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Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Overview
Van Morrison, OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are regarded as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was Morrison's first album after Warner Bros. had been able to free him from his contract with Bang Records...

and Moondance
Moondance
Moondance is the third solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on Warner Bros. Records on 28 February 1970 and peaked at #29 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart....

, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1974 . Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever recorded, It's Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be Morrison's greatest phase as a live...

, are widely viewed as among the greatest ever made.

Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands covering the popular hits of the day.
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Quotations

Like I say, the way I write songs is, you know, inspirational. I have to wait for it to happen. And when it happens I get lines, and I just write them down, you know. I'm not sort of a Tin Pan Alley sort of songwriter. I just sort of write down what I get - without censoring or questioning what it is and what it means, you know. Like later on I look at what it means, but not at the time.

Nights in Copenhagen with Van Morrison:1985 interview by Al Jones

The odd time something happens and you go into some kind of enchantment (on stage). But you have to work very hard to get that. Most of the time you're just playing and singing the songs, and there's no guarantee that you are going to get anywhere....

When I was fifteen, I became a professional musician. I got involved with people and did certain things which led me to start making records and touring. And leaving Belfast and going to London and America, one thing led to another and I got caught up in the life that I'm living now...I was very young and i followed something. (1993)

Heylin, Clinton (2003). Can You Feel the Silence? Van Morrison: A New Biography, Chicago Review Press ISBN 1-55652-542-7

Where I feel this has cost me is in the personality situation, where you're expected to be a personality. You not only have to write and record, but you have to go out and sell it. Well, I'm not a salesman, and I'm very bad at selling things. If I had to do that for a living, I'd probably be completely broke. I can't sell myself. And I don't even want to. That's something that's not going to change.

1987 Musician Magazine Interview

Music to me is spontaneous, writing is spontaneous and it's all based on not trying to do it. From beginning to end, whether it's writing a song, or playing guitar, or a particular chord sequence, or blowing a horn, it's based on improvisation and spontaneity.

March 1978 Hot Press Interview by Dermot Stokes

Someone once described me as a maverick and that's what I would say. I'm a maverick not by choice but by conviction.

Turner, Steve (1993). Too Late to Stop Now, Viking Penguin, ISBN 0-670-85147-7 Smith, Joe, Off The Record An Oral History of Popular Music, Warner Books, Inc., ISBN 0-446-51232-X

There is one thing I don't understand about Astral Weeks|Astral Weeks. Of all the records I have ever made that one is definitely not rock. You could throw that record at the wall, take it to music colleges, analyze it to death. Nobody is going to tell me that it is a rock album. Why they keep calling it one I have no idea.

People think I'm eccentric, cranky. If I'm eccentric because I've never been into mainstream things, then I am eccentric.

Encyclopedia
Van Morrison, OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are regarded as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was Morrison's first album after Warner Bros. had been able to free him from his contract with Bang Records...

and Moondance
Moondance
Moondance is the third solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on Warner Bros. Records on 28 February 1970 and peaked at #29 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart....

, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1974 . Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever recorded, It's Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be Morrison's greatest phase as a live...

, are widely viewed as among the greatest ever made.

Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands covering the popular hits of the day. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer
Lead vocalist
The lead vocalist is the member of a band who sings the main vocal portions of a song. They may also play one or more instruments. Lead vocalists are sometimes referred to as the frontman or frontwoman, and as such, are usually considered to be the "leader" of the groups they perform in, often the...

 of the Northern Irish R&B band Them
Them (band)
Them were a Northern Irish band formed in Belfast in April 1964, most prominently known for the garage rock standard "Gloria" and launching singer Van Morrison's musical career...

, with whom he recorded the garage band
Garage band
The term garage band can refer to:* A band that performs garage rock* GarageBand, audio production software published by Apple Inc.* GarageBand.com, a website that helps publicize emerging bands...

 classic "Gloria". His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns
Bert Berns
Bertrand Russell Berns , most commonly known as Bert Berns as well as Bert Russell and Russell Byrd, was an American songwriter and record producer of the 1960s...

 with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl
Brown Eyed Girl
"Brown Eyed Girl" is a song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison and produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns, it was first released in May 1967 on the album Blowin' Your Mind!. When released as a single, it rose to number eight on the...

" in 1967.
After Berns' death, Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label. It was the foundation label of the present-day Warner Music Group, and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of that corporation. It maintains a close relationship with its former parent, Warner Bros. Pictures, although the two companies...

 bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks in 1968. Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially poorly received; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist, and throughout the 1970s he built on his reputation with a series of critically acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame is a British rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player. The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer, often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.-Early life:Fame took piano lessons from the...

 and The Chieftains
The Chieftains
The Chieftains are a Grammy-winning Irish musical group founded in 1962, best known for being one of the first bands to make Irish traditional music popular around the world.-Name:...

. In 2008 he performed Astral Weeks live for the first time since 1968.

Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

 and R&B, such as the popular singles "Brown Eyed Girl", "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
"Jackie Wilson Said " is a song written and performed by Van Morrison and featured as the opening track on his sixth studio album, Saint Dominic's Preview. It was released by Warner Bros...

", "Domino
Domino (Van Morrison song)
"Domino" is a hit song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It is the opening track of his fourth studio album, His Band and the Street Choir. This song is Morrison's personal musical tribute to New Orleans R&B singer and pianist Fats Domino.It was released by Warner Bros...

" and "Wild Night
Wild Night
"Wild Night" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is the opening track on his fifth studio album Tupelo Honey. It was released as a single in 1971 and reached number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart....

". An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz, and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as Astral Weeks and lesser-known works such as Veedon Fleece
Veedon Fleece
Veedon Fleece is the eighth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in October, 1974 . Morrison recorded the album shortly after his divorce from wife Janet Rigsbee...

and Common One
Common One
Common One is the twelfth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1980.It has been said to be one of his most ambitious and daring albums since Astral Weeks...

. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic Soul".

Morrison has received considerable acclaim, including six Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

s, being inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. It was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The goal is to create a museum but as of April, 2008, the means do not yet exist and so instead it is an online...

, and appearing on several "Greatest Artists" lists.

Early life and musical roots: 1945–64


George Ivan (Van) Morrison was born on 31 August 1945, at 125 Hynford Street, Bloomfield, East Belfast, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 as the only child
Only child
An only child is a person with no siblings, either biological or adopted. In a family with multiple offspring, first-borns, may be briefly considered only children and have a similar early family environment, but the term only child is generally applied only to those individuals who never have...

 of George Morrison, a shipyard
Shipyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...

 electrician, and Violet Stitt Morrison, a singer and tap dance
Tap dance
Tap dance is a form of dance characterized by using the sound of one's tap shoes hitting the floor as a percussive instrument. As such, it is also commonly considered to be a form of music. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses more on the...

r in her youth. Van Morrison's family roots descend from the Ulster Scots population that settled in Belfast. From 1950 to 1956, Morrison, who began to be known as "Van" during this time, attended Elmgrove Primary School
Elmgrove Primary School
Elmgrove Primary School is a large Primary School in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It opened in 1932 as Elmgrove Elementary School. In 2008, Elmgrove celebrated it's 75th anniversary. Special medals made from Mambco, were given to all the pupils...

. Morrison's father had what was at the time one of the largest record collections in Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 (acquired during his sojourn in Detroit, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 in the early 1950s), and the young Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe , known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer....

, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

, Lead Belly, and Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke was an American singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, mortician, and an archbishop of the United House of Prayer For All People. Burke was known as "King Solomon", the "King of Rock 'n' Soul", and as the "Bishop of Soul", and described as "the Muhammad Ali of soul", and as "the most...

; of whom Morrison later said, "If it weren't for guys like Ray and Solomon, I wouldn't be where I am today. Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn't for that kind of music, I couldn't do what I'm doing now." His father's record collection exposed him to various musical genres, such as the blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 of Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield , known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues"...

; the gospel
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

 of Mahalia Jackson
Mahalia Jackson
Mahalia Jackson – January 27, 1972) was an African-American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as "The Queen of Gospel"...

; the jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 of Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charles Parker, Jr. , famously called Bird or Yardbird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer....

; the folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 of Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his...

; and country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 from Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

, while the first record he ever bought was by blues musician Sonny Terry
Sonny Terry
Saunders Terrell, better known as Sonny Terry was a blind American Piedmont blues musician. He was widely known for his energetic blues harmonica style, which frequently included vocal whoops and hollers, and imitations of trains and fox hunts.-Career:Terry was born in Greensboro, Georgia...

. When Lonnie Donegan
Lonnie Donegan
Anthony James "Lonnie" Donegan MBE was a skiffle musician, with more than 20 UK Top 30 hits to his name. He is known as the "King of Skiffle" and is often cited as a large influence on the generation of British musicians who became famous in the 1960s...

 had a hit with "Rock Island Line
Rock Island Line (song)
"Rock Island Line" is an American blues/folk song first recorded by John Lomax in 1934 as sung by inmates in an Arkansas State Prison, and later popularized by Lead Belly. Many versions have been recorded by other artists, most significantly the world-wide hit version in the mid-1950s by Lonnie...

", written by Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), Morrison felt he was familiar with and able to connect with skiffle music
Skiffle
Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly...

 as he had been hearing Lead Belly before that.

Morrison's father bought him his first acoustic guitar when he was eleven, and he learned to play rudimentary chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

s from the song book, The Carter Family
Carter Family
The Carter Family was a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, Southern Gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country...

 Style
, edited by Alan Lomax
Alan Lomax
Alan Lomax was an American folklorist and ethnomusicologist. He was one of the great field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, recording thousands of songs in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, the Caribbean, Italy, and Spain.In his later career, Lomax advanced his theories of...

. A year later, when he was twelve years old, Morrison formed his first band, a skiffle group, "The Sputniks", named after the recently launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 ) was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space...

. In 1958, the band played at some of the local cinemas, and Morrison took the lead, contributing most of the singing and arranging. Other short-lived groups followed – at fourteen, he formed Midnight Special, another modified skiffle band and played at a school concert. Then, when he heard Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre
James Peter Giuffre was an American jazz clarinet and saxophone player, composer and arranger. He is notable for his development of forms of jazz which allowed for free interplay between the musicians, anticipating forms of free improvisation.-Biography:Born in Dallas, Texas, of Italian ancestry,...

 playing saxophone on "The Train and The River", he talked his father into buying him a saxophone, and took lessons in tenor sax and music reading.
Now playing the saxophone, Morrison joined with various local bands, including one called Deanie Sands and the Javelins, with whom he played guitar and shared singing. The line-up of the band was lead vocalist Deanie Sands, guitarist George Jones
George Jones (radio presenter)
George Jones is a radio and TV personality from Belfast, Northern Ireland.Born and brought up in the east of Belfast, Jones started entertaining in the showbands era in Northern Ireland.-Music career:...

 and drummer, vocalist Roy Kane. Later the four main musicians of the Javelins, with the addition of Wesley Black as pianist, became known as the Monarchs.

Morrison attended Orangefield High School
Orangefield High School
Orangefield High School is a secondary school in east Belfast, Northern Ireland. Formerly Orangefield Boys' Secondary School and Orangefield Girls' Secondary School, it is now coeducational....

, leaving in July 1960 with no qualifications. As a member of a working-class community, it was expected that he would get a regular full-time job, so after several short apprenticeship positions, he settled into a job as a window cleaner
Window cleaner
A window cleaner is a person who maintains the cleanliness of windows, mirrors and other glass surfaces as a profession.-Profession:...

— later alluded to in his songs, "Cleaning Windows
Cleaning Windows
"Cleaning Windows" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded on his 1982 album, Beautiful Vision.-Recording and Composition:...

" and "Saint Dominic's Preview
Saint Dominic's Preview (song)
"Saint Dominic's Preview" is the title song on the 1972 sixth album of Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Gary Mallaber plays drums on this song and Morrison's then wife, Janet Planet, is one of the back-up vocalists....

". However, he had been developing his musical interests from an early age and continued playing with the Monarchs part-time. Young Morrison also played with the Harry Mack Showband, the Great Eight, with his older workplace friend, Geordie (G. D.) Sproule, whom he later named as one of his biggest influences.

At age 17, he toured Europe for the first time with the Monarchs, now calling themselves the International Monarchs. This Irish showband
Irish showband
The Irish Showband was a dance band format which was popular in Ireland during the early rock and roll era from mid 1950s to the late 1970s. The showband was based on the internationally popular six or seven piece dance band. The band's basic repertoire included standard dance numbers and cover...

, with Morrison playing saxophone, guitar and harp, in addition to back-up duty on bass and drums, toured steamy clubs and US Army bases in Scotland, England, and Germany, often playing five sets a night. While in Germany, the band recorded a single, "Boozoo Hully Gully"/"Twingy Baby", under the name Georgie and The Monarchs. This was Morrison's first recording, taking place in November 1963 at Ariola Studios in Cologne with Morrison on saxophone; it made the lower reaches of the German charts.

Upon returning to Belfast in November 1963, the group disbanded, so Morrison connected with Geordie Sproule again and played with him in the Manhattan Showband along with guitarist Herbie Armstrong. When Armstrong auditioned to play with Brian Rossi and the Golden Eagles, Morrison went along and was hired as a blues singer.

