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Mistaken Identity is the sixth studio album by American singer Kim Carnes, released in April 1981 by EMI America Records. The album spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, and was subsequently certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
The album's lead single "Bette Davis Eyes" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine non-consecutive weeks and topped the Hot 100 year-end chart of 1981. Follow-up singles "Draw of the Cards" and "Mistaken Identity" reached numbers 28 and 60 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
Kim Carnes (born July 20, 1945 Hollywood, California) is an American singer-songwriter. She is a two-time Grammy Award winner noted for her distinctive raspy vocal style. Some people have called her "The Female Rod Stewart" due to her raspy voice.
In 1981, Carnes recorded the Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss song "Bette Davis Eyes". As the first single released from the album Mistaken Identity, it spent nine weeks at number one on the US singles charts and became a worldwide hit. The song's success propelled the album to No. 1 for four weeks. The single became the biggest hit of the entire year for 1981, and is second only to Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" as the biggest hit of the 1980s in the USA, according to Billboard. The song earned both the Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 1982 Grammys. Carnes was nominated for Best Pop Female and Mistaken Identity also earned a nomination for Album of the Year. Two follow-up singles from Mistaken Identity, "Draw of the Cards" and the title track, were both released during 1981.
"Bette Davis Eyes" was written by Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss in 1974. Carnes and her band rehearsed the song in the studio for three days to take the melody and overall sound of the record to a darker, more haunting place. Keyboard player Bill Cuomo came up with the signature instrumental lick and together with the band and producer Val Garay created a completely new arrangement of the song, which was recorded the next day with no overdubs.
Bette Davis admitted to being a fan of the song and approached Carnes and the songwriters to thank them. Davis wrote to Carnes after the song was released saying she loved the song. "It was a thrill to become a part of the rock generation", she said in her memoir This 'N That. Davis' grandson, Ashley, told the screen legend she had "finally made it". Carnes and Davis struck up a special friendship, with the singer visiting her at her home several times until her 1989 death. In what she considers a career highlight, Carnes performed the song live for Davis at a tribute to the legendary actress held just before her death. Most recently, the song has been used in a 2008 Clairol Nice 'n Easy TV commercial in the United Kingdom. The ad featuring the song has expanded into South Africa and other territories around the world. In 2008, the song was featured in the opening scene of the documentary film, Valentino: The Last Emperor.
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