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Van Morrison had actually left Ireland and his band by the spring 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 was looking for.
Berns had previously produced several tracks because that Morrison’s band Them, and also wrote the hit, “Here comes the Night.” A gifted songwriter, Berns was likewise an independent producer who functioned with myriad labels. He currently owned Bang Records, and convinced George “Van” Morrison to authorize as a solo artist top top his label. This initial recording session was to cut eight songs, come be exit as 4 Van singles.
Berns had spent time in Havana, exposing self to intense, burning, Afro-Cuban rhythms, which he lugged with him back to brand-new York, and into absent ‘n’ roll. The fiery mambo beats that he injected into almost everything he touched were additionally in “Brown Eyed Girl.”
What valve Morrison sarcastically refers to as “the money song” had a mainly lineup of session artists backing it. Eric Gale, Al Gorgoni, and Hugh McCracken lay under what room quite possibly the finest rhythm guitar tracks ever. Russ Savakus play bass, Paul Griffin play piano, and also Gary Chester played 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 also Emily “Cissy” Houston (mother of Whitney Houston and auntie come Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick).
As a an outcome of the contract with Bang Records, Morrison never ever saw a coin of royalty money for creating or recording the song. Furthermore, it became the command track on the album, Blowin’ your Mind, i beg your pardon Berns released there is no Morrison’s understanding or consent, in September the 1967. Adding insult to injury, Morrison cases it’s not even among his favorite songs. In a 2009 interview with Time Magazine, the is quoted as saying,
It’s not one of my best. I median I’ve got around 300 song that ns think room better.
Originally titled, “Brown-Skinned Girl,” the rhythms carefully resemble those the Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence’s “Brownskin Gal,” indigenous 1958. Morrison, however, readjusted the location to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he finished recording it. This leaves united state pondering a couple questions. First, why readjust the location after record it? since there is no cite of a brown-skinned girl everywhere in the lyrics, transforming the title appears unnecessary. Unless, the course, it was a little bit too much like Spence’s original composition. Secondly, was it actually title “Brown Skinned Girl,” in the first place?
Van, who is known for his loathing of personal interviews, at miscellaneous times did comment on the change.
That was just a mistake. It to be a kind of Jamaican song… Calypso. It simply slipped my mind. I readjusted the title. After we’d videotaped it, ns looked at the tape box and also didn’t even an alert that I’d readjusted the title. I looked at package where I’d go it down v my guitar and it said Brown Eyed Girl ~ above the ice box. It’s simply one that those things that happens.
Even v Van’s explanation, lyrical dilettantes proceed to pose the question, “Is the song around a black color girl?” specialists in music and also race relations have actually pointed out comparable titles, most notably chuck Berry’s, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” as a possible yes. Morrison’s faster musical influences were artists such as Jelly role Morton, command Belly, beam Charles, and also the good Piedmont blues duo, Sonny Terry and also Brownie McGhee. It was American blues, jazz, gospel, and also soul music, performed nearly entirely by black artists, that set Morrison on a music path. There is no confirmation indigenous Van, there is important no method to know.
What we do understand is the the lyrics space nostalgic. Many of Morrison’s directory is filled v wistful lyrics about his residence in north Ireland, so she may have actually been a Belfast girl. Follow to Stuart Bailie of the five Yeah Music Center, “I’d favor to think it’s about Belfast and that the stadium he describes may have actually been The Oval in east Belfast.”
When released, the song about a previous lover was as well explicit because that radio airplay. In the third verse, the lyrics, “making love in the environment-friendly grass,” were edited out, and replaced v a combination of text from the very first verse — most frequently it to be heard as, “laughin’ and also a-runnin’, hey hey,” instead. Thankfully, most classic rock stations now play the initial “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” that was tape-recorded at the same session? This disturbing tune is the true story the a girl through whom Morrison when lived, currently dying that tuberculosis. Valve witnesses she suffering, however all he can think about is exactly how it influence him. A bleak and powerful strain, Morrison broke down and also had come cancel the remainder of the conference after recording it. Maybe “Brown Eyed Girl” to be thinking ago on happier times with Julie?
Knowing his love the nostalgic lyrics, Morrison may have linked childhood memories through a mrs he loved at the time of recording. In 1967, return no actual dates could be found, Morrison met Janet (Planet) Rigsbee. Castle wed quickly thereafter, saving Morrison from being deported. They to be married for six years, and also had a daughter together, Shana Morrison, who is an achieved singer/songwriter in her very own right. Indigenous the few pictures that were take away of the couple (Morrison is ache reclusive) Janet is an attractive, and really brown-eyed girl.
But that else might have to be Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl?” theories run rampant. V the advent of the internet, conspiracies flew the the song being around heroin, inter-racial relationships, and also even anal sex. Once a tune of such magnitude leaves a burning question for decades, civilization are going to develop their own interpretations.
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However, Ralph McLean, the BBC’s Radio Ulster has actually said, “Morrison’s songs are best when complete of intrigue.”
Perhaps we’ll never know who the famous “Brown Eyed Girl,” was. She may have been nobody at all, and also instead a poetic muse developed in Morrison’s mind. It wouldn’t be the an initial time his text both fascinated and confused listeners. Once pressed to define some that his an ext mysterious lyrics, Morrison called Cameron Crowe because that Rolling Stone in 1977:
A many times world say, ‘What walk this mean?’ A most times I have actually no idea what i mean. If girlfriend can’t number out what that means, or it’s troubling you, it’s not for you. Like Kerouac, few of his prose stuff, how deserve to you asking what that means? It method what it means. That’s what i like around rock & roll– the concept–like tiny Richard. What does that mean? friend can’t take him apart; that’s absent & roll to me.
Whoever she is, Van’s “Brown Eyed Girl” takes us ago time and again come a happier place in our own lives. For that we’ll be ever thankful to sir George Ivan Morrison, and also ever in love through his “Brown Eyed Girl.”