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Van Morrison

Singer and Songwriter

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Van's the man - from Them to now

  • Jul 5, 2009
  • by
Van Morrison - Top 10 Favorites
Back in the 1960’s, Van Morrison was that fiery little red-headed guy from Belfast Ireland who fronted the group “Them” (named after the 1954 monster movie featuring radiation-induced giant ants from New Mexico). He grew up in a household with a vocalist mother and a father who collected American jazz and blues records. At a young age, Morrison had mastered guitar, harmonica, and sax. His song “Gloria” reached #10 on the charts in the USA for the “Shadows of Knight” in 1966 but Them’s version with Van’s growling vocal had only reached #93 the year before. In the 60’s, every garage band learned that 3-chord anthem of angst-ridden male teenage lust. When Them’s producer Bert Berns moved to the states and formed Bang Records, Van came over as a solo artist and recorded “Brown-eyed girl” which was a top 10 radio hit in 1967. In 1968, he recorded the impressionistic jazz-infused album “Astral Weeks” which was critically acclaimed but not a commercial success. Songs like “Madame George” and “The way young lovers do” are enduring but enigmatic masterpieces. Van’s career really took off in the 70’s, and as time went by his music became more and more mystical. Although hard to limit it to just 10, here are my “top 10” Van Morrison personal favorites:
  • Gloria (1965)
  • All for myself (1965)
  • Brown eyed girl (1967)
  • Domino (1970)
  • And it stoned me (1970)
  • Come running (1970)
  • Wild night (1971)
  • Jackie Wilson said (I’m in heaven when you smile) (1972) … “I’m so wound up, don’t need no coffee in my cup” is a great line!
  • Bright side of the road (1979)
  • You make me feel so free (1979)
Van's the man - from Them to now

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July 05, 2009
I'm a fan of Van Morrison as well, with favorites being Brown Eyed Girl and Domino. I believe Sunday morning did a piece on him not so long ago, and of course, it brought back all those good memories. Thanks for sharing!
July 05, 2009
You have excellent taste young man. Here in Providence "Brown-Eyed Girl" was removed from the playlist on one of our two Top 40 stations in the summer of 1965. The reason? The line "making love in the green grass behind the stadium" was considered quite risque in those days. How times have changed!
July 05, 2009
Yeah, back way back in the 60's we thought we were pretty radical and look at things now! Remember when Ed Sullivan made the Rolling Stones sing "Let's spend SOME TIME together" (instead of "Let's spend the night together") on his show? Jagger had such a look of disgust on his face, but he acquiesced.
July 06, 2009
Was it true that he also wanted to make The Doors change the lyric to Light My Fire from "girl we couldn't get any higher" to "girl we couldn't get much better"?
July 05, 2009
Two of my all-time fave Van Morrison songs didn't make your list- "Crazy Love" and "Moondance". Up there's definitely "And It Stoned Me", "Gloria" and OF COURSE, "Brown-Eyed Girl". I'm a big fan and grew up listening to Van playing throughout all of our family parties. I didn't know he was in a group before, so I'll have to check out "Them" or ask my uncles about them! Thanks so much for posting this...
July 05, 2009
Yeah, it's like the character in Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity." When he's asked to name his top 10 songs he almost has a panic attack trying to decide. You're absolutely right about "Crazy Love" - beautiful song - somehow it wasn't in my iTunes library, but I just fixed that! As far as "Moondance" goes, I just felt it was one of those tunes that has been a bit "overexposed".
July 06, 2009
I think that "Moondance" is a bit overplayed but, I think that "Brown Eyed Girl" is more so but, that's just because I feel like I hear it on every jukebox and every wedding LOL...I love High Fidelity and feel a great kinship to the main character! To pick only 10 songs is a near impossibility.
More Van Morrison reviews
Quick Tip by . January 07, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Without a doubt one of the most prolific artists of the past 40 years. Van Morrison has been churning out consistantly great material during all of that time. He dabbles in all sorts of genres as well. I'm hard pressed to find very many bad Van Morrison tunes.
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2010
One of my favorite musicians. I've been trying to seen Van in concert for years and just keep missing him. My ultimate goal would be to see him perform in Dublin. Fantastic, easy listening music that always puts you in a good mood.
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Steve DiBartola ()
Ranked #152
I was invited to join Lunch by one of the developers, who apparently read some reviews I posted on Library Thing. My interests are books, music, and movies. I enjoy both classical and contemporary fiction, … more
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Part Celtic bard, part soulster, and part ecstatically scatting mystical visionary, Van Morrison is a painfully introverted figure who rarely gives interviews and is often at a loss to explain his own lyrics. In the studio, Van Morrison can sing like a soul man getting the spirit; onstage, however, his brilliance can be undercut by whim or temper, and he has upon occasion alienated audiences by rushing through songs and remaining aloof between them. Nonetheless, his influence among rock singer/songwriters is unrivaled by any living artist outside of that other prickly legend, Bob Dylan. Echoes of Morrison's rugged literateness and his gruff, feverishly emotive vocal style can be heard in latter-day icons ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Elvis Costello, while the Irish artist's own restless muse has kept him prolific and engaging through the '90s.

Morrison's mother sang at social gatherings, and his father collected classic blues and jazz records. He learned guitar, saxophone, and harmonica while in school, and was playing with Belfast blues, jazz, and rock bands by his mid-teens. At 15, he quit school, joined an R&B band called the Monarchs, and toured Europe with them as saxophonist. While in Germany, a film director offered Morrison a role in a movie as a jazz saxophonist. The project was dropped, and Morrison returned to Belfast and opened an R&B club in the Maritime Hotel. He recruited some friends to form Them, which became an immediate local sensation as the ...

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Filmography: The Last Waltz, Glastonbury
Country: Northern Ireland
Birth Date: August 31, 1945
Birth Place: Belfast, Belfast, Ireland
Gender: Male
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