Van Morrison was censored twice in the 1960s. The songs at the centre of the controversies were two of his best known - Gloria and Brown Eyed Girl.
Both Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria attracted the attention of the censors. Many radio stations banned the two songs for “suggestive lyrics” and both had to be “fixed”. One was re-recorded by Van and the other was “fixed” in another instance, in order to make them more appropriate for airplay.
The original lyrics to cause controversy were she make me feel so good, Lord, I wanna say she make me feel all right. Comes a-walkin’ down my street, then she comes up to my house. She knock upon my door and then she comes to my room, yeah an’ she make me feel all right. The line and then she comes to my room was deemed offensive back in 1965. That part of the song was then re-sung by Van and replaced with a tame and then she calls out my name.
Brown Eyed Girl
It was originally titled Brown Skinned Girl, and was about an inter-racial relationship. Van then changed the title (and, hence, the lyrics) to a less controversial Brown Eyed Girl. All this was back in 1967 and shows how far we've "progressed". Now we have hip hop to improve our vocabularies. However, another controversy existed in the lyrics.
Cast my memory back there, Lord,
Sometimes I’m overcome, thinkin’ about it
Making love in the green grass, behind the stadium with you,
My brown-eyed girl…
My brown-eyed girl…
Radio stations decided these were offensive lyrics but Van didn't have to go back to the studio. Instead, recording engineers took parts of lyrics already in the tune and spliced together a totally different line from an earlier section of the song. The lyrics Down in the hollow, playin’ a new game, Laughin’ and a-Runnin’ hey hey Skippin’ and a-Jumpin’ in the misty mornin’ fog with our hearts a-thumpin’” became “runnin’ and a-jumpin’. The lyric line was changed to “runnin’ and a jumpin’” behind the stadium with you…
The splicing job also assured that an earlier phrase didn’t quite repeat, taking a hybrid of both laughin’ and a runnin’ and skippin’ and a-jumpin’ to make runnin’ and a-jumpin’, a totally different pair of words!It's interesting to note that the original 'racy' versions endure and are the standard versions you now hear on radio.