Them: 1964–66



The roots of Them, the band that first broke Morrison on the international scene, came in April 1964 when Morrison responded to an advert for musicians to play at a new R&B
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 club at the Maritime Hotel – an old dance hall frequented by sailors. The new R&B club needed a band for its opening night; however, Morrison had left the Golden Eagles (the group with which he had been performing at the time), so he created a new band out of The Gamblers, an East Belfast
Belfast East (UK Parliament constituency)
Belfast East is a Parliamentary Constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons. The current MP is Naomi Long of the Alliance Party, elected in 2010...

 group formed by Ronnie Millings, Billy Harrison, and Alan Henderson in 1962. Eric Wrixon, still a schoolboy, was the piano player and keyboardist. Morrison played saxophone and harmonica and shared vocals with Billy Harrison. They followed Eric Wrixon's suggestion for a new name, and The Gamblers morphed into Them
Them (band)
Them were a Northern Irish band formed in Belfast in April 1964, most prominently known for the garage rock standard "Gloria" and launching singer Van Morrison's musical career...

, their name taken from the Fifties horror movie Them!.

The band's strong R&B performances at the Maritime attracted attention. Them performed without a routine and Morrison ad libbed, creating his songs live as he performed. While the band did covers, they also played some of Morrison's early songs, such as "Could You Would You", which he had written in Camden Town
Camden Town
-Economy:In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in...

 while touring with The Manhattan Showband. The debut of Morrison's "Gloria" took place on stage here. Sometimes, depending on his mood, the song could last up to twenty minutes. Morrison has stated that "Them lived and died on the stage at the Maritime Hotel," believing that the band did not manage to capture the spontaneity and energy of their live performances on their records. The statement also reflected the instability of the Them lineup, with numerous members passing through the ranks after the definitive Maritime period. Morrison and Henderson would remain the only constants, and a highly unsuccessful version of Them even soldiered on after Morrison's departure.

Dick Rowe
Dick Rowe
Richard Paul Rowe was an A&R man at Decca Records from the 1950s to the 1960s.He was one of the most important producers and record executives in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and early 1960s and is the man who signed The Rolling Stones, Them , The Moody Blues, The Animals, The Zombies, John...

 of Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 became aware of the band's performances, and signed Them to a standard two-year contract. In that period, they released two albums and ten singles, with two more singles released after Morrison departed the band. They had three chart
Record chart
A record chart is a ranking of recorded music according to popularity during a given period of time. Examples of music charts are the Hit parade, Hot 100 or Top 40....

 hits, "Baby, Please Don't Go
Baby, Please Don't Go
"Baby, Please Don't Go" is a blues song first recorded by Big Joe Williams in 1935. It is related to a group of early 20th century blues and work songs that include "I'm Alabama Bound", "Another Man Done Gone", and "Don't Leave Me Here", and "Turn Your Lamp Down Low".It has become a blues and rock...

" (1964), "Here Comes the Night" (1965), and "Mystic Eyes
Mystic Eyes
"Mystic Eyes" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison when he was leader of the band Them. It was the opening tune for the band's first album, The Angry Young Them that was released in June 1965. It was released as a single in the US and UK on November 12, 1965 and ...

" (1965), though it was the b-side of "Baby, Please Don't Go", the garage band
Garage band
The term garage band can refer to:* A band that performs garage rock* GarageBand, audio production software published by Apple Inc.* GarageBand.com, a website that helps publicize emerging bands...

 classic, "Gloria", that went on to become a rock standard covered by Patti Smith
Patti Smith
Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses....

, The Doors
The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

, Shadows of Knight
Shadows of Knight
The Shadows of Knight are an American rock band from the Chicago suburbs, formed in the 1960s, who play a form of British blues mixed with influences from their native city. At the time they first started recording, the band's self-description was as follows: "The Stones, Animals and Yardbirds...

, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 and others.
Building on the success of their singles in the United States, and riding on the back of the British Invasion
British Invasion
The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the time period from 1964 through 1966.- Background :...

, Them undertook a two month tour of America in May and June 1966 that included a residency from 30 May to 18 June at the Whisky a Go Go
Whisky a Go Go
The Whisky a Go Go is a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, United States. It is located at 8901 Sunset Boulevard, on the Sunset Strip.-History:...

 in Los Angeles. The Doors
The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

 were the supporting act on the last week, and Morrison's influence on The Doors singer, Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison
James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American musician, singer, and poet, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors...

, was noted by John Densmore
John Densmore
John Paul Densmore is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the drummer of the rock group The Doors.-Early life and The Doors:Born in Los Angeles, Densmore attended Santa Monica City College and Cal...

 in his book Riders On The Storm. Brian Hinton
Brian Hinton
Brian Hinton, MBE is an English poet and musicologist. In June 2006 he was honoured in H. M. the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to the Arts.-Education:...

 relates how "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks." On the final night, the two Morrisons and the two bands jammed together on "Gloria".

Toward the end of the tour the band members became involved in a dispute with their manager, Decca Records' Phil Solomon, over the revenues paid to the band; that, coupled with the expiry of their work visas, meant the band returned from America dejected. After two more concerts in Ireland, Them split up. Morrison concentrated on writing some of the songs that would appear on Astral Weeks, while the remnants of the band reformed in 1967 and relocated in America.

Start of solo career with Bang Records and "Brown Eyed Girl" – 1967



Bert Berns
Bert Berns
Bertrand Russell Berns , most commonly known as Bert Berns as well as Bert Russell and Russell Byrd, was an American songwriter and record producer of the 1960s...

, Them’s producer and composer of their 1965 hit, "Here Comes the Night", persuaded Morrison to return to New York to record solo for his new label, Bang Records
Bang Records
Bang Records was created by Bert Berns in 1965 together with his partners from Atlantic Records: Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün and Jerry Wexler...

. Morrison flew over and signed a contract he had not fully studied. Then, during a two-day recording session at A & R Studios starting 28 March 1967, eight songs were recorded, originally intended to be used as four singles. Instead, these songs were released as the album Blowin' Your Mind!
Blowin' Your Mind!
- Musicians :* Van Morrison – guitar, vocals* Eric Gale - - Production :* Vic Anesini – Mastering* Brooks Arthur – Engineer* Bert Berns – Arranger, Director, Producer, Liner Notes* Adam Block – Project Director...

without Morrison being consulted. He said he only became aware of the album's release when a friend mentioned on a phone call that he had just bought a copy of it. He later commented to Donal Corvin in a 1973 interview: "I wasn't really happy with it. He picked the bands and tunes. I had a different concept of it."

However, from these early sessions emerged "Brown Eyed Girl
Brown Eyed Girl
"Brown Eyed Girl" is a song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison and produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns, it was first released in May 1967 on the album Blowin' Your Mind!. When released as a single, it rose to number eight on the...

". Captured on the 22nd take on the first day, this song was released as a single in mid-June 1967, reaching number ten in the US charts in 1967. "Brown Eyed Girl" became Morrison's most played song and over the years it has remained a classic; forty years later in 2007, it was the fourth most requested song of DJs in the US.

Following the death of Berns in 1967, Morrison became involved in a contract dispute with Berns' widow that prevented him from performing on stage or recording in the New York area. The song "Big Time Operators", released in 1993, is thought to allude to his dealings with the New York music business during this time period. He then moved to Boston, Massachusetts
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, and was soon confronted with personal and financial problems; he had "slipped into a malaise" and had trouble finding concert bookings. However, through the few gigs he could find, he regained his professional footing and started recording with the Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label. It was the foundation label of the present-day Warner Music Group, and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of that corporation. It maintains a close relationship with its former parent, Warner Bros. Pictures, although the two companies...

 label. The record company managed to buy out his contract with Bang Records. Morrison fulfilled a clause that bound him to submit thirty-six original songs within a year to Web IV Music, Berns' music publishing company, by recording thirty-one songs in one session; however, Ilene Berns
Ilene Berns
Ilene Berns Born Cleveland, Ohio - record company director.Berns worked as a go-go dancer in New York City nightclubs before meeting her husband Bert Berns, the songwriter and record producer and founder of Bang Records...

 thought the songs "nonsense music ... about ringworms" and didn't use them. The throwaway compositions would come to be known as the "revenge" songs.

Astral Weeks – 1968



"Astral Weeks is about the power of the human voice – ecstatic agony, agonising ecstacy. Here is an Irish tenor reborn as a White Negro – a Caucasian Soul Man – pleading and beseeching over a bed of dreamy folk-jazz instrumentation: acoustic bass, brushed drums, vibes and acoustic guitar, the odd string quartet – and of course flute."

Barney Hoskyns

Barney Hoskyns
Barney Hoskyns is a British music critic and editor of the online music journalism archive Rock's Backpages.Hoskyns graduated from Oxford with a First Class degree in English. He began writing about music for Melody Maker and New Musical Express, quitting his job as staff writer at NME to research...

 – Mojo
Mojo (magazine)
MOJO is a popular music magazine published initially by Emap, and since January 2008 by Bauer, monthly in the United Kingdom. Following the success of the magazine Q, publishers Emap were looking for a title which would cater for the burgeoning interest in classic rock music...



His first album for Warner Bros. Records was Astral Weeks (which he had already performed in several clubs around Boston), a mystical song cycle
Song cycle
A song cycle is a group of songs designed to be performed in a sequence as a single entity. As a rule, all of the songs are by the same composer and often use words from the same poet or lyricist. Unification can be achieved by a narrative or a persona common to the songs, or even, as in Schumann's...

, often considered to be his best work and one of the best albums of all time. Morrison has said, "When Astral Weeks came out, I was starving, literally." Released in 1968, the album eventually achieved critical acclaim, but it originally received an indifferent response from the public. To this day, it remains in an unclassifiable music genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 and has been described variously as hypnotic, meditative, and as possessing a unique musical power. It has been compared to French Impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

 and mystical Celtic poetry. A 2004 Rolling Stone magazine review begins with the words: "This is music of such enigmatic beauty that thirty-five years after its release, Astral Weeks still defies easy, admiring description." Alan Light
Alan Light (journalist)
Alan Light is an American journalist who has been a rock critic for Rolling Stone and the editor-in-chief for both VIBE and Spin....

 would later describe Astral Weeks as "like nothing he had done previously—and really, nothing anyone had done previously. Morrison sings of lost love, death, and nostalgia for childhood in the Celtic soul that would become his signature." It has been placed on many lists of best albums of all time. In the 1995 Mojo list of 100 Best Albums, it was listed as number two and was number nineteen on the Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is the title of a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005.Related news articles:...

in 2003. In December 2009, it was voted the top Irish album of all time by a poll of leading Irish musicians conducted by Hot Press
Hot Press
Hot Press is a fortnightly music and political magazine based in Dublin, Ireland founded in 1977. The magazine has been edited since its inception by Niall Stokes. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it had a circulation of 19,215 during 2007...

magazine.

From Moondance to Into the Music: 1970–79


Morrison's third solo album, Moondance
Moondance
Moondance is the third solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on Warner Bros. Records on 28 February 1970 and peaked at #29 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart....

, which was released in 1970, became his first million selling album and reached number twenty-nine on the Billboard charts. The style of Moondance stood in contrast to that of Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was Morrison's first album after Warner Bros. had been able to free him from his contract with Bang Records...

. Whereas Astral Weeks had a sorrowful and vulnerable tone, Moondance restored a more optimistic and cheerful message to his music. The title track, although not released in the US as a single until 1977, received heavy play in FM radio
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 formats. "Into the Mystic
Into the Mystic
"Into the Mystic" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison's 1974 live album, It's Too Late To Stop Now....

" has also gained a wide following over the years. The single released was "Come Running
Come Running
"Come Running" is a song written by singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1970 album Moondance."Come Running" was also the only song to survive the Astral Weeks demos for Warner Bros. in 1968.-Recording:...

", which reached the American Top 40
American Top 40
American Top 40 is an internationally syndicated, independent radio program created by Casey Kasem, Don Bustany, Tom Rounds and Ron Jacobs. Originally a production of Watermark Inc...

. Moondance was both well received and favourably reviewed. Lester Bangs
Lester Bangs
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock 'n' roll criticism....

 and Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...

 had a combined full page review in Rolling Stone, stating that Morrison now had "the striking imagination of a consciousness that is visionary in the strongest sense of the word." "That was the type of band I dig," Morrison said of the Moondance sessions. "Two horns and a rhythm section – they're the type of bands that I like best." He produced the album himself as he felt like nobody else knew what he wanted. Moondance was listed at number sixty-five on the Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is the title of a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005.Related news articles:...

. In March 2007, Moondance was listed as number seventy-two on the NARM
National Association of Recording Merchandisers
The National Association of Recording Merchandisers is a United States not-for-profit trade association based in Marlton, New Jersey that serves music retailing businesses in lobbying and trade promotion...

 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 list of the "Definitive 200".

Over the next few years, he released a succession of albums, starting with a second one in 1970. His Band and the Street Choir
His Band and the Street Choir
His Band and the Street Choir is the fourth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on 15 November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. Originally titled Virgo's Fool, Street Choir was renamed by Warner Bros. without Morrison's consent...

had a free, more relaxed sound than Moondance, but not the perfection, in the opinion of critic Jon Landau
Jon Landau
Jon Landau is an American music critic, manager and record producer, most known for his association in all three capacities with Bruce Springsteen.He is currently the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....

 who felt like "a few more numbers with a gravity of 'Street Choir' would have made this album as perfect as anyone could have stood." It contained the hit single "Domino
Domino (Van Morrison song)
"Domino" is a hit song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It is the opening track of his fourth studio album, His Band and the Street Choir. This song is Morrison's personal musical tribute to New Orleans R&B singer and pianist Fats Domino.It was released by Warner Bros...

", which charted at number nine in the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

.

In 1971, he released another well-received album, Tupelo Honey
Tupelo Honey
Tupelo Honey is the fifth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in October 1971 by Warner Bros. Records. Morrison had written all of the songs on the album in Woodstock, New York before his move to Marin County, California, except for "You're My Woman", which...

