THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time. Want more? Go to the G.O.A.T. Page for all the GOATs so far!
Sir Van Morrison. One of the all-time best voices in rock and roll and blues. Yeah, the last few decades have found him more of a cabaret crooner, performing watered down or changed versions of his classics, but his catalog is undeniable. He’s easily in my top 10 favorite artists of all time. And today, August 31, is his birthday.
So let’s do a proper tribute, shall we? First, since I’ve purchased—usually in multiple formats—every single one of his records up until 2002, let’s rank his ten best albums real quick:
THE TOP 10 VAN MORRISON ALBUMS
10. Tupelo Honey (1971). A marriage between his slower, expansive songs from Astral Weeks, and his ability to craft amazing rock and roll hits like Brown Eyed Girl and Moondance, this album showcases both sides of Van Morrison.
9. His Band and the Street Choir (1970). From Van’s early days, when he still wrote short hits. The big one here: Domino.
8. Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972). Morrison’s best albums contain extended pieces of music, and St. Dom’s is no exception—long, meditative songs are the signature of this incredible record. But also don’t miss his tribute song, Jackie Wilson Said, later covered by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
7. No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986). A true “album,” this one has to be listened to straight through. The record company tried to turn “Ivory Tower” into a single, but this is really just a beautiful symphony. No hits needed.
6. Blowin’ Your Mind (1967). Re-released in the U.S. as TB Sheets, this is the one with his biggest hit: Brown Eyed Girl.
5. Enlightenment (1990). A few singles, no big hits, but some of the most interesting songwriting of Morrison’s career.
4. Into the Music (1979). Vastly underrated, side two of this album feels like one long track (even though it isn’t).
3. Poetic Champions Compose (1987). The album that really signaled a move towards a smoother, jazzier sound, and the ultimate hipsway record. This is really my personal favorite, but I recognize the impact and importance of #s 1 and 2, above it.
2. Astral Weeks (1968). One of the most contemplative albums in music history, a real break from the hit-driven world of the 1960s that featured some extended-length songs without being classically jam-based or psychedelic.
1. Moondance (1970). Over half the songs became singles. This is the record that, deservedly, made Van Morrison a household name and carried him through the rest of his career.
Hit next for the best, most GOATest Van songs!