“Into the Mystic” is a favorite track of mine from the legendary and famous Irishman known none other than Van Morrison. I am also a huge fan of “Tupelo Honey” and “Someone Like You.” I’m sure everyone has their favorite Van Morrison songs with his most notable songs being “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Moondance.”
Van was born George Ivan Morrison in Belfast on August 31, 1945 an only child to artistic parents fortunately for us. His mother was a signer and tap dancer while his father collected jazz and blues from America which must have helped to shape his future in music. He credits his father’s influence for helping shape and transform him as an artist at such a young age. His father had such a huge record collection for where Van lived at the time when he was growing up that Van was exposed to many different genres for a youngster in Ireland. This helped to form him into a unique and culturally different student.
George began to create his own bands and also learned instruments like the acoustic guitar at eleven again making him eccentrically different. With the formation of bands came the touring of Europe and military bases while still a teenager which meant that Van had to drop out of high school. However, Van’s band had started to reach some commercial success by the time he was only seventeen in Europe.
Morrison changed bands several times throughout his early career out of necessity and was also adept at playing harmonica and saxophone as well as lead vocals and guitar. George came to the U.S. and got an up close and personal perspective of touring in the mid 1960’s until finally a friend convinced him to make the move a more permanent one and to come to New York City to record a solo album in the late 1960’s. Despite all of Van’s training, upbringing and persistent hard work he was still “starving.” It was not until the 1970’s that Morrison finally hit commercial success with his music and it seems that it was much deserved.
Van continued to turn out albums one after another in the decades that followed and has been ever present in the concert circuits since. I was surprised to learn that he struggled with a bad case of stage fright, however that did not seem to stop him from performing in live events. As a matter of fact, I was fortunate enough to have seen George at least once live at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and it was a great time. I can definitely say that he was as sweet as Tupelo Honey.