November 12, 2021
“Starry Eyes” – The Records
Limiting myself to only ten favorite songs is simply not enough, and I am thankful that the proprietor of this project will be soon letting us draft another ten. And as I mentioned previously, it seems that many of my initial ten tunes are found on my top ten album selections. Well, this one does too, and I suggest that you first read my piece on the debut LP by England’s The Records before reading me gloat about this song here.
Nonetheless, I will briefly say that I had I had the distinction of hearing The Record’s 1979 debut single “Starry Eyes” for the first time, live in concert. It was love at first listen. Being a Power Pop junkie, it powerfully popped my musical sweet spot.
Like any great Power Pop song, “Starry Eyes” starts off with an incredible unique guitar riff, this one by band member Huw Gower. It’s one of my favorite song intros of all time and is one that certainly gets your attention. It’s also not an easy riff to play, and Gower really guts this one out.
But unlike most great songs of the genre, it’s not a love song! Rather it’s about the nasty business side of music and is an ode to a sinister music biz weasel. Yes, it’s a rough trade and its co-author, Will Burch previously the drummer with Pub Rockers, The Kursaal Flyers, has said that the song is about a former manager.
Mr. Burch is now a respected music journalist and he co-wrote “Starry Eyes” with the band’s lead vocalist, the late John Wicks. Lyrically brilliant, the song likens a business breakup to a romantic one. Check these lines out:
First there’s the separation:
While you were off in France, we were stranded in the British Isles
Left to fall apart amongst your passports and your files
Then there’s the money:
While you were on the beach
Were you dreaming all about your share?
Then a chance at resolution:
I don’t want to argue, I ain’t gonna budge
Won’t you take this number down before you call up the judge?
But finally, it’s over:
I don’t want to argue, there’s nothing to say
Get me out of your starry eyes and be on your way
“Starry Eyes” was first released in the UK as a single but was later replaced on the British LP with an “album” version that was a tad longer. More so than that, the two versions are notably different in their performance and there is an additional lyric in the repeated chorus of the album version. While both takes hold up well, I prefer the “single version” which is slightly faster and sounds crisper, especially for Gower’s guitar intro. Here in the Colonies, the folks at Virgin Records agreed and used the original shorter version on the US LP. Said single was more loved on the left side of the pond and made it up to #41 on the US Singles Charts.
When my time in this world is one day over, the great song counter in Heaven will undoubtedly show that “Starry Eyes” is the one that I have listened to most in my lifetime. And until then, its plays will keep adding up as this is one song that never fails to pep me up!