Bette Davis Eyes was a surprise smash hit in the early part of 1981. It was a number one hit in 21 countries, and won Grammy Awards for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year, it was big!
While little is known of all the effects used on the record, such as reverbs and delays etc, we do know that Val Garay loved his DBX 160 and used it on drums in most of the recordings he did, including Bette Davis Eyes. For Bette Davis Eyes he also used it on the guitars.
The really interesting story behind the song however, is the fact it was recorded previously by Jackie DeShannon many years prior but it went no where. It wasn’t until Val Garay heard it and put it forward to Kim Carnes for her debut album Mistaken Identity.
Val put the band into a rehearsal studio for three weeks to get the song down before bringing them into the studio. The entire song including Kim’s vocal was put to tape live in a single take with no over dubs.
After doing three takes, they ended up using the very first take. During mixdown, they again did three mixes, but eventually decided upon the first mix. They certainly don’t make records like this anymore.