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Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Album: Blowin' Your Mind!Released: 1967Charted:
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. Morrison, however, wanted nothing to do with this scene and was horrified when the album was released with a psychedelic-looking cover.
  • The female backing vocals were performed by The Sweet Inspirations, who were a gospel-influenced group that performed on many hits for other artists in addition to their own material. You can also hear them on "Chain Of Fools" by Aretha Franklin and "I Say a Little Prayer" by Dionne Warwick. The Sweet Inspirations became Elvis Presley's female backing singers in 1969, touring and recording with him until his death.
  • Bert Berns, who had written the 1965 hit "Here Comes The Night" for Morrison's group Them, produced "Brown Eyed Girl" and the rest of the album. He brought a lot of pop appeal to this song, adding the Latin flavor that was one of his go-to sounds. Morrison wasn't looking for pop, however, and this song became his nemesis. "I never wanted to be commercial, and suddenly 'Brown Eyed Girl' was making me even more commercial," he said.

    Morrison was signed to Berns' label, Bang Records, in a deal that included management, production and publishing. He recorded the song in March 1967, relocating to New York City to work with Berns and establish his solo career. The deal soured quickly when Morrison's creative vision clashed with Berns'. They recorded a songs for a second album, but Morrison hated the results and left Bang, resulting in years of legal disputes. He signed a deal Warner Bros., which released his next album, Astral Weeks, in 1968. Bert Berns died of a heart attack on December 30, 1967.
  • 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 1983 album One Particular Harbour. Other popular covers are by El Chicano, whose version went to #45 US in 1972, and the Henry Paul Band, whose 1982 rendition made #105.
  • This was prominently featured in the 1991 thriller Sleeping with the Enemy as Julia Roberts' character is having fun with masks and theater props.
  • Adam Duritz was accused of pilfering the "sha-la-la-la-la" from this for Counting Crows' "Mr. Jones." Guitarist David Bryson balked at the suggestion in an interview with The Georgia Straight in 1997: "Certainly Adam grew up listening to Van Morrison - I mean, we all still listen to Van Morrison - but, my god, every band today has grown up with rock 'n' roll, and all those influences show themselves at one point or another."
  • As a compound adjective, the title should be hyphenated as "Brown-Eyed Girl," though some claim the punctuation mark isn't necessary in a song title. Either way, it's not the first time a musician has ignored grammar rules for the sake of art. Check out other Songs with Bad Grammar in the Title.
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Comments: 58

On November 11th 1967, Van Morrison* performed "Brown Eyed Girl" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Fourteen days earlier on October 28th, 1967 was its last day on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it was at #41 at the time...
{See the next post below}...
* It was his only time he appeared on the show.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On July 9th 1967, Van Morrison's original version of "Brown Eyed Girl" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #99; and September 24th, 1967 it peaked at #10 (for 1 week) and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
Between 1967 and 1978 he had eleven Top 100 records; with two making the Top 10, his other Top 10 record was "Domino", it reached #9 (for 1 week) on December 27th, 1970...
Mr. Morrison, born George Ivan Morrison, will celebrate his 69th birthday next month on August 31st, 2014.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On June 11th 1972, "Brown Eyed Girl" by El Chicano entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on July 9th it peaked at #45 (for 1 week) and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
The group had two other Top 100 records; "Viva Tirado - Part One" (#28 in 1970) and "Tell Her She's Lovely" (#40 in 1973)...