. This album produced the hit single "Wild Night
Wild Night
"Wild Night" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is the opening track on his fifth studio album Tupelo Honey. It was released as a single in 1971 and reached number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart....

" that was later covered by John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp, previously known by the stage names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds...

. The title song has a notably country-soul feel about it and the album ended with another country tune, "Moonshine Whiskey
Moonshine Whiskey
"Moonshine Whiskey" is a song written by singer-songwriter, Van Morrison and is the concluding track of his 1971 album, Tupelo Honey.It was a popular tune with Morrison in the 1970s and he regularly performed it in concert...

". Morrison said he originally intended to make an all country album. The recordings were as live as possible – after rehearsing the songs the musicians would go into the studio and play a whole set in one take. His co-producer, Ted Templeman
Ted Templeman
Ted Templeman is an American record producer.-Career:He began his career in the mid 1960s in the Santa Cruz area as a drummer in a band called The Tikis. At the suggestion of Lenny Waronker, the group decided to change their name. Harpers Bizarre was born in 1966, with Templeman switching to...

, described this recording process as the "scariest thing I've ever seen. When he's got something together, he wants to put it down right away with no overdubbing."

Released in 1972, Saint Dominic's Preview
Saint Dominic's Preview
Saint Dominic's Preview is the sixth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in July 1972 by Warner Bros. Records...

, revealed Morrison's break from the more accessible style of his previous three albums and moving back towards the more daring, adventurous, and meditative aspects of Astral Weeks. The combination of two styles of music demonstrated a versatility not previously found in his earlier albums. Two songs, "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
"Jackie Wilson Said " is a song written and performed by Van Morrison and featured as the opening track on his sixth studio album, Saint Dominic's Preview. It was released by Warner Bros...

" and "Redwood Tree", reached the Hot 100 singles chart. The songs "Listen to the Lion" and "Almost Independence Day
Almost Independence Day
"Almost Independence Day" is the closing song on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 1972 album Saint Dominic's Preview. The song is ten minutes long and features Morrison trading guitar licks with Ron Elliott.-Recording and composition:...

" are each over ten minutes long and employ the type of poetic imagery not heard since Astral Weeks. It was his highest charting album in the US until his Top Ten debut on Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 in 2008.

He released his next album Hard Nose the Highway
Hard Nose the Highway
According to Ritchie Yorke, who published his biography, Into the Music in 1975, the album enjoyed rave reviews at the time of release. He cited one dissenting critic Charlie Gillett, who wrote in Let It Rock: "The trouble with Hard Nose the Highway is that although the music is quite often...

in 1973 receiving mixed, but mostly negative, reviews. The album contained the popular song "Warm Love
Warm Love
"Warm Love" is a hit song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1973 album Hard Nose the Highway. It was a Top Forty single hit when released in April 1973. Jackie De Shannon sang back-up vocals...

" but otherwise has been largely dismissed critically. In a 1973 Rolling Stone review, it was described as: "psychologically complex, musically somewhat uneven and lyrically excellent."

During a three-week vacation visit to Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 in October 1973, Morrison wrote seven of the songs that would make up his next album, Veedon Fleece
Veedon Fleece
Veedon Fleece is the eighth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in October, 1974 . Morrison recorded the album shortly after his divorce from wife Janet Rigsbee...

. Though it attracted scant initial attention, its critical stature grew markedly over the years—with Veedon Fleece now often considered to be one of Morrison's most impressive and poetic works. In a 2008 Rolling Stone review, Andy Greene writes that when released in late 1974: "it was greeted by a collective shrug by the rock critical establishment" and concludes: "He's released many wonderful albums since, but he's never again hit the majestic heights of this one." "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River
You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River
"You Don't Pull No Punches, but You Don't Push the River" is a nine-minute song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It appears on the album Veedon Fleece, released in 1974.-Song origins:...

", one of the album's side closers, exemplifies the long, hypnotic, cryptic Morrison with its references to visionary poet William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 and to the seemingly Grail
Holy Grail
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

-like Veedon Fleece object.

Morrison would not release a follow-up album for another three years. After a decade without taking time off, he said in an interview, he needed to get away from music completely and ceased listening to it for several months. Also suffering from writer's block
Writer's block
Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked"...

, he seriously considered leaving the music business for good. Speculation that an extended jam session
Jam session
Jam sessions are often used by musicians to develop new material, find suitable arrangements, or simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one...

 would be released either under the title Mechanical Bliss, or Naked in the Jungle, or Stiff Upper Lip, came to nothing, and Morrison's next album was A Period of Transition
A Period of Transition
A Period of Transition is the ninth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1977 . It was his first album in two and a half years, largely forgotten or looked over by most casual fans...

in 1977, a collaboration with Dr. John
Dr. John
Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, Jr. , better known by the stage name Dr. John , is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as Zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.Active as a session musician since the late 1950s, he came to wider...

, who had appeared at The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco...

concert with Morrison in 1976. The album received a mild critical reception and marked the beginning of a very prolific period of song making.

Into the Music
Into the Music
Into the Music is the eleventh studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1979 .Typical of Morrison's music, the album draws on a variety of styles, from New Orleans R&B to Philly soul and Celtic folk, with featured soloists, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and violinist...

: "The album's last four songs, "Angelou", "And the Healing Has Begun", and "It's All in the Game/You Know What They're Writing About" are a veritable tour-de-force with Morrison summoning every vocal trick at his disposal from "Angelou's climactic shouts to the sexually-charged, half-mumbled monologue in "And the Healing Has Begun" to the barely audible whisper that is the album's final sound."
(Scott Thomas Review')


The following year, Morrison released Wavelength
Wavelength (album)
Wavelength, the tenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was released in the spring of 1978. The album has a different musical sound than his previous albums, leaning towards a pop sound with prominent electric guitars and synthesizers. Wavelength was Morrison's best selling...

; it became at that time the fastest-selling album of his career and soon went gold. The title track became a modest hit, peaking at number forty-two. Making use of 1970s synthesizers, it mimics the sounds of the shortwave
Shortwave
Shortwave radio refers to the upper MF and all of the HF portion of the radio spectrum, between 1,800–30,000 kHz. Shortwave radio received its name because the wavelengths in this band are shorter than 200 m which marked the original upper limit of the medium frequency band first used...

 radio stations that he listened to in his youth. The opening track, "Kingdom Hall" evoked Morrison's own childhood experiences attending church with his mother and foretold a religious theme that would be more evident in his next album, Into the Music
Into the Music
Into the Music is the eleventh studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1979 .Typical of Morrison's music, the album draws on a variety of styles, from New Orleans R&B to Philly soul and Celtic folk, with featured soloists, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and violinist...

.

Considered by Allmusic as "the definitive post-classic-era Morrison", Into the Music, was released in the last year of the 1970s. Songs on this album for the first time alluded to the healing power of music, which would become an abiding interest of Morrison's. "Bright Side of the Road
Bright Side of the Road
"Bright Side of the Road" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1979 album Into the Music. It was also one of the outtakes that made up the 1998 compilation album, The Philosopher's Stone...

" was a joyful, uplifting song that would appear on the soundtrack of the movie, Michael
Michael (1996 film)
Michael is a 1996 American fantasy film directed by Nora Ephron and released in 1996. The film stars John Travolta as the Archangel Michael, who is sent to Earth to do various tasks, including mending some wounded hearts...

.

Common One to Avalon Sunset: 1980–89


With his next album, the new decade found Morrison following his muse
Muse
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths...

 into uncharted territory and merciless reviews. In February 1980, Morrison and a group of musicians traveled to Super Bear, a studio in the French Alps
French Alps
The French Alps are those portions of the Alps mountain range which stand within France, located in the Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions....

, to record (on the site of a former abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

) what is considered to be the most controversial album in his discography; later "Morrison admitted that his original concept was even more esoteric than the final product." The album, Common One
Common One
Common One is the twelfth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1980.It has been said to be one of his most ambitious and daring albums since Astral Weeks...

, consisted of six songs, each of varying length. The longest, "Summertime in England
Summertime in England
"Summertime in England" is the longest song on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 1980 album, Common One and is approximately fifteen minutes long. Although the album this appeared on was not successful critically or commercially, this song would be performed by Morrison in concert...

", lasted fifteen and one-half minutes and ended with the words,"Can you feel the silence?". NME
NME
The New Musical Express is a popular music publication in the United Kingdom, published weekly since March 1952. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s, changing from newsprint in 1998. It was the first British paper to include a singles...

magazine's Paul Du Noyer
Paul Du Noyer
Paul Du Noyer is a British rock journalist and author. He was born in Liverpool and educated at the London School of Economics. He has written and edited for NME, Q, and Mojo...

 called the album "colossally smug and cosmically dull; an interminable, vacuous and drearily egotistical stab at spirituality: Into the muzak." Even Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...

, whose previous writings had been favourably inclined towards Morrison, said: "It's Van acting the part of the 'mystic poet' he thinks he's supposed to be." Morrison insisted that the album was never "meant to be a commercial album." Biographer Clinton Heylin concludes: "He would not attempt anything so ambitious again. Henceforth every radical idea would be tempered by some notion of commerciality." Later the critics would reassess the album more favourably with the success of "Summertime in England". Lester Bangs
Lester Bangs
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock 'n' roll criticism....

 wrote in 1982, "Van was making holy music even though he thought he was, and us [sic] rock critics had made our usual mistake of paying too much attention to the lyrics."

Morrison's next album, Beautiful Vision
Beautiful Vision
Beautiful Vision is an album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released February 1982 by Warner Bros. Records in the US and Mercury Records in the UK. As with many of Morrison's recordings, spirituality is a major theme and some of the songs are based on the teachings of...

, released in 1982, had him returning once again to the music of his Northern Irish roots. Well received by the critics and public, it produced a minor UK hit single, "Cleaning Windows
Cleaning Windows
"Cleaning Windows" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded on his 1982 album, Beautiful Vision.-Recording and Composition:...

", that referenced one of Morrison's first jobs after leaving school. Several other songs on the album, "Vanlose Stairway
Vanlose Stairway
"Vanlose Stairway" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1982 album, Beautiful Vision. It has remained a popular concert performance throughout Morrison's career and has become one of his most played songs....

", "She Gives Me Religion", and the instrumental, "Scandinavia
Scandinavia (composition)
"Scandinavia" is an instrumental composition by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is the closing track on his 1982 album Beautiful Vision....

" show the presence of a new personal muse in his life: a Danish public relations agent, who would share Morrison's spiritual interests and serve as a steadying influence on him throughout most of the 1980s. "Scandinavia", with Morrison on piano, was nominated in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category for the 25th Annual Grammy Awards.

Much of the music Morrison released throughout the 1980s continued to focus on the themes of spirituality
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 and faith. His 1983 album, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart is the fourteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1983 ....

was "a move towards creating music for meditation" with synthesisers, uilleann pipes and flute sounds and four of the tracks were instrumentals. The titling of the album and the presence of the instrumentals were noted to be indicative of Morrison's long-held belief that "it's not the words one uses but the force of conviction behind those words that matters." During this period of time, Morrison had studied Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

 and gave "Special Thanks" to L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 on the album's credits.

A Sense of Wonder
A Sense of Wonder
A Sense of Wonder is the fifteenth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison released in 1985. When first released original pressings had to be recalled when the W. B. Yeats estate refused to allow Morrison's musical version of the poem, "Crazy Jane on God" to be included on the album,...

, Morrison's 1985 album, pulled together the spiritual themes contained in his last four albums, which were defined in a Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

review as: "rebirth (Into the Music), deep contemplation and meditation, (Common One); ecstasy and humility (Beautiful Vision); and blissful, mantra like languor (Inarticulate Speech of the Heart)." The single, "Tore Down a la Rimbaud
Tore Down a la Rimbaud
"Tore Down a la Rimbaud" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1985 album, A Sense of Wonder.-Composition:...

" was a reference to Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his best known works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21. As part of the decadent...

 and an earlier bout of writer's block
Writer's block
Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked"...

 that Morrison had encountered in 1974. In 1985, Morrison also wrote the musical score for the movie, Lamb
Lamb (film)
Lamb is a 1985 English drama film, directed by Colin Gregg and starring Liam Neeson, Hugh O'Conor and Ian Bannen. The film is based on the novel by Bernard MacLaverty, who also wrote the screenplay.-Plot:...

starring Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson
Liam John Neeson, OBE is an Irish actor who has been nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and three Golden Globe Awards.He has starred in a number of notable roles including Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, Michael Collins in Michael Collins, Peyton Westlake in Darkman, Jean Valjean in Les...

.

Morrison's 1986 release, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
This album was hailed by most critics as a return to form and gave Morrison his best reviews of any of his albums in the eighties. John Wilde in Sounds remarks, "the crescendos here are never dampened by their subtle nature and never fall short of blinding. The whole album aches with a steady...

, was said to contain a "genuine holiness...and musical freshness that needs to be set in context to understand." Critical response was favourable with a Sounds reviewer calling the album "his most intriguingly involved since Astral Weeks" and "Morrison at his most mystical, magical best." It contains the song, "In the Garden
In the Garden (Van Morrison song)
"In the Garden" is a spiritually inspired song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1986 album No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.-Recording and composition:...

" that, according to Morrison, had a "definite meditation process which is a 'form' of transcendental meditation as its basis. It's not TM". He entitled the album as a rebuttal to media attempts to place him in various creeds. In an interview in the Observer he told Anthony Denselow:
After releasing the "No Guru" album, Morrison's music appeared less gritty and more adult contemporary
Adult contemporary music
Adult contemporary music is a broad style of popular music that ranges from lush 1950s and 1960s vocal music to predominantly ballad-heavy music with varying degrees of rock influence, as well as a radio format that plays such music....

 with the well-received 1987 album, Poetic Champions Compose
Poetic Champions Compose
AllMusic's review referred to it "another of the art records" that Morrison had been producing since perhaps Common One but called it a "bit shocking" that "Morrison begins to shake off his self-conscious straitjacket here, letting a little more grit into the music, even if the record still is...

