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Van Morrison is 70 Today

Today Van Morrison turns 70.

He was 23 years old when he recorded the album Astral Weeks.

He was 25 when he recorded the album Moondance.

I will say no more. Happy birthday, good sir, and thank you for the music. Above, Glen Hansard covering “Astral Weeks” in Paris, 2011

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22 Comments To "Van Morrison is 70 Today"

#1 Comment By Erik Johnson On August 31, 2015 @ 8:31 pm

Maybe you’ve heard it, but if not, check out his earliest work on a record called The Bang Masters. It is mind blowing.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 31, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

Well, that makes ME feel young at 61. Never followed Van Morrison, but he was a musician who sold a lot of albums, right?

#3 Comment By Ken On August 31, 2015 @ 9:09 pm

he was a musician who sold a lot of albums, right?

Some of his best records aren’t very commercial. Veedon Fleece, for example. And Common One.

[NFR: That’s really true. Nobody I know likes Veedon Fleece, but I love it. I pretty much gave up on his new stuff after Into the Music, though. — RD]

#4 Comment By larry ellis On August 31, 2015 @ 9:26 pm

I should have known you were a Van fan. We have too much else in common for it not to have been so. If you have not listened to On Hyndford Street from Hymns to the Silence, you need to do so, right away.
Keep going, Mr. Morrison.

#5 Comment By Isidore The Farmer On August 31, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

I can listen to Van all day. One of the things I like is that his music aged with him. I like that in artists. Few things are more vulgar to me than 65 year old men acting like they are still 20.

Van’s catalog is actually really deep. Here’s a good example of later Van at the top of his game:

[1]

#6 Comment By Michelle On August 31, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

Van is still the man. I saw him in concert when I was still in college back in the late 1970s. I’d love to see him again. Amazing song writer and musician.

#7 Comment By Suzanne Blihovde On August 31, 2015 @ 11:10 pm

The first thing my teen-aged old daughter said to me when I picked up from class today was “It’s Van Morrison’s birthday.” She then proceeded to plug her phone into the car stereo and we blasted Van’s music all the way home. I have to say it was a proud parent moment for me.

#8 Comment By Roger H. On August 31, 2015 @ 11:15 pm

I saw him on tour in 2006. He only plays a few shows each year and is really punctual. He comes on at 7:30 on the dot and the show is over at 9:00. But I tell you, it’s one of the best 90 minutes of music I ever heard.

I still have the t-shirt I got at that concert.

#9 Comment By Ken K On September 1, 2015 @ 12:17 am

The first album I ever bought was Moondance when it was first released. The album I go back to over and over now a days is Avalon Sunset. Not one of his most popular but very spiritual.

#10 Comment By route66news On September 1, 2015 @ 1:00 am

A splendidly entertaining report about how “Astral Weeks” happened was published just a few months ago by Boston Magazine:

[2]

#11 Comment By Philly guy On September 1, 2015 @ 2:47 am

On hynford st is very special.had veedon fleece on vinyl transferred it on hear it come up on iPod occasionally..favorite is vanlose stairway and it stoned me

#12 Comment By Philly guy On September 1, 2015 @ 2:50 am

Almost forgot troubadour and madam George. Saw van at Mann music center, no opener.

#13 Comment By Hoosier On September 1, 2015 @ 6:28 am

And don’t forget that Highway 61 Revisited was released 50 years ago on Monday. Be thankful guys from the golden age of modern music like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison are still with us. Can’t see anybody under the age of 40 who can carry on that legacy.

#14 Comment By Bill Hoffman On September 1, 2015 @ 9:05 am

I started listening obsessively to Sweet Thing in the 7th grade (quite a kick off for puberty!). It was (and is) so beautiful it hurt to listen to it but I couldn’t stop myself. It’s now deeply rooted in my psyche.

Incredibly, though, I never listened to the rest of the album until a couple years ago (I’m now 29). Such a great work of art, it’s one of the few albums I can listen to all the way through without feeling the urge to skip a track.

#15 Comment By andrew On September 1, 2015 @ 9:52 am

23 and 25 years old? Good Lord.

As Tom Lehrer once said about Mozart, “It’s people like this who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished. It’s a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.”

#16 Comment By Max Mac On September 1, 2015 @ 11:23 am

I second “On Hyndford Street” (and the astonishing “Be Thou My Vision” that follows; just try not to cry) and the entire Hymns to the Silence. It is well worth seeking out on the used market. And Veedon Fleece is much beloved by many, many Van fans; it’s in his Top Ten. Thanks, Rod!

#17 Comment By Steve Gibson On September 1, 2015 @ 11:58 am

Morrison’s songs impress me, a liberal usually more I to Springsteen and U2, because there is no hatefulness. They have helped reach me in deep despair.

#18 Comment By Bill On September 1, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

Thanks Route66news for the Astral Weeks article. (My first and fave Van album). Van went home to Belfast for his birthday and did a concert on Cypress Ave: [3]

#19 Comment By Lulu On September 1, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

Van the man! Saw him in ’95, thought he was completely closed off from the audience, but the music itself was sublime. I love all his stuff up through “When that Rough God Goes Riding,” then I lost track of him.

#20 Comment By Mike W On September 1, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

Thanks for this reminder. I went home last night, made a vodka tonic and before I started sipping, played Moondance on my trombone for a while in celebration.

By the way, my wife and I loved Hansert in “Once.” What a terrific movie!

#21 Comment By BasilNova On September 1, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

Thank you, Van. Your “barbaric yawp” has expressed more for my soul than mere words ever could. Thanks for the music, indeed.

#22 Comment By Max Mac On September 2, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

Rod,

I missed your stating you had given up on Van’s work post Into the Music (a five-star effort to be sure). It is true post-’79 there are mostly three star efforts. But . . .May I offer four albums since that are well worth your time:

– Poetic Champions Compose (1987), his strongest effort in the 80s, four and a half stars.

– Enlightenment (1990), four stars, a solid run-up to Hymns to the Silence

– Hymns to the Silence (1991), his greatest later-day masterpiece. I put this in the same league as Astral Weeks, Moondance, St. Dominic’s Preview and Into the Music. Seriously. Wish I could find Richard Lehner’s December, 1991 Stereophile review

– Too Long in Exile (1993), four stars; while it runs out of steam at the end, the first two-thirds are excellent and crackling with energy, especially the “Gloria” with John Lee Hooker.

– Down the Road (2002), his best overall album of the past 22 years or so.

His three-CD Still on Top (2008) contains many great songs post-’79 as well, and the remastering is splendid.

Maybe now is not the time to buy given the loss of your father.