We continue to roll our eyes, so to speak, as Frankie Valli describes a major case of puppy love in “My Eyes Adored You.”
(link for the e-mail people.)
This wasn’t Frankie’s only optical solo hit, of course — this is the guy who in 1967 assured listeners that he “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” But “My Eyes Adored You” was a much more lush production, and a bigger hit — with about everything a Top 40 or AC listener could wish for in 1974, it spent a month at number one.
Indeed, “lush” hardly covers it. After a very pretty introduction that pairs an electric with an acoustic guitar — and that turns out to have nothing much to do with the song it’s introducing — Frankie rides in on a cloud of strings and harp glissandos, the sappiness offset only slightly by a mild, almost jazzy guitar that sends out the odd fill or run of swaying chords among those hyperactive strings.
All this sweetness is in the service of the story of an innocent schoolyard romance:
I carried your books from school
Playin’ make-believe you’re married to me
You were fifth grade, I was sixth,
When we came to be
But alas, it all comes to nothing as our hero heads off to the big city:
Headed for city lights,
Climbed the ladder up to fortune and fame
He has achieved his dream, but it is not enough:
Still I reminisce
‘Bout the girl I miss,
And the love I left behind
(This would really be a bit less stalker-esque if he didn’t also insist with every refrain that the girl was oblivious — “like a million miles away from me/You couldn’t see how I adored you.” Actually, “I never laid a hand on you” is also a tiny bit creepy.)
What keeps this from dissolving entirely into a puddle of pop goo is Valli’s surprisingly hard-edged vocal. His Jersey accent is more than hinted at, and he puts a lot of muscle into these sentimental lyrics. And at two and a half minutes in, when the backup singers take over the chorus and Frankie riffs on top of them on the theme of regrets and anger at oneself for bad decisions, he gets some real emotional energy working.
I wouldn’t say this holds up, exactly — the production alone pins it firmly to 1974, never to come unstuck — but if you have a taste for relics, you could do a lot worse than spending three minutes and some-odd seconds with “My Eyes Adored You.”