The Eyes were from Ealing in West London, changing their name from the more prosaic Gerry Hart and The Hartbeats in 1964. The band built up a devoted local following at venues such as the Ealing Club and Les Wilde’s dance hall and a demo disc lead to a five-year contract with Mercury Records.
Many would choose the a-side of their 1965 debut, ‘When The Night Falls’ as the outfit’s finest moment and it is indeed a prime slice of UK mod / freakbeat but my favourite is the raw flip side of their third single, ‘You’re Too Much’ from May 1966.
The a-side ‘Man With Money’ was selected by the record label and is a cover of an Everly Brothers’ number that had appeared as the flip to their October 1965 single ‘Love Is Strange’. It’s a pretty faithful rendition, though, as you might hope and expect, slightly more hard edged than the folk rocking original.
‘Man With Money’
‘You’re Too Much’ is a barnstorming fuzz rocker with a brooding, somewhat menacing quality. The striking lead guitar line that returns throughout the song seems to work as much as anything because it sounds (to my ears anyway) marginally out of tune with the rhythm, but that slightly jarring effect is ultra effective! Strong vocals and harmonies too, and the song ends in a pleasing wash of reverb.
‘You’re Too Much’
A picture sleeve EP of the time (shown right) compiled The Eyes’ first two singles. The flip of the second 45, a song titled ‘My Degeneration’ was a response to The Who’s anthemic ‘My Generation’. (The Who incidentally recorded a version of ‘Man With Money’ around the same time as The Eyes though it wasn’t released.)
The band had turned fully professional in 1966 and were playing throughout the UK both as headliners and a support act, but though their live shows were very popular this wasn’t matched by record sales and after one more 45, a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Good Day Sunshine’, another suggestion by the record label that didn’t really suit the group, they called it quits.
The Eyes famously also recorded a covers album for Philips’ Wing label in 1966, Tribute to The Rolling Stones, hastily put together in six hours with a single take for each song and issued under the name The Pupils, as the band had only made the record for the money (the princely sum of £125) and wanted to distance themselves from the release.
Reissues: The Arrival of the Eyes: The Complete Recordings on Acme has all the single sides, demos and outtakes, and the tribute album. ‘You’re Too Much’ is also on Perfumed Garden Volume 1.
- When the Night Falls / I’m Rowed Out (Mercury, 1965)
- The Immediate Pleasure / My Degeneration (Mercury, 1966)
- Man With Money / You’re Too Much (Mercury, 1966)
- Good Day Sunshine / Please Don’t Cry (Mercury, 1966)
- The Arrival of The Eyes EP (Mercury, 1966)