, considered to be one of his recording highlights of the 1980s. The romantic ballad from this album, "Someone Like You
Someone Like You (Van Morrison song)
"Someone Like You" is a popular, romantic ballad written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded on his 1987 album, Poetic Champions Compose...

", has been featured subsequently in the soundtracks of several movies, including 1995's French Kiss, and in 2001, both Someone Like You
Someone Like You (film)
Someone Like You is a 2001 romantic comedy film, based on Laura Zigman's novel Animal Husbandry which tells a story of a heartbroken woman who is looking for the reason she was dumped. The film stars Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman and Marisa Tomei and was directed by Tony Goldwyn...

and Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones's Diary (film)
Bridget Jones's Diary is a 2001 British romantic comedy film based on Helen Fielding's novel of the same name. The adaptation stars Renée Zellweger as Bridget, Hugh Grant as the caddish Daniel Cleaver, and Colin Firth as Bridget's "true love", Mark Darcy...

.

In 1988, he released Irish Heartbeat
Irish Heartbeat
Irish Heartbeat is the eighteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is a collaboration with the traditional Irish musical group The Chieftains, released in 1988...

, a collection of traditional Irish folk songs
Folk music of Ireland
The folk music of Ireland is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Ireland.-History:...

 recorded with the Irish group, The Chieftains
The Chieftains
The Chieftains are a Grammy-winning Irish musical group founded in 1962, best known for being one of the first bands to make Irish traditional music popular around the world.-Name:...

, which reached number 18 in the UK album charts. The title song, "Irish Heartbeat
Irish Heartbeat (song)
"Irish Heartbeat" is a popular song that was first recorded on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 1983 album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart...

", was originally recorded on his 1983 album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart.

The 1989 album, Avalon Sunset
Avalon Sunset
Avalon Sunset is the nineteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1989 The album has been described as "a powerful statement that the often turbulent muse had stabilized and was now a sublime force flowing through Van Morrison".The 29 January 2008 reissued and...

, which featured the hit duet with Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard, OBE is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor, and philanthropist who has sold over an estimated 250 million records worldwide....

 "Whenever God Shines His Light
Whenever God Shines His Light
"Whenever God Shines His Light" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and released on his 1989 album Avalon Sunset as a duet with Cliff Richard. Although the album was released in June 1989, this song was released as a single in November 1989 for the Christmas...

" and the ballad "Have I Told You Lately
Have I Told You Lately
"Have I Told You Lately" is a hit song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded for his 1989 album Avalon Sunset. It is a romantic ballad often played at weddings although it was originally written also as a prayer....

" (on which "earthly love transmutes into that for God."(Hinton
Brian Hinton
Brian Hinton, MBE is an English poet and musicologist. In June 2006 he was honoured in H. M. the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to the Arts.-Education:...

), reached 13 on the UK album chart. Although considered to be a deeply spiritual album, it also contained "Daring Night" which "deals with full, blazing sex, whatever it's churchy organ and gentle lilt suggest."(Hinton) Morrison's familiar themes of "God, woman, his childhood in Belfast and those enchanted moments when time stands still" were prominent in the songs. He can be heard calling out the change of tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 at the end of this song, repeating the numbers "1 – 4" to cue the chord changes
Chord progression
A chord progression is a series of musical chords, or chord changes that "aims for a definite goal" of establishing a tonality founded on a key, root or tonic chord. In other words, the succession of root relationships...

 (the first and fourth chord in the key of the music). He often completed albums in two days, frequently releasing first takes.

The Best of Van Morrison to Back on Top: 1990–99


The early to middle 1990s were commercially successful for Morrison with three albums reaching the top five of the UK charts, sold out concerts, and a more visible public profile; but this period also marked a decline in the critical reception to his work. The decade began with the release of The Best of Van Morrison
The Best of Van Morrison
The Best of Van Morrison is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1990 ....

; compiled by Morrison himself, the album was focused on his hit singles, and became a multi-platinum success remaining a year and a half on the UK charts. Allmusic determined it to be "far and away the best selling album of his career."
After Enlightenment which included the hit single, "Real Real Gone
Real Real Gone
"Real Real Gone" is a hit single written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1990 album Enlightenment. It has remained a popular live performance tune and Morrison has included it on the set lists at many of his concerts since releasing it.-Recording and...

", another compilation album, The Best of Van Morrison Volume Two
The Best of Van Morrison Volume Two
The Best of Van Morrison Volume Two is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison released in 1993.Morrison chose the tracks for this album himself. It is mostly drawn from his work during 1984-1991. "Real Real Gone" from the 1990 album Enlightenment was the only song...

was released in January 1993, followed by Too Long in Exile
Too Long in Exile
Too Long in Exile is the twenty-second album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1993 . It was one of Morrison's most commercially successful albums in years, due in part to a cover of "Gloria", one of his own songs originally recorded by Them...

in June, another top five chart success.
The 1994 live double album A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1994. Guest artists were John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Jimmy Witherspoon as well as Morrison's daughter, Shana Morrison...

received favourable reviews as well as commercial success by reaching number eight on the UK charts. 1995's Days Like This also had large sales – though the critical reviews were not always favourable. This period also saw a number of side projects, including the live jazz performances of 1996's How Long Has This Been Going On
How Long Has This Been Going On
How Long Has This Been Going On is the twenty-fourth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, "with Georgie Fame and Friends", released in 1996...

, from the same year Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison
Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison
Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison is the twenty-fifth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Mose Allison and Ben Sidran, released in 1996. It charted at #1 on the Top Jazz Albums chart.-Recording history:...

, and 2000's The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998
The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998
The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998 is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, released in 2000 . Lonnie Donegan had played with the Chris Barber jazz band when he had his first hit with "Rock Island Line"/"John Henry" in 1955...

, all of which found Morrison paying tribute to his early musical influences.

In 1997, Morrison released The Healing Game
The Healing Game
The Healing Game is the twenty-sixth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1997 .The June 30, 2008 reissued and remastered version of the album contains a take of the "Rough God Goes Riding" B-side "At the End of the Day"."Rough God Goes Riding" from this album was...

. The album received mixed reviews, with the lyrics being described as "tired" and "dull", though critic Greil Marcus praised the musical complexity of the album by saying: "It carries the listener into a musical home so perfect and complete he or she might have forgotten that music could call up such a place, and then populate it with people, acts, wishes, fears." The following year, Morrison finally released some of his previously unissued studio recordings in a two-disc set, The Philosopher's Stone
The Philosopher's Stone (album)
The Philosopher's Stone is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison released in 1998 .The songs released on this 2-CD thirty track album were previously unreleased outtakes from 1969 to 1988...

. His next release, 1999's Back on Top, achieved a modest success, being his highest charting album in the US since 1978's Wavelength
Wavelength (album)
Wavelength, the tenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was released in the spring of 1978. The album has a different musical sound than his previous albums, leaning towards a pop sound with prominent electric guitars and synthesizers. Wavelength was Morrison's best selling...

.

Recent years: 2000 - present


Van Morrison continued to record and tour in the 2000s, often performing two or three times a week. He formed his own independent label, Exile Productions Ltd, which enables him to maintain full production control of each album he records, which he then delivers as a finished product to the recording label that he chooses, for marketing and distribution.

The album, Down the Road released in May 2002, received a good critical reception and proved to be his highest charting album in the US since 1972's Saint Dominic's Preview. It had a nostalgic tone, with its fifteen tracks representing the various musical genres that Morrison had previously covered—including R&B, blues, country and folk; one of the tracks was written as a tribute to his late father George, who had played a pivotal role in nurturing his early musical tastes.

Morrison's 2005 album, Magic Time, debuted at number twenty-five on the US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 charts upon its May release, some forty years after Morrison first entered the public's eye as the frontman of Them. Rolling Stone listed it as number seventeen on The Top 50 Records of 2005. Also in July 2005, Morrison was named by Amazon
Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

 as one of their top twenty-five all-time best-selling artists and inducted into the Amazon.com Hall of Fame. Later in the year, Morrison also donated a previously unreleased studio track to a charity album, Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now
Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now
Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now is a 2005 two-disc compilation album.RIAA will donate 100% of its net proceeds from the sale of this CD in equal parts to the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and MusiCares Hurricane Relief 2005....

, which raised money for relief efforts intended for Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 victims devastated by hurricanes, Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 and Rita
Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005...

. Morrison composed the song, "Blue and Green", featuring Foggy Lyttle
Foggy Lyttle
David 'Foggy' Lyttle, , was a guitarist, best known for his work with Van Morrison. Morrison's 2005 album Magic Time was dedicated to him, as he had died within weeks of completion of the recording...

 on guitar. This song was released in 2007 on the album, The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3
The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3
The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3 is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, that was released on June 11, 2007 in the UK with a digital version released in the U.S. on iTunes Music Store, on June 12, 2007. Manhattan/EMI Music Catalog Marketing released the CD...

and also as a single in the UK. Van Morrison was a headline act at the international celtic music festival, The Hebridean Celtic Festival
Hebridean Celtic Festival
The Hebridean Celtic Festival is an international Celtic music festival, which takes place annually in Stornoway on Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The biggest headliners to date have been Runrig, The Waterboys, Proclaimers and Van Morrison...

 in Stornoway Outer Hebrides
Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides also known as the Western Isles and the Long Island, is an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. The islands are geographically contiguous with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland...

 in the summer of 2005.

He released an album with a country music theme, entitled Pay the Devil
Pay the Devil
Pay the Devil is the thirty-second album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, featuring twelve cover versions of American country and western tunes and three original compositions...

, on 7 March 2006 and appeared at the Ryman Auditorium
Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is a 2,362-seat live performance venue, located at 115 5th Avenue North, in Nashville, Tennessee and is best known as the historic home of the Grand Ole Opry....

 where the tickets sold out immediately after they went on sale. Pay the Devil debuted at number twenty-six on The Billboard 200 and peaked at number seven on Top Country Albums. Amazon Best of 2006 Editor's Picks in Country listed the country album at number ten in December 2006. Still promoting the country album, Morrison's performance as the headline act on the first night of the Austin City Limits Music Festival
Austin City Limits Music Festival
The Austin City Limits Music Festival is an annual three-day American music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas at the city's central public park, Zilker Park...

 on 15 September 2006 was reviewed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top ten shows of the 2006 festival. In November 2006, a limited edition album, Live at Austin City Limits Festival
Live at Austin City Limits Festival
Live at Austin City Limits Festival by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison is a limited edition live album recorded from the Austin City Limits Festival concert at which he was the first night headliner on September 15, 2006...

was issued by Exile Productions, Ltd. A later deluxe CD/DVD release of Pay the Devil, in the summer of 2006 contained tracks from the Ryman performance. In October 2006, Morrison had released his first commercial DVD, Live at Montreux 1980/1974
Live at Montreux 1980/1974
Live at Montreux 1980/1974 is the first official DVD by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on October 16, 2006. The films consist of two separate performances by Van Morrison at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland...

with concerts taken from two separate appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival is the best-known music festival in Switzerland and one of the most prestigious in Europe; it is held annually in early July in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva...

.

A new double CD compilation album
Compilation album
A compilation album is an album featuring tracks from one or more performers, often culled from a variety of sources The tracks are usually collected according to a common characteristic, such as popularity, genre, source or subject matter...

 The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3
The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3
The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3 is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, that was released on June 11, 2007 in the UK with a digital version released in the U.S. on iTunes Music Store, on June 12, 2007. Manhattan/EMI Music Catalog Marketing released the CD...

was released in June 2007 containing thirty-one tracks, some of which were previously unreleased. Morrison selected the tracks, which ranged from the 1993 album Too Long in Exile to the song "Stranded
Stranded (Van Morrison song)
"Stranded" is the opening track on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 2005 album Magic Time. It is one of the ten original songs written by Morrison that were included on the well-received album....

" from the 2005 album Magic Time. On 3 September 2007, Morrison's complete catalogue of albums from 1971 through 2002 were made available exclusively at the ITunes Store
ITunes Store
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple. Opening as the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, with over 200,000 items to purchase, it is, as of April 2008, the number-one music vendor in the United States...

 in Europe and Australia and during the first week of October 2007, the albums became available at the US
ITunes Store.

Still on Top - The Greatest Hits
Still on Top - The Greatest Hits
Still on Top – The Greatest Hits is the third compilation album to be issued by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison in 2007 . It was released...

, a thirty-seven track double CD compilation album was released on 22 October 2007 in the UK on the Polydor label. On 29 October 2007, the album charted at number two on the Official UK Top 75 Albums—his highest UK charting. The November release in the US and Canada contains twenty-one selected tracks. The hits that were released on albums with the copyrights owned by Morrison as Exile Productions Ltd.—1971 and later—had been remastered in 2007.

Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple is the thirty-third solo studio album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on March 17, 2008 by Exile Productions Ltd./Polydor in the U.K.. and on the Lost Highway Records label on April 1, 2008, in the U.S....

