Van Morrison - Biography
Van Morrison (b. George Ivan
Morrison, August 31 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a singer,
songwriter, guitarist, harmonica player, occasional saxophone
player, 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, most notably the rock standard, "Gloria,"
subsequently covered by the group Shadows of Knight.
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. Themís 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." Master
session drummer Gary Chester played
on that song.
After Bernsís death, Morrison
started recording with the Warner Bros. 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.
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
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, Christianity, and
Many consider his performance of
"Caravan" to be the climax of The Last Waltz, Martin
Scorsese's 1978 film of The Band's farewell concert.
In 1990 he joined many other guests
for Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin.
He performed a duet with singer Tom
Jones on the 1999 album Reload and with musical legend
Charles on his 2004 album Genius Loves Company.
In 1997, Morrison collaborated with
blues legend John Lee Hooker on Hooker's album, Don't Look Back.
This was not the first time the two had worked together; Morrison
appeared on both Hooker's Never Get Out
of These Blues Alive and Chill Out previously.
Music Bios A-Z
Free Music Tools
Artists & Bands Gallery