We’ll talk about a few of the unexpected aspects of Van Morrison’s life in this piece. These ten simple facts will give us a better understanding of the artist’s way of life.
10 Things About Van Morrison You Didn’t Know
The Irish singer-reputation songwriter speaks for himself, both musically (has anyone heard of “Gloria” or “Brown Eyed Girl“?) and in terms of the numerous awards showered upon him. He is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a multiple Grammy Award winner.
The sole remaining honor is a well-deserved knighthood from his country; wouldn’t the title “Sir Van The Man” be lovely? Until then, here are 10 things about Van Morrison that you probably didn’t know as he turns 66 on, August 31:
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- Played the Hits to Pay His Dues.
Van began his career in the music industry at a young age in the late 1950s, playing a range of instruments for Irish showbands, from the guitar to the saxophone. His repertoire comprised of covers of vogue singles of the day, as was customary at the time. When he eventually began penning his own hit records, the time he spent doing his due diligence would be a helpful experience.
- Wrote “Gloria” at the Age of Just 18.
Morrison’s timeless song “Gloria,” which he composed at the age of 18 and released with his first band, Them, in 1964, has been covered by literally thousands of bands and musicians. During his live performances, the words were frequently improvised, lengthening the song to as much as 20 minutes.
- They Are “Vanatics,” Not Fans
So, and you thought that describing a fan as “Deadhead” was interesting? Van Morrison fans are devoted, or at least that is what we concluded when we learned about the fan who spent 13 hours getting an album cover and the artist’s signature tattooed on his arm. One more Van fan has attended nearly 700 performances, including 56 of the 90 concerts Morrison performed in 2003. That’s a good number of “crazy” nights.
- Unafraid of Working Without a Safety Net.
In 1968, when Van Morrison assembled a group of musicians to record “Astral Weeks,” the sessions were virtually devoid of structure and musical notation. Morrison preferred to record in a manner that remained faithful to the jazz-influenced nature of the material.
His instructions were straightforward: Follow me and stay out of the way. Easy enough, correct? He utilized the same formula when recording the classic album Moondance.
- The Band Christened Him “Van the Man”.
During The Band’s farewell concert, ‘The Last Waltz,’ Van Morrison earned his legendary moniker while performing with them. As he left the stage after concluding his performance, guitarist Robbie Robertson yelled “Van The Man!” and the rest is history.
- Willing to Discuss Certain Matters.
Van is unwilling to discuss his personal life, but he dispels the notion that he doesn’t conduct many interviews by stating that the contrary is true. However, despite his willingness to discuss his craft, he makes it clear that he maintains his personal life completely separate. In summing up his position, he stated that he would always communicate about his personal life “through my music, for which I am known.”
- He’s a Good Friend in Difficult Times.
As the late Farrah Fawcett, a huge Van Morrison fan, fought cancer that would ultimately kill her, Morrison learned that she would be unable to attend his Los Angeles concerts due to her illness. Therefore, he had the performances recorded and sent her copies for viewing at home. Farrah had been a devotee of Van’s music since the 1970s, and Van admired her performance in ‘The Apostle‘ in particular.
- Almost collaborated with Miles Davis.
Van mentions Howlin’ Wolf, Leadbelly, and Billie Holiday as individuals with whom he would have liked to collaborate. The inclusion of the late, legendary Miles Davis on that list appears to be one of his greatest regrets. Morrison almost had the opportunity to collaborate with the jazz legend, but according to reports, he “didn’t reach him in time.”
- Bob Seger Enjoys Van’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” Approach.
Van Morrison was a significant influence on Bob Seger, who admired his ability to create albums that were consistently excellent and “committed” to a particular style of music without being too uniform. In an interview with Bob Costas, he praised Morrison’s “dream-like, trance-like” singing manner and his jazz-like “winging it” technique.
- Wants “The Manager” to Cut Him Loose.
In 1985, an interviewer questioned Morrison about his influence on so many other artists, citing Bruce Springsteen as one who “ripped off” Vans ’70s stage movements specifically. Morrison had surprisingly never heard of Springsteen before. Now that he knew what Bruce was up to, he had severe words for ‘The Boss,’ expressing that he felt “pissed off.” So much for recognizing your heroes, huh?
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