“Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”

THE ADVERTS – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” / “Bored Teenagers” (Anchor ANC 1043) August 1977

The Adverts ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ – The sickest and cleverest record to come out of the New Wave so far . . Gary Gilmore, you recall, being the murderer who won the right to be executed by firing squad and who wanted to donate his eyes to medicine.

The hero of this charming little ditty wakes up in hospital to find that he’s the lucky recipient of those notorious peepers, and the story unfolds creepily over a manic rush of sound not dissimilar to The Stranglers ‘Grip’.

I made their first single ‘One Chord Wonders’ my single of the week last time and look what happened to that: nothing. I hope I haven’t put the kiss of death on this one, which features their ‘Bored Teenagers’ anthem (done live on the ‘Roxy’ album) on the flip.

I think The Adverts are gonna be big (and I haven’t even mentioned Gaye . . . )
(Sounds, August 1977)

Powered by heart-attack drums, breakneck vocal and that insistent chorus chant, ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ entered The Adverts’ live set around April 1977, establishing itself as one of the three minute instant classics at their disposal (the others were its B-side ‘Bored Teenagers’ and its predecessor, ‘One Chord Wonders’).

Inspired by American killer Gilmore’s request that his eyes be donated to medical science after execution, the song raised hackles as another example of punk rock’s sicko tendencies, though as Smith insists, “in the era of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Anarchy In The UK, it was hardly earth-shattering stuff”.

Some buyers even laboured under the misapprehension it was about the cricketer Gary Gilmore. (Mojo)

Remember all those old horror movies where a sensitive and observant concert pianist, violinist or somesuch gets a mitt transplant and ends up with the hands of a brutal murderer (or, apres the brilliant Marty Feldman, the hands of a demented circus clown)? If you do, go line up with Adverts front man T.V. Smith.

This is a song about waking up from an eye transplant and finding the donor was Gary (“Let’s Do It”) Gilmore, the American murderer who demanded the death penalty.

The performance is – how you say – minimal, but the idea is great and the record caries a genuine chill. If not the performance of the week, ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ is certainly idea of the week.
(NME, August 1977)

Extremely tedious. (Record Mirror, 13/08/77)

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