Significant Songs (44)


Van Morrison first came to my notice as the lead singer of the Northern Irish band ‘Them’, in 1964. I bought their single, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, and ‘Gloria’ was the B-side. He later became a solo artist, prolific songwriter, and something of a household name. Most people could name one or more of his hits, and possibly the titles of his albums too. It would be fair to say that at least a few of his recordings have earned the status of ‘standard’. With this in mind, it would be correct to say that this is a man of great musical talent, and a significant figure in the music industry, still performing to this day, aged almost seventy.
From the time of his second solo release, ‘Astral Weeks’, in 1968, I collected every record he ever made, until 1999. I counted them, 26. Although there have been many more since then, I haven’t bought any. My relationship with him as a performer has been unusual. I only ever got to see him once, after waiting what seemed to be a lifetime to do so. And I hated it. Expensive seats at the Albert Hall were not justified by the appearance of a rather grumpy, disconnected performer, who rushed through his repertoire as if on fast-forward. He left much of the job of entertaining the crowd to British jazz man, Georgie Fame, as he just stared at the floor, mumbling a selection of his hits. To say I was disappointed would be a massive understatement of how I felt that night.
Despite this, his music still gets to me, and it undeniably endures. His songs are like a soundtrack to a large part of my life. From the early blues hits before I was even a teenager, through to the haunting Celtic melodies when I was well over forty. Here is one of my favourites.


6 thoughts on “Significant Songs (44)

    1. Oh yes indeed Niall. I have it on DVD now, formerly on VHS, taped from a TV showing. Mainly because of ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, a Band favourite of mine. It was a great concert though, and well-filmed by Scorsese.
      Thanks for the comment. Pete.


    1. He is quite a reclusive man Gretchen. Few of us have ever seen him as ‘himself’. I have to say, that in interviews, he is less than charming, as a rule.
      Glad you like the music though. Something we can share, across that wide ocean!
      Best wishes from England, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m a huge fan of VM – I even went so far as to include a song on my flower blog one of his best I think. Was that concert at the Albert Hall on BBC4 a while ago? I remember seeing one with him and I am sure Georgie Fame, and I was rather puzzled by the act. I wanted to go and see Eric Clapton at the Albert Hall a few years ago when we were in Surrey, but the cheapest tickets were £250!! Each!! And knowing me, I’d be behind a column. We decided we’d buy the CDs and use the money saved for a holiday 🙂


    1. I don’t recall the concert being on BBC4 but it was quite a few years ago now, and Georgie Fame often tours with him in the UK. We went with friends, and had a ‘box’ at around £60 a head. That was £59 too much, for what was really a shambles. Some of my friends didn’t agree though, and thought I made too much of it. Maybe so, but I was still very unhappy. ‘Moondance’ is one of those that I refer to as a ‘standard’.
      Glad to find common ground with this one Jude.
      Regards as always, Pete. x


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