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Album: After School SessionReleased: 1956
The first verse was inspired by Berry observing a West Coast policeman trying to arrest a Hispanic man for loitering until a girl talked him out of the arrest; the second verse was inspired by the sadomasochistic novel Venus In Furs.
Berry was making a commentary on race in this song, using "brown eyed" as code for minority. This is most apparent in the line:
Ever since the world began
There's been a whole lot of good women sheddin' tears
For a brown eyed handsome man
This runs only 2:15, but contains six verses.
The line "Rounding third he was heading for home" inspired John Fogerty's "Centerfield
." (Although Berry has him hitting on a "2-3 count," when he probably meant a "3-2 count). Fogerty included the line "It was a brown-eyed handsome man" in the lyrics.
Buddy Holly recorded a version of this that was released as a single after his death.
Berry, a huge baseball fan (he loved the St. Louis Cardinals), had Jackie Robinson in mind as the "brown-eyed handsome man" who hits the home run in the last verse. Robinson broke the color barrier when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1947.