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Kim Carnes (born July 20, 1945, Pasadena, Californiamarker) is an Americanmarker singer-songwriter. She is noted for her distinctive, raspy voice which she attributes to many hours spent singing in smoky bars and clubs.

Early career

Carnes was a member of The New Christy Minstrels in 1967. During this time, Carnes met and married Dave Ellingson with whom she would write most of her songs. For a short while in the early 1970s, she and Ellingson formed the unsuccessful folk duo Kim and Dave. Carnes wrote the song "Sing Out for Jesus", which was used in the movie Vanishing Point and sung by Big Mama Thornton.

She began releasing album during the early 1970s. Her self-titled album in 1975 contained her first charted hit, "You're A Part Of Me" (No. 32 AC). This album was followed in 1976 with Sailin'. One track, "Love Comes from Unexpected Places", won best song at the 1977 American Song Festival and gained some additional notice after it was recorded by Barbra Streisand on her 1977 album Streisand Superman. Streisand also recorded Carnes' "Stay Away" on her 1978 album Songbird. Carnes' Top 40 breakthrough occurred in 1978 when she was recruited by Gene Cotton to record a duet version of "You're a Part of Me" which reached No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1980, her duet with fellow ex-New Christy Minstrel Kenny Rogers, "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer", became a major hit on the Pop (No. 4), Country (No. 3) and AC (No. 2) charts. The song was culled from Rogers' concept album, Gideon, which was written entirely by Carnes and Ellingson. Later that year, her cover version of the Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song "More Love" became her first solo Top 10 hit single (No. 10 Pop, No. 6 AC).

"Bette Davis Eyes"

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 of 1981 and is second only to Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" as the biggest hit of the 1980s in the USA. The song earned both the Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 1982 Grammys and Carnes was nominated for Best Pop Female. Two follow-up singles from Mistaken Identity, "Draw Of The Cards" and the title selection, were both released during 1981.

Carnes originally rejected "Bette Davis Eyes," on which Weiss (who composed the music) and DeShannon (who wrote the lyrics) had collaborated in 1974; only after a new instrumental arrangement was done by Bill Cuomo did Carnes agree to record the song, which became a huge hit. 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 and stated that she was very pleased with the song as it made her seem very up-to-date with her grandson. She had Carnes sing the song live for her at a tribute held just before her death. The song was also used in a 1982 advertising campaign for 7 Up, with the lyrics slightly altered and Pac-Man characters starring in the commercial spots. It was also used in a 2008 Clairol Nice 'n Easy advertisement in the UK. The song was also played in an episode of Dream Team 80's in 2006.

Later career

Carnes released several albums after Mistaken Identity, but she was never able to approach the success of "Bette Davis Eyes". She never charted higher than No. 15 on the Hot 100 which she achieved twice with "Crazy in the Night" (from Barking at Airplanes) and "What About Me?" with Kenny Rogers and James Ingram. Carnes did reach the AC Top 10 three times after "Bette Davis Eyes" with "I Pretend" (No. 9), "What About Me?" (No. 1) and "Make No Mistake, He's Mine" with Barbra Streisand (No. 8).

Carnes remained a highly respected artist and songwriter. As a songwriter, she has had two No. 1 country singles. Her duet with Barbra Streisand was re-recorded as "Make No Mistake, She's Mine" by Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers which was a No. 1 Country and No. 42 AC hit in 1987. Carnes also wrote "The Heart Won't Lie", a No. 1 duet for Reba McEntire and Vince Gill in 1993. Co-writing with others, Carnes has had songs covered by such country stars as Deana Carter, Kevin Sharp, Sawyer Brown, Suzy Bogguss, Pam Tillis, Tim McGraw and Tanya Tucker.

Carnes was nominated for two more Grammys - Best Pop Female for "Voyeur" and Best Rock Female for "Invisible Hands". In 1983, Kim's song, "I'll Be Here Where the Heart Is", was included on the Flashdance soundtrack which received a Grammy for Best Album Of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture. Carnes was one of the singers invited to perform on USA for Africa's 1985 famine relief fundraising single "We Are the World" and can be heard singing the last line of the song's bridge with Huey Lewis and Cyndi Lauper. In 1987 she sang the song "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own" in a duet with Jeffrey Osborne for the soundtrack to the movie Spaceballs.

In 2004, she re-appeared with a self-released album Chasin' Wild Trains. She currently resides in Nashvillemarker, Tennesseemarker with husband Dave Ellingson. She has two sons, Collin and Ry. Her son Ry is named after musician Ry Cooder, who guests on the song "Rough Edges" from her Barking at Airplanes album. Son Collin is also featured on that album at the beginning of the song "Crazy in the Night".


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