…with our hearts a thumpin’

It’s Linda’s birthday, but (ever the sensible one) my wife does not like her picture posted, especially if it’s candid.  So I strategically chose the photo you see here, taken near the Herefordshire border, one April evening in 1986.  We were all on our way for some drinks at The Lion in Lentwardine, having just had some post-Point-to-Point drinks at Rad and Jen’s.  A Point-to-Point is basically a rural English steeplechase where betting (and yes the occasional drink) is warmly encouraged.

That’s Jules (there to the left) in the back seat of an Austin miniMetro five-door hatchback, along with Squiff the dog, our Linda, Giles (Emerson) and Giles’ then brother-in-law, Mike settling in on top.  Rad and Jen sat in the front passenger seat and – tellingly – I drove; presumably as I had least to lose (as a then-city dweller) if I lost my license.

That’s right, seven people and a Springer spaniel in a car built for four…and that British license is still valid to this day. I will state right here that Linda had little say in the matter (some way to woo a girl, eh?) but even though we’d just started dating I knew something then that has held true for decades (beyond her charm, wit and beauty of course) and that’s that my better half’s favorite song is Brown Eyed Girl.

Released as a single in 1967, and featuring the Sweet Inspirations on back-up vocals, today’s selection reached Number 10 on the U.S. Billboard Charts and is widely recognized as Van Morrison’s signature song. And yet because he hastily signed a solo recording contract without legal advice (his band, “Them” had just broken up) he fell prey to a penurious royalty agreement.  Couple that with “highly creative accounting” and Morrison claims never to have received any royalties for writing and recording the song. Nor is it among his favorites. “It’s not one of my best,” he once maintained.  “I mean I’ve got about 300 songs that I think are better.”

I know one person who doesn’t agree with him, and she’s not alone.  In the past 45 years Brown Eyed Girl has been covered by hundreds of bands and has earned a great deal of acclaim for the Belfast native, including plaques in both the Grammy Hall of Fame and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as elite positions on the BMI and the RIAA Greatest Songs of the Century lists.  All of which makes it easy to “remember when (especially on Linda’s birthday) we used to sing…..”

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S BIRTHDAY SELECTION – Wednesday 18 April

Brown Eyed Girl

Hey, where did we go

Days when the rains came?

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, our hearts a-thumpin’

 And you, my brown eyed girl

You my brown eyed girl

And whatever happened

To Tuesday and so slow

Going down the old mine

With a transistor radio

 Standin’ in the sunlight laughin’

Hidin’ behind a rainbow’s wall

Slippin’ and a-slidin’

All along the waterfall

With you, my brown eyed girl

You my brown eyed girl

 Do you remember when

We used to sing?

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

Just like that

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

La te da

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 thinkin’ ’bout it

Makin’ 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?

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

(Lyin’ in the green grass!)

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

(Bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit)

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

(Sha la la la la, la la la la, la te da, la te da, la te da, da da da)

Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

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