Van Morrison

Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE (born 31 August 1945),[2] known professionally as Van Morrison, is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose recording career spans six decades. He has won two Grammy Awards.[3]

Van Morrison
Morrison performing in 2015
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Ivan Morrison
Also known asVan the Man
The Belfast Cowboy
The Belfast Lion
Born (1945-08-31) 31 August 1945 (age 77)
Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
Instrument(s)
Years active1958–present
Labels
Websitevanmorrison.com

As a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments such as guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for several Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans,[4] Morrison rose to prominence in the mid 1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band Them. With Them, he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria".

Under the pop-oriented guidance of Bert Berns, Morrison's solo career began in 1967 with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl". After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out Morrison's contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968).[5] While initially a poor seller, the album has become regarded as a classic.[6] Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist,[7] and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances.

Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and early rhythm and blues. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks.[8][9] The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic soul".[10] His live performances have been described as "transcendental" and "inspired",[11][12] and his music as attaining "a kind of violent transcendence".[13]

Morrison's albums have performed well in Ireland and the UK, with more than 40 reaching the UK top 40. With the release of 2021's Latest Record Project, Volume 1 he scored top ten albums in the UK in four consecutive decades.[14] Eighteen of his albums have reached the top 40 in the United States, twelve of them between 1997 and 2017.[15] He has received two Grammy Awards,[16] the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, the 2017 Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was knighted for services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland.[17][18]


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