, Morrison's 33rd studio album of completely new material was released by Exile/Polydor Records on 17 March 2008 in the UK and released by Exile/Lost Highway Records in the US and Canada on 1 April 2008. It comprised eleven self-penned tracks. Morrison promoted the album with a short US tour including an appearance at the SXSW
South by Southwest
South by Southwest is an Austin, Texas based company dedicated to planning conferences, trade shows, festivals and other events. Their current roster of annual events include: SXSW Music, SXSW Film, SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu, and SXSWeco and take place every spring in Austin, Texas, United States...

 music conference, and a UK concert broadcast on BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 is one of the BBC's national radio stations and the most popular station in the United Kingdom. Much of its daytime playlist-based programming is best described as Adult Contemporary or AOR, although the station is also noted for its specialist broadcasting of other musical genres...

. In the first week of release Keep It Simple debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at number ten, Morrison's first Top Ten charting in the US.

Live performances



By 1972, after being a performer for nearly ten years, Morrison began experiencing stage fright
Stage fright
Stage fright or performance anxiety is the anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, whether actually or potentially . In the context of public speaking, this fear is termed glossophobia, one of the most common...

 when performing for audiences of thousands, as opposed to the hundreds as he had experienced in his early career. He became anxious on stage and would have difficulty establishing eye contact with the audience. He once said in an interview about performing on stage, "I dig singing the songs but there are times when it's pretty agonizing for me to be out there." After a brief break from music, he started appearing in clubs, regaining his ability to perform live, albeit with smaller audiences.

The 1974 live double album, It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now
It's Too Late to Stop Now is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1974 . Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever recorded, It's Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be Morrison's greatest phase as a live...

, has been on lists of greatest live albums of all time. Biographer Johnny Rogan
Johnny Rogan
Johnny Rogan is an author of Irish descent best known for his books about music and popular culture. He has written influential biographies of The Byrds, The Smiths and Van Morrison. His writing is characterised by "an almost neurotic attention to detail", epic length and a sometimes hostile...

 states that "Morrison was in the midst of what was arguably his greatest phase as a performer." Performances on the album were from tapes made during a three month tour of the US and Europe in 1973 with the backing group The Caledonia Soul Orchestra
The Caledonia Soul Orchestra
The Caledonia Soul Orchestra was the band created by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison in 1973. The band is often considered one of the tightest performing backup groups of the 1970s...

. Soon after recording the album, Morrison restructured the Caledonia Soul Orchestra into a smaller unit, the Caledonia Soul Express.


On Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving (United States)
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday,...

 1976, Morrison performed at the farewell concert for The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

. Morrison's first live performance in several years, he considered skipping his appearance until the last minute, even refusing to go on stage when they announced his name. His manager, Harvey Goldsmith
Harvey Goldsmith
Harvey Goldsmith CBE is a British performing arts promoter. He is best known as promoter of rock concerts, charity concerts, television broadcasts for the Prince's Trust and more recently the Teenage Cancer Trust shows at the Royal Albert Hall.During early 2007 he appeared on the Channel 4...

, said he "literally kicked him out there." Morrison was on good terms with The Band as near-neighbours in Woodstock
Woodstock, New York
Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5,884 at the 2010 census, down from 6,241 at the 2000 census.The Town of Woodstock is in the northern part of the county...

, and they had the shared experience of stage-fright. At the concert, he performed two songs. His first was a rendition of the classic Irish song Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral
Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral
"Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral " is a classic Irish song originally written in 1914 by composer James Royce Shannon and popularised by Bing Crosby in 1944's Going My Way.-Lyrics:[Verse 1]Over In Killarney,Many years ago,...

. His second song was "Caravan
Caravan (Van Morrison song)
"Caravan" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1970 album, Moondance. It was a concert highlight for several years and was included as one of the songs on Morrison's 1974 acclaimed live album, It's Too Late to Stop Now.It was also performed by...

", from his 1970 album Moondance. Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...

, in attendance at the concert, wrote: "Van Morrison turned the show around...singing to the rafters and ...burning holes in the floor. It was a triumph, and as the song ended Van began to kick his leg into the air out of sheer exuberance and he kicked his way right offstage like a Rockette. The crowd had given him a fine welcome and they cheered wildly when he left." The filmed concert served as the basis for Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

's 1978 film, The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco...

.

During his association with The Band, Morrison acquired the nickname
Nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

s: "Belfast Cowboy" and "Van the Man". When Morrison sang the duet "4% Pantomime" (that he co-wrote with Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson, OC; is a Canadian singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for his membership as the guitarist and primary songwriter within The Band. He was ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time...

), Richard Manuel
Richard Manuel
Richard George Manuel was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his contributions to and membership in The Band....

 calls him, "Oh, Belfast Cowboy". It would be included in The Band's album Cahoots. When he left the stage, after performing "Caravan" on The Last Waltz, Robertson calls out "Van the Man!"

On 21 July 1990, Morrison joined many other guests for Roger Waters
Roger Waters
George Roger Waters is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He was a founding member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, serving as bassist and co-lead vocalist. Following the departure of bandmate Syd Barrett in 1968, Waters became the band's lyricist, principal songwriter...

' massive performance of The Wall - Live in Berlin with an estimated crowd of between three hundred thousand to half a million people and broadcast live on television. He sang "Comfortably Numb
Comfortably Numb
"Comfortably Numb" is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, which first appears on the 1979 double album, The Wall. It was also released as a single in the same year with "Hey You" as the B-side. It is one of only three songs on the album for which writing credits are shared between Roger...

" with Roger Waters, and several members from The Band: Levon Helm
Levon Helm
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm , is an American rock multi-instrumentalist and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and frequent lead and backing vocalist for The Band....

, Garth Hudson
Garth Hudson
Eric Garth Hudson is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist. As the organist, keyboardist and saxophonist for Canadian-American rock group The Band, he was a principal architect of the group's unique sound...

 and Rick Danko
Rick Danko
Richard Clare "Rick" Danko was a Canadian musician and singer, best known as a member of The Band.-Early years :...

. At concert's end, he and the other performers sang "The Tide Is Turning
The Tide Is Turning
"The Tide Is Turning " is a song from the 1987 album Radio K.A.O.S., by Roger Waters. Though Waters had offered his services for the Live Aid concert in 1985 and was turned down by organizer Bob Geldof, the event still inspired Waters to write this song...

".

Morrison performed before an estimated audience of sixty to eighty thousand people when US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 visited Belfast, Northern Ireland on 30 November 1995. His song "Days Like This
Days Like This (song)
"Days Like This" is a popular song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and the title song of his 1995 album.Morrison has often performed this song in concert appearances including his 2006 appearance at the Austin City Limits Festival....

" had become the official anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

 for the Northern Irish peace movement
Northern Ireland peace process
The peace process, when discussing the history of Northern Ireland, is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent political developments.-Towards a...

.

Van Morrison continued performing concerts in the 2000s throughout the year rather than touring. Playing few of his best-known songs in concert, he has firmly resisted relegation to a nostalgia act. During a 2006 interview, he told Paul Sexton:

On 7 and 8 November 2008, at the Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

 in Los Angeles, California, Morrison performed the entire Astral Weeks album live for the first time. The Astral Weeks band featured guitarist Jay Berliner
Jay Berliner
Jay Berliner is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Starting with his first television experience at age 7 on NBC’s The Children’s Hour with sister Eve, his career has spanned the globe: from the Metropolitan Opera house , where he was house guitarist and mandolinist; to...

, who played on the album that was released forty years previously in November 1968. Also featured on piano was Roger Kellaway
Roger Kellaway
Roger Kellaway is an American composer, arranger, and pianist.Born in Waban, Massachusetts, he is an alumnus of the New England Conservatory...

. A live album entitled Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl is the fifth live album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, and released in the US on February 24, 2009 and on February 9, 2009 in the UK...

resulted from these two performances. The new live album on CD was released on 24 February 2009, followed by a DVD from the performances. The DVD, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The Concert Film
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The Concert Film
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The Concert Film is the second official DVD by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released May 19, 2009 . It features the songs from his 1968 classic album, Astral Weeks...

was released via Amazon Exclusive on 19 May 2009.
Morrison began a week of Astral Week Live concerts, interviews and TV appearances with concerts at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 in New York City in late February 2009 and at the Beacon Theatre in early March with a twenty-four minute interview to Don Imus
Don Imus
John Donald "Don" Imus, Jr. is an American radio host, humorist, philanthropist and writer. His nationally-syndicated talk show, Imus in the Morning, is broadcast throughout the United States by Citadel Media and relayed on television by the Fox Business Network.-Personal life:Imus was born in...

 on his Imus in the Morning
Imus in the Morning
Imus in the Morning is an American radio show hosted by Don Imus on Cumulus Media Networks , and simulcast for television on Fox Business Network....

radio show on 26 February. Listen Midway between the scheduled concerts at the WaMu and Beacon, he made a guest appearance on Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon
James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, singer, musician and television host. He currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show that airs Monday through Friday on NBC...

's debut show as host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon on NBC. The show premiered on March 2, 2009, as the third incarnation of the Late Night franchise originated by David Letterman....

on 2 March 2009 performing "Sweet Thing
Sweet Thing (Van Morrison song)
"Sweet Thing" is one of the songs included on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 1968 acclaimed second album Astral Weeks. It was on the first side of the album, that was under the heading: In the Beginning...

" from the Astral Weeks album. Morrison also performed "Sweet Thing" and "Brown Eyed Girl
Brown Eyed Girl
"Brown Eyed Girl" is a song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison and produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns, it was first released in May 1967 on the album Blowin' Your Mind!. When released as a single, it rose to number eight on the...

", on Live with Regis and Kelly
Live with Regis and Kelly
Live! with Kelly is a syndicated American television morning talk show, hosted by Kelly Ripa. The show has aired since 1983 in New York City and 1988 nationwide. Tony Pigg has been the show's announcer since its inception...

the next morning on 3 March 2009. Morrison continued with the Astral Weeks performances with two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 in London in April and then returned to California in May 2009 performing the Astral Weeks songs at the Hearst Greek Theatre
Hearst Greek Theatre
The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, known locally as simply the Greek Theatre, is an 8,500-seat amphitheater owned and operated by the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, USA....

 in Berkeley
Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a city on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay in Northern California, United States. Its neighbors to the south are the cities of Oakland and Emeryville. To the north is the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington...

 and the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Morrison filmed the concerts at the Orpheum Theatre so that they could be viewed by Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett was an American actress and artist. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she first appeared as private investigator Jill Munroe in the first season of the television series Charlie's Angels, in 1976...

, confined to bed with cancer and who therefore could not attend the concerts. On 6 May 2009, Morrison appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno performing the updated version of "Slim Slow Slider (I Start Breaking Down)
Slim Slow Slider
"Slim Slow Slider" is the closing track on the 1968 album Astral Weeks by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison.-Recording and composition:...

" from Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

In addition to It's Too Late to Stop Now and Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Morrison has released three other live albums: Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast
Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast
Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast is the second live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1984...

in 1984; A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1994. Guest artists were John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Jimmy Witherspoon as well as Morrison's daughter, Shana Morrison...

in 1994 that Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine felt stood out as: "the culmination of a career's worth of soul searching that finds Morrison's eyes turned toward heaven and his feet planted firmly on the ground"; and The Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast 1998
The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998
The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998 is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, released in 2000 . Lonnie Donegan had played with the Chris Barber jazz band when he had his first hit with "Rock Island Line"/"John Henry" in 1955...

recorded with Lonnie Donegan
Lonnie Donegan
Anthony James "Lonnie" Donegan MBE was a skiffle musician, with more than 20 UK Top 30 hits to his name. He is known as the "King of Skiffle" and is often cited as a large influence on the generation of British musicians who became famous in the 1960s...

 and Chris Barber
Chris Barber
Donald Christopher 'Chris' Barber is best known as a jazz trombonist. As well as scoring a UK top twenty trad jazz hit he helped the careers of many musicians, notably the blues singer Ottilie Patterson, who was at one time his wife, and vocalist/banjoist Lonnie Donegan, whose appearances with...

 and released in 2000.
Morrison was scheduled to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

's 25th anniversary concert on 30 October 2009, but cancelled. In an interview on 26 October, Morrison told his host Don Imus
Don Imus
John Donald "Don" Imus, Jr. is an American radio host, humorist, philanthropist and writer. His nationally-syndicated talk show, Imus in the Morning, is broadcast throughout the United States by Citadel Media and relayed on television by the Fox Business Network.-Personal life:Imus was born in...

 that he had planned to play "a couple of songs" with Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

 (who had cancelled on 22 October due to gallstone
Gallstone
A gallstone is a crystalline concretion formed within the gallbladder by accretion of bile components. These calculi are formed in the gallbladder, but may pass distally into other parts of the biliary tract such as the cystic duct, common bile duct, pancreatic duct, or the ampulla of...

 surgery), but that they would do something else together at "some other stage of the game".

Morrison performed for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is an annual four-day outdoor music event held the second weekend of August in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, established in 1980 by Don Whalen. The festival continues to draw many people from around the world as both spectators and performers. The current producer of...

 in Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, Alberta, Canada on 4 August 2010 as the headline act for the fundraiser and scheduled as second day headliner at the Feis 2011 Festival in London's Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park is a 46 hectare public park in the London Borough of Haringey. Officially part of the London area of Harringay, it is also adjacent to Stroud Green, the Finsbury Park district and Manor House. It was one of the first of the great London parks laid out in the Victorian...

 on 19 June 2011.

Morrison will appear in concert at Odyssey Arena in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 on 3 February and at The O2 in Dublin on 4 February 2012. These will be his first performances in Belfast and Dublin for over a decade.

Collaborations


During the 1990s, Morrison developed a close association with two vocal talents at opposite ends of their careers: Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame is a British rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player. The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer, often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.-Early life:Fame took piano lessons from the...

