Hailing from Northern Ireland, Sir George Ivan “Van” Morrison is one cool guy. As a teenager in the 50s, he played just about any instrument he could get his hands on, including a guitar, keyboards, saxophone, and harmonica. Then, there’s his distinctive raspy voice.
He hit it big in 1967 with the massive smash hit, Brown Eyed Girl, and began making his mark on popular music ever since with a slew of successful albums, live performances and huge tours, which he continues to do today.
Before Van Morrison hit it big, he spent most of his teenage years playing all those instruments, and none of his own songs. He spent most of the time before creating his own material in mastering his ability to play other people’s successful songs as covers.
Though he had success performing covers, he actually did have relative success writing the garage band classic, Gloria. Ironically, other people and bands have had more success covering the song, including The Doors, AC/DC and Patti Smith, to name a few.
Moondance, one of his biggest album successes, was performed ad-lib. Which means there were no musical notations, no guides for the other musicians go to by. Van Morrison simply told his session players to follow him and don’t get in the way.
And perhaps most interesting about Van Morrison was his love of Farrah Fawcett’s work. The feeling was mutual, actually, as Farrah was a big fan of his. Apparently when Farrah was suffering from cancer, and was unable to attend a Van Morrison show, Morrison specifically had his live shows taped and sent to her so she could watch bedside. That’s pretty awesome!