Van Morrison

Singer / Songwriter

Born: 31 August 1945
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Best known as: Singer of "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Moondance"

Name at birth: George Ivan Morrison

Van Morrison is an Irish troubadour and 1960s-era rock music legend, best known for hit songs such as "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Moondance." A multi-instrumentalist since his teens, he had hits in the U.K. and the U.S. in the early '60s with his band Them, including "Baby Please Don't Go" and "Gloria." A solo artist since 1966, Morrison has recorded more than three dozen albums and received numerous honors, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993) and the Order of the British Empire (1996). He's known for his blend of folk, jazz and blues and his soulful voice, and his best known songs include the 1970s hits "Wild Night," "Tupelo Honey" and "Domino." His albums since the 1980s have been less focused on pop songs and more informed by an interest in his Celtic roots and spiritual themes, but he still has a solid fan base and the critics still call him a genius. His albums include Astral Weeks (1968), Saint Dominic's Preview (1972), the much-praised live recording It's Too Late to Stop Now (1974), Irish Heartbeat (1988, with The Chieftans), Avalon Sunset (1989), the jazz-infused How Long Has This Been Going On and Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (both 1996), and Magic Time (2005). Morrison is famously prickly about the press and the music industry, and he has a reputation for doing his own thing and avoiding publicity about his music.

Extra credit: Morrison's songs appear in the movies quite a bit. You can see a list of his soundtrack appearances here... 2003's What's Wrong With This Picture? earned a Grammy nomination for best contemporary jazz album... Morrison's 1989 song "Have I Told You Lately" was a hit on the adult contemporary charts, and the 1993 version by Rod Stewart was an even bigger hit, in both the U.S. and the U.K.

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