As already stated Bruce Springsteen has covered it in concert; he's done it eight times and the latest time was two months ago on April 19th, 2014 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
June, 'Have I told you lately?(by Van Morrison) is a completely different song from the country hit "Have I told you lately that I love you?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08mzfltRi1QRebekah - Monroe , Nc
To Julie in Columbia, SC: That was different song. Van Morrison wrote a song with the same title, but the song has a different meaning. Morrison's song is about "his relationship with God and his religious convictions" (Songfacts: Van Morrison - Have I Told You Lately). Check it out on Songfacts.Roann - Apalachin, Ny
Someone above said "Have I Told You Lately" was written by Morrison. Sorry, but according to Wikipedia: "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?" is a popular song written by Scotty Wiseman and published in 1945.[1] It was the greatest hit of Wiseman and his wife and one of the first country music songs to attract major attention in the pop music field. I remember it from my childhood in the 1950's.Julie - Columbia, Sc
Some moments come, they change your life, you don't notice, and they go... but the songs, they remain and tell us that the feeling still exists. Untouched. Alive. But asleep most of the time. Those brown eyes I don't see anymore... But they will never leave this song.Jose - Philadelphia, Pa
Great song! Perfect expression of the feeling. There is an absurd site that asserts that Brown Eyed Girl is about love of heroin (!) (proof: "slippin and a slidin' " means using the needle, etc. ) Also saw it noted at another site as "alternate meaning" Just STUPID! relieved to see none of that nosense here.Scott - Morris, Nj
Good song by a fantastic singer. The fact that Van Morrison is also from Belfast, Northern Ireland is a plus.Joel - Boston, Ma
my dad used to sing the chorus of this song to me when i was little, the song is very special. my dad still calls me "brown eyes"Kelly - Sidney, Oh
My dad would play this song to me when I was a child. I remeber getting upset and yelling at him "Mom has blue eyes!!"Gus - Fort Smith, Ar
Funny ... I remember singing "You're my brown a**ed girl, and my friend answered, "Dude, you sure know how to ruin a good song." LOLElmer - Seattle, Wa
This is my Favourite Song- It was used in an episode of The Wonder Years- I have just registered and also added SongFacts.com to my website GrantzPlace (just google to find it) I hope this OK with you guys.Grant - Toowoomba,
Singer-songwriter Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort)recorded a very nice up-tempo version of this this song, which was released as a single in 1974 in The Netherlands.Ron - Brasschaat, Belgium
Bruce Springsteen also does a killer live version of this song. I highly recommend giving it a listen. Van Morrison is an incredible talent.Warren - New York, Ny
I thought this song was about heroin...ive heard it mentioned as browned eyed girl or persia brown, etc...Shannon - Jacksonville, Fl
As with many, I have played this song live umpteen million times. Woman love the tune. During the chorus, try replacing the second brown eyed girl with blue eyed girl and emphasize the reflection on the word blue and watch what happens. You'll never sing it the same way again.Bill - Cambridge, On
Probably one of the best songs not to have made it into the UK charts.WonderfulMartin - Pattaya, Thailand
Ok so this has to be one of my favourites, i am a huge fan for the classics, although i do beleive the Cadence (an acapella band) sing this song better, they are amazing by the way and if you have ever been to Tlac you would know how cool they are to hang with!Dewd - Ontario, On
Classic tune, I like Jimmy Buffett's version of it as well!Michael - San Diego, Ca
I laugh everytime they play the "laughing and running hey hey" version. It is so funny to me that at one time "making love in the green grass" was considered to risky for radio. Especially with the filth that gets on the radio now without anyone raising an eyebrow.Ron - Auburndale, Fl
Radio Stations in the United States until as least the 70s censored everything that could be "interpreted" as having a sexual meaning. Van Morrison's (Them) 1964 song "Gloria" could not be played in many areas of the US because it contained the lyrics "She Comes to My Room". Other groups took advantage and recorded it with the words "She Calls out My Name" and were able to get more airplay.
Ps: I would once again like to object to the filthy remark by Christopher. This song is very popular among young people who may come here for information and read and believe his garbage.
Martie - Hanover, Va
The last comment is inexcusable. Is there no censorship here? Why do some people try to ruin everything with their filthy minds.
There are plently of songs about blue eyes with no dirty connotations.
Martie - Hanover, Va
I am looking for the cover of Brown Eyed Girl...it is a punk cover and the line "making love down in the green grass" has been changed to "boning down in the green grass" anyone know?Crystal - Lawrence, Ks
i wasn't really familiar with the song until a friend started calling me this and sent me the audio. and i like it! Van's voice has always been distinctive to me, very oldschool (which i'm into).Joycemorrison - Ph
All of the women whom I have loved have had brown eyes other than one blonde and one redhead. Asian and Native girls rock!Darrell - Eugene, United States
George from Seattle told me that the song was about anal sex but I think that was to aggravate his wife who liked the song a lot.Wayne - Edgewater, Md
Van Morrison, (who now has a weblink (?),(1/9/07) said Brown Eyed Girl was originally written as Brown Skinned Girl and over time noticed that he changed it to Brown Eyed Girl.( He never said interracial relationship and changed it to be more palatable.) He also was upset when he found out Bang Records had overdubbed "Making love in the green grass." Oh well, "Songfacts", yeh, right!
Van Morrison has never tried to be a commercial artist, everyone knows that! He takes the blows for it.
