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Van Morrison: “Tupelo Honey” and “Into the Mystic”

It is hard to characterize Van Morrison. Is he a rocker? A soul singer? An R& B artist. Whatever he is, he’s good. This is the start of Wikipedia’s profile:

Van Morrison, OBE (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are described as mystical and transcendental,[1][2] while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now, are critically acclaimed and appear at the top of many greatest album lists.

Known as “Van the Man” to his fans, Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands covering the popular hits of the day. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”. His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. After Berns’ death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks in 1968.[3] Even though this album wourg ld gradually garner high praise, it was initially poorly received; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist,[4] and throughout the 1970s he built on his reputation with a series of critically acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains. In 2008 he performed Astral Weeks live for the first time since 1968. (Continue Reading…)

Morrison has been around for a long time. Here is Ultimate Classic Rock’s take on his top ten songs.

Above is “Tupelo Honey” and below is “Into the Mystic.”

[Homepage photo: Jarvin]

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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