 (with whom Morrison had already worked occasionally) lent his voice and Hammond organ skills to Morrison's band; and Brian Kennedy
Brian Kennedy (singer)
Brian Edward Patrick Kennedy is an Irish singer-songwriter and author, known for his ballads, and has represented Ireland at Eurovision 2006. He is the younger brother of musician Bap Kennedy.-Personal life:...

's vocals complemented the grizzled voice of Morrison, both in studio and live performances.

The 1990s also saw an upsurge in collaborations by Morrison with other artists, a trend continuing into the new millennium. He recorded with Irish folk band The Chieftains
The Chieftains
The Chieftains are a Grammy-winning Irish musical group founded in 1962, best known for being one of the first bands to make Irish traditional music popular around the world.-Name:...

 on their 1995 album, The Long Black Veil
The Long Black Veil (album)
The Long Black Veil is an album by the traditional Irish folk band The Chieftains. Released in 1995, it is one of the most popular and best selling albums by the band. It reached number 17 in the album charts. The band teamed up with well-known musicians such as Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones...

. Morrison's song, "Have I Told You Lately
Have I Told You Lately
"Have I Told You Lately" is a hit song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded for his 1989 album Avalon Sunset. It is a romantic ballad often played at weddings although it was originally written also as a prayer....

" would win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1996.

He also produced and was featured on several tracks with blues legend John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 on Hooker's 1997 album, Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back (John Lee Hooker album)
Don't Look Back is an album released by Blues singer-songwriter John Lee Hooker in 1997 that was produced by Van Morrison, who also performed duets with Hooker on four of the tracks. The album was the Grammy winner in the Best Traditional Blues Album category in 1998...

.
This album would win a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1998 and the title track "Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back (John Lee Hooker song)
"Don't Look Back " is a song written by Blues singer-songwriter John Lee Hooker and released as a single in 1964. As a duet Hooker performed with Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, it was a Grammy Award winner in Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1998 from the album, Don't Look...

", a duet featuring Morrison and Hooker, would also win a Grammy Award for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" in 1998. The project capped a series of Morrison and Hooker collaborations that began in 1971 when they performed a duet on the title track of Hooker's 1972 album Never Get Out of These Blues Alive
Never Get Out of These Blues Alive
Never Get Out of These Blues Alive is a studio album by American blues musician John Lee Hooker, released in 1972 by ABC Records and recorded from September 28 through September 29, 1971...

. On this album, Hooker also recorded a cover of Morrison's "T.B. Sheets
T.B. Sheets
"T.B. Sheets" is a blues-influenced song written and recorded by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, recorded for the Bang Records label in 1967 and included on his first solo album, Blowin' Your Mind!. It later appeared on the Bang compilation, T.B. Sheets.-Recording:"T.B...

".

Morrison additionally collaborated with Tom Jones
Tom Jones (singer)
Sir Thomas John Woodward, OBE , known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer.Since the mid 1960s, Jones has sung many styles of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, techno, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records...

 on his 1999 album Reload, performing a duet on "Sometimes We Cry
Sometimes We Cry
"Sometimes We Cry" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1997 album, The Healing Game. This version features the backing vocals of Brian Kennedy and Georgie Fame....

", and he also sang vocals on a track entitled "The Last Laugh" on Mark Knopfler
Mark Knopfler
Mark Freuder Knopfler, OBE is a Scottish-born British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the British rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded in 1977...

's 2000 album, Sailing to Philadelphia
Sailing to Philadelphia
Sailing to Philadelphia is the second solo album by Mark Knopfler, released on 26 September 2000. The title track is drawn from Thomas Pynchon's novel about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the two English surveyors who established the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, Delaware and...

. In 2004, Morrison was one of the guests on Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

' album, Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company is the final studio album by rhythm and blues and soul musician Ray Charles, posthumously released August 31, 2004 on Concord Records. Recording sessions for the album took place between June 2003 and March 2004...

, featuring the two artists performing Morrison's "Crazy Love".

Vocals


It is at the heart of Morrison’s presence as a singer that when he lights on certain sounds, certain small moments inside a song—hesitations, silences, shifts in pressure, sudden entrances, slamming doors—can then suggest whole territories, completed stories, indistinct ceremonies, far outside anything that can be literally traced in the compositions that carry them.

Greil Marcus

Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...


Featuring his characteristic growl—a mix of folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

, soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, gospel
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

, and Ulster Scots Celtic
Celtic music
Celtic music is a term utilised by artists, record companies, music stores and music magazines to describe a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe...

 influences—Morrison is widely considered by many rock historians to be one of the most unusual and influential vocalists in the history of rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

. Critic Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...

 has gone so far as to say that "no white man sings like Van Morrison." In his 2010 book, Marcus wrote, "As a physical fact, Morrison may have the richest and most expressive voice pop music has produced since Elvis Presley, and with a sense of himself as an artist that Elvis was always denied."

As Morrison began live performances of the 40 year old album Astral Weeks in 2008, there were comparisons to his youthful voice of 1968.—His early voice was described as "flinty and tender, beseeching and plaintive". Forty years later, the difference in his vocal range and power were noticeable but reviewers and critic's comments were favourable: "Morrison's voice has expanded to fill his frame; a deeper, louder roar than the blue-eyed soul voice of his youth – softer on the diction – but none the less impressively powerful." Morrison also commented on the changes in his approach to singing:
"The approach now is to sing from lower down [the diaphragm] so I do not ruin my voice. Before, I sang in the upper area of my throat, which tends to wreck the vocal cords over time. Singing from lower in the belly allows my resonance to carry far. I can stand four feet from a mic and be heard quite resonantly."

Songwriting and lyrics


Morrison has written hundreds of songs during his career with a recurring theme reflecting a nostalgic yearning for the carefree days of his childhood in Belfast. Some of his song titles derive from familiar locations in his childhood such as: "Cyprus Avenue
Cyprus Avenue
"Cyprus Avenue" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1968 album Astral Weeks.In performance it was a concert highlight and closer for years to come and would end with Morrison's command, "It's too late to stop now!" as he stalked from the stage...

" (a nearby street), "Orangefield
Orangefield (song)
"Orangefield" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and released on his 1989 album Avalon Sunset. The song takes place on "a golden Autumn day" and is named for the school for boys that Morrison attended during his youth in Belfast, Northern Ireland.The song was...

" (the boys school he attended), "On Hyndford Street" (where he was born). Also frequently present in Morrison's best love songs is a blending of the sacred-profane as evidenced in "Into the Mystic
Into the Mystic
"Into the Mystic" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison's 1974 live album, It's Too Late To Stop Now....

" and "So Quiet in Here". Beginning with his 1979 album, Into the Music
Into the Music
Into the Music is the eleventh studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1979 .Typical of Morrison's music, the album draws on a variety of styles, from New Orleans R&B to Philly soul and Celtic folk, with featured soloists, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and violinist...

and the song "And the Healing Has Begun
And the Healing Has Begun
"And the Healing Has Begun" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded on his 1979 album, Into the Music.-Recording and composition:...

", a frequent theme of his music and lyrics has been based on his belief in the healing power of music combined with a form of mystic
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 Christianity. This theme has become one of the predominant qualities of his work. His lyrics show an influence of the visionary poets William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 and W. B. Yeats and others such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

. Biographer Brian Hinton
Brian Hinton
Brian Hinton, MBE is an English poet and musicologist. In June 2006 he was honoured in H. M. the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to the Arts.-Education:...

 believes "like any great poet from Blake to Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer. He lives in Dublin. Heaney has received the Nobel Prize in Literature , the Golden Wreath of Poetry , T. S. Eliot Prize and two Whitbread prizes...

 he takes words back to their origins in magic...Indeed, Morrison is returning poetry to its earliest roots – as in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 or Old English epics like Beowulf
Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

 or the Psalms or folk song – in all of which words and music combine to form a new reality." Another biographer John Collis believes that Morrison's style of jazz singing and repeating phrases preclude his lyrics from being regarded as poetry or as Collis asserts: "he is more likely to repeat a phrase like a mantra, or burst into scat singing. The words may often be prosaic, and so can hardly be poetry." Morrison has described his songwriting method by remarking that: "I write from a different place. I do not even know what it is called or if it has a name. It just comes and I sculpt it, but it is also a lot of hard work doing the sculpting."

Performance style


"Van Morrison is interested, obsessed with how much musical or verbal information he can compress into a small space, and, almost, conversely, how far he can spread one note, word, sound, or picture. To capture one moment, be it a caress or a twitch. He repeats certain phrases to extremes that from anybody else would seem ridiculous, because he's waiting for a vision to unfold, trying as unobtrusively as possible to nudge it along...It's the great search, fueled by the belief that through these musical and mental processes illumination is attainable. Or may at least be glimpsed."

Lester Bangs

Lester Bangs
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock 'n' roll criticism....



Critic Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus
Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism.-Life and career:Marcus was born in San Francisco...

 argues that given the truly distinctive breadth and complexity of Morrison's work, it is almost impossible to cast his work among that of others: "Morrison remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of rock & roll, a singer who cannot be pinned down, dismissed, or fitted into anyone's expectations." Or in the words of Jay Cocks
Jay Cocks
Jay Cocks is a film critic and motion picture screenwriter.He is a graduate of Kenyon College. He was a critic for Time, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, among other magazines, before moving into film writing....

: "He extends himself only to express himself. Alone among rock's great figures—and even in that company he is one of the greatest—Morrison is adamantly inward. And unique. Although he freely crosses musical boundaries—R. and B., Celtic melodies, jazz, rave-up rock, hymns, down-and-dirty blues—he can unfailingly be found in the same strange place: on his own wavelength." His transcendental
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 signature style came into full expression with his 1968 classic, Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was Morrison's first album after Warner Bros. had been able to free him from his contract with Bang Records...

. This musical art form was based on stream of consciousness songwriting and emotional vocalizing of lyrics that have no basis in normal structure or symmetry. His live performances are dependent on building dynamics with spontaniety between himself and his band, whom he controls with hand gestures throughout, sometimes signaling impromptu solos from a selected band member. The music and vocals build towards a hypnotic and trance-like state that depends on in-the-moment creativity. A reviewer described it as "This transcendent moment of music when the song and the singer are one thing not two, neither dependent on the other or separate from the other but melded to the other like one, like breath and life..." He has said he believes in the jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 improvisational technique of never performing a song the same way twice and except for the unique rendition of the Astral Weeks songs live, doesn't perform a concert from a preconceived set list. Morrison has said he prefers to perform at smaller venues or symphony halls noted for their good acoustics
Acoustics
Acoustics is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics...

. His ban against alcoholic beverages, which made entertainment news during 2008, was an attempt to prevent the disruptive and distracting movement of audience members leaving their seats during the performances. In a 2009 interview, Morrison stated: "I do not consciously aim to take the listener anywhere. If anything, I aim to take myself there in my music. If the listener catches the wavelength of what I am saying or singing, or gets whatever point whatever line means to them, then I guess as a writer I may have done a day's work."

Genre


The music of Van Morrison has encompassed many genres since his early days as a blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 and R&B
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

 singer in Belfast. Over the years he has recorded songs from a varying list of genres drawn from many influences and interests. As well as blues and R&B, his compositions and covers have moved between pop music, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, rock, folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

, gospel
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

, Irish folk
Folk music of Ireland
The folk music of Ireland is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Ireland.-History:...

 and traditional, big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

, skiffle
Skiffle
Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly...

, rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

, new age
New Age music
New Age music is music of various styles intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is often...

, classic
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and sometimes spoken word
Spoken word
Spoken word is a form of poetry that often uses alliterated prose or verse and occasionally uses metered verse to express social commentary. Traditionally it is in the first person, is from the poet’s point of view and is themed in current events....

 ("Coney Island
Coney Island (song)
"Coney Island" is a spoken-word song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1989 album, Avalon Sunset. The narrative is accompanied by lush instrumentation which successfully contrasts with Morrison's thick Ulster brogue. The singer revisits his youthful...

") and instrumental
Instrumental
An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics or singing, although it might include some non-articulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments....

s. Morrison defines himself as a soul singer.

Some of Morrison's music has been classified in a genre of its own and referred to as "Celtic soul" or what biographer Brian Hinton referred to as a new alchemy called "Caledonian soul." Another biographer, Ritchie Yorke
Ritchie Yorke
Ritchie Yorke is an Australian-born author, broadcaster, historian and music journalist. Born in Brisbane in 1944, while his father was serving with the Australian Army, Yorke developed a passion for rock ‘n’ roll in his early teens.-Biography:...

 quoted Morrison as believing that he has "the spirit of Caledonia in his soul and his music reflects it." According to Yorke, Morrison claimed to have discovered "a certain quality of soul" when he first visited Scotland (his Belfast ancestors were of Ulster Scots descent) and Morrison has said he believes there is some connection between soul music and Caledonia. Yorke relates that Morrison "discovered several years after he first began composing music that some of his songs lent themselves to a unique major modal scale (without sevenths) which of course is the same scale as that used by bagpipe
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

 players and old Irish and Scottish folk music."

Caledonia


The name "Caledonia
Caledonia
Caledonia is the Latinised form and name given by the Romans to the land in today's Scotland north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of their empire...

