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It's a classic horror story situation; A mild-mannered protagonist wakes up after a medical operation to discover that he now possesses a replacement hand or some other bodypart that previously belonged to a serial killer or some such. This is the background for the 1977 song by The Adverts - their second single which didn't initially appear on the debut album Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts due to length considerations. T.V. Smith was inspired to write the song after reading a tabloid article about U.S. murderer Gary "Let's Do It" Gilmore's wish to donate his organs to science. Released on Anchor Records after the band split with Stiff, it reached No. 18 on the charts thanks to public outrage over the controversial (mentioning the killer Gilmore) and unpleasant subject matter. Subsequent re-releases of Crossing The Red Sea... added a re-recording of this track on at the end, but the best release is the 'Ultimate Edition' of the album, which puts 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' in in it's rightful place between 'Newboys' and 'Bombsite Boy', while adding the all the singles (including this) and it is included as one of the six never before heard live tracks at the end from a gig in 1978. Top Stuff. Otherwise, it can be found on almost any decent punk compilation which includes '77 stuff, and also on the Lipstick Traces soundtrack. The single was backed with Bored Teenagers {which would become an album cut), and if you can find a copy, you're pretty lucky.

The song begins with a slow thumping, primitive beat with T.V. Smith whispering (or more loudly intoning, depending what version you're listening to) "Gary, Gilmore's, eyes" rather menacingly over the top, then four tentative chords before a drum roll by Driver starts the song in earnest and Smith immediately gets stuck into the lyrics. The Adverts were adept at making great use of what they had. Though none of them were really accomplished players, they song gels really well - Gaye Advert's simple bass compliments Driver's fill-laden drumming, while Howard Pickup's guitar invokes memories of The Stranglers with the high melodies before the start of each verse, and sets the style for later bands to come like the The Prefects. The entire band joins in for the chorus, some singing the sentence ascending in pitch, while the other two sing it decendingly - a very enjoyable effect.

Recently, this sub-two minute twenty (the two versions are 2:13 and 2:17) song was voted as the twenty-first greatest single of all time, and it's not hard to see why. The vibrant mix of comedy and horror in lyrics coupled with the energetic (if not amazingly accomplished) playing ensure repeated listenings if you get the chance. If you do manage to get a decent original pressing of this 7" that you think you could live without in your grubby little mitts, please /msg me.

GARY GILMORE'S EYES


Gary, Gilmore's, eyes.

I'm lying in a hospital
I'm pinned against the bed
A stethoscope upon my heart
A hand against my head
They're peeling off the bandages
I'm wincing in the light
The nurse is looking anxious,
And she's quivering in fright

I'm looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes

The doctors are avoiding me
My vision is confused
I listen to my earphones
And I catch the evening news
A murderer's been killed
And he donates his sight to science
I'm locked into a private ward,
I realise that I must be

Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes

Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes

I smash the light in anger,
Push my bed against the door
I close my lids across my eyes
And wish to see no more
The eye receives the messages,
And sends that to the brain
No guarantee the stimuli
Must be perceived the same

When looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes
Gary don't need his eyes to see,
Gary and his eyes have parted company.

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