Edit
Van Morrison Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (12) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 31 August 1945Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Birth NameGeorge Ivan Morrison
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Van Morrison was born on August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland as George Ivan Morrison. He is married to Michelle Rocca. They have two children. He was previously married to Janet (Planet) Minto.

Spouse (2)

Janet (Planet) Minto (1968 - 1973) (1 child)
Michelle Rocca (? - present) (2 children)

Trade Mark (12)

Cowboy hats
Lyrics about love
Sunglasses
Saxophone
Distinctive voice
Lyrics about games
Frequently supports other artists, who shares the stage of singers in his concerts
Smoky, gravelly voice
Blazer with an unbuttoned top shirt (and occasionally scarves)
His lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually-inspired musical journey
Gravelly-burnished voice
Frequently wore blazers with a shirt unbuttoned

Trivia (14)

Born at 11:59pm-UT
He has a daughter, Shana, with Janet.
1993: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Was a member of the 1960s group Them.
He was voted the 42nd Greatest Artist in Rock 'n' Roll by Rolling Stone.
Is First Lady Laura Bush's favorite singer.
Was invited to sing at President George W. Bush's inauguration, but declined.
1994: Winner of the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution.
January 2006: Daughter Aibbe Rocca Morrison born. Mother is his long-term partner, Michelle Rocca.
2003: Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He moved briefly to Woodstock, New York in the late 1960s, not because it was a hotbed of the hippie/counterculture movement, but to live near his idol, Bob Dylan, who had lived in that area for 3 years before the famous music festival was held there. However, the Irish songsmith was reportedly too shy to actually approach Dylan at that time. The two classic rock idols later co-headlined a tour together.
He was awarded the OBE (OFficer of the Order of the British Empire) before being awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the Music Industry and to Tourism in Northern Ireland. He lives in Down, Northern Ireland.
Lifelong friend of Bob Dylan.
He is widely known to be a very private man.

Personal Quotes (25)

