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This was originally called "Brown Skinned Girl," and was about an interracial relationship. Morrison changed it to "Brown Eyed Girl" to make it more palatable for radio stations. Some stations banned it anyway for the line, "Making love in the green grass."
This was Morrison's first release as a solo artist; he was previously with the group Them. The song appeared on his debut solo album Blowin' Your Mind! and again on his 1973 compilation T.B. Sheets. It's one of Morrison's most enduring songs, but he thinks a lot less of it than most of the public. In 2009 he explained to Time magazine: "'Brown Eyed Girl' I didn't perform for a long time because for me it was like a throwaway song. I've got about 300 other songs I think are better than that."
In the third verse, the line "Making love in the green grass" was overdubbed with a line from the first verse, "Laughin‚ and a-runnin‚" to make it more radio-friendly. The 1990 Best Of Van Morrison CD released the censored version, apparently by someone unaware that there were two versions. (thanks, Jesse - Mesa, AZ)
This was a hit during the "Summer Of Love," when hippie culture bloomed in the US and the song provided a fitting soundtrack.
This song was awarded a "Million-Air" certificate at the 2009 BMI London Awards dinner. The certificates are presented in recognition of songs by European artists that have achieved multi-million US radio and television performances and this track topped the 2009 list with an astounding nine million performances, since it was first recorded.
Jimmy Buffett recorded this for his album One Particular Harbour. (thanks, Jen - Boulder, CO)