Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is a song by Northern Irish singer and songwriter Van Morrison. Written by Morrison and recorded in March 1967 for Bang Records owner and producer Bert Berns, it was released as a single in June of the same year, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song spent a total of sixteen weeks on the chart. It featured the Sweet Inspirations singing back-up vocals and is considered to be Van Morrison's signature song.

After finishing his contract with Decca Records and the mid-1966 break-up of his band, Them, Morrison returned to Belfast seeking a new recording company. When he received a phone call from Bert Berns, owner of Bang Records, who had produced a number of recordings with Them. He flew to New York City and hastily signed a contract (which biographer Clinton Heylin says probably still gives him sleepless nights). During a two-day recording session starting 28 March 1967, he recorded eight songs intended to be used as four singles.

Originally titled ‘Brown-Skinned Girl’, Morrison changed it to ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ when he recorded it. Morrison remarked on the title change: "That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind that I changed the title." "After we'd recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that I'd changed the title…and it said 'Brown Eyed Girl' on the tape box. It's just one of those things that happen."

Van Morrison

The song's nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics "making love in the green grass", replacing them with "laughin' and a-runnin', hey hey" from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison.

Because of a contract he signed with Bang Records without legal advice, Morrison states that he has never received any royalties for writing or recording this song. The contract made him liable for virtually all recording expenses incurred for all of his Bang Records recordings before royalties would be paid. Morrison has stated that ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is not among his favourite songs, remarking "it's not one of my best. I mean I've got about 300 songs that I think are better".

Morrison's original recording of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ has remained widely familiar, as the uncensored version of the song is regularly played by many "oldies" and "classic rock" radio stations. In 2011, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was honoured for having 10 million US radio air plays; it was one of only ten songs registered with BMI to have received that number of radio plays. As of 2015, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ remains the most downloaded and most played song of the entire 1960s decade. As of 2020, the song remains one of the longest-surviving songs from the 1960s in recurrent rotation in an era when the music of that decade has become increasingly rare as oldies stations have transitioned to 1970s and 1980s classic hits.

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Labels – London (UK), Bang (US)
Songwriter – Van Morrison
Producer – Bert Berns


[Verse 1]
Hey, where did we go?
Days when the rains came
Down in the hollow
Playin' a new game
Laughing and a running, hey, hey
Skipping and a jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our hearts a thumpin' and you
My brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl
[Verse 2]
Whatever happened
To Tuesday and so slow?
Going down the old mine
With a transistor radio
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hiding behind a rainbow's wall
Slipping and sliding
All along the waterfall, with you
My brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl
Do you remember when we used to sing
Just like that
[Verse 3]
So hard to find my way
Now that I'm all on my own
I saw you just the other day
My, how you have grown
Cast my memory back there, Lord
Sometimes I'm overcome thinking 'bout
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium with you
My brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl
Do you remember when we used to sing
Lyin' on the green grass
Bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit
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