Wikipedia reports, of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”:
Originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl,” Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he recorded it. . . . It has also been stated that the song was about an inter-racial relationship and Morrison changed the title to “make it more palatable to radio stations.”
I know that musicians sometimes use eye color as a euphemism for race. For example, blue-eyed soul is often used to refer to white musicians covering or performing in the style of African-American music. I also know that it’s not universal, as shown by counterexamples like “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
Are the brown eyes in “Brown Eyed Girl” code for an interracial relationship? If so, what’s the etymology? Is it original to that song, or was it already a widespread usage?