" has played a prominent role in Morrison's life and career. Biographer Ritchie Yorke
Ritchie Yorke
Ritchie Yorke is an Australian-born author, broadcaster, historian and music journalist. Born in Brisbane in 1944, while his father was serving with the Australian Army, Yorke developed a passion for rock ‘n’ roll in his early teens.-Biography:...

 had pointed out already by 1975 that Morrison has referred to Caledonia so many times in his career that he "seems to be obsessed with the word." In his 2009 biography, Erik Hage
Erik Hage
Erik Hage is an American writer, cultural reporter, and critic raised in Boston and New York State. His books include the critical biography The Words and Music of Van Morrison and the work of literary criticism Cormac McCarthy: A Literary Companion , which was deemed "indispensable," "engaging,"...

 found that "Morrison seemed deeply interested in his paternal Scottish roots during his early career, and later in the ancient countryside of England, hence his repeated use of the term Caledonia (an ancient Roman name for Scotland/northern Britain)." As well as being his daughter's middle name, it's the name of his first production company, his studio, his publishing company, two of his backing groups, and he also recorded a cover of the song, "Caldonia" (with the name spelled "Caledonia") in 1974. Morrison used "Caledonia" in what has been called a quintessential Van Morrison moment in the song, "Listen to the Lion" with the lyrics, "And we sail, and we sail, way up to Caledonia". As late as 2008, Morrison used "Caledonia" as a mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

 in the live performance of the song, "Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks (song)
"Astral Weeks" is the title song and opening track on the 1968 album Astral Weeks by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison.-Recording:...

" recorded at the two Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

 concerts.

Influence


Morrison's influence can readily be heard in the music of a diverse array of major artists and according to The Rolling Stone's Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll (Simon & Shuster, 2001), "his influence among rock singers/song writers is unrivaled by any living artist outside of that other prickly legend, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

. Echoes of Morrison's rugged literateness and his gruff, feverish emotive vocals can be heard in latter day icons ranging from Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

 to Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

". His influence includes U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

 (much of The Unforgettable Fire); Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 ("I am in awe of a musician like Van Morrison. I had to stop listening to Van Morrison records about six months before we made The Unforgettable Fire because I didn't want his very original soul voice to overpower my own."); John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp, previously known by the stage names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds...

 ("Wild Night
Wild Night
"Wild Night" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is the opening track on his fifth studio album Tupelo Honey. It was released as a single in 1971 and reached number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart....

"); Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison
James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American musician, singer, and poet, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors...

; Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading
Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, MBE is a British singer, songwriter and guitarist. Armatrading is a three-time Grammy Award-nominee and has been nominated twice for BRIT Awards as Best Female Artist...

 (the only musical influence she will acknowledge); Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart
Roderick David "Rod" Stewart, CBE is a British singer-songwriter and musician, born and raised in North London, England and currently residing in Epping. He is of Scottish and English ancestry....

; Tom Petty
Tom Petty
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch. He has also performed under the pseudonyms of Charlie T...

; Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones is an American vocalist, musician, songwriter, and producer. Over the course of a three-decade career, Jones has recorded in various musical styles including rock, R&B, blues, pop, soul, and jazz standards.-Childhood:...

 (recognises both Laura Nyro and Van Morrison as the main influences on her career); Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

; Graham Parker
Graham Parker
Graham Parker is a British rock singer and songwriter, who is best known as the lead singer of the popular British band Graham Parker & the Rumour.-Early career :...

; Sinéad O'Connor
Sinéad O'Connor
Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor is an Irish singer-songwriter. She rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra and achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U"....

; Phil Lynott
Phil Lynott
Philip Parris "Phil" Lynott was an Irish musician who first came to prominence as a founding member, principal songwriter, and frontman of the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy....

 of Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy are an Irish hard rock band formed in Dublin in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist/vocalist Phil Lynott met while still in school. Lynott assumed the role of frontman and led them throughout their recording career of thirteen studio albums...

; Bob Seger
Bob Seger
Robert Clark "Bob" Seger is an American rock and roll singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist.As a locally successful Detroit-area artist, he performed and recorded as Bob Seger and the Last Heard and Bob Seger System throughout the 1960s...

 ("I know Bruce Springsteen was very much affected by Van Morrison, and so was I." from Creem interview) ("I've Been Working
I've Been Working
"I've Been Working" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison appearing on the album His Band and the Street Choir, released in 1970. The song was first an outtake from Morrison's well received album Astral Weeks of 1968...

"); Kevin Rowland
Kevin Rowland
Kevin Rowland is an English singer-songwriter and former frontman for the pop band Dexys Midnight Runners, which had several hits in the early 1980s, the most notable being "Geno" and "Come On Eileen".-Career:...

 of Dexys Midnight Runners
Dexys Midnight Runners
Dexys Midnight Runners are a British pop group with soul influences, who achieved their major success in the early to mid 1980s. They are best known for their songs "Come On Eileen" and "Geno", both of which went No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart....

 ("Jackie Wilson Said
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
"Jackie Wilson Said " is a song written and performed by Van Morrison and featured as the opening track on his sixth studio album, Saint Dominic's Preview. It was released by Warner Bros...

"); Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 ("Gloria"); Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley
Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley , raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician...

 ("The Way Young Lovers Do
The Way Young Lovers Do
"The Way Young Lovers Do" is one of the songs included on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's second solo album Astral Weeks that was recorded in 1968 in New York City...

", "Sweet Thing
Sweet Thing (Van Morrison song)
"Sweet Thing" is one of the songs included on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison's 1968 acclaimed second album Astral Weeks. It was on the first side of the album, that was under the heading: In the Beginning...

"); Nick Drake
Nick Drake
Nicholas Rodney "Nick" Drake was an English singer-songwriter and musician. Though he is best known for his sombre guitar based songs, Drake was also proficient at piano, clarinet and saxophone...

; and numerous others, including the Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Counting Crows is an American rock band originating from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1991, the group gained popularity following the release of its debut album in 1993, August and Everything After, which featured the hit single "Mr. Jones"...

 (their "sha-la-la" sequence in Mr Jones, is a tribute to Morrison). Morrison's influence reaches into the country music genre, with Hal Ketchum
Hal Ketchum
Hal Michael Ketchum is an American country music artist. He has released ten studio albums since 1986, including nine for the Curb and Asylum-Curb labels. Ketchum's 1991 album Past the Point of Rescue is his most commercially successful, having been certified gold by the Recording Industry...

 acknowledging, "He (Van Morrison) was a major influence in my life."

Morrison's influence on the younger generation of singer-songwriters is pervasive: including Irish singer Damien Rice
Damien Rice
Damien Rice is an Irish singer-songwriter, musician and record producer who plays guitar, piano, clarinet and percussion....

, who has been described as on his way to becoming the "natural heir to Van Morrison"; Ray Lamontagne
Ray LaMontagne
Raymond "Ray" Charles Jack LaMontagne is a Grammy-award winning American singer-songwriter. LaMontagne has released four studio albums, Trouble, Till the Sun Turns Black, Gossip in the Grain and God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise. He was born in New Hampshire and was inspired to create music after...

; James Morrison
James Morrison (singer)
James Morrison is a BRIT Award-winning English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Rugby, Warwickshire. In 2006, his debut single "You Give Me Something" became a hit in Europe, Australia, and Japan, peaking in the top five in the UK and New Zealand. His debut album, Undiscovered, debuted at the...

; Paolo Nutini
Paolo Nutini
Paolo Giovanni Nutini is a Scottish singer, songwriter and musician from Paisley. His father is of Italian descent, from Barga, Tuscany, although both his parents are Scottish, his family having been in Scotland for three generations....

; Eric Lindell
Eric Lindell
Eric Lindell is an American singer-songwriter, born in San Mateo, California, who came to national prominence after relocating to New Orleans. His recording career began in 1996 as a local/regional New Orleans-based artist. Beginning in 2006, when he was picked up by Alligator Records, he has...

 and David Gray
David Gray (musician)
David Gray is an English singer-songwriter. He released his first studio album in 1993 and received worldwide attention after the release of White Ladder six years later...

 are also several of the younger artists influenced by Morrison. Glen Hansard
Glen Hansard
Glen Hansard is the Academy Award–winning principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for Irish group The Frames and one half of folk rock duo, The Swell Season...

 of the Irish rock band The Frames
The Frames
The Frames are an Irish band based in Dublin. Founded in 1990 by Glen Hansard, the band has been influential in the Dublin rock music scene. The group has released six albums...

 (who lists Van Morrison as being part of his holy trinity with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

) commonly covers his songs in concert. American rock band, The Wallflowers
The Wallflowers
The Wallflowers is a rock band from Los Angeles, California, fronted by Jakob Dylan. Formed in 1989 and originally known as The Apples, the ensemble has gone through numerous personnel changes with Dylan the only constant....

 have covered "Into the Mystic
Into the Mystic
"Into the Mystic" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison's 1974 live album, It's Too Late To Stop Now....

". Canadian blues-rock singer Colin James
Colin James
Colin James is a Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, who plays in the blues, rock, and neo-swing genres. He grew up as a Quaker.-Early years:...

 also covers the song frequently at his concerts. Actor and musician Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson
Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson is an English actor, model, musician, and producer. Born and raised in London, Pattinson started out his career by playing the role of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

 has said that Van Morrison was his "influence for doing music in the first place". Morrison has shared the stage with Northern Irish singer-songwriter Duke Special
Duke Special
Duke Special, real name Peter Wilson, is a songwriter and performer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A piano-based songwriter with a romantic style and a warm, distinctly accented voice, he has a distinctive look, with his long dreadlocks, eyeliner and outfits he describes as "hobo chic"...

, who admits Morrison has been a big influence.

Overall, Morrison has typically been supportive of other artists, often willingly sharing the stage with them during his concerts. On the live album, A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco
A Night in San Francisco is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1994. Guest artists were John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Jimmy Witherspoon as well as Morrison's daughter, Shana Morrison...

, he had as his special guests, among others, his childhood idols: Jimmy Witherspoon
Jimmy Witherspoon
Jimmy Witherspoon was an American jump blues singer.-Early life and career:James Witherspoon was born in Gurdon, Arkansas. He first attracted attention singing with Teddy Weatherford's band in Calcutta, India, which made regular radio broadcasts over the U. S. Armed Forces Radio Service during...

, John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark...

 and Junior Wells
Junior Wells
Junior Wells , born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., was an American Chicago blues vocalist, harmonica player, and recording artist...

. Although he often expresses his displeasure (in interviews and songs) with the music industry and the media in general, he has been instrumental in promoting the careers of many other musicians and singers, such as James Hunter
James Hunter (singer)
James Hunter is a Grammy Award-nominated English R&B musician and soul singer.-Career:Hunter's career began with a band called "Howlin' Wilf and the Vee-Jays," who released their first album in 1986 entitled Cry Wilf. Later he released three more with his own band...

, and fellow Belfast-born brothers, Brian
Brian Kennedy (singer)
Brian Edward Patrick Kennedy is an Irish singer-songwriter and author, known for his ballads, and has represented Ireland at Eurovision 2006. He is the younger brother of musician Bap Kennedy.-Personal life:...

 and Bap Kennedy
Bap Kennedy
Martin "Bap" Kennedy is a singer-songwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland and older brother of singer Brian Kennedy. He is noted for writing the song "Moonlight Kiss" which was on the soundtrack for the film Serendipity .Kennedy was in a successful band, Energy Orchard for many years and has...

.

Van Morrison also had great influence on the other arts: The German painter Johannes Heisig
Johannes Heisig
Johannes Heisig is a German painter and graphic artist. His work combines the tradition of German socialist realism with a subjective expressionism...

 created a series of Lithographs illustrating the book "In the Garden - for Van Morrison", published by Städtische Galerie Sonneberg, Germany, in 1997.

Personal life


Morrison lived in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 from birth until 1967, when he moved to New York after signing with Bang Records
Bang Records
Bang Records was created by Bert Berns in 1965 together with his partners from Atlantic Records: Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün and Jerry Wexler...

. Facing deportation due to visa problems, he managed to stay in the US when his American girlfriend Janet (Planet) Rigsbee agreed to marry him. Once married, Morrison and his wife moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, where he found work performing in the local clubs. The couple had one daughter Shana Morrison
Shana Morrison
Shana Morrison, born Shana Caledonia Morrison, on April 7, 1970, in Kingston, New York, is an American singer-songwriter and the daughter of Northern Irish singer-songwriter, Van Morrison, and his ex-wife, Janet Rigsbee Minto.-Early life:...

, who has become a singer-songwriter. Morrison and his family moved around America, living in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

; Woodstock, New York
Woodstock, New York
Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5,884 at the 2010 census, down from 6,241 at the 2000 census.The Town of Woodstock is in the northern part of the county...

; and a hilltop home in Fairfax, California
Fairfax, California
Fairfax is an incorporated town in Marin County, California, United States. Fairfax is located west-northwest of San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet...

. His wife appeared on the cover of the album Tupelo Honey
Tupelo Honey
Tupelo Honey is the fifth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in October 1971 by Warner Bros. Records. Morrison had written all of the songs on the album in Woodstock, New York before his move to Marin County, California, except for "You're My Woman", which...

. They divorced in 1973.

Morrison moved back to Europe in the late 1970s, first settling in London's Notting Hill Gate
Notting Hill Gate
Notting Hill Gate is one of the main thoroughfares of Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Historically the street was a location for toll gates, from which it derives its modern name.- Location :...

 area. Later, he moved to Bath, where he purchased Wool Hall Studios. He also has a home in the Irish seaside village of Dalkey
Dalkey
Dalkey is suburb of Dublin and seaside resort in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County, Ireland. It was founded as a Viking settlement and became an important port during the Middle Ages. According to John Clyn, it was one of the ports through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century...

 near Dublin, where legal actions against two different neighbours concerning safety and privacy issues have been taken to court in 2001 and in 2010. In the former case, Morrison pursued his action all the way to the Irish Supreme Court.

