Ivan Morrison booking

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Equal parts blue-eyed soul shouter and wild-eyed poet-sorcerer, Van Morrison is among popular
music’s true innovators, a restless seeker whose incantatory vocals and alchemical fusion of R&B,
jazz, blues, and Celtic folk produced perhaps the most spiritually transcendent body of work in the rock
& roll canon. Subject only to the whims of his own muse, his recordings cover extraordinary stylistic
ground yet retain a consistency and purity virtually unmatched among his contemporaries, connected
by the mythic power of his singular musical vision and his incendiary vocal delivery: spiraling
repetitions of wails and whispers that bypass the confines of language to articulate emotional truths far
beyond the scope of literal meaning.
George Ivan Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on August 31, 1945; his mother was a
singer, while his father ardently collected classic American jazz and blues recordings. At 15, he quit
school to join the local R&B band the Monarchs, touring military bases throughout Europe before
returning home to form his own group, Them. Boasting a fiery, gritty sound heavily influenced by
Morrison heroes like Howlin’ Wolf, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Walter, Them
quickly earned a devout local following and in late 1964 recorded their debut single, “Don’t Start Crying
Now.” The follow-up, an electrifying reading of Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” cracked the
U.K. Top Ten in early 1965. Though not a major hit upon its original release, Them’s Morrison-penned
“Gloria” endures among the true classics of the rock pantheon, covered by everyone from the Doors to
Patti Smith. Lineup changes plagued the band throughout its lifespan, however, and at the insistence
of producer Bert Berns, over time session musicians increasingly assumed the lion’s share of
recording duties. A frustrated Morrison finally left Them following a 1966 tour of the U.S., quitting the
music business and returning to Belfast. After Berns relocated to New York City to form Bang
Records, he convinced Morrison to travel stateside and record as a solo artist; the sessions produced
arguably his most familiar hit, the jubilant “Brown-Eyed Girl” (originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl”), a
Top Ten smash in the summer of 1967. By contrast, however, the resulting album, Blowin’ Your Mind,
was a bleak, bluesy effort highlighted by the harrowing “T.B. Sheets.” The sessions were originally
intended to produce only material for singles, so when Berns released the LP against Morrison’s
wishes, he again retreated home to Ireland while the album tanked on the charts. Berns suffered a
fatal heart attack in late 1967, which freed Morrison of his contractual obligations and energized him to
start working on new material.
His first album for new label Warner Bros., 1968′s Astral Weeks, remains not only Morrison’s
masterpiece, but one of the greatest records ever made. A haunting, deeply personal collection of
impressionistic folk-styled epics recorded by an all-star jazz backing unit including bassist Richard
Davis and drummer Connie Kay, its poetic complexity earned critical raves but made only a minimal
commercial impact. The follow-up, 1970′s Moondance, was every bit as brilliant; buoyant and
optimistic where Astral Weeks had been dark and anguished, it cracked the Top 40, generating the
perennials “Caravan” and “Into the Mystic.” The first half of the 1970s was the most fertile creative
period of Morrison’s career. From Moondance onward, his records reflected an increasingly
celebratory and profoundly mystical outlook spurred on in large part by his marriage to wife Janet
Planet and the couple’s relocation to California. After His Band and the Street Choir yielded his biggest
chart hit, “Domino,” Morrison released 1971′s Tupelo Honey, a lovely, pastoral meditation on wedded
bliss highlighted by the single “Wild Night.” In the wake of the following year’s stirring Saint Dominic’s
Preview, he formed the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, featured both on the studio effort Hard Nose the
Highway and on the excellent live set It’s Too Late to Stop Now. However, in 1973 he not only
dissolved the group but also divorced Planet and moved back to Belfast. The stunning 1974 LP
Veedon Fleece chronicled Morrison’s emotional turmoil; he then remained silent for three years,
reportedly working on a number of aborted projects but releasing nothing until 1977′s aptly titled A
Period of Transition.

Plagued for some time by chronic stage fright, Morrison mounted his first tour in close to five years in
support of 1978′s Wavelength; his performances became more and more erratic, however, and during
a 1979 date at New York’s Palladium, he even stalked off-stage in mid-set and did not return. Into the
Music, released later that year, evoked a more conventionally spiritual perspective than before, a
pattern continued on successive outings for years to come. Albums like 1983′s Inarticulate Speech of
the Heart, 1985′s A Sense of Wonder, and 1986′s No Guru, No Method, No Teacher are all largely cut
from the same cloth, employing serenely beautiful musical backdrops to explore themes of faith and
healing. For 1988′s Irish Heartbeat, however, Morrison teamed with another of his homeland’s musical
institutions, the famed Chieftains, for a collection of traditional folk songs. Meanwhile, Avalon Sunset
heralded a commercial rebirth of sorts in 1989. While “Whenever God Shines His Light,” a duet with
Cliff Richard, became Morrison’s first U.K. Top 20 hit in over two decades, the gorgeous “Have I Told
You Lately That I Love You” emerged as something of a contemporary standard, with a Rod Stewart
cover cracking the U.S. Top Five in 1993. Further proof of Morrison’s renewed popularity arrived with
the 1990 release of Mercury’s best-of package; far and away the best-selling album of his career, it
introduced the singer to a new generation of fans. A new studio record, Enlightenment, appeared that
same year, followed in 1991 by the ambitious double set Hymns to the Silence, widely hailed as his
most impressive outing in years. Following the uniformity of his 1980s work, the remainder of the
decade proved impressively eclectic: 1993′s Too Long in Exile returned Morrison to his musical roots
with covers of blues and R&B classics, while on 1995′s Days Like This he teamed with daughter
Shana for a duet on “You Don’t Know Me.” For the Verve label, he cut 1996′s How Long Has This
Been Going On, a traditional jazz record co-credited to longtime pianist Georgie Fame, while for the
follow-up Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison he worked with guest of honor Allison
himself. Morrison continued balancing the past and the future in the years to follow, alternating
between new studio albums (1997′s The Healing Game, 1999′s Back on Top) and collections of rare
and live material (1998′s The Philosopher’s Stone and 2000′s The Skiffle Sessions and You Win
It wasn’t until 2002 that an album of new material surfaced, but in May his long-anticipated Down the
Road was released. Three years later, Morrison issued Magic Time. Pay the Devil, a country-tinged
set, appeared in 2006 on Lost Highway Records. That same year, Morrison released his first
commercial DVD, Live at Montreux 1980 and 1974, drawn from two separate appearances at the
Montreux Jazz Festival. In 2008, Morrison released Keep It Simple, his first album of all-original
material since 1999′s Back on Top. In November of that same year, Morrison performed the entire
Astral Weeks album live at two shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, which resulted in 2009′s
Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl album and Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The
Concert Film. His 34th studio album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, recorded in Belfast, appeared in the fall
of 2012.

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