Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face
We have said several times that the period between 1984 and 1985 was probably the purest and most intense of the 1980s. The protagonists of those months have all remained in history. And also for Billy Idol this was a very important period: after the success of the self-titled album, in the final months of 1983 he had launched his second LP, preceded in October by the song that gave the title to the whole album, Rebel Yell. Then, after a few months of silence, at the end of May 1984 he released this song which not only has remained in history as an absolute pearl of the 80s, but which has also been a fundamental boost for Billy’s career.
Eyes without a face is a fabulous song, a rather slow but absolutely engaging rock ballad, embellished with a series of gems. The title comes from a 1960 French film, Les Yeux sans Visage, which is also the phrase repeated in the chorus, as well as being the translation of the English title. In this film, a plastic surgeon causes a car accident in which his daughter is disfigured in the face. In his delirium and guilt, the surgeon kidnaps other girls to reconstruct, through pieces of their face, the beauty of her daughter. But don’t think that this is a B-movie like Spiderman and Popeye against the Avengers and Flash Gordon. It was a profound film, which explored the paradox of the doctor who apparently acts in the interest of his daughter, but in reality pursues his own ideal of absolution and redemption because of the accident, thus taking away from his daughter even what remains of her own identity.
The Billy Idol song and video are perhaps a little less profound, but certainly no less beautiful. On the contrary, I would say that Eyes without a face is perhaps one of the most beautiful videos of Billy Idol ever. There are all his trademarks: not only leather, studs and grin, but of course also the guitar solo of Stevie Stevens, the self-spanking of the models to the beat, which we had also seen in White wedding (after all the two videos were made by the same director, David Mallet), and there is also the absolute muse of Billy Idol, as well as his partner, the dancer Perri Lister, who not only appears in the video (more visible in the final part), but she is also the voice that sings the verse in French.
One final curiosity: this song immediately brought Billy Idol bad luck. The video was shot in June in the United States, and besides the heat there were also the fog machines on the set, and it was a bit like working in an oven. After shooting the video in three days, Billy Idol took a plane to play a concert in Arizona (where it probably was forty-five degrees or one hundred and ten Fahrenheit). On the plane, however, he fell asleep and unfortunately his contact lenses dried up and welded to his eyes. Finally he was taken to the hospital to remove the lenses, and spent three days with eye patches. Rather than eyes without a face, he had a face without eyes!
Billy Idol on Wikipedia