Helen - Richmond , Va
There seem to be a lot of other Van Morrison fans, and yet he is not even listed as an artist under Artistfacts, and has a paltry 3 songs listed under Songfacts. He has written hundreds including, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You. Check it out. It's listed only under Rod Stewart. His name doesn't have a windows weblink like other artists. I wish I knew why, Bruce Springsteen has 101 listed but got his start influenced by Morrison.Helen - Richmond , Va
love this song... cos i have brown eyes... i think that every girl with brown eyes wishes this song was about them...Dee - Khancoban, Australia
cute song! i have brown eyes, and this is me and my dad's song!Caitlin - Upper Township, Nj
i had a friend tell me he wrote this about a lesbian...i dont think thats right!Mel - South Australia, Australia
I love This song i am doing it in color guardKacki - Lakehiawatha, Nj
Fred, Van's "Have I Told You Lately" beats Rod's hands down. You can't beat that orchestral arrangement.Jay - Atlanta, Ga
I love this song also. It gives you an innocent, type of happy-go-lucky feeling. The Everclear version is SWEET!Jon - Oakridge, Or
i love this song so much. i remember when i was lil and my mom would listen to it, this was like 10 years ago. and growing up listening ot oldies like marvin gaye, van morrison, and all them u love em when ur older. but yea i rly love this song and i have brown eyes so it makes it better.Randi - Irvine, Ky
I love this song soooo much! Even my little sister who is 3 loves it, maybe its because she has brown eyes and i don't! Either way i cant get enough of itBrittany - Richmond, Ky
Everclear also did a nice cover of this on "Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile"Cliff - Fort Wayne, In
This is my favorite song of all time, period ... if you want another one that's very good, try "Into the Mystic".Al - Georgetown, Canada
This is #109 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.Ross - Independence, Mo
The best ever song by Van Morrison would have to be "The Way Young Lover Do". A very dreamy love song indeed. LOVE IT!Chance - Melbourne, Australia
Van Morrison has a simply amazing voice. One of the best from that time.Zack - Hinesburg, Vt
There are two versions, with different guitar playing.Nessie - Sapporo, Japan
This song has been covered by punk bands MxPx and Reel Big Fish.Lyzette - Moorpark, Ca
this song makes me sad that I wasn't around in 1967 during the "Summer of Love" when it came out. Man were the 60s and 70s the days of real music.Victor - Vienna, Va
'and it stoned me', is a really good chilling out song aswellAdrian - Merthyr Tydfil, Al
didn't the stones cover this?Charlie - Thomaston, Ct
sweet thing is such a great song. crazy love is great too. and caravan. oh man. he writes great music. I assumed he was a one-trick pony a while back because I knew brown eyed girl by heart and had never heard any of his other stuff (or so I thought). then I came across a few CDs of his. . . no going back now. he is a talented man.Tara - Boston, Ma
ill sink a brew that guys Van The Man
Have i told you lately was played at my grandads funeral
Daniel - Perth, Australia
I am a true Van-Fan and have yet to hear him sing anything that is not fantastic. Moondance is truly a classic in all ways. And yes, Rod Stewart did do a great job on Van's Have I Told You Lately...., but still best by the person that wrote it. When I leave this world, I will be taking some of my Van CD's with me....... :-)Marybeth - Pittsburgh, Pa
man i think that wonderful remark has to be the best ive heard, ive got 4 of his cds, moondance is alrgiht, whats wrong with this picture is awesome, and his band and the street chior which is kinda disipointing, and the best of, which is obviously the best =DJason - Cincinnati, Oh
What about "Have I Told You Lately (that I love you)?"
Was Rod Stewart's version more popular?
Van's original is really beautiful!
Any info anyone out there?
Fred - The Big Apple, Ny
Caravan is an awsome song as well. This man has so much soul when he singsJustin - Bakersfield, Ca
What a great song to just hang out and drink beer to.Dustin - Tampa, Fl
Should have been named "Brown-Eyed Dopie Girl"Joe - Lubbock, Tx
and Crazy Love must be the most overrated song ever...Marvin - East Brady, Pa
get Astral Weeks first, it's much better...it's longer and there aren't any s___y songs on it(like "Everyone")

Astral Weeks: 45 minutes of great music

Moondance: possibly 30 minutes of great music
Marvin - East Brady, Pa
Van Morrison also had many other graet songs that never charted. Check out some others--And It Stoned Me, Domino, Crazy Love, and the WHOLE Moondance album!Gillian - Dayton, Oh
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