The Belfast born singer received a special award for his outstanding achievement from Broadcast Music Inc – the organisation that collects royalty fees for performers when their music is played on radio or in public places.
Brown Eyed Girl was Morrison’s first top ten hit in America and is still his most successful song to date.
However, the great man himself doesn’t think it’s one of his best songs. “I’ve got about 300 better ones,” he says, which, even for a songwriter of his undoubted genius, may be pushing it a bit.
No one could begrudge Morrison his success. Brown Eyed Girl is an all time classic that instantly makes your ears prick up every time it comes on the radio. It was written about a mystery Belfast girl Morrison knew but he has never revealed her identity.
It took 22 takes to get it right back in 1967 when Morrison first recorded the song. The lyrics were considered a little too risqué for some radio stations so a few lines had to be changed. For example, “making love in the green grass” became “laughin and a runnin.”
Given the ten million airplays the song has received, all that effort seems to have been worthwhile.
BMI spokesman Robin Ahrold said Brown Eyed Girl had transcended mere hit status. “”It’s into a very elite status where if you go for a meal in a restaurant you’re likely to hear it played at some point,” he said.
“It’s a standard which gets airplay all the time, year in, year out.”
Typically, Van the Man was unfazed by his astonishing achievement, and didn’t even turn up to collect his award. Hopefully, he was busy writing his next ten million airplays track!