“The yang to Astral Weeks’ yin, the brilliant Moondance is every bit as much a classic as its predecessor; Van Morrison’s first commercially successful solo effort, it retains the previous album’s deeply spiritual thrust but transcends its bleak, cathartic intensity to instead explore themes of renewal and redemption.”
– Jason Akeney (Allmusic)
And It Stoned Me:
And It Stoned Me (live @ Montreux 1980):
|Released||28 February 1970|
A & R Studios
(New York City)
|Genre||R&B, blue-eyed soul, folk rock,jazz, country rock, Celtic|
|Producer||Van Morrison, Lewis Merenstein|
Moondance is the third solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on Warner Bros. Records on 28 February 1970 and peaked at #29 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart.
The album’s musical style blends R&B, folk rock, country rock, and also jazz (most obviously on the title track).
The single released was “Come Running” with “Crazy Love” as the B-side, which peaked at #39 on the Pop Singles chart. “Crazy Love” was only released as a single in the Netherlands and did not chart. “Moondance”, as a single was not released until 1977 and peaked at #92.
Moondance was critically acclaimed when first released and established Morrison as a major artist. The songs on the album quickly became staples of FM radio. It has proven to be Morrison’s most famous album, often appearing on many lists of best albums of all time. Among other awards, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2003, it was ranked #65 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Caravan (live, The Last Waltz):
“Caravan” is about gypsy life and also about the radio. Morrison said, “I’m really fascinated by gypsies. I love them.” Musically, one can discern a decided interplay between the guitar and singer’s voice. The song opens with Jef Labes trilling on piano, the drum kit then comes in, whilst Morrison sings the line “And the caravan is on its way”. The chorus consists of Morrison and the band singing “La la la la, la la la” repeatedly. John Platania then improvises around Morrison’s voice: “[Morrison’s] interplay with Platania’s softly picked guitar touches the soul.”
Into The Mystic (live, tv-show: Musik Laden):
According to Morrison “Into the Mystic” was originally called “Into the Misty” but as he had thought there was “an ethereal feeling to it” he changed the name. Morrison has also said that some of the songs lyrics could have more than one meaning: “I was born before the Wind” could also be “I was borne before the wind” as well as “Also younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was one” being “All so younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was won”. The song opens with Collin Tilton’s tenor saxophone, made to imitate a foghorn blowing, and ends with the words “Too Late to Stop Now” – a phrase he would famously use to conclude concert endings in the 1970s. After a dynamic stop-start ending to “Cyprus Avenue”, Morrison would bellow this phrase and then stalk from the stage. This phrase also served as the title to his acclaimed 1974 live album. These lyrics have also been used at the end of “Friday’s Child” in his concerts.
- Moondance was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and has continued to be a highly acclaimed album in the 2000s
- In 2001 the TV network VH1 named this album #32 on a list of the greatest albums of all time.
- In 2003, It was listed as #65 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
- Moondance was voted #20 on the 2005 list of 885 All Time Greatest Albums by listeners on WXPN
- In November 2006, CNN published their list of “The All-Time 100 Albums.” Moondance was listed among the 100 albums along with Astral Weeks
- In March 2007, it was listed as #72 on the NARM Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of the “Definitive 200”
- In December 2009, it was voted #11 top Irish album of all time by a poll of leading Irish musicians taken by Hot Press magazine
Crazy Love (here in a fabulous version with Ray Charles):
Album of the day (the box set from last year, Moondance deluxe edition):
It is a marvelous night to revisit Van Morrison’s third and one of his best albums in expanded box set form. I know Van Morrison didn’t endorse this set, but I couldn’t resist buying it. It’s fantastic. The remastered Moondance is available in 1-CD, 2-CD and in my case, a 4-CD/1-BD editions, with the latter premiering hours of session material plus a stunning 5.1 surround mix.
The ease of Van’s singing, his incredible music sense, it reminds me of when I first saw movie clips of Elvis in the studio and at rehearsals, he jumps in and out of complex musical arrangements like it is second nature. And come to think of it, it probably is.
To witness the evolution of Into The Mystic is so rewarding and fascinating!
Van Morrison – Into The Mystic (Take 11):
Other Feb 28:
Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969) was an English musician and a founding member of The Rolling Stones.
|Birth name||Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones|
|Also known as||Elmo Lewis|
|Born||28 February 1942
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
|Died||3 July 1969 (aged 27)
Hartfield, Sussex, England
|Genres||Rock, rock and roll, blues rock, psychedelic rock, rhythm and blues|
|Occupations||Musician, composer, bandleader, record producer|
Train a Comin’ is an acoustic studio album by Steve Earle. The album, Earle’s first in five years, was released in 1995. In addition to Earle, it features Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, Roy Huskey, and Emmylou Harris. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
|Released||February 28, 1995|
|Genre||Folk, country, country rock,bluegrass|
Joe South (February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Best known for his songwriting, South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for “Games People Play” and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for “Rose Garden”.
Hallgeir & Egil
4 thoughts on “Today: Van Morrison released the album Moondance in 1970 44 years ago”
Astral Weeks and Moondance are both seminal records: masterpieces that deserve consideration as being among the greatest rock and roll albums of all-time. But, so too, do St.Dominic’s Preview (1972), Veedon Fleece (1974) and Into the Music (1979). An argument can be made for any of these being VM’s best. 🙂
Yeah, you’re right. Moondance goes straight to your heart, but you need a lot of work to get Astral Weeks in your brain. Great albums both.
Moondance is an excellent album, but not Morrison’s best; Astral Weeks is. Probably one of the ten best rock records ever.
Yes, today I agree with you, I love Astral Weeks, but it took me several years to get to the conclusion that it is his best, but it is!
Thanks for your comment!
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