Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel song)

Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel song)

"Bright Eyes" is a song written by Mike Batt, and performed by Art Garfunkel. It was written for the soundtrack of "Watership Down" and as such is considered the theme song of the media property. The track also appears on Garfunkel's fourth studio album, Fate for Breakfast.


Originally written about the death of Batt's father from cancer (the "bright eyes" of the title being the result of opiate painkillers)Fact|date=September 2008, in the context of the film it relates to the transition into death highlighted by Hazel's close shave when he is shot by a farmer, and then years later when Hazel (then Hazel-rah) finally departs his body and enters the world of spirit. It may also be viewed in reference to the disease the rabbits refer to as "White Blindness" - actually Myxomatosis.Fact|date=September 2008

The song was immensely successful in the United Kingdom, staying at number one in the British charts for six weeks in 1979, selling over one million copies, becoming the biggest selling single of that year in the UK. However, it did poorly in the United States, failing to reach the Billboard Hot 100.

Other versions

The song was re-recorded in 1980 by Matthew Butler, a 6 year old who had featured in the UK Children's Television series "Tiswas". This version was produced by Neil Innes and the single reached #121 in the UK Charts. The track also appeared on "Tiswas Presents the Four Bucketeers" album.

A live solo electric version by James Dean Bradfield of The Manic Street Preachers, recorded in 1994 at the last gig played by the original four-piece, was released as a cassette single B side in 1996. This version is included on the rare tracks compilation "Lipstick Traces". Philip Hall, the band's first manager, had died from cancer earlier that year.

The song was later covered by Stephen Gately in 2000 and used as the theme song of the "Watership Down" animated television series. It was released as a double A-side with his single "New Beginning". While Mike Batt, who wrote the original song, composed an entire new score. This new cover went on to earn the TV show a nomination for a Gemini Award, for best original score. []

It was again re-recorded in 2005 by Joseph McManners whose version debuted at number one in Asian airplay, ahead of James Blunt and Prince. [ Official News Updates] at (accessed May 17, 2008)]

It was released again on Declan Galbraith's 2006 album, entitled "Thank You".

Hayley Westenra also recorded a version on her self-titled album.

Swedish saxophonist Johan Stengård recorded an instrumental version on his album On My Mind.

Tommy Steele released a version on his "Family Album" and Elaine Paige has also recorded the song from her 1984 "Cinema" album.

Manchester band Puressence played the song as their required cover version during a session on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday 29 September 2007. It was very well received and the band have been inundated with requests to release it as a future B-side.

Popular Culture

In "The Basil Brush Show" episode "Bad Boy Rock" Basil, Stephen and Dave perform Bright Eyes in rock music.

During "", "Bright Eyes" plays briefly on the radio, before Gromit hastily turns it off, due to the song being used in "Watership Down", which featured violent rabbits.


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