Track of the Week: “Brown Eyed Girl,” by Van Morrison
January 11, 2011 2 Comments
One of my students, Rob, has been selected to be one of the two student guitarists for Severna Park High School’s Rock and Roll Revival. Rob competed against six other students to claim one of the two guitar positions. It is a tremendous honor to perform in the show, now in its 22nd year, and I’m very proud of Rob for making the cut. I know he’ll be fantastic!
The show features Severna Park High School students and faculty performing approximately 40 classic rock and pop songs. Rob’s task is to learn the guitar parts for most of them. As Rob’s guitar teacher, my job is to pick out songs that need special attention – songs that are harder than the rest. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is one of them.
When you think of this song, I’m sure you’re not thinking much beyond the fun lyrics and great vocal performance. But if you listen to what the electric guitarist* is doing in “Brown Eyed Girl,” you start to see that the guitar part is harder than expected. Combining arpeggios and double-stops, the guitarist makes the song’s I-IV-I-V chord progression much more interesting. Intertwine some key melodic lines in there and you’ve got a challenging guitar part to recreate.
*Although several sources, including Wikipedia, identify Eric Gale and Al Gorgoni as the contributing guitarists, none of the sources sort out who played the notable electric guitar part. My hunch is that it was Eric Gale.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.