Terry Isaiah Johnson - 'I Only Have Eyes for You'
Review Written by Ionas Finser
From the very beginning, this masterful song is dreamy, groovy, and relaxing in every way. A ‘Pied Piper’ of a song if there ever was one, “I Only Have Eyes for You” will have you snapping your fingers to the offbeat before the first four bars are through.
Terry Isaiah Johnson’s voice proves to be smooth, delicate, and utterly enchanting. Johnson showcases his vocal abilities with plenty of big interval leaps and a sense of syncopation that seems to be second nature. The vibe of the entire song is perfectly coherent throughout every component, from the excellent musicianship of the players, to the killer sax solo, to the artistic lyrics.
Lyrically, we find that “I Only Have Eyes for You” is passionately dedicated to the feelings of love. It’s the kind of omnipresent song that might play as one stares across a crowded room and makes eye contact with a special someone, as the whole world goes into slow motion. Johnson’s lyrics are truly poetic and intelligent, bringing a sense of class to romantic music.
“The moon may be high But I can't see a thing in the starry sky I only have eyes for you”
Terry Isaiah Johnson’s presence in the song is captivating and natural. The very existence of his voice gives off that “everything’s gonna be alright” feeling, all while playing his listeners’ hearts like fiddles. Listen to “I Only Have Eyes for You,” witness the master work, and let the music take you on a journey through wistful memories and burning emotions.
About Isaiah Johnson
Terry Isaiah Johnson wrote and produced with Smokey Robinson at Motown Records. As a BMI Certificate of Achievement in Broadcasting Award and a Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award recipient, Terry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame. Boyz II Men recruited him and his producing partner Theresa Trigg where they re-produced his famous arrangement of I Only Have Eyes For You. Terry's group, The Flamingos, appeared on The View with Whoopi Goldberg.
Terry wrote, arranged and sang lead on "Fool Heart" and "Are You Sorry?", both released in 1955. Terry Johnson is the duet lead heard, along with Paul Wilson, on "Lovers Never Say Goodbye", "Love Walked In", "Time Was" and "But Not For Me", all Billboard chart hits except the latter which is a beautiful album cut. Terry recorded three albums with The Flamingos, Flamingo Serenade, Requestfully Yours and Flamingo Favorites. They toured extensively and appeared five times on the TV show American Bandstand. The group's signature classic "I Only Have Eyes for You" is perhaps the finest example of Johnson's genius in musical arranging, especially vocal harmony.
Shortly after Tommy Hunt left the group in 1961, the Flamingos split into 2 groups, one with the Careys and Paul Wilson and one with Terry Johnson and Nate Nelson calling themselves at varying times, the Modern Flamingos, the Fabulous Flamingos and later simply, Terry Johnson's Flamingos. The two recorded on Atco together in 1963 as the Starglows. The result was the beautiful Johnson-penned ballad "Let's Be Lovers" (b/w "Walk Away Softly", written by Skyliners' manager and "Since I Don't Have You" co-author Joe Rock). Terry Johnson would later re-record "Let's Be Lovers" in 2005 with artists Jeff Calloway and TeeTee for his own Hot Fun Record label. The Flamingos featuring Terry Johnson appeared on two PBS specials: Rock and Roll at Fifty (in which they were the only group to have more than two songs featured) and Doo Wop Cavalcade: The Definitive Anthology.
In 1964, Smokey Robinson recruited Johnson onto the staff of Motown Records. Their most notable collaboration was the the Top 10 Miracles hit, Baby, Baby Don't Cry . Other charted hits include "Malinda" for Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers and "Here I Go Again" for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Terry also wrote/produced for the Four Tops, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas and the Supremes. In 1969, Johnson released the solo 45's "My Springtime" and "Whatcha Gonna Do", both b/w "Suzie" on Gordy Records (a Motown subsidiary.) He then released the follow-up "Stone Soul Booster" b/w "Sandy" under the name "Buzzie".