Originally presented on May 4, 2005.
Turn on any local â€œHits of the â€˜80s, â€˜90s and Today!â€ radio station, and within an hour, I guarantee you will hear either of Naked Eyesâ€™ big hits, â€œPromises, Promisesâ€ or â€œAlways Something There to Remind Meâ€. While â€œAlwaysâ€¦â€ was a cover, there are two entire generations who are completely unfamiliar with the Dionne Warwick original version it completely eclipsed. It was that good. In fact, both singles became perfect pop classics that just about everyone knows by heart.
They were not, however, Naked Eyesâ€™ only Top 40 hits.
Naked Eyesâ€™ first album was successful enough to have three singles released off it, a fairly new practice back in 1983, when most albums were worked for two singles max, then off to the studio for a new one. â€œAlwaysâ€ went Top Ten and its follow-up, â€œPromises,â€ almost matched it, peaking at #11. When it was decided to keep milking the debut album, â€œWhen the Lights Go Outâ€ was the choice for single number three, a strange but tasteful decision.
â€œWhen the Lights Go Outâ€ was even darker than the first two singles, which, poppy synths aside, were pretty bleak lyrically. Poor Suzy lives alone at home, calling a former loverâ€™s name each night. My life story, pretty much! â€œWhen the Lights Go Outâ€ squeaked into the Top 40 for a few brief weeks, then was forgottenâ€¦so forgotten, that when EMI put out the first Naked Eyes Greatest Hits compilation, it was left off, even though it was only one of the bands four genuine Top 40 hits! This bizarre omission was corrected on a later re-mastered and re-titled compilation, but strangely enough, that version is out of print, while the earlier, inferior greatest hits comp remains in print.
One short year later, Naked Eyesâ€™ second album, â€œFuel for the Fireâ€ was released, and the first single was a blazing dancefloor number, â€œ(What) In the Name of Love,â€ co-produced and remixed by none other than new wave /house pioneer Arthur Baker. You may remember Arthur Baker from his work with another tiny synthpop band called New Order.
I loved â€œ(What) In the Name of Love,â€ including its cutesy video featuring the somewhat faceless Rob Fisher and Pete Byrne (Naked Eyes, of course), acting as bellboys at an upscale resort and stealing old guysâ€™ money and young dames. Actually, it may have been that very same facelessness that hurt Naked Eyes in the long run. If they had strange, angular haircuts and â€œhipâ€ clothes, they may have made more of a lasting impression.
As it stands, all they left behind were some great pop songs. Sadly, keyboardist Rob Fisher died in 1999, just as he and Byrne were prepping a Naked Eyes reunion album. EMI needs to get their shit together and put both of these albums back in print. One Way Records has a nice 12â€ and b-sides rarities disc in print, but thatâ€™s not enough.
â€When the Lights Go Outâ€ peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100.
â€œ(What) In the Name of Loveâ€ peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100.