Van Morrison

2014 Van Morrison

George Ivan Morrison was born in Belfast, Ireland on August 31st, 1945. With a mother who was a singer and a father who collected classic blues and American jazz, George had been surrounded by music since birth. At the age of 15 he quit school to join a local R&B group and began touring the military bases throughout Europe. He eventually returned home to start up his own band, 'Them', which released their debut single 'Don't Start Crying Now' in 1964, earning the group a devout local following. Morrison left 'Them' following a 1966 U.S. tour due to constant line up changes, and decided to quit the music business.

It wasn't long before Morrison had been convinced to move to the states and begin recording as a solo artist. His first sessions produced what is arguably his most famous hit, 'Brown Eyed Girl', which was a top ten hit in the summer of 1967. The resulting album was 'Blowin' Your Mind'. In 1968 Morrison signed to Warner Bros. and began work on a new album. The product was another Morrison masterpiece and one of the greatest records ever made, 'Astral'. His follow-up in 1970 was 'Moondance', which was every bit as brilliant as 'Astral' and also basked in some well-deserved commercial success.

Over the next few years Morrison would experience his most creative period thus far. Releasing 'Tupelo Honey' in 1971, forming the Caledonia Soul Orchestra featured on the studio effort 'Hard Nose the Highway' and an astounding live set titled, 'It's Too Late to Stop Now'. However, in 1973 he dissolved the group, divorced his wife, Janet Planet and moved back to Belfast. In 1974 he released 'Veedon Fleece', chronicling his emotional turmoil. Morrison stayed quiet until 1977 when finally 'A Period of Transition' was complete.

Morrison, in 1978, took to the stage for the first time in nearly five years in support of his new release 'Wavelength'. A year later 'Into the Music' was cut with 'Inarticulate Speech of the Heart', 'A Sense of Wonder', and 'No Guru, No Method, No Teacher' all to follow. Morrison teamed up with the Chieftains in 1988 to release an album of traditional folk songs. It wasn't until 1993 Morrison experienced a commercial rebirth of sorts when Rod Stewart covered 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' from the a1989 album, 'Avalon Sunset'.

Morrison proved his renewed popularity with the 1990 release of Mercury's best-of package introducing him to a new generation of fans. 'Enlightenment', was released the same year followed by 'Hymns of Silence' in 1991, which was hailed his most impressive display in years. The remainder of the 90's proved extremely eclectic. An album of classic blues and R&B covers titled, 'Too Long in Exile' was released in 1993. 1995 brought 'Days Like This' and he cut a traditional jazz album with Georgie Fame for Verve in 1996.

Since then Van Morrison has alternated between reviving the old and creating the new. He's released 'The Healing Game' in 1997, 'Back on Top' in 1998 and collections of live and rare material with 1998's 'Philosopher's Stone' and 'The Skiffle Sessions' in 2000. May of 2002 brought us the long anticipated 'Down the Road' from Van Morrison and along with it another pleasurable listening experience. Even though he has been a notoriously difficult and eccentric figure, Van Morrison has never been absent from pop culture or the live stage.


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