It is appalling that “Brown Eyed Girl” is Van Morrison’s most famous song. It might not even be one of his best fifteen songs, and saying that it’s his best is tantamount to saying that Mozart’s best composition was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
If you were judging only Brown Eyed Girl and every song on Astral Weeks, it wouldn’t make the Top Five. If you were judging only Brown Eyed Girl and every song on Moondance, it wouldn’t make the Top Ten. Do you know how many songs there are on Moondance? There are ten. Every song on Moondance is better than Brown Eyed Girl.
Okay, Brown Eyed Girl is better than “Glad Tidings.” But the point stands!
This is all to say that there’s a lesson to be learned here: a beautiful, lyrical, profound song like “Madame George” will always be less popular than a song that convinces 80% of the women in the world that it’s about them—even if the latter is a corny, generic, first-song-played-at-a-wedding-so-the-old-people-feel-comfortable-hitting-the-dance-floor-ass song like Brown Eyed Girl.