Top 10 Van Morrison Songs of All Time

Top 10 Van Morrison Songs of All Time

Van Morrison, one of the most enduring voices in popular music, has traversed numerous musical styles throughout his storied career. From his teenage days with the garage rock band Them to his solo ventures into R&B, jazz, blues, and folk, Morrison has been a significant influence across various genres. Despite his reputation as a difficult and outspoken artist, his success and adoration have remained unwavering over his sixty-year career. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Morrison has also won two Grammy Awards, the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1994, and the Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2017. His 1968 album “Astral Weeks” is often considered his masterpiece. Here, we rank the ten very best Van Morrison songs of all time.

“Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” is a tribute to one of Morrison’s greatest musical influences, Jackie Wilson. Featured on his 1972 album “Saint Dominic’s Preview,” the song came together fortuitously in the studio. Morrison’s drummer Ricky Schlosser recalled how the first recorded take, despite being all over the place, worked perfectly. The song was later covered by Dexys Midnight Runners, who took it to number five in the charts in 1982.

“In The Garden,” released on his 1986 album “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher,” is one of Morrison’s most celebrated songs. This gentle, sprawling track sees the singer questioning faith and dogma while reconnecting with spirituality, nature, and the past. Described by Morrison as a “meditative process,” the song remains a highlight of his live performances.

“Crazy Love,” from his 1970 album “Moondance,” is one of Morrison’s most romantic moments. Written about his wife Janet Planet, the song describes how love can turn bad times good and make good times even better. Despite their divorce three years later, the song’s sentiment has not been lost, with artists like Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry, Michael Bolton, and Michael Bublé covering it.

Before his solo career, Morrison spent two years with the garage rock band Them, producing hits like “Baby Please Don’t Go.” This reworking of a 1935 song by Big Joe Williams brought Delta blues into the present and became a rock music staple. The iconic intro riff still sounds as frenetic now as it did in 1965, even featuring a pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page on rhythm guitar.

“Domino,” from his 1970 album “His Band and the Street Choir,” is a tribute to one of Morrison’s idols, Fats Domino. Written in 1968 but held onto for two years due to a publishing deal, “Domino” became Morrison’s highest-charting song in the US. The song sees Morrison at his most vibrant and carefree.

“Sweet Thing,” from his influential 1968 album “Astral Weeks,” is one of Morrison’s most beloved compositions. Though the album didn’t spawn any successful singles, “Sweet Thing” has become a term of endearment in popular vernacular. Morrison revealed that the song wasn’t written about anyone in particular but about a feeling.

“Have I Told You Lately,” from his 1989 album “Avalon Sunset,” is one of Morrison’s most critically acclaimed songs. Initially written about his relationship with faith, the song later translated as a ballad often played at weddings. Rod Stewart’s 1993 cover for his MTV Unplugged special took it to number five in the charts, and The Chieftains’ 1995 cover won Morrison a Grammy Award.

“Into The Mystic,” from his 1970 album “Moondance,” sees Morrison at his most hopeful and inspiring. Written from the perspective of a sailor at sea, the song conjures images of land, the sea, and everlasting love. It was voted one of the most frequently picked songs by surgeons to listen to while performing surgery due to its soothing aesthetic.

“Moondance,” the title track from his 1970 album, is Morrison at his jazziest. The song started as a saxophone instrumental, with Morrison playing sax himself. Pianist Jeff Labes recalled how Morrison liked to sing live along with the track, seeking the magic of a first-take vocal. “Moondance” remains one of Morrison’s most recognizable hits.

“Brown Eyed Girl,” from his 1967 debut solo album “Blowin’ Your Mind!,” is undoubtedly Morrison’s signature hit song. Despite his attempts to avoid being pigeonholed as a radio-friendly singer, the song captures the nostalgic joy of youth and young love. Its feel-good sing-along chorus has been celebrated by generations of fans over the past fifty-plus years.

Van Morrison’s top ten songs showcase one of the most recognizable voices in music, with emotion dripping from each track. Narrowing down a list of this Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s greatest moments is no easy task, but these songs highlight the depth and breadth of his incredible career.

Source: Getty, Uncut Magazine, Time Magazine, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Awards

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