blowin your mind

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On this day in music history: June 9, 1967 - “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is released. Written by Van Morrison, it is the debut solo single for the singer and songwriter from Belfast, N. Ireland. Having first found success as the lead singer of the seminal garage rock band Them, Van Morrison leaves to embark on a solo career. During his time as a member of Them, the band records “Here Comes The Night” written by songwriter and producer Bert Berns, also responsible for penning classics such as “Twist And Shout”, “Tell Him” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”. Now running his own label Bang Records, Berns contacts Morrison and encourages to relocate from London to New York to sign with his label. Van takes him up on Berns’ offer and moves to the US in early 1967. Initially they plan to record eight songs to be released as the A and B sides of four singles. Among them is one titled “Brown Eyed Girl”, originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl”. There has been speculation over the years as being about an interracial relationship, and that the title had been changed to assure it would receive radio play, but has never been confirmed. The song is recorded on March 28, 1967 at A&R Studios in New York City during two days of sessions. “Brown Eyed Girl” features Morrison backed by musicians Eric Gale, Hugh McCracken, Al Gorgoni (guitars), Russ Savakis (bass), Paul Griffin (keyboards) and Gary Chester (drums). The master take is captured in twenty two takes. An instant classic upon its release, it doesn’t take long to hit the charts. The song is also issued to radio with an edit, excising the risque lyric “making love in the green grass”, splicing in the line “laughin’ and a runnin’” in its place. Entering the Hot 100 at #99 on July 15, 1967, it peaks at #10 on September 30, 1967, eleven weeks later. In spite of this initial success, things between Van Morrison and Bang Records turn sour very quickly. Instead of the original plan of releasing a handful of singles over time, Berns turns around and hastily releases a full album titled “Blowin’ Your Mind!” consisting of the other songs to capitalize off of “Girl”. Not only is it done without Van’s knowledge or consent, he is not paid any royalties from his hit record, having signed a abysmal contract with the label. Following Bert Berns sudden death on December 30, 1967, Morrison is eventually able to break free from Bang Records to sign with Warner Bros in mid 1968. Over time, “Brown Eyed Girl” becomes one of the iconic musician’s best loved and frequently covered songs, being recorded and performed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and U2. The original version has been featured in numerous films including “The Big Chill”, “Born On The Fourth Of July” and “Sleeping With The Enemy”. It also receives an award from BMI in 2007, for over eight million plays on US radio, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame the same year.

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”Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison 

Blowin’ Your Mind! (1967)