Overview
- "These Eyes" by The Guess Who: Songfacts
- Junior Walker & the All-Stars, "These Eyes" Chart Positions Retrieved March 6, 2015
- U-Roy Archives Retrieved March 6, 2015