Music is spiritual. The music business is not.
I'd go so far as to say that some of the people who talk about me are actually mentally unstable.
I don't really have a hero. I don't even believe in them. To me, a hero is something out of a comic - Batman, maybe!
I don't relate to all this any differently than if I was a clerk. I wouldn't be telling some guy from a magazine what I did when I went home, so why should I in this business.
[on false claims placed on web site by hackers about a 4th child being born to him at 64 by Gigi Lee] For the avoidance of all doubt and in the interests of clarity, I am very happily married to Michelle Morrison with whom I have two wonderful children.
I played trumpet and jazz guitar and piano. In about 1933 through to about 1947. We did shows in the army, ENSA saw us and offered us 20 pounds a week when we got demobbed. So we became the rage of Italy, went round for two years. Then we came back here and nothing happened, so I just dropped it, worked in a bar and became a scriptwriter.
In order to win, you must be prepared to lose sometime. And leave one or two cards showing.
There have been many lies put out about me and this finally states my position. I have never joined any organization, nor plan to. I am not affiliated to any guru, don't subscribe to any method and for those people who don't know what a guru is, I don't have a teacher either.
[on the artists he grew up listening]: 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.
[If he disliked pop music]: It's just never been my music, because I've always heard the real stuff, y'know? I grew up in a household where I heard all the real music, so when I heard pop I didn't have to rush out... I loved Little Richard and Fats Domino and that, but I had the background of hearing this other music since I was three! So it wasn't such a big injection, like with rebellious teenagers when they heard rock'n'roll. Because I'd already heard similar music that was called rhythm'n'blues, which is where rock'n'roll came from. So it wasn't any big diversion. I just liked all of it, pop music as well, but my preference was more for black music. I think when myself and Eric Burdon [of The Animals] came out of that group thing, we were the ones into black music in a big way. A lot of people who said they were into black music really weren't, but I was and I think Burdon was, and I still am. But I think a lot of the other people who came from that era, it went into something else, their image was very white.
[on reissuing 'Moondance']: I did not endorse this, it is unauthorized and it has happened behind my back. My management company at that time gave this away 42 years ago and now I feel as though it's being stolen from me again.
[In 1970]: We get it both live and from records. Memphis Slim has been in Belfast; Jesse Fuller, Champion Jack Dupree, John Lee Hooker's been there. They've got folk clubs and rock clubs there, but it's got nothing to do with the English scene. In fact I'd go so far as to say it doesn't have much to do with the Irish scene either; it's just Belfast. It's got its own identity, its own people . . . it's just a different race, a different breed of people. There's a lot of changes here, too. Like the McPeaks [a family group of traditional Irish singers] on one hand, and some others of us on the other hand, and they're open to all kinds of music, not just one thing. Maybe a third of the people that are into R&B would go to hear the McPeaks.
[Who only became aware of his very 1st solo album's release, when a friend brought up on the phone call that he already purchased a copy of it]: I wasn't really happy with it. He picked the bands and tunes. I had a different concept of it.
[When he thought R&B was his first genre of music playing in bands]: There was a group called The Monarchs and that's primarily where I started doing R&B. And then with Them I was recording, but that's what it was called then. I had an R&B club in Belfast. It definitely wasn't pop music, that's for sure, because we weren't playing pop music. But I think when we recorded that Bert Berns song, Here Comes The Night, that was a poppy sort of song to begin with, the production. I think that's where everything went wrong!
[who gives the impression of 'The Healing Game']: I think that's true. You lose touch with it. For instance, some people find it incredible when I tell them that people used to sing and play music in the street. It just didn't happen where they came from. I think there's a whole oral tradition that's disappeared. The Healing Game is about the time when people used to sing on street corners. It came from America where they had the doo-wop groups. That's the general idea of the song, and also coming to a point where you've always been already. You've never really moved from this position. You took a lot of detours but you're still back on the corner.
There's always got to be a struggle. What else is there? That's what life is made of. I don't know anything else. If there is, tell me about it.
[Who talked about the changes in his approach to singing]: The approach now is to sing from lower down [the diaphragm] so I do not ruin my voice. Before, I sang in the upper area of my throat, which tends to wreck the vocal cords over time. Singing from lower in the belly allows my resonance to carry far. I can stand four feet from a mic and be heard quite resonantly.
I dig singing the songs but there are times when it's pretty agonizing for me to be out there.
Into the Music was about the first album where I felt, I'm starting here...the Wavelength thing, I didn't really feel that was me. That's when I got back into it. That's why I called it Into the Music.
[As to how he started singing]: I just got into it by accident, started off in skiffle groups when that was happening, went through showbands, whatever was happening. I was just a professional musician, I joined the union, and they'd knock on your door, Can you play in County Mayo on Saturday night for 40 quid? My peer group that I came from, they were into playing, they weren't into making records. Pop music wasn't even reality to me, I had this R&B club, doing in Belfast what Ken Collier was doing here. And then this bloke came over from Decca Records and the whole thing got wound up from there, and we went in the studio, and got involved in the music business. It became like pop. People were telling you, You must do this, or that. All manipulation.
[If he continues to perform]: I don't really tour. This is another misconception. I stopped touring in the true sense of the word in the late 1970s, early 1980s, possibly. I just do gigs now. I average two gigs a week. Only in America do I do more, because you can't really do a couple of gigs there, so I do more, 10 gigs or something there.
[When asked if he had any kind of music in the house, listening to, growing up]: Everything. I heard a lot of blues records; we always had that. And I heard a few street players, street singers and dancers; and my parents played music. We lived in a pretty funky neighborhood. I mean, it wasn't a white-collar district, let me put it that way. The people weren't involved in any other place but Belfast. If you lived in London, you could relate to a whole different scene, but when you lived in Belfast, you'd just relate to that scene. Either you'd accept that, or you'd go somewhere else. But it's not like any other place in the world. Like Boston and New York, they're different places on the map . You'd have to be there to really get an idea of what I'm talking about. If I took you to some of these places and you hung out and met the people, you'd understand. But I can't even scratch the surface now because it's so delicate.
[Who talked about his 35th album in 2015]: It's the reality of working the catalog, having fun but being practical, too. Because nobody else is working it.
[on the first song he wrote that was originally supposed to be 'Brown-Skinned Girl']: That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. I changed the title. After we'd recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that I'd changed the title. I looked at the box where I'd lain it down with my guitar and it said 'Brown Eyed Girl' on the tape box. It's just one of those things that happen.
I do not consciously aim to take the listener anywhere. If anything, I aim to take myself there in my music. If the listener catches the wavelength of what I am saying or singing, or gets whatever point whatever line means to them, then I guess as a writer I may have done a day's work.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page