Original Them version
One Sunday morning
Oh, we went walking
The old graveyard
The morning followed
And looked into
These mystic eyes
Ah, mystic eyes
These mystic eyes
Ah, these mystic eyes
MYSTIC EYES is a song written by Van Morrison and originally released by Them on their 1965 album The Angry Young Them. The song was also released as a single in 1965. The above lyrics are for the original Them version of MYSTIC EYES as released in 1965.
Bruce Springsteen has performed MYSTIC EYES with his early (1965-1968) band The Castiles. Unfortunately, there is no audio recording of a Castiles performance of the song, and we have no information about specific Castiles shows during which the song was performed. However, Springsteen recounted in 2011 that he played the song with The Castiles in 1966 at the Matawan-Keyport Roller Drome in Matawan, NJ.
Steven Van Zandt has been hosting Little Steven's Underground Garage since 2002, a weekly syndicated radio show that celebrates garage rock and similar rock sub-genres from the fifties to the present day. To celebrate the show's 9th anniversary, Van Zandt co-hosted three episodes of the show with Bruce Springsteen. The episodes aired on the weekends of 01, 08, and 15 Apr 2011, and during each of them, the two talked mainly about their musical influences and played the records that they grew up on, were influenced by, or simply loved.
On the third of the three episodes, Springsteen and Van Zandt played Them's MYSTIC EYES. Springsteen explained that in 1966 at the Matawan-Keyport Roller Drome, The Castiles performed MYSTIC EYES during a battle of the bands contest. "Busting our ass to get that opening slot, opening for The Rascals, which was the prize of the evening," as he recalled. "The Rascals were coming, and whoever won was going to get an opening slot for The Rascals."
The battle of the bands contest that Springsteen referred to is most probably the one that took place on 22 Apr 1966 at Matawan-Keyport Roller Drome in Matawan, NJ (see promotional poster below). However, the only contradiction is a news article and some promotional material indicating that the winning band would open for The Dovells, The Ad Libs, and The Crystals. There is no mentioning of The Rascals. It could be that Springsteen failed to remember some details 45 years later, or that The Castiles played another battle of the bands contest, on a different occasion in 1966, and at the same venue.
Clinton Heylin wrote in his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band that "Springsteen's initial singing duties in his first proper band, The Castiles, would be on a Them US A-side ('Mystic Eyes')." Heylin also quoted Tex Vinyard, The Castiles' manager, saying: "Soon, we let Bruce sing 'Mystic Eyes' and The Who's 'My Generation'. That's how we got the booking in New York." Vinyard was referring to the extensive series of about 30 shows The Castiles played at Café Wha? in New York City between late 1966 and early 1968.
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List of available versions of MYSTIC EYES on this website:MYSTIC EYES [Original Them version]