Bright Eyes – Art Garfunkel

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………on April 16th of 1979 the #1 song on the UK singles chart is Art Garfunkel with “Bright Eyes” a song taken from the animated feature film “Watership Down”. This song written by British singer and songwriter Mike Batt was included in the soundtrack. Released as a single, it was immensely successful in the United Kingdom, staying at #1 in the British charts for six weeks in 1979, selling over one million copies and becoming the biggest selling single of that year. In 1972 Richard Adams wrote a novel, Watership Down, which told the story of a small group of rabbits that were unhappy in the warren they lived in and decided to break out. The book recounts the rabbits’ odyssey as they sought a place in which to establish a new home – a sort of utopian society – encountering perils and temptations along the way. Although thirteen publishers initially rejected the story before it was accepted by Rex Collings Ltd, the book has subsequently never been out of print, and in 1978 an English adventure drama animated film was produced based on the tale. English singer-songwriter Mike Batt (The Wombles, Katie Melua) desperately wanted to write the score for the animated film, but the work went to Angela Morley (previously known as Wally Stott) and Malcolm Williamson. Mike kept submitting ideas for songs including this tune, which relates to Chief Rabbit Hazel’s close shave with death. He recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh that he told the producers Art Garfunkel would be ideal for ‘Bright Eyes,’ “and within a week, there he was, in my home in Surbiton, singing the song.” The song is an anomaly in that it reached the top ten in many European charts, topping them in The Netherlands and Ireland. However, it failed to reach the Hot 100 in the US.