Van Morrison is 70

Irish Heartbeat (1991) is an album of Van Morrison with the Chieftains.

vanmorrisonGeorge Ivan ‘Van’ Morrison is one of those artists who’s been around practically as long as I’ve been listening to music.

The Northern Irish singer/songwriter has released over three dozen albums. I have his second solo album, Astral Weeks, and his 2012 album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, but only about a half dozen in between, so there are definite gaps in my Van awareness.

Incidentally, Legacy Recordings has just acquired most of his catalog, and Rhino Remasters, Expands His “Astral Weeks,” “His Band and the Street Choir”.

I dare say if I listened to the entirety of his oeuvre, I’d likely find 25 more songs, but these are the ones that struck a chord with me today. And while the top 7 are probably my favorites, the order is fairly arbitrary.

25. When That Evening Sun Goes Down, from Tupelo Honey (1971) -TH
24. Cleaning Windows, from Beautiful Vision (1982)
23. I’ve Been Working, from His Band and The Street Choir (1970), noted as SC. This was the third solo album he put out, but the first one I owned, so it will be over-represented here.
22. Spanish Rose, from Blowin’ Your Mind! (1967) – BYM
21. Have I Told You Lately, from Avalon Sunset (1989)

20. Close Enough for Jazz, from in Too Long in Exile (1993). There’s also a version, with lyrics, on Born to Sing.
19. Gypsy Queen, from SC
18. Wonderful Remark, from the soundtrack album for The King of Comedy (1983) and The Best of Van Morrison (1990); I have the former, but not the latter
17. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, from Poetic Champions Compose (1987)
16. Tupelo Honey, from TH; single went to #47 in 1972

15. Bright Side of the Road, from Into the Music (1979)
14. Call Me Up in Dreamland, from SC; the single went to #95 in 1971
13. Wavelength, from Wavelength (1978); the single went to #42 in 1978
12. Here Comes the Night, from the eponymous first album by the group Them; the single went to #24 in 1965
11. Be Thou My Vision, from Hymns to the Silence (1991). This is actually from a double CD I have never owned, but have played, and there may be songs on here I like even better.

10. Street Choir, from SC
9. Marie’s Wedding, from Irish Heartbeat (1991). This is an album with the Chieftains.
8. Wild Night, from TH; the single went to #28 in 1971
7. Blue Money, from SC; the single went to #23 in 1971
6. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile), from Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972); the single went to #61 in 1972

5. Brown Eyed Girl, from BYM; the single went to #10 in 1967
4. If I Ever Needed Someone, from SC
3. Moondance, from Moondance (1970); the single went to #92 in 1977, but the song was a staple of FM radio
2. Gloria, from Them; the Them single went to #93 in 1965, and #71 upon reissue in 1966
1. Domino, from SC; the single went to #9 in 1971
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Coverville 1090: That brown-eyed girl is gonna getcha good. Cover stories for Van Morrison and Shania Twain!

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “Van Morrison is 70”

  1. So much good Van out there. I can’t decide whether “Jackie Wilson Said” or “Wild Night” is at the top, but I’m pretty sure #3 is “It’s All in the Game,” which Van tucked into “Into the Music” (1979) and on the B-side of the “Cleaning Windows” single; it’s the only reading of the song I’ve ever heard that owes nothing to either of Tommy Edwards’ early-rock-era waxings.

    And then there’s “T. B. Sheets,” a 1967 album track (nine minutes and change) about watching a girl dying of tuberculosis. In terms of “I can’t believe there’s a song here,” it’s right up there with Harry Chapin’s “Sniper.”

  2. All I ever hear from Morrison anymore is “Brown Eyed Girl”. His musical achievement is so much more than that…”Astral Weeks” is an astonishing listen to this day….

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