Sunday, 3 January 2016

Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen


On the Bruce Springsteen fan site called Greasy Lake, a contributor named "Jack Knife" asked if any Bruce Springsteen fans disliked Van. Here are some of the many interesting thought that were expressed.    

Jack Knife   -   I've been listening to Van Morrison's His Band & the Street Choir album this afternoon, and it reminded me of a conversation I once had with another Bruce fan. She bought Bruce's first album when she was in junior high school, and has been a loyal fan ever since. When I mentioned that I'm also a Van Morrison fan (mainly his early albums, but some of his later work as well) I asked how she feels about ol' Van. She answered, "I HATE Van Morrison, CANNOT STAND his music".  

I was really surprised that she had such a negative reaction, because I would guess that anyone who loves Bruce's first album  would also love Van's first few albums (Moondance, Astral Weeks, Street Choir, Tupelo Honey, etc.). Lots of similarities, musically, artistically, etc., in my opinion. I love all of those albums, and listen to 'em a lot. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I'll bet that Bruce himself would be kind of surprised if one his fans doesn't like Van, because he's often said that he's a big fan of Van the Man.  So please come forward if you don't like Van Morrison! 

Cowgirl   -   Love Moondance!

Doah   -   Are you kidding me? I love Van Morrison! I have all his CDs and that's a heck of a lot. I have Hymns To The Silence autographed and framed in my hallway. That album is a modern masterpiece.

New York Serenade   -   Astral Weeks = CLASSIC! The imagery of Madame George and the sweetness of Cyprus Avenue certainly show how they influenced Bruce.

One and only   -   Huge Van fan. He was booed endlessly in Philly when I saw him a few months back. People could not believe the show just abruptly ended but every time I've seen him it is the same length

G-Man   -   Van Morrison is a musical genius. He's right behind Bruce in my book. By the way, if you haven't yet picked up the DVD, Live at Montreaux, you need to do so NOW. It's phenomenal (just played it again today, as a matter of fact!). You can definitely hear Van's influence on Bruce's early music on this DVD. I just don't see how a Springsteen fan could NOT like Morrison .

Davalav   -   Van's an over-rated turd. But that's just me.

Joe Roberts   -   I don't like Van.

Stacks   -   Not really into him.

G-Man    -   Davalav, yeah, that's just you. Like him or not, fine. But no way is he over-rated. His brilliance is under-rated, if anything.

John F   -   I don't like him either. I don't like his voice and I find his music dull and uninteresting. I used to own a number of Van's albums. He's one of those artists with Sacred Cow status you feel you have a duty to like. I just realised one day that his music - and in particular his voice - does nothing for me.  I think the extent of influence over Bruce is being exaggerated here. 

Babs   -   I like Van's music but not impressed at all with the man. I walked out of one of his concerts.

Todd112   -   I am a big Van Morrison fan. He was the one person that my wife and I always wanted to see live. Two years ago Van played at the Orpheum in Boston and as a surprise treat for my wife I got tickets.Just a great weekend and wonderful show. The ticket stated "Show 7:00 p.m. Sharp". We were in our seats at 6:30 and Van walked out ten minutes before 7:00 p.m. Half the audience were still in the lobby drinking.

Cozmic Kid   -   He is overrated and boring as hell.  But I bet it's good music if you want to commit suicide by sleeping yourself to death.

North Side Jimmy   -   Perhaps the non-Van fans here do not appreciate how many ideas Bruce "borrowed " from Van. The copycats line in No Guru No Method No Teacher is usually seen as a reference to Bruce. But I suppose if you do not listen you'll never know. He even got to the folk stuff ahead of Bruce as seen here. 

John F   -   You mean the lyric:  Copycats ripped off my words, Copycats ripped off my songs, Copycats ripped off my melody. Which words, songs and melody did Bruce actually 'borrrow'? The 'copycat' lyric does, however, give us an insight into Van's mind: rather than being flattered that he might be an inspiration to others the moody, arrogant, mean-spirited little toe-rag prefers to throw his toys out the pram. I think this self centred little prick of an attitude goes a long way to explaining the coldness and emptiness of much of his supposedly soulful music.

G-Man   -   Most artists have tortured souls, not happy-go-lucky, smiling-all-the-time, fun-people-to-be-around. Morrison has had his share of demons, and I'm sure he still fights them. But, they have been sources of inspiration for some truly remarkable music.  Just put on Meaning of Loneliness.

