The importance of Van Morrisson was noted in the Rolling Stones encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll: “his influence among rock singers/song writers is unrivalled by any living artist outside of that other prickly legend, Bob Dylan”
- George Ivan Morrisson was born in East Belfast in 1945. Leaving school as a teenager Van played in a band that toured European Military Bases.
- On his return to Belfast he formed the band ‘Them’ who built their reputation playing raucous gigs at The Maritime Hotel in the City.
- They released their debut single in 1964 and went on to have considerable success with classic R&B singles like ‘Gloria’ and ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’.
- Morrison left the band in 1967 and his debut solo single ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ was a massive hit.
- His second album ‘Astral Weeks’ released in 1968, is widely regarded as one of the best records ever made.
- In 1989, Morrison dueted with Cliff Richard on ‘Wherever God shines His Light’ and experienced his first chart hit in over 20 years.
- The album ‘Avalon Sunset’ was a commercial success and was followed by his bestselling album ‘The Best of Van Morrisson’ in 1990, which introduced his music to a host of new fans.
- Legendary artists such as U2’s Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Joan Armatrading have all spoken of their love of his work, and Morrison continues to influence young songwriters from all over the world.