” Private Eyes ” is by Hall & Oates, the American musical duo from Philadelphia, US. The song was written by Daryl Hall, Sara Allen, Janna Allen and Warren Pash.
Production for the single was by Neil Kernon, Daryl Hall and John Oates. Neil Kernon is an English musician and record producer from London. The Grammy Award winner has worked on three of Daryl Hall and John Oates most favourite albums from the 1980s, Voices, Private Eyes and H2O.
” Private Eyes ” was released on 7-inch vinyl on the 29th of August 1981 by record label RCA and taken as the duo’s title track from their tenth album of the same name.
Two of the co-writers for the song was the Allen sisters, Sara and Janna. Sara Allen was dating Daryl Hall when they began writing ” Private Eyes “.
Daryl Hall explained about the writing of the song in an interview with American Songwriter ( a magazine that covers the art of songwriting which first published in 1984 ), he said ” That’s a real Janna Allen [co-writer and sister of Sara Allen] song. Janna, and I, and Warren Pash wrote that. Warren and Janna wrote most of the song, and I took it and changed it around – changed the chords. Sandy [Sara Allen] and I wrote the lyrics. It’s a real family song, the Allen sisters and me “.
Janna passed away from leukaemia in 1993 at the age of 36.
” Private Eyes ” has a similar rhythm to Daryl Hall and John Oates earlier Billboard Hot 100 Number One single ” Kiss On My List “. The difference between the two songs being the use of handclap in the chorus of ” Private Eyes “, the hand clapping has made the song a favourite with live audiences at many of their shows.
The accompanying music video was directed by Jay Dubin, who worked on videos for Billy Joel including ” Uptown Girl ” and ” Longest Time “. For this single the video was simple, Daryl Hall, John Oates and the backing group dressed as detectives with trench coats and fedoras which they wore over their clothes they were already wearing.
The video was the first to include their backing band which was made up of guitarist G. E. Smith, bassist Tom ‘ T-Bone ‘ Wolk, drummer Mickey Curry, and saxophone/keyboardist Charles DeChant.
The song was a commercial success for Daryl Hall and John Oates. In the United States, the song reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for two weeks. The song spent a total of twenty-three weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom ” Private Eyes ” entered the UK Singles Chart on the 10th of April 1982 and reached a peak of number thirty-two. It spent three weeks in the Top Forty and a total of seven weeks on the UK chart. The song also charted in Belgium, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 1
UK Highest Chart Position: 32
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (KMR) 17, Canadian Singles Chart 6, New Zealand Singles Chart 19, South African Singles Chart 14, Belgium 38
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