Van the Man!
Van Morrison’s first success came with his single Gloria by his first band Them in 1964.
This led to a tour of America where the highlight was to share the bill with The Doors, On the final night Van and Jim Morrison performed Gloria together, they may not have been brothers by blood and surname, but they bonded through music.
This must have made Van even more determined since even though Them would break up soon after the tour ended, Van had got a taste for it and carried on writing what would become Astral Weeks.
In 1967, as a newbie in the business, Van signed with Bang records and got royally ripped off. Instead of releasing what was planned, the label just put out what was to become his signature song on an album he didn’t even know about entitled Van Morrison Blowin’ Your Mind.
On this album was Brown Eyed Girl, it went straight into the top ten and started selling really well.
Brown Eyed Girl ended up being the most popular song of the 60s, and Van never got a penny for it, he was not amused.
Hilariously enough, to get out of this awful contract, Van had to record 36 original songs, he did so on an out-of-tune guitar, singing about ringworm and sandwiches. They became known as the revenge songs and were actually released in 2017.
Anyway, when Astral Weeks finally came out in 1968 it didn’t sell very well, and there were no hits on it. This must have been extremely disappointing as Brown Eyed Girl had done so well, and for that, he got nothing.
In years to come, Astral Weeks has become a sort of cult album, even voted the Best Irish Album of all time by Hot Press magazine. Still, it never sold well and at the time Van was struggling so bad he was literally starving. But did Van the Man give up? No chance.
The next album, Moondance, did very well. Here we find such classics as Into The Mystic, the title track Moondance, Caravan, And It Stoned Me, and my favorite Van Morrison tune, Crazy Love.
If you were to only buy one Van Morrison album, make it Moondance.
His next album was not a classic, entitled His Band and the Street Choir. Domino did reasonably well but this was not a big album.
Next, Tupelo Honey came out in 1971, and the hits were back in the title track as well as Wild Night.
Van the Man would continue to release albums and tour the world but did not have any massive hits until 1989 when he released Have I Told You Lately. This is up there with perfect first dance songs alongside Let’s Stay Together and At Last.
Van Morrison | Tunes
Brown Eyed Girl
| G | C | G | D |
Hey, where did we go? Days when the rains came.
| G | C | G | D |
Down in the hollow, playin’ a new game.
Go to Brown Eyed Girl chords.