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That pot Kenny show on Newstalk. Rocketships says so. The highway is locked down, as usual, San Diego. A sampler of the work of Van Morrison, 75 years young today and to talk about his incredible body of work, his enduring influence and how hot press is celebrating, the man and his music store clerk, deputy editor of Hot Press is on the line now. Stuart, good morning.
Good morning. Van's got his party hat on as we speak.
An unlikely possibly, but it is his birthday, and I'm sure he is marking it in his own way.
What you guys are doing in hot press.
It's a fitting tribute. I think we've done a special issue, Ravon Van Morrison, to tie in with our Ravon Van Morrison on the Hot Press YouTube Channel 75 songs by Irish musical admirers for Mr. Morrison. So far, we've had the likes of Damien Rice, Andrea Cole, Gary Lightbody, Imelda May, Healy, Wyvern Lingo, and some like Imelda in her bedroom with a mandolin. Some like Gary Lightbody, a really professional sort of recording session, albeit there's three musicians or remotely sort of beaming it in.
We have an extravaganza tonight on the YouTube channel from seven o'clock with some Morvan videos. This time it's Sir Bob Geldof, Moya Brennan, Paul Casey with Terry Hurley and a couple of the undertones, Mary Cocklin, John Spalatin Outten, Glen Hansard, who does a brilliant Astral Weeks and Hozier, who tackles Caravanned and the piece de Resistance. Please be upstanding, please, for the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, who has done a spoken word version of Ravon John Donne.
It's really quite remarkable. Recorded in the US and Bill Whalen arranging and producing a scene the other day part. Jonathan, can you imagine Donald Trump doing Born in the USA in honor of Bruce Springsteen or Boris Johnson belting out Let It Be for Paul McCartney?
We have an ace president and he did it from the top of his head. He does it off by heart.
He had most of the top of his head. There was a teleprompter there just in case. But he kind of ad libs and Schats a bit towards the end. As I say, it's really quite remarkable. That's part of our bonanza tonight from seven o'clock on the Hot Press YouTube channel.
We'll take a couple of samplers out. This is Damien Rice and Crazy Love.
She got a fine sense of humor when I'm feelin low down. When I come to her, when the sun goes down. Take away my travel, take away my. Take away my heart ache in the night like me. She gives me love.
Crazy love to give me love, love. Great, and I meet her in the daytime. And I meet her in the. I want to throw my arms around her. That's Damien Rice and crazy love that Brian Kennedy, of course, does a great version of that, too.
There's another one we want to play a little of, and there's so much there's a wealth of talent, all paying tribute to Tavan the man. And this is David Little featuring Liam Neeson. Have a listen. Take me back.
Take me way, way, way back on for Street where you could feel the silence at half past eleven on a long summer night as the wireless played Radio Luxembourg and the voices whispered across Bitchier River and the quietness as we sank into restful slumber and the silence and carried on dreaming and God. And walks up Cherry Valley from North Road Bridge railway line as summer afternoons, picking apples from the side of the tracks that spilled over from the gardens of the houses on Cypress Avenue, watching the moth catcher work in the floodlights in the evenings and meeting time by the pylons, playing Mrs.
Kelly's alarm, going out to Hollywood on the bus and walking from the end of the lines to the seaside, stopping the Fusco's for ice cream. In the days before rock and roll. Landfried Street, Better PERENT, Richfield Dance Church, Sunday, six bells and then between the silence of was conversation and laughter and music and singing and shivers up the back of the neck and tuning into Luxembourg lit at night and jazz and blues records during the day. Also to bucy on the third program early mornings and contemplation.
And I will find you and I will kill you.
I was going to say it's taken both sounds very cross. I would not mess with Liam Neeson on that song. It's great, though.
I mean, there's such wonderful stuff here. A tribute to Van. Tell us a little bit about his background and where the music lay.
Yes, he's from East Belfast, from a Protestant family, but not your typical Protestant family. His mum, Violet, was an amazