The word “iconoclast” gets tossed around a lot when discussing rock stars. Yet few artists are better suited for the title than seminal Irish musician, singer and songwriter Van Morrison. Through the course of his career, Morrison has followed his creative muse to fascinating and unexpected places, all while suffering exactly zero fools.
With nearly 40 albums over the course of his 50-plus year career, Morrison has also assembled an inimitable discography that can look overwhelming at first glance. So to get you ready for his upcoming three-night stand on March 17-19 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, we’ve put together this quick primer on Morrison. For tickets to his shows in L.A., click here.
Morrison is most widely known for his song “Brown Eyed Girl,” one of the keystone songs in the classic rock cannon. But even prior to his breakout 1967 hit, Morrison had left a legacy as a formidable singer and songwriter. His early work in the band Them helped establish the blueprint for what would be known as blue-eyed soul and songs like “Here Comes the Night” and “Gloria” would have success through popular cover versions by bands like The Doors. To learn more about Morrison’s remarkable songwriting range, check out this feature.
Morrison had little interest in following up the success of his solo debut with more of the same, and 1968’s Astral Weeks moved his sound in a more artistic, introspective direction. Of course, the words “artistic” and “introspective” almost never mean commercially successful and the album didn’t sell well upon its initial release. Its influence, however, is indubitable, as the atmospheric folk sound made a major impression on both his contemporaries like Nick Drake, as well as subsequent generations of artists like Fleet Foxes. Click here for our feature on the surprising artists influenced by Van Morrison.
As mentioned above, Morrison has never much cared for critical adulation or the trappings of the rock star lifestyle (in 1994, he became the first living member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to skip his own induction ceremony). Morrison has always preferred that his music speak for itself, so he often comes off as alternately candid and curmudgeonly in the few interviews he has done. Check out his recent, revealing Rolling Stone interview here and watch his 2010 interview with Time by clicking here.
Still going strong
Unlike many of his aging peers, Morrison is still a vibrant and vital artist. His latest record Keep Me Singing was the highest charting album of his career in America and was named by Mojo as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2016. So even as he settles into his 70s, there’s still no slowing him down. Watch Morrison discuss his new album in the video embedded above.
Don’t miss your chance to see one of music’s true legends when Morrison plays three nights at The Theatre at Ace Hotel March 17-19. Get your tickets below and keep it here on AXS.com for more on one of the most anticipated concerts of the year.