North Side Jimmy   -   Van is obviously a prickly cantankerous old soul. But if you catch him in the right mood he is a phenomenal performer. Seeing him "in the mood" is a "top 5 concert of all time" experience for me.  He also always had a fantastic band, great great musicians. 

Erie Canal   -   Spiritual, engaging, often enchanting, Van Morrison has produced a contribution to Popular Music at times second to none. A superb all round musician, with a mournful voice, superb lyrics, he has made a big impact on my personal music tastes. Probably the best writer of a love song there has ever been and there are at least 5 classic albums in his repertoire ranging from early Astral Weeks, Moondance, and St Dominic's Preview (the vocal range on Listen to the Lion is phenomenal) through to the majestic No Guru, No Method, No Teacher,( listen to the gorgeous arrangements around Foreign Window) and Days Like This, he is with doubt an absolute treasure.

North Side Jimmy   -   I for one would not have argued with Lester BangsFamed music critic Lester Bangs wrote in Creem, 1975, that when Springsteen's first album was released "many of us dismissed it: he wrote like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, sang like Van Morrison and Robbie Robertson, and led a band that sounded like Van Morrison's".

Pointblank   -   I agree Van the man has a lot of soul - in the same way that Neil Young or the Dead have soul. In comparison to either, Bruce is just another pop star. Van's an amazing songwriter, and a fantastic recording artist. But a horrible performer. In that respect, Bruce blows him out of the water every day of the week.

Shaggy   -   Been a fan till I saw him live - blinked and he disappeared when the big red clock at the side of the stage counted down to zero

Frankie80   -   My brother, who introduced me to Bruce, has given me music over the years to test out, whirl around, and try on for size. I LOVE "Jackie Wilson Said" (I'm a Jackie Wilson fan) but there's that song on St. Dominic's Preview about the lions that I hate. He starts growling like a lion and it sounds like an old drunk guy. I found the other songs on the CD depressing.  Just don't get the appeal of Van Morrison, I guess.

Skin2Skin   -   Love Van Morrison and have since I was a kid. I am sure part of Bruce's early appeal for me was the Van/soul influence. Taste is subjective, but Van's body of work is pretty damn impressive whether it's to someone's personal taste or not. Of course, Van is in no way the live performer Bruce is. OTOH, I'd have to say Van's catalogue outshines Bruce's, in terms of breadth, depth, and quality (even though I personally prefer Bruce's and think his is slightly more consistent).

North Side Jimmy   -   So you do not like Listen to the Lion. Well, I hate a few Bruce songs but I love Bruce. I can live without ever hearing Mary Queen of Arkansas ever again thanks. I don't even like Lost in the Flood. Ramrod and Crush On You can die now as far as I am concerned. But I love Bruce. I find some of Astral Weeks hard going but I love Van Morrison.


G-Man   -   Bruce is in a category by himself when it comes to live performances. But, Bruce's discography over thirty years cannot compare with Morrison's, IMHO. He's soooo much more than Astral Weeks, or Moondance, or Street Choir, or St. Dominic's Preview, or Veeden Fleece, etc.He has delved into more musical genres than anyone can imagine, and has pulled them off successfully! I've said all along that no white person has more soul than Van Morrison, nor can sing the blues better than Van Morrison. I don't think there's anyone better than charting those horns, either. 

But, Morrison's greatest weapon is his voice ... a truly remarkable voice. Often times, it's just another instrument in his songs. On Listen to the Lion he becomes the lion. The way that Morrison can wrap his voice around his words is amazing ... how he twists one word, or elongates one syllable ... from a whisper to a roar and then back to a whisper again. In fact, when he's on, he doesn't sing his songs, the song sings him. He's just a conduit. I don't think there's never been a performer who gets more "into the music" than Morrison.

Again, for the zillionth time, check out Morrison's Live at Montreaux. That's the concert DVD that Bruce should release. Put on the 1980 disc and prepare to be mesmerised. No gimmicks, no trickery, no split-second editing, just a man and his band delivering transcendental music. And, actually, I like the way he just walks off the stage when he's done. He doesn't need validation from the audience. 

Mdfan   -   His music reminds me of a kinky old girlfriend. So he's OK with me. 

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