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Bette Davis Eyes

Kim Carnes Cover | Speak Now: World Tour Live (2011)

“Bettee Davis Eyes” is a song written and composed by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon in 1974. It was originally recorded by DeShannon in that year, but it was made popular by American singer Kim Carnes in 1981 when it spent nine non-consecutive weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100. Taylor performed it during a 2011 concert at Staples Centre in Los Angeles and later released it on her live album Speak Now: World Tour Live. The record consists of songs and performances recorded on various tour dates around the world from her “Speak Now World Tour“.
“Bette Davis Eyes” is the kickiest left-field cover from Speak Now: World Tour Live. “I’d love to play you some music that I’m a fan of that’s come from L.A. – is that OK,” Taylor asked the West Coast crowd, strumming her guitar. “This one came out in 1981 – eight years before I was born!” The fact that she loves this classic ode to romantic espionage explains a lot.

Background and Lyrical Theme

“Bette Davis Eyes” was written in 1974 by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, the latter of whom recorded the song that same year on her album New Arrangement. However, it was not until March 1981, when Kim Carnes recorded her version of the song in a radically different synthesizer-based arrangement, that “Bette Davis Eyes” became a commercial success. Carnes’ version of the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1981 and held it for nine weeks. It was also ranked the biggest song of the year and the second biggest song of the decade in the US. Internationally, it topped the charts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.

The song won the Grammy Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year,” and it also ranked at No. 12 on Billboard‘s list of the “Top 100 Songs in the First 50 Years of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.”

Actress Bette Davis was 73 years old when Kim Carnes’s version became a hit. She wrote letters to Carnes, Weiss, and DeShannon to thank all three of them for making her “a part of modern times” and stated that her grandson now looked up to her. After their Grammy wins, Davis sent them roses as well.

Lyrics

Written by Donna Weiss & Jackie DeShannon

[Spoken Intro]
There is some unbelievable music that has come out of artists who are from LA, did you know that? Like Los Angeles has put out so many bands and artists that I’m such a fan of and I’d love to play you some music I’m a fan of that’s come from LA, is that okay? This one came out in 1981: 8 years before I was born and I love this song, it’s called “Bette Davis Eyes”

[Verse 1]
Her hair is Harlow gold
Her lips sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She’s got Bette Davis eyes
She’ll turn her music on
You won’t have to think twice
She’s pure as New York snow
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

[Chorus 1]
And she’ll tease you
She’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
She got Greta Garbo stand off sighs
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

[Verse 2]
She’ll let you take her home
It whets her appetite
She’ll lay you on her throne
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

[Chorus 2]
She’ll expose you
And just knows you
Off your feet with the crumbs she throws you
She’s ferocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush (Ay, ay)
All the boys think she’s a spy
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

General Information
AlbumSpeak Now: World Tour Live
ReleasedNovember 21, 2011
RecordedAugust 27, 2011
VenueStaples Center (Los Angeles)
GenreCountry
Length3:10
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersDonna Weiss
Jackie DeShannon
ProducerTaylor Swift
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