Van Morrison - Biography

Van MorrisonVan 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 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, Christianity, and stream-of-consciousness.

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 Ray 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.

Van Morrison Official Website

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