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Thursday, June 12, 2008

GMVW # 23: "The Music Man"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 23: The Music Man
Song: Wavelength by Van Morrison
(Songwriter: Van Morrison)
June 12, 2008

There are only two musicians I’m aware of who, because of their philosophy regarding award ceremonies, snubbed their own induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  Johnny Rotten (inducted with the Sex Pistols) was no surprise to anyone.  The other, Van Morrison, may have been a surprise to some, but not his fans. If the world of Rock musicians has a reclusive curmudgeon, it’s Van the Man. 

With this attitude, you would have to be good to survive in the business, and Van Morrison certainly fits the bill.  At one of his concerts, I mentally constructed a mathematical formula and it’s always stuck with me:  Van Morrison = Music.  Not quite E = MC2, but not too shabby.  There is simply no sound more melodic than a good Van Morrison song.  Just listening to the album ‘Astral Weeks’ is enough for me to come to that conclusion.

I’ve been holding off on a Van Morrison Gem up until now, because he has gremlins surfing the web, constantly searching for and then blocking his videos from sites like YouTube, claiming copyright infringement (while at the same time reinforcing his reputation).  A few songs, ‘It Stoned Me’, ‘Into the Mystic’, ‘Domino’ and ‘Real Real Gone’ are all Gems, but have come and gone on most web sites. However, one version of ‘Wavelength’ has survived (buried in wavelengths) and I just hope it avoids the detection of Van’s gremlins for a week or so.  There are some great videos on his official web site, but you have to sign up as a member.

Van Morrison revels in his Irish roots, but he actually spent a number of years living in Boston in the late 60s as he was struggling to make ends meet.  In a 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine issue filled with inspirational articles about the fifty greatest artists of all time (each written by an inspired musician), it was Peter Wolf’s article about Van Morrison that I found to be the most moving.  Wolf talked about Morrison’s relocation to Boston with his family, and his struggles to redefine himself in the States, after enjoying several early pop hits in Ireland.  Over a period of time, in front of very small crowds at a club called the Catacombs (which Wolf described as ‘subterranean’) Van Morrison slowly developed his true sound, which survives to this day, and comes out pretty clearly in this Gem.

Pete


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About the video: Live Morrison from the mid 70’s

Video Rating: 2

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Best Comments: Jack

I've been reading your clips and find them interesting and entertaining to say the least.  I particularly found the clip two weeks ago to be a good one...the Irish curmudgeon.  The only song I really knew from him was "Brown Eyed Girl".  This reminds me of an old show called, "Don Kirshners Rock Concert" but I think you're upstaging him. :)

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