Van Morrison Receives Knighthood

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Van Morrison has been knighted in recognition of his more than 50 years in music and contributions to popular music.

Knighthood is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual in the United Kingdom. Other popular artists who have been honored for their musical contributions include Paul McCartney and Elton John.

Morrison is also scheduled to receive the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala on June 18 in New York City.

The 69-year-old singer/songwriter was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and enjoyed his first taste of fame in 1964 with the R&B group Them. The band had chart hits with “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” “Here Comes the Night” and “Mystic Eyes.” Their most enduring song, however, was “Gloria,” the B-side to “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” The three-chord song became a garage-rock classic and was covered by Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and Patti Smith, among others.

Morrison went solo in 1967 and quickly scored a hit with “Brown Eyed Girl.” With 1968’s Astral Weeks he ventured into a mystical and meditative style of music that would define his sound on subsequent albums like Moondance and St. Dominic’s Preview. Those and other albums of this period contained many of his classic songs, including “Domino,” “Wild Night” and “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile).”

The theme of spirituality would become even deeper in Morrison’s music on his Eighties albums, such as Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, A Sense of Wonder, Avalon Sunset and No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. He continued to have hits in the Nineties, including “Real Real Gone,” from 1990’s Enlightenment, and the Top Five album Too Long in Exile, released in 1993.

Morrison is currently enjoying acclaim for his latest album, Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue. The album features duet performances with Bobby Womack, Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples, Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Clare Teal, P.J. Proby, Joss Stone, Georgie Fame, Mick Hucknall, Chris Farlowe, and his daughter Shana Morrison.

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