Happy Birthday Van Morrison!


Van "The Man" Morrison turns 63 today. Notorious for his mercurial mood swings and, uh, "artistic temperament," he's been known to perform whole concerts with his back to the audience, grumbling forced thank-yous between songs and he's as likely to spit in your eye as answer your questions in an interview, but the cat is bloody brilliant and produced an unbroken string of inspired albums between 1968-1974 rivaled only by his fellow United Kingdom luminary Elton John and a handful of others. He's been no slouch in the intervening years and remains one of the most prolific musicians of his generation, especially in what many regard as the "golden years," where Morrison seems determined to steadily crank out albums. His most recent release, Keep It Simple, arrived this past April.

Full of Irish pride (and bluster), Morrison came to fame as a 19-year-old in Them, who scored a monster hit (and added one to rock's cannon) with "Gloria" in 1964. And he's been dodging the spotlight in many respects ever since. There's a seriousness and intrinsic spirituality to his work, occasionally punctured by lovers ditties or revisitations of the skiffle music of his youth. One hopes, on this day of all days, Mr. Morrison eases up and enjoys being alive and basks in the well-earned adoration of millions of fans. He's a force of bloody nature he is, and we encourage him, to borrow a few of his words, to "rave on thy holy fool/ down through the weeks of ages/ in the moss borne dark dank pools/ Rave on, down though the industrial revolution/ Empiricism, atomic and nuclear age." We're glad you were born Van. Hell, you've done humanity HUGE good just with Astral Weeks alone!

Our birthday salute begins with Morrison swinging hard with The Band at Winterland in 1976 at a famous lil' concert.

Here's The Swell Season performing a raw, heartfelt version of "Astral Weeks."

The sheer sweetness of Van's pen rises up beautifully on this cover of "Crazy Love" by Glen Phillips, accompanied by Willy Porter, from 2006.


[Published on: 8/31/08]

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redhed starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 05:56AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Happy B-Day Mr. Morrison, you've stoned me to my soul for many years.

canoftunapudding Sun 8/31/2008 07:09AM
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Van the Man. Sounds like an Irish guy wrote this review judging by how many times he used the word "bloody"

bbqribs Sun 8/31/2008 07:27AM
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Astral Weeks is absolutely one of the finest albums I own. If any of you think Van Morrison is only about cheesy "Moondance" do yourself a favor and check out his old stuff.

BlowsAgainsttheEmpire starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 07:49AM
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and MANY more.

moondance is hardly cheesy.

WEBSHERIFF starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 08:16AM
Show -21 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
21mmer Sun 8/31/2008 08:30AM
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anyways, that clip from the last waltz is my favorite van moment of all time. gotta love those leg kicks!!!!

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 09:44AM
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Van the Man rocks. Great love-makin' music. and he can still throw down the sickness!

torn&treyed Sun 8/31/2008 09:53AM
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a few years back in my hometown there was an article that he had opened up for Jonie Mitchell and did like 5 encores as the crowd's behest and then she didnt want to go on after. I think she did but she didnt want to.

rainydaywomen420 starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 10:47AM
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Mr. Van Morrison did some pretty special things in music during his "golden years". My parents had him in constant rotation around the house when i was only a few years old and we would all boogie down. Thanks Van, were all a bit more warm and fuzzy.

oboyler Sun 8/31/2008 12:23PM
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i actually saw him in ireland a few years back. He put on a pretty goddamn good show. i was only 12 at the time but i still could appreciate the man. One of those voices thats so unique u kno for sure its him when u hear it.

Chap420 Sun 8/31/2008 12:55PM
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Sweet happy b-day Van! Wow did they actually ban Blunts & Bisco & Bonnaroo and No humour allowed! That would be awesome!

crowesfan starstarstarstarstar Sun 8/31/2008 02:12PM
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Happy Birthday Van the Man. Hope you have a birthday that is as good as your albums from the 70s. Please go on a big tour and come down to Florida so I can catch one of your shows.

makesensetome Sun 8/31/2008 07:48PM
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happy birthday van! and for oursakes many many many more.

makesensetome Sun 8/31/2008 07:50PM
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web sheriff=SKEATCH

Flat5 star Sun 8/31/2008 09:02PM
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let me sum up this "tribute"

Van Morrison is a dick,but he has made great music. He's really old now, and we hope he stops being such a dick before he dies. We are glad he was born though!

snappy Mon 9/1/2008 07:56AM
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^^Yeah, that sorta covers it, though perhaps with a bit more affection than implied above. There's folks who've done it as long and successfully as Van who aren't jerks about it. Steve Winwood immediately springs to mind. Van always seems vaguely ungrateful of the VERY lucky life he's lived. Talented? Sure. Genius? Sure. Nice guy? Not a lot of evidence of that. Hey, it takes all kinds, and the music, the important thing, remains largely brilliant (though hardly entirely brilliant...).

lovemusicfood Mon 9/1/2008 08:52AM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
DaveT Tue 9/2/2008 03:27PM
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We shall walk again down along the lane

Down the avenue just like we used to do

With our heads so high smile at the passers by

Then we'll softly sigh ay, ay, ay, ay, ay

Happy Birthday

DAMONCORY starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/3/2008 10:09AM
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I was lucky enough to see Van in Spain a few years ago @ Jazzaldia.

It was amazing to see this Huge crowd of Spaniards who no little english sing every word to almost every song, even alot of the newer stuff.

I had heard rumors of his standoffish stage prensence, but thought he was very engaging that night.

emplancher1 Wed 9/3/2008 02:06PM
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thanks, van!! you're my number 1!!! happy birthday!

Jeff Kash Fri 9/5/2008 06:18PM
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Jeff Kash

What are those guys called...oh yeah, "NEVER BANNED"!!!!