Morrison met Irish socialite Michelle Rocca
Michelle Rocca
Michelle Rocca is a Dublin socialite who initially achieved a degree of fame as the wife of footballer John Devine before becoming for a lengthy period the girlfriend, and later, the wife of Van Morrison...

 in the summer of 1992, and they often featured in the Dublin gossip columns, an unusual event for the reclusive Morrison. Rocca also appeared on one of his album covers, Days Like This. The couple are married and have two children; A daughter was born in January 2006 and a son was born in August 2007.

In December 2009, Texas native and Morrison employee Gigi Lee gave birth to a son she asserted was Morrison's and who was named after him. At the time, Morrison vehemently denied knowing Lee and issued a statement that the announcement of the birth on his website was the work of a hacker. Morrison and Lee began legal action against the UK Daily Mail with a High Court injunction that "banned anyone from ever publishing anything again about their ‘private lives or relationships"', which they subsequently withdrew when evidence surfaced that they had misled the court to cover up Morrison's relationship with Lee and his knowledge of the child.

Discography



  • Blowin' Your Mind!
    Blowin' Your Mind!
    - Musicians :* Van Morrison – guitar, vocals* Eric Gale - - Production :* Vic Anesini – Mastering* Brooks Arthur – Engineer* Bert Berns – Arranger, Director, Producer, Liner Notes* Adam Block – Project Director...

    (1967)
  • Astral Weeks
    Astral Weeks
    Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was Morrison's first album after Warner Bros. had been able to free him from his contract with Bang Records...

    (1968)
  • Moondance
    Moondance
    Moondance is the third solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on Warner Bros. Records on 28 February 1970 and peaked at #29 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart....

    (1970)
  • His Band and the Street Choir
    His Band and the Street Choir
    His Band and the Street Choir is the fourth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on 15 November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. Originally titled Virgo's Fool, Street Choir was renamed by Warner Bros. without Morrison's consent...

    (1970)
  • Tupelo Honey
    Tupelo Honey
    Tupelo Honey is the fifth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in October 1971 by Warner Bros. Records. Morrison had written all of the songs on the album in Woodstock, New York before his move to Marin County, California, except for "You're My Woman", which...

    (1971)
  • Saint Dominic's Preview
    Saint Dominic's Preview
    Saint Dominic's Preview is the sixth solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in July 1972 by Warner Bros. Records...

    (1972)
  • Hard Nose the Highway
    Hard Nose the Highway
    According to Ritchie Yorke, who published his biography, Into the Music in 1975, the album enjoyed rave reviews at the time of release. He cited one dissenting critic Charlie Gillett, who wrote in Let It Rock: "The trouble with Hard Nose the Highway is that although the music is quite often...

    (1973)
  • It's Too Late to Stop Now
    It's Too Late to Stop Now
    It's Too Late to Stop Now is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1974 . Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever recorded, It's Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be Morrison's greatest phase as a live...

    (Live) (1974)
  • Veedon Fleece
    Veedon Fleece
    Veedon Fleece is the eighth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in October, 1974 . Morrison recorded the album shortly after his divorce from wife Janet Rigsbee...

    (1974)
  • A Period of Transition
    A Period of Transition
    A Period of Transition is the ninth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1977 . It was his first album in two and a half years, largely forgotten or looked over by most casual fans...

    (1977)
  • Wavelength
    Wavelength (album)
    Wavelength, the tenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was released in the spring of 1978. The album has a different musical sound than his previous albums, leaning towards a pop sound with prominent electric guitars and synthesizers. Wavelength was Morrison's best selling...

    (1978)
  • Into the Music
    Into the Music
    Into the Music is the eleventh studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1979 .Typical of Morrison's music, the album draws on a variety of styles, from New Orleans R&B to Philly soul and Celtic folk, with featured soloists, saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and violinist...

    (1979)
  • Common One
    Common One
    Common One is the twelfth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1980.It has been said to be one of his most ambitious and daring albums since Astral Weeks...

    (1980)
  • Beautiful Vision
    Beautiful Vision
    Beautiful Vision is an album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released February 1982 by Warner Bros. Records in the US and Mercury Records in the UK. As with many of Morrison's recordings, spirituality is a major theme and some of the songs are based on the teachings of...

    (1982)
  • Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
    Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
    Inarticulate Speech of the Heart is the fourteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1983 ....

    (1983)
  • Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast
    Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast
    Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast is the second live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1984...

    (1984)
  • A Sense of Wonder
    A Sense of Wonder
    A Sense of Wonder is the fifteenth album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison released in 1985. When first released original pressings had to be recalled when the W. B. Yeats estate refused to allow Morrison's musical version of the poem, "Crazy Jane on God" to be included on the album,...

    (1985)
  • No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
    This album was hailed by most critics as a return to form and gave Morrison his best reviews of any of his albums in the eighties. John Wilde in Sounds remarks, "the crescendos here are never dampened by their subtle nature and never fall short of blinding. The whole album aches with a steady...

    (1986)
  • Poetic Champions Compose
    Poetic Champions Compose
    AllMusic's review referred to it "another of the art records" that Morrison had been producing since perhaps Common One but called it a "bit shocking" that "Morrison begins to shake off his self-conscious straitjacket here, letting a little more grit into the music, even if the record still is...

    (1987)
  • Irish Heartbeat
    Irish Heartbeat
    Irish Heartbeat is the eighteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is a collaboration with the traditional Irish musical group The Chieftains, released in 1988...

    (1988)
  • Avalon Sunset
    Avalon Sunset
    Avalon Sunset is the nineteenth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1989 The album has been described as "a powerful statement that the often turbulent muse had stabilized and was now a sublime force flowing through Van Morrison".The 29 January 2008 reissued and...

    (1989)
  • Enlightenment (1990)
  • Hymns to the Silence
    Hymns to the Silence
    Hymns to the Silence is the twenty-first album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1991 It peaked at No. 5 in the UK...

    (1991)
  • Too Long in Exile
    Too Long in Exile
    Too Long in Exile is the twenty-second album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1993 . It was one of Morrison's most commercially successful albums in years, due in part to a cover of "Gloria", one of his own songs originally recorded by Them...

    (1993)
  • A Night in San Francisco
    A Night in San Francisco
    A Night in San Francisco is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1994. Guest artists were John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and Jimmy Witherspoon as well as Morrison's daughter, Shana Morrison...

    (Live) (1994)
  • Days Like This (1995)
  • How Long Has This Been Going On
    How Long Has This Been Going On
    How Long Has This Been Going On is the twenty-fourth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, "with Georgie Fame and Friends", released in 1996...

    (1996)
  • Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison
    Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison
    Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison is the twenty-fifth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Mose Allison and Ben Sidran, released in 1996. It charted at #1 on the Top Jazz Albums chart.-Recording history:...

    (1996)
  • The Healing Game
    The Healing Game
    The Healing Game is the twenty-sixth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1997 .The June 30, 2008 reissued and remastered version of the album contains a take of the "Rough God Goes Riding" B-side "At the End of the Day"."Rough God Goes Riding" from this album was...

    (1997)
  • The Philosopher's Stone
    The Philosopher's Stone (album)
    The Philosopher's Stone is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison released in 1998 .The songs released on this 2-CD thirty track album were previously unreleased outtakes from 1969 to 1988...

    (1998)
  • Back on Top (1999)
  • The Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast 1998
    The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998
    The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998 is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, released in 2000 . Lonnie Donegan had played with the Chris Barber jazz band when he had his first hit with "Rock Island Line"/"John Henry" in 1955...

    (2000)
  • You Win Again
    You Win Again (album)
    You Win Again is the twenty-eighth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, and Linda Gail Lewis, released in 2000...

    (2000)
  • Down the Road (2002)
  • What's Wrong with This Picture?
    What's Wrong with This Picture? (Van Morrison album)
    What's Wrong with this Picture? is the thirtieth album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released on October 21 2003 ....

    (2003)
  • Magic Time (2005)
  • Pay the Devil
    Pay the Devil
    Pay the Devil is the thirty-second album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, featuring twelve cover versions of American country and western tunes and three original compositions...

    (2006)
  • Live at Austin City Limits Festival
    Live at Austin City Limits Festival
    Live at Austin City Limits Festival by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison is a limited edition live album recorded from the Austin City Limits Festival concert at which he was the first night headliner on September 15, 2006...

    (Limited edition) (2006)
  • Keep It Simple
    Keep It Simple
    Keep It Simple is the thirty-third solo studio album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on March 17, 2008 by Exile Productions Ltd./Polydor in the U.K.. and on the Lost Highway Records label on April 1, 2008, in the U.S....

    (2008)
  • Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl
    Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl
    Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl is the fifth live album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, and released in the US on February 24, 2009 and on February 9, 2009 in the UK...

    (2009)


Legacy


Morrison has received several major music awards in his career, including six Grammy Awards (1996–2007); inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 (January 1993), the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. It was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The goal is to create a museum but as of April, 2008, the means do not yet exist and so instead it is an online...

 (June 2003), and the Irish Music Hall of Fame
Irish Music Hall of Fame
The Irish Music Hall of Fame was a multimedia exhibition in Dublin, Ireland which opened in September 1999. It recognised what it described as the best of Irish musical talent of all types over the decades. Musician and singer Van Morrison was the first person to be inducted into the museum...

 (September 1999); and a Brit Award (February 1994). In addition he has received civil awards
Civil decoration
A civil decoration is a decoration awarded to civilians for distinguished service. Military personnel might also be eligible for services of a non-military nature...

 of an OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (June 1996) and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996), and he has honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster
University of Ulster
The University of Ulster is a multi-campus, co-educational university located in Northern Ireland. It is the largest single university in Ireland, discounting the federal National University of Ireland...

 (1992) and Queen's University Belfast (July 2001).

The Hall of Fame inductions began in 1993 with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Morrison notable for being the first inductee not to attend his own ceremony, so that Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson, OC; is a Canadian singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for his membership as the guitarist and primary songwriter within The Band. He was ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time...

 from The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

 accepted the award on his behalf. When Morrison became the initial musician inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame, Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

 presented Morrison with the award. Morrison's third induction was into the Songwriters Hall of Fame
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. It was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The goal is to create a museum but as of April, 2008, the means do not yet exist and so instead it is an online...

 for "recognition of his unique position as one of the most important songwriters of the past century." Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

 presented the award, following a performance during which the pair performed Morrison's "Crazy Love", from the album, Moondance. Morrison's BRIT Award was for his Outstanding Contribution to British Music. He was presented with the award by former Beirut hostage, John McCarthy
John McCarthy (journalist)
John Patrick McCarthy CBE is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster, and one of the hostages in the Lebanon hostage crisis...

, who while testifying to the importance of Morrison's song, "Wonderful Remark
Wonderful Remark
"Wonderful Remark" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and first released on the soundtrack album for the 1983 film The King of Comedy...

" called it "a song ... which was very important to us."

Morrison received two civil awards in 1996, first was the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 for his service to music, the second was an award by the French government when he was made an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

. Along with these state awards he has two honorary degrees in music; an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Ulster
University of Ulster
The University of Ulster is a multi-campus, co-educational university located in Northern Ireland. It is the largest single university in Ireland, discounting the federal National University of Ireland...

, and an honorary doctorate in music from Queen's University in his hometown of Belfast.

Among other awards are an Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1995, the BMI
Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music, Inc. is one of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed...

 ICON award in October 2004 for Morrison's "enduring influence on generations of music makers", and an Oscar Wilde: Honouring Irish Writing in Film award in 2007 for his contribution to over fifty films, presented by Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

 who compared Morrison to Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

 as they were both "visionaries who push boundaries". He was voted the Best International Male Singer of 2007 at the inaugural International Awards in Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club is a jazz club which has operated in London since 1959.The club opened on 30 October 1959 in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London's Soho district. It was managed by musicians Ronnie Scott and Pete King. In 1965 it moved to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Street...

, London.

Morrison has also appeared in a number of Greatest lists, including the TIME magazine list of The All-Time 100 Albums, which contained Astral Weeks and Moondance, and he appeared at number thirteen on the list of WXPN
WXPN
WXPN is a non-commercial, public radio station operated by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that broadcasts a music radio format called adult album alternative , along with many other format shows supported all with an indie slant...

's 885 All Time Greatest Artists. In 2000, Morrison ranked twenty-fifth on American cable music channel VH1
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

's list of its "100 Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll". In 2004, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine ranked Van Morrison forty-second on their list of "Greatest Artists of All Time".
Paste
Paste (magazine)
Paste is a monthly music and entertainment digital magazine published in the United States by Wolfgang's Vault. Its tagline is "Signs of Life in Music, Film and Culture."-History:...

ranked him twentieth in their list of "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" in 2006. Q
Q (magazine)
Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom.Founders Mark Ellen and David Hepworth were dismayed by the music press of the time, which they felt was ignoring a generation of older music buyers who were buying CDs — then still a new technology...

ranked him twenty-second on their list of "100 Greatest Singers" in April 2007 and he was voted twenty-fourth on the November 2008 list of Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Three of Morrison's songs were included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll: "Brown Eyed Girl
Brown Eyed Girl
"Brown Eyed Girl" is a song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison and produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns, it was first released in May 1967 on the album Blowin' Your Mind!. When released as a single, it rose to number eight on the...

", "Madame George
Madame George
"Madame George" is a ten-minute song by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It appears on the album Astral Weeks, released in 1968. The song features Morrison performing the vocals and acoustic guitar...

" and "Moondance".

Morrison has been announced to be one of the 2010 honorees listed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

.

External links



  • Van Morrison @ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

  • Van Morrison @ Songwriters Hall of Fame
    Songwriters Hall of Fame
    The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. It was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The goal is to create a museum but as of April, 2008, the means do not yet exist and so instead it is an online...

  • Photos: Van Morrison: A Life in Music TIME