Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face

Eyes Without a Face” is a song by Billy Idol, co-written with guitarist Steve Stevens from Idol’s 1983 album Rebel Yell. The song is softer and more ballad-like than most of the album’s other singles. Released on May 29, 1984, this was the second single from the Rebel Yell album. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard Charts, becoming Idol’s first Top 10 hit in the U.S. In the liner notes for the Expanded Edition of Rebel Yell, Idol notes that this song was one of the first three written for the album (the other two being the title track and “(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows.”) The original track was recorded in Studio A at Electric Lady Studios in New York, with a Linn drum machine and the bass parts played by Steve Webster. The song is notable for the female voice of Perri Lister that sings ‘Les yeux sans visage’ (French for ‘eyes without a face’) as a background chorus. The title of the song refers to French director Georges Franju’s movie Les yeux sans visage (1960). In a retrospective review of the single, Allmusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song. He wrote: “The music plays against the dark tone of the lyrics with a ballad-styled melody comprised of yearning verses that slowly build emotion and a quietly wrenching chorus that relieves the emotional tension in a cathartic manner.” Wikipedia®.

Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face

Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face) is the title to a chillingly horrific yet classically poetic 1960 film from acclaimed French director Georges Franju. In it, a gifted plastic surgeon is involved in a near fatal auto accident which horribly disfigures the once beautiful face of his beloved daughter. Along with his assistant, he abducts young women so that he may surgically remove their facial features and graft their beauty onto that of his daughter’s grotesque countenance. More than the typical Mad Scientist gore flick of the “horror” genré in movies, it deals with real humanistic themes rather than the loud crash and bang after a minute long string instrument is played in a high key. The arrogance, vanity, and what we ultimately come to realize, guilt of the father who now treats his daughter as a sort of porcelain doll with interchangeable parts. Though he supposedly loves her so, what he does in effect, is dehumanize her for the sake of his own personal redemption. The song “Eyes Without a Face” uses similar imagery for effect. However, he tackles the concept of the modern romance and uses the same metaphors the movie used to show the absence of humanity and how cold and callous the modern world has grown to be. All that we (in the song’s case “we” have the role of the narrator) have endured getting here has made us like the doctor. While the daughter has become eyes without a face (she wears a mask a la Halloween’s Michael Myers and the only visible part of her face are her eyes), the doctor has become a face without eyes. He has blinded himself to the hideousness that he has involved himself, his family, and his poor victims in. While the woman in the relationship in the Billy Idol song is “Eyes Without a Face,” the narrator has become the face without the eyes. Wrapped in guilt for what once was a perfect love, he must face his own pettiness and the fact that he has forever altered his partner and their relationship. Songfacts®.

Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face Lyrics:
I’m all out of hope.
One more bad break could bring a fall.
When I’m far from home.
Don’t call me on the phone.
To tell me you’re alone.
It’s easy to deceive.
It’s easy to tease.
But hard to get release.

(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face.
(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face.
(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face.
Got no human grace.
Your eyes without a face.

I spend so much time.
Believing all the lies.
To keep the dream alive.
Now it makes me sad.
It makes me mad at truth.
For loving what was you.

(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face.
(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face.
(Les yeux sans visage) Eyes without a face..
Got no human grace.
Your eyes without a face.

When you hear the music you make a dip.
Into someone else’s pocket then make a slip.
Steal a car and go to Las Vegas oh, the gigolo pool.

Hanging out by the state line.
Turning Holy Water into wine.
Bringing it down.

I’m on a bus on a psychedelic trip.
Reading murder books tryin’ to stay hip.
I’m thinkin’ of you, you’re not there so.

Say your prayers.
Say your prayers.
Say your prayers.

Now I close my eyes.
And I wonder why.
I don’t despise.
Now all I can do.
Love what was once.
So alive and new.
But it’s gone from your eyes.
I’d better realize.

(Les yeux sans visage).
Eyes without a face (Les yeux sans visage).
Eyes without a face (Les yeux sans visage).
Eyes without a face.
Got no human grace.
Your eyes without a face.
Such a human waste.
Your eyes without a face.

And now it’s getting worse…

Writer(s): Steve Stevens, Billy Idol
Copyright: Boneidol Music, Chrysalis Music, WB Music Corp.

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