Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Van - A Smooth Criminal?

Judith Coyle has written an unintentionally hilarious post comparing Van and Michael Jackson. 
 Van - Is He a 'Smooth Criminal' too?!

I was just about to write a post about how I like to compare Van Morrison, Irish minstrel, and Michael Jackson, global superstar, when I discovered a funny cartoon on the web. It depicts Van as Michael and underneath the picture, instead of Who's Bad? it reads Who's Grumpy? I would have loved to seen MJ cover one of Van's later songs. So, onto my very random thoughts about Van and MJ. Stick with me on this....
Both stars have had careers throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.

Both burst onto the scene in the 1960s in groups, Van with Them, Michael with The Jackson 5, before going onto more glittering and critically-acclaimed solo careers.
Both are/were known to be reclusive and seem(ed) to have trouble dealing with the general public.

Both have an aura of mystery around them, albeit in very different ways.
Both have a penchant for black hats and sunglasses!

Both are usually referenced in terms of one defining album - for Van it is Astral Weeks, for MJ, Thriller. Thriller tops the best-selling album of all time list; Astral Weeks has topped the best album, as voted for by critics, of all time.

Both reference, in music, lyrics or dance, those from an earlier era who have inspired them - e.g. Jackie Wilson.

Both have a love of spiritual songs and frequently address God in their lyrics. Both could be said to be 'spiritual seekers'.
Both artists harp on about childhood and youth in their songs. Van has got to be one of the most nostalgia-focused songwriters of all time!

Both have written songs about the industry and professionals who have 'done them over'.

Of course there are vast differences:

One (MJ) chose to fight the ageing process through diet and surgery; the other embraced his portliness and the ravages of time. You could say that MJ fought against his corporeal existence while Van accepted it.

Van has released album after album, some very much the same; MJ released a small number of albums containing original material - no album really like the others.
And of course, Van will probably live to a ripe old age; Michael has gone.


Al Burton   -   ...and how could you forget, both artists have written songs which have been covered by Alan Burton!! I used to have a hat a little like the one in your picture, but it got nicked at one of my gigs. For some reason people seem to think it's OK to steal people's hats and somehow it's not thought of as a crime. They wouldn't take my jacket, put it on, think it's fun and walk off home with it. But when it's a hat.. well that's different it seems. I was gutted.

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