Van Is In The Air

Van The Man

My unofficial boycott of Van Morrison’s considerable discography is over. Movies and television shows have dipped into Van’s large reservoir too often to convey certain moods and feelings to the point I couldn’t put on any of his music. This saturation is understandable since Van the Man makes appealing music that blends everything from Blues to Gospel with some Jazz/Soul/Celtic and other stuff just for fun. His ubiquity in films and television was acknowledged by the release of Van Morrison at the Movies in 2007 which featured 19 tracks and could have gone well beyond. I didn’t need to play his music anymore, it’s the same problem I have with More Than A feeling, Carry On Wayward Son or Wonderful Tonight; all songs ruined by overplay on classic rock radio. I don’t need to hear those songs ever again. Now granted in movies, the whole track usually doesn’t get played and it’s supposed to help move the story along so I get it’s purpose. I just think it became too easy to drop in a Van Morrison tune when maybe a producer or director could have taken a little more time and found another worthy piece of music. Call Quentin Tarantino or Jim Jarmusch they’re both good at it. I’ve started playing Van Morrison albums and I’ve been enjoying them, especially Moondance and Hymns to the Silence. Bang Masters is a lot of fun but Astral Weeks still bothers me. I love it for about half an album’s worth , the In The Beginning portion, than it meanders in the Afterwards. Quadrophenia used to cause a similar problem for my ears between disc one and disc two. I think the jazz influence might be what’s throwing me off like the moments Van scats and moans, I appreciate jazz I just don’t have a very good ear for it. I think I like Van Morrison’s soulfulness more than his mysticism but I can appreciate the blending of the two. You could spend a lifetime just exploring his output and I’d expect there’s a college course somewhere you could probably spend at least a semester on him. Allmusic.com lists 42 albums in his discography and I didn’t bother to count compilations or other records (soundtracks) he’s appeared on. Van’s been prolific but the movies have propelled him since he’s been able to use that presence instead of having to tour the states all of the time, unless you live in New York or California you’re not as likely to see him. I have friends that don’t listen to rock but they enjoy Van Morrison. He’s universal and I suppose we have to deal with the good and bad of Mr. Morrison’s appeal, fortunately there’s plenty of the former. What started this whole post was the beginning of the movie The Hunt which came highly recommended and starts off with, you guessed it, Moondance. The song was used over a bunch of grown men (mostly old and one naked) jumping into a cold lake. This almost ruins my one fond memory of the shower scene from An American Werewolf in London with the lovely Jenny Agutter that uses the same song to set the mood. Well now I’m meandering, maybe I should go put on Astral Weeks again. See you down the road Van, probably the next time I rent a movie or get the itch to listen to Tupelo Honey. Sometimes that the same thing.

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One thought on “Van Is In The Air

  1. Excellent post!
    I’m in total agreement on all points, except I’ll never get tired of Astral Weeks and one of my serious all time fave albums is THEM (Mystic Eyes, Gloria, Here Comes the Night, etc.) Van is the Man!

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