Mystic Eyes
by Them

Album: Them (1965)
Charted: 33
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Songfacts®:

  • This was the first song on the UK version of the first Them album, The Angry Young Them, which was most of the world's introduction to music legend Van Morrison. Morrison had previously played solo and with a band called the International Monarchs, but Them was the group that launched him to stardom.

    On the US version of the album, which was titled simply Them, it was the second track, following "Here Comes the Night" (which wasn't on the UK version at all).

    Released as a single, it didn't chart in the UK, but climbed to #33 in America. It is the second-highest charting US single for the group, trailing only "Here Comes the Night."
  • The music for this track came about with some improvisational jamming during Them's first recording session. As for the lyrics, Morrison gave two very different takes on the origin.

    One some occasions, he's said the song was inspired by his own experience walking around England's Nottingham Park when he saw some kids playing by a graveyard. As told in Can You Feel the Silence by Clinton Heylin, Morrison was struck by the powerful intersection between the "bright lights in the children's eyes" and "the cloudy lights in the eyes of the dead."

    On other occasions, Morrison said that the opening scene of the 1946 film version of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations inspired the song. In that scene, the protagonist, Pip, encounters a convict named Magwitch in a cemetery.

    Whichever the inspiration for the lyrics, Morrison wrote them spontaneously. The jam was intended to be recorded as an instrumental.

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