Covers of Covers: Jackie DeShannon, Kim Carnes — Bette Davis Eyes

We’ve done a few covers of covers here, including Train Song, originally by Vashti Bunyan and covered by Feist and Ben Gibbard, then redone by Lovers of the Month Pianki and KirstenMH. What I like about covers of covers is that each one, no matter how similar they may be (or not), has its own unique and individual nuances that make it personal to the artist who performs it. Today’s post shows the progression a single song can make through four decades and three genres. The song is Bette Davis Eyes, originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1974, covered by Kim Carnes in the 1980s, and recently re-covered again by today’s artist, My Gold Mask.

The original version is very clearly dated in the 1970s. It makes me wanna go to the disco! The cover by Kim Carnes is even more clearly dated in the 80s–what with the synth and all–and the video’s a classic. The cover we have today could arguably also be dated in the 20-aughts, but we’ll leave that discussion for another 10 years or so. It is, however, obviously modern in its sound, using the electric guitar and bass with a steady beat in place of the 80s synth and the brass horns and syncopation of the 70s version. It’s reminiscent of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I can’t help but feel the rhythm is something common to classic alternative bands today. It’s a great cover, and I really like the progression you can see in the song. Unfortunately, I don’t have a video today, but you can listen to the song here, linked from the Bandcamp website:


Of course, what would the post be without the originals? Enjoy ’em here:

Jackie DeShannon’s 1974 original
Kim Carnes’ 1981 cover

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