Kathy Ivan Biography & Facts
Sir George Ivan Morrison (born 31 August 1945), known professionally as Van Morrison, is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose recording career spans seven decades. He has won two Grammy Awards.As a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments such as guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for several Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison rose to prominence in the mid 1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band Them. With Them, he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria".
Under the pop-oriented guidance of Bert Berns, Morrison's solo career began in 1967 with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl". After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out Morrison's contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). While initially a poor seller, the album has become regarded as a classic. Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances.
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and early rhythm and blues. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic soul". His live performances have been described as "transcendental" and "inspired", and his music as attaining "a kind of violent transcendence".Morrison's albums have performed well in Ireland and the UK, with more than 40 reaching the UK top 40. He has scored top ten albums in the UK in four consecutive decades, following the success of 2021's Latest Record Project, Volume 1. Eighteen of his albums have reached the top 40 in the United States, twelve of them between 1997 and 2017. Since turning 70 in 2015, he has released - on average - more than an album a year. He has received two Grammy Awards, the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, the 2017 Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was knighted for services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland.
Life and career
Early life and musical roots: 1945–1964
George Ivan Morrison was born on 31 August 1945, at 125 Hyndford Street, Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland, as the only child of George Morrison, a shipyard electrician, and Violet Stitt Morrison, who had been a singer and tap dancer in her youth. The previous occupant of the house was the writer Lee Child's father. Morrison's family were working class Protestants descended from the Ulster Scots population that settled in Belfast. From 1950 to 1956, Morrison, who began to be known as "Van" during this time, attended Elmgrove Primary School. His father had what was at the time one of the largest record collections in Northern Ireland (acquired during his time in Detroit, Michigan, in the early 1950s) and the young Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Lead Belly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Solomon Burke; of whom he later said, "If it weren't for guys like Ray and Solomon, I wouldn't be where I am today. Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn't for that kind of music, I couldn't do what I'm doing now."His father's record collection exposed him to various musical genres, such as the blues of Muddy Waters; the gospel of Mahalia Jackson; the jazz of Charlie Parker; the folk music of Woody Guthrie; and country music from Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers, while the first record he ever bought was by blues musician Sonny Terry. When Lonnie Donegan had a hit with "Rock Island Line", written by Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), Morrison felt he was familiar with and able to connect with skiffle music as he had been hearing Lead Belly before that.Morrison's father bought him his first acoustic guitar when he was eleven, and he learned to play rudimentary chords from the song book The Carter Family Style, edited by Alan Lomax. In 1957, at the age of twelve, Morrison formed his first band, a skiffle group, "The Sputniks", named after the satellite, Sputnik 1, that had been launched in October of that year by the Soviets. In 1958, the band played at some of the local cinemas, and Morrison took the lead, contributing most of the singing and arranging. Other short-lived groups followed – at fourteen, he formed Midnight Special, another modified skiffle band and played at a school concert. Then, when he heard Jimmy Giuffre playing saxophone on "The Train and The River", he talked his father into buying him a saxophone, and took lessons in tenor sax and music reading.
Now playing the saxophone, Morrison joined with various local bands, including one called Deanie Sands and the Javelins, with whom he played guitar and shared singing. The line-up of the band was lead vocalist Deanie Sands, guitarist George Jones, and drummer and vocalist Roy Kane. Later the four main musicians of the Javelins, with the addition of Wesley Black as pianist, became known as the Monarchs.Morrison attended Orangefield Boys Secondary School, leaving in July 1960 with no qualifications. As a member of a working-class community, he was expected to get a regular full-time job, so after several short apprenticeship positions, he settled into a job as a window cleaner—later alluded to in his songs "Cleaning Windows" and "Saint Dominic's Preview". However, he had been developing his musical interests from an early age and continued playing with the Monarchs part-time. Young Morrison also played with the Harry Mack Showband, the Great Eight, with his older workplace friend, Geordie (G. D.) Sproule, whom he later named as one of his biggest influences.At age 17, Morrison toured Europe for the first time with the Monarchs, now calling themselves the International Monarchs. This Irish showband, with Morrison playing saxophone, guitar and harmonica, in addition to back-up duty on bass and drums, toured seamy clubs and US Army bases in Scotland, England and Germany, often playing five sets a night. While in Germany, the band recorded a single, "Boozoo Hully Gully"/"Twingy Baby", under the name Georgie and the Monarchs. This was Morrison's first recording, taking place in November 1963 at Ariola Studios in Cologne with Morrison on saxophone; it made the lower reaches of the German charts.Upon returning to Belfast in November 1963, the group disbanded, so Morrison connected with Geordie Sproule again and played with him in the Manhattan Showband along with guitarist Herbie Armstrong. When Armstrong auditioned to play with Brian Rossi and the Golden Eagles, later known as the Wheels, Morrison went.... Discover the Kathy Ivan popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Kathy Ivan books.