Maggie May (but I definitely won’t)

young van

Van Morrison, circa 1967: “Well, that’s Brown Eyed Girl recorded. Job done. Don’t think I’ll bother writing anything else.”

I return to my residency at the White Lion tonight. Quite looking forward to it, it’s been a while since I’ve heard myself play live. I hope I’m gonna do some stuff I haven’t heard before. Maybe even one or two of the new songs I wrote last week. That’d be good…

Me and my friends Neil and Dave used to go to a local bar on Thursday nights after football. Thursday night was live music night. One particular night, there was a young lady playing, new on the scene, hadn’t heard her before. We all agreed she was pretty good, made a refreshing change from the regular acts. As a consequence, we paid a little more attention to her set than we normally would.

Several weeks later, she was on again. Halfway through her performance, Neil leaned over to me and murmured “she’s playing exactly the same set as last time”, to which I replied “all the acts that play here play the same set”. I meant that to mean that each performer had their own list of favourite, tried-and-tested “crowd pleasers” which they tended to stick to. Though thinking about it, each performer played many of the same “crowd pleasers” as the next. You know what I’m talking about: Brown Eyed Girl, Mustang Sally, Maggie May, that sort of thing.

Brown Eyed Girl. Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison. Hasn’t written another song since, apparently. One hit wonder. Whatever became of him?

Seriously, imagine how Mini Van must feel: you write and record an album’s worth of songs practically every year for the past four and a half decades and the only song of yours that anyone ever plays is a simple three chord pop song that you recorded for your first album.

The good thing about my gigs is that I rarely play the same song twice, let alone the same set. Of course I can play Brown Eyed Girl, Mustang Sally et al, but don’t, unless under great duress or very drunk and incapable of playing anything else. So: rarely then.

Maggie May, but Gary seldom does.

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3 thoughts on “Maggie May (but I definitely won’t)

    • If ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ turns up on a set list, any singer faced with it should have a serious rethink. Crazy thing is, it’s quite possible 1/2 of the yet to be formed Led Zeppelin played on it!

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