Brown Eyed Girl (3:04)

Cover of The Best of Van Morrison

From The Best of Van Morrison and 447 other releases

The song was first released in May 1967 on the album Blowin’ Your Mind!. When released as a single, it rose to number eight on the Cashbox charts, and reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured the Sweet Inspirations singing back-up vocals and is widely-considered to be Van Morrison’s signature song.

Paul Williams included “Brown Eyed Girl” in his book Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles, writing that:

I was going to say this is a song about sex, and it is, and a song about youth and growing up, and memory, and it’s also — very much and very wonderfully - a song about singing.

Originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl”, Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he recorded it. Morrison remarked on the original title: “That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. 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…I looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it said ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on the tape box. It’s just one of those things that happen.”

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 excised the lyrics “making love in the green grass”, replacing them with “laughin’ and a-runnin’” from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison.

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