Kim Carnes turns 78 today

The singer-songwriter gave memorable vocals to the 1981 hit “Bette Davis Eyes”

Kim Carnes turns 78 today

Her distinctive raspy vocal style gave voice to one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s, “Bette Davis Eyes”. Kim Carnes, who was born in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 1945, is best remembered for that 1981 hit, that earned her worldwide popularity, but her music career started back in the 1960’s as a songwriter, writing for other artists while performing in local clubs and working as a session background singer. She released her debut album “Rest on Me” in 1972 and several others throughout the 1970’s, while writing for other artists. In 1980, Carnes was commissioned by Kenny Rogers to co-write the songs for his concept album “Gideon”, and their duet from that album, “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer,” hit No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100, and earned the duo a Grammy Award nomination. But despite being herself a songwriter, it was with the 1974 song “Bette Davies Eyes” originally written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon and performed by DeShannon, that Carnes finally hit big time. Her version of the song, included on her 1981 album “Mistaken Identity”, hit the top of the charts worldwide, remaining the most popular version of it. The song spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, going Gold, and won the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Also the album “Mistaken Identity” went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, was certified Platinum, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It was Kim Carnes most successful period. In 1984 she made part of the U.S.A For Africa band where she got a lead vocals part in “We Are the World”. After that, despite remaining an active artist and songwriter, Carnes career faded in comparison to her early 1980’s period, and to many, she’s considered to be part of the undesirable group of “one hit wonders”. Kim Carnes, who’s now 78, has released her most recent studio album “Chasin’ Wild Trains” in 2004 and currently Carnes she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she continued to write music for her and other artists and still owning that distinctive raspy vocals.

Look back at the 1981 music video “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes

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