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Van Morrison had left Ireland and also his tape by the spring of 1967, and recorded “Brown Eyed Girl” on march 28th at A&R Studios. The 22nd take caught the sound producer Bert Berns to be looking for.
Berns had previously created several tracks because that Morrison’s band Them, and wrote the hit, “Here come the Night.” A gifted songwriter, Berns was also an elevation producer who functioned with myriad labels. He now owned Bang Records, and also convinced George “Van” Morrison to sign as a solo artist top top his label. This initial recording session was to reduced eight songs, to be exit as four Van singles.
Berns had actually spent time in Havana, exposing self to intense, burning, Afro-Cuban rhythms, i m sorry he brought with him back to new York, and into absent ‘n’ roll. The fiery mambo beats the he injected into nearly everything he touched were additionally in “Brown Eyed Girl.”
What van Morrison sarcastically describes as “the money song” had a mainly lineup that session artist backing it. Eric Gale, Al Gorgoni, and Hugh McCracken lay under what space quite possibly the ideal rhythm etc tracks ever. Russ Savakus played bass, Paul Griffin played piano, and also Gary Chester played drums. Those heavenly back-up singers to be none other than The Sweet Inspirations, comprised of Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell, and Emily “Cissy” Houston (mother the Whitney Houston and also auntie to Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick).
As a an outcome of the contract v Bang Records, Morrison never ever saw a coin of royalty money for writing or recording the song. Furthermore, it ended up being the lead track top top the album, Blowin’ your Mind, i m sorry Berns released without Morrison’s expertise or consent, in September that 1967. Including insult come injury, Morrison insurance claims it’s not even amongst his favourite songs. In a 2009 interview with Time Magazine, he is quoted together saying,
It’s not among my best. I average I’ve got about 300 songs that i think space better.
Originally titled, “Brown-Skinned Girl,” the rhythms very closely resemble those that Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence’s “Brownskin Gal,” from 1958. Morrison, however, readjusted the title to “Brown Eyed Girl” once he finished recording it. This leaves us pondering a couple questions. First, why readjust the title after recording it? because there is no mention of a brown-skinned girl almost everywhere in the lyrics, an altering the title appears unnecessary. Unless, of course, it to be a little too lot like Spence’s initial composition. Secondly, was it actually titled “Brown Skinned Girl,” in the first place?
Van, that is known for his loathing of an individual interviews, at assorted times did comment on the change.
That was simply a mistake. It was a type of Jamaican song… Calypso. It just slipped my mind. I changed the title. After we’d recorded it, ns looked in ~ the ice cream box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. I looked at the box where I’d go it down through my guitar and also it stated Brown Eyed Girl on the ice cream box. It’s simply one that those things that happens.
Even v Van’s explanation, lyrical dilettantes continue to attitude the question, “Is the song around a black color girl?” specialists in music and also race relations have actually pointed out similar titles, most notably chuck Berry’s, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” as a possible yes. Morrison’s more quickly musical influences were artists such together Jelly role Morton, lead Belly, beam Charles, and also the good Piedmont blues duo, Sonny Terry and also Brownie McGhee. It was American blues, jazz, gospel, and soul music, performed practically entirely by black artists, that set Morrison on a musical path. There is no confirmation native Van, there is important no means to know.
What we do know is the the lyrics room nostalgic. Many of Morrison’s brochure is filled through wistful lyrics around his home in northern Ireland, for this reason she may have actually been a Belfast girl. According to Stuart Bailie that the five Yeah Music Center, “I’d choose to think it’s about Belfast and also that the stadion he describes may have been The Oval in eastern Belfast.”
When released, the song about a former lover was as well explicit for radio airplay. In the 3rd verse, the lyrics, “making love in the environment-friendly grass,” to be edited out, and also replaced v a combination of text from the first verse — most regularly it to be heard as, “laughin’ and also a-runnin’, hey hey,” instead. Thankfully, most classic rock stations currently play the original “Brown Eyed Girl.”
Could the “Brown Eyed Girl” it is in Julie, the topic of the virtually 10 minute, blues-influenced track “T.B. Sheets” the was videotaped at the very same session? This disturbing song is the true story of a girl v whom Morrison when lived, currently dying of tuberculosis. Valve witnesses her suffering, yet all he have the right to think about is how it affects him. A bleak and powerful strain, Morrison broke down and had come cancel the remainder of the conference after recording it. Probably “Brown Eyed Girl” was thinking ago on happier times with Julie?
Knowing his love that nostalgic lyrics, Morrison might have an unified childhood memories through a mrs he loved at the time of recording. In 1967, return no yes, really dates can be found, Morrison met Janet (Planet) Rigsbee. Castle wed soon thereafter, saving Morrison from being deported. They were married for 6 years, and had a daughter together, Shana Morrison, that is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her very own right. Indigenous the couple of pictures that were bring away of the pair (Morrison is pains reclusive) Janet is one attractive, and very brown-eyed girl.
But that else can have been Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl?” theories operation rampant. With the advent of the internet, conspiracies flew the the tune being about heroin, inter-racial relationships, and even anal sex. As soon as a track of together magnitude pipeline a burning inquiry for decades, civilization are walking to produce their very own interpretations.
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However, Ralph McLean, the BBC’s Radio Ulster has actually said, “Morrison’s songs are best when full of intrigue.”
Perhaps we’ll never recognize who the famous “Brown Eyed Girl,” was. She may have actually been nobody in ~ all, and instead a poetic muse developed in Morrison’s mind. The wouldn’t it is in the first time his text both fascinated and also confused listeners. As soon as pressed to define some of his an ext mysterious lyrics, Morrison said Cameron Crowe because that Rolling Stone in 1977:
A many times human being say, ‘What go this mean?’ A lot of times I have no idea what ns mean. If friend can’t number out what that means, or it’s troubling you, it’s not for you. Favor Kerouac, few of his prose stuff, how have the right to you ask what it means? It way what that means. That’s what ns like about rock & roll– the concept–like little Richard. What does that mean? girlfriend can’t take him apart; that’s absent & roll to me.
Whoever she is, Van’s “Brown Eyed Girl” takes us ago time and also again come a happier location in our own lives. For the we’ll be ever before thankful to sir George Ivan Morrison, and ever in love with his “Brown Eyed Girl.”