The song was originally released in September 1956 as the b-side of Berry’s single ‘Too Much Monkey Business’. It also appeared on his 1957 debut album After School Session.
‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’ was covered by a range of artists, including Buddy Holly, whose recording was a posthumous hit in the UK in 1963.
Yeah, this is just a real nice song that Chuck Berry wrote. And we used to know Buddy’s version of it. I think John used to do it a bit, when we were looking for songs. It was one of John’s. I always liked it, it’s a mouthful. Very Chuck, you know. American life. ‘Flying across the desert in a TWA, I saw a woman walking ’cross the sand. She’d been walking thirty miles en route to Bombay.’ Where’s that come from, you know? But I just love it. It just pulls it up. ‘To meet the brown eyed handsome man.’ Good lyrics in there. ‘As I told you, Marlo Venus was a beautiful girl, she had the world in the palm of her hand. She lost both her arms in a wrestling match to find the brown eyed handsome man’. There’s a great humour in that. And it scans great and it sings great.
That’s the stuff about that, that’s the secret about this stuff. You can write the cleverest lyrics that don’t sing good. But I liked a lot of Chuck’s things. And so like ‘Back In The USA’ was the catalyst for me writing ‘Back In The USSR’, was like a spoof on Chuck’s stuff. I respect him a lot as a songwriter.
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