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Van Morrison had actually left Ireland and also his tape by the feather of 1967, and also recorded “Brown Eyed Girl” on in 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 comes the Night.” A gifted songwriter, Berns was likewise an independent producer who operated with myriad labels. He currently owned Bang Records, and convinced George “Van” Morrison to sign as a solo artist top top his label. This initial recording session to be to cut eight songs, come be exit as four Van singles.
Berns had actually spent time in Havana, exposing himself to intense, burning, Afro-Cuban rhythms, i m sorry he lugged with him earlier to new York, and into rock ‘n’ roll. The fiery mambo beats the he injected into virtually everything he touched were additionally in “Brown Eyed Girl.”
What valve Morrison sarcastically refers to as “the money song” had a stellar lineup the session artists backing it. Eric Gale, Al Gorgoni, and also Hugh McCracken lay down what are quite probably the finest rhythm etc tracks ever. Russ Savakus play bass, Paul Griffin play piano, and also Gary Chester play drums. Those heavenly back-up singers to be none various other than The Sweet Inspirations, consisted of of Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell, and Emily “Cissy” Houston (mother that Whitney Houston and auntie to Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick).
As a an outcome of the contract through Bang Records, Morrison never saw a coin of aristocracy money for composing or recording the song. Furthermore, it came to be the command track on the album, Blowin’ her Mind, i m sorry Berns released without Morrison’s understanding or consent, in September of 1967. Adding insult come injury, Morrison claims it’s no even among his favorite songs. In a 2009 interview through Time Magazine, the is quoted together saying,
It’s not among my best. I median I’ve got around 300 songs that ns think room better.
Originally titled, “Brown-Skinned Girl,” the rhythms very closely resemble those of Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence’s “Brownskin Gal,” native 1958. Morrison, however, readjusted the location to “Brown Eyed Girl” as soon as he finished recording it. This leaves united state pondering a pair questions. First, why change the title after recording it? because there is no cite of a brown-skinned girl almost everywhere in the lyrics, changing the title appears unnecessary. Unless, of course, it to be a little too lot like Spence’s original composition. Secondly, to be it actually titled “Brown Skinned Girl,” in the an initial place?
Van, who is well-known for his loathing of personal interviews, at miscellaneous times did remark on the change.
That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song… Calypso. It simply slipped mine mind. I adjusted the title. After ~ we’d videotaped it, ns looked at the ice box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. Ns looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it stated Brown Eyed Girl ~ above the ice box. It’s just one of those things that happens.
Even through Van’s explanation, lyrical dilettantes continue to pose the question, “Is the song about a black color girl?” specialists in music and race relations have pointed out comparable titles, many notably lining Berry’s, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” together a possible yes. Morrison’s faster musical influences were artists such together Jelly roll Morton, command Belly, ray Charles, and the good Piedmont blues duo, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. It was American blues, jazz, gospel, and soul music, performed almost entirely by black color artists, the set Morrison on a music path. There is no confirmation native Van, there is important no way to know.
What we do understand is the the lyrics space nostalgic. Most of Morrison’s directory is filled v wistful lyrics about his home in northern Ireland, so she may have been a Belfast girl. According to Stuart Bailie that the five Yeah Music Center, “I’d prefer to think it’s about Belfast and also that the stadium he describes may have been The Oval in east Belfast.”
When released, the song around a former lover was too explicit because that radio airplay. In the 3rd verse, the lyrics, “making love in the green grass,” were edited out, and also replaced with a combination of lyrics from the very first verse — most often it was heard as, “laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey,” instead. Thankfully, most classic rock stations currently play the initial “Brown Eyed Girl.”
Could the “Brown Eyed Girl” it is in Julie, the subject of the practically 10 minute, blues-influenced monitor “T.B. Sheets” the was tape-recorded at the same session? This disturbing song is the true story the a girl v whom Morrison as soon as lived, now dying that tuberculosis. Valve witnesses her suffering, but all he have the right to think about is how it affects him. A bleak and an effective strain, Morrison damaged down and also had to cancel the remainder of the conference after recording it. Perhaps “Brown Eyed Girl” to be thinking back on more joy times v Julie?
Knowing his love that nostalgic lyrics, Morrison may have linked childhood memories through a woman he loved at the time of recording. In 1967, return no yes, really dates might be found, Morrison met Janet (Planet) Rigsbee. Castle wed soon thereafter, saving Morrison from gift deported. They to be married for six years, and also had a daughter together, Shana Morrison, who is an completed singer/songwriter in her own right. Indigenous the couple of pictures that were bring away of the couple (Morrison is pains reclusive) Janet is one attractive, and really brown-eyed girl.
But that else could have been Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl?” theories run rampant. With the arrival of the internet, conspiracies flew that the track being around heroin, inter-racial relationships, and also even anal sex. When a tune of together magnitude pipeline a burning concern for decades, civilization are going to create their very own interpretations.
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However, Ralph McLean, the BBC’s Radio Ulster has said, “Morrison’s song are ideal when complete of intrigue.”
Perhaps we’ll never recognize who the well known “Brown Eyed Girl,” was. She may have actually been nobody in ~ all, and instead a poetic muse created in Morrison’s mind. The wouldn’t be the an initial time his text both fascinated and confused listeners. As soon as pressed to describe some the his much more mysterious lyrics, Morrison told Cameron Crowe because that Rolling Stone in 1977:
A the majority of times people say, ‘What walk this mean?’ A most times I have actually no idea what ns mean. If friend can’t number out what it means, or it’s troubling you, it’s not for you. Like Kerouac, some of his prose stuff, how deserve to you asking what the means? It way what the means. That’s what ns like around rock & roll– the concept–like little Richard. What does the mean? girlfriend can’t take him apart; that’s rock & role to me.
Whoever she is, Van’s “Brown Eyed Girl” takes us back time and again come a happier place in our own lives. For that we’ll be ever before thankful to teacher George Ivan Morrison, and also ever in love through his “Brown Eyed Girl.”