2. Ady Croasdell - In early 1995 I got to meet the legendary soul singer Doris Troy and arranged for her to do a live gig at the 100 Club. Doris was working with her own band by then and wanted to put on a great show, so she sweet talked me into adding extra horns and backing vocalists. Unfortunately those extra costs eventually turned the gig into a loss making exercise for me. Doris had been a darling of the original swinging London rock crowd and counted The Beatles, Pink Floyd and many other superstars as her personal friends, though she never name dropped in the slightest; she was very modest and underplayed her own celebrity.
A huge Doris fan was Van Morrison who came down to the show and duly paid the admittance for his diminutive self and his 6’ 4” minder. However due to having an empty feeling in my wallet, I was not in the best of moods at the end of the gig. Various friends and club regulars were queueing up outside the changing room to pay their respects to Doris and I just happened to be passing when Van and his man walked straight up to the front of the line and attempted to gain entry ahead of the queue. The profit and loss motive is a strong motivator to hardworking promoters, and the disappointment of the door take was sufficient to see me barking at the odd couple that if they wanted to see her Doris-ness, they should wait their turn! Fair play to them, they were very apologetic and did as they were told. They apparently spent quite a while in there with her – it must have been funny for the people queueing next to him.
3. WYSIWYG - I attended the Graduation Ceremony when he received his Honorary Degree from Ulster University – he received a lot of criticism for not making a grand sycophantic speech – blah, blah. I think he’s just a very private person. And wasn’t / isn’t that so refreshing? I also know someone who worked very closely with him for years – his grumpiness seems to mostly be reserved for people who just want to interfere in his life. I wish there were more like him in that respect.
4. Greil Marcus - “the repetitions in Morrison’s music always signify freedom, a love of words and a lack of fear for what they might say that to be born again might be understood as magic, magic as everyday life; what you to preserve the current that is everyday life. And that current may be the sight of death – a sight that, when one is attuned to contingency as the singer on Astral Weeks is, you see everywhere.”
5. Levi Stahl - Van Morrison, I think, is a lesser artist than Tolstoy. I can't imagine anyone suggesting that the chubby lover of late-night wine and craic has any ascetic tendencies. Instead, he leavens his ecstasies with a near-Buddhist argument against the self, an effort to feel oneself to be, at one's heights, a connected, minuscule part of a larger, significant whole. Instead of a closing of the self, as Tolstoy chose, it's viewed as the ultimate opening of the self, an embrace of the universe that, at base, is little different from what Tolstoy ascribes to Olenin in the forest. I don't know Van, so I can't say for sure that he's happy--but I'd be willing to wager that he has been happier than Tolstoy.
6. Anna M - I was familiar with Moondance, Brown Eyed Girl, etc., then one day on the radio I heard a song that captured me and it was Into The Mystic. I immediately went out and bought an album, then another, then another, then another. The feeling I get when I listen to his music is something I can't explain. I am 58 years old and the emotion, well the emotion makes me want to leave everything behind and go to another place (i don't know where). He has captured my spirit and lifted it so high.
8. Zak - I'm a little on the young side for the average Van fan (I'm 36) but I realised when thinking about this show, that if I had to take the entire catalogue of just one musical artist with me to a deserted island, I'd choose Van's. Here are five albums why: Tupelo Honey, Into the Music, Astral Weeks, Beautiful Vision and Avalon Sunset.
9. Susan Carter - Van Morrison was always appealing to me but then in 1979 I heard Into the Music whilst living in Boulder, CO; I couldn't hear it often enough! My love-life was questionable at the time, and that album pierced me to the quick. Long story....It's the spiritual and the sexual! He captures both and they become one! I LOVE HIM!!!!!