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Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Further proof of Morrison's renewed popularity arrived with the 1990 release of Mercury's best-of package; far and away the best-selling album of his career, it introduced the singer to a new generation of fans. A new studio record, Enlightenment, appeared that same year, followed in 1991 by the ambitious double set Hymns to the Silence, widely hailed as his most impressive outing in years.

Following the uniformity of his 1980s work, the remainder of the decade proved impressively eclectic: 1993's Too Long in Exile returned Morrison to his musical roots with covers of blues and R&B classics, while on 1995's Days Like This he teamed with daughter Shana for a duet on "You Don't Know Me." For the Verve label, he cut 1996's How Long Has This Been Going On, a traditional jazz record co-credited to longtime pianist Georgie Fame, while for the follow-up Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison, he worked with guest of honor Allison himself. Morrison continued balancing the past and the future in the years to follow, alternating between new studio albums (1997's The Healing Game, 1999's Back on Top) and collections of rare and live material (1998's The Philosopher's Stone and 2000's The Skiffle Sessions and You Win Again). It wasn't until 2002 that an album of new material surfaced, but in May his long-anticipated Down the Road was released.

Throughout the rest of his career, he pursued a successful and idiosyncratic musical path. Among his other hits are Domino, Moondance, Wild Night and Tupelo Honey.

Morrison has expressed a general disdain for the opinions of the press and critics. His work is thoughtful, often spiritual in nature, and combines elements of jazz, R&B, Celtic traditions, and stream-of-consciousness.


Discography:
Blowin' Your Mind (1967)
Astral Weeks (1968)
Moondance (1970)
His Band and the Street Choir (1970)
Tupelo Honey (1971)
Saint Dominic's Preview (1972)
Hard Nose the Highway (1973)
It's Too Late to Stop Now (1974)
Veedon Fleece (1974)
A Period of Transition (1977)
Wavelength (1978)
Into the Music (1979)
Common One (1980)
Beautiful Vision (1982)
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983)
A Sense of Wonder (1985)
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986)
Poetic Champions Compose (1987)
Irish Heartbeat (1988)
Avalon Sunset (1989)
Enlightenment (1990)
Hymns to the Silence (1991)
Too Long in Exile (1993)
A Night in San Francisco (1994)
Days Like This (1995)
How Long Has This Been Going On (1996)
Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (1996)
The Healing Game (1997)
Back on Top (1999)
The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast 1998 (2000; with Lonnie Donegan)
You Win Again (2000)
Down the Road (2002)
What's Wrong with this Picture? (2003)


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Van Morrison

Artist Biography - Van Morrison

Equal parts blue-eyed soul shouter and wild-eyed poet-sorcerer, Van Morrison is among popular music's true innovators, a restless seeker whose incantatory vocals and alchemical fusion of R&B, jazz, blues, and Celtic folk produced perhaps the most spiritually transcendent body of work in the rock & roll canon. While a notoriously difficult and eccentric figure whose steadfast rejection of commercial trends and industry fashions kept him absent from the pop charts for decades at a stretch, Morrison nevertheless enjoyed a massive cult following that grew exponentially throughout the course of his lengthy and prolific career. Subject only to the whims of his own muse, his recordings cover extraordinary stylistic ground yet retain a consistency and purity virtually unmatched among his contemporaries, connected by the mythic power of his singular musical vision and his incendiary vocal delivery: spiraling repetitions of wails and whispers that bypassed the confines of language to articulate emotional truths far beyond the scope of literal meaning.

George Ivan Morrison (b. August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland), known as "Van", is a singer and exponent of so-called Celtic Soul. He was exposed to music from an early age, as his father collected American jazz albums, and his mother was a singer.

He initially came to prominence fronting the band Them, which he formed in 1964 and with whom he had a number of chart hits. Morrison became unhappy with increasing emphasis on the use of studio musicians, and left the band after a U.S. tour in 1966. He returned to Belfast, intending to quit the music business. Them's producer, Bert Berns, persuaded him to return to New York and record solo. From these early sessions emerged one of his best-known songs, "Brown-Eyed Girl."

After Berns's death, Morrison started recording with the Warner Brothers label. His first album for them was Astral Weeks, considered by many to be his best work. Released in 1968, the album was critically acclaimed, but received an indifferent response from the public.

The first half of the 1970s was the most fertile creative period of Morrison's career. From Moondance onward, his records reflected an increasingly celebratory and profoundly mystical outlook spurred on in large part by his marriage to wife Janet Planet and the couple's relocation to California. After His Band and the Street Choir yielded his biggest chart hit, "Domino," Morrison released 1971's Tupelo Honey, a lovely, pastoral meditation on wedded bliss highlighted by the single "Wild Night." In the wake of the following year's stirring St. Dominic's Preview, he formed the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, featured both on the studio effort Hard Nose the Highway and on the excellent live set It's Too Late to Stop Now. However, in 1973 he not only dissolved the group but also divorced Planet and moved back to Belfast. The stunning 1974 LP Veedon Fleece chronicled Morrison's emotional turmoil; he then remained silent for three years, reportedly working on a number of aborted projects but releasing nothing until 1977's aptly titled A Period of Transition.

Plagued for some time by chronic stage fright, Morrison mounted his first tour in close to five years in support of 1978's Wavelength; his performances became more and more erratic, however, and during a 1979 date at New York's Palladium, he even stalked off-stage in mid-set and did not return. Into the Music, released later that year, evoked a more conventionally spiritual perspective than before, a pattern continued on successive outings for years to come. Albums like 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, 1985's A Sense of Wonder, and 1986's No Guru, No Method, No Teacher are all largely cut from the same cloth, employing serenely beautiful musical backdrops to explore themes of faith and healing. For 1988's Irish Heartbeat, however, Morrison teamed with another of his homeland's musical institutions, the famed Chieftains, for a collection of traditional folk songs. Meanwhile, Avalon Sunset heralded a commercial rebirth of sorts in 1989. While "Whenever God Shines His Light," a duet with Cliff Richard, became Morrison's first U.K. Top 20 hit in over two decades, the gorgeous "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" emerged as something of a contemporary standard, with a Rod Stewart cover cracking the U.S. Top Five in 1993.