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Belfast, Northern Ireland
Claim to Fame
Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Psychedelic, Folk-Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Jazz-Rock, Album Rock, R&B, Soft Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Celtic Rock, AM Pop
Passionate, Reflective, Searching, Warm, Cathartic, Gentle, Spiritual, Plaintive, Yearning, Pastoral, Insular, Melancholy, Earnest, Summery, Literate, Exuberant, Earthy, Organic, Sensual, Autumnal, Confident
Harmonica, Songwriter, Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals, Guitar, Leader
Soundtrack, Composer, Actor/Actress
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Full Name at Birth
George Ivan Morrison
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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, 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.
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Music Profile Complete
Music Genre (Text)
Rock, Blues, Rhythm And Blues, Folk, Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop, Celtic, Rock And Roll, Jazz, Soft Rock, Country, Skiffle, Gospel
Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Saxophones, Keyboards, Drums, Tambourine, Ukulele
Decca, Bang, Warner Bros., London, Mercury, Exile/Polydor, Verve, Point Blank, Virgin, Universal, Blue Note, Lost Highway, Listen to the Lion/EMI, Manhattan
Them, Mark Knopfler
Profile Bio Text
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, 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.
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 show-bands 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
Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially a poor seller; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist, 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.
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B, such as the popular singles "Brown Eyed Girl", "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)", "Domino" and "Wild Night". An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz, and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as Astral Weeks and lesser-known works such as Veedon Fleece and Common One. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic Soul".
Morrison has received six Grammy Awards, the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
George Ivan (Van) Morrison was born on 31 August 1945, at 125 Hynford Street, Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland, as the only child of George Morrison, a shipyard electrician, and Violet Stitt Morrison, a singer and tap dancer in her youth. Van Morrison's family roots descend from the Ulster Scots population that settled in Belfast. From 1950 to 1956, Morrison, who began to be known as "Van" during this time, attended Elmgrove Primary School. Morrison's father had what was at the time one of the largest record collections in Ulster (acquired during his sojourn in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1950s), and the young Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Lead Belly, and Solomon Burke; of whom Morrison later said, "If it weren't for guys like Ray and Solomon, I wouldn't be where I am today. Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn't for that kind of music, I couldn't do what I'm doing now." His father's record collection exposed him to various musical genres, such as the blues of Muddy Waters; the gospel of Mahalia Jackson; the jazz of Charlie Parker; the folk music of Woody Guthrie; and country music from Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers, while the first record he ever bought was by blues musician Sonny Terry. When Lonnie Donegan had a hit with "Rock Island Line", written by Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), Morrison felt he was familiar with and able to connect with skiffle music as he had been hearing Lead Belly before that.
Morrison's father bought him his first acoustic guitar when he was eleven, and he learned to play rudimentary chords from the song book, The Carter Family Style, edited by Alan Lomax. A year later, when he was twelve years old, Morrison formed his first band, a skiffle group, "The Sputniks", named after the recently launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1. In 1958, the band played at some of the local cinemas, and Morrison took the lead, contributing most of the singing and arranging. Other short-lived groups followed – at fourteen, he formed Midnight Special, another modified skiffle band and played at a school concert. Then, when he heard Jimmy Giuffre playing saxophone on "The Train and The River", he talked his father into buying him a saxophone, and took lessons in tenor sax and music reading. Now playing the saxophone, Morrison joined with various local bands, including one called Deanie Sands and the Javelins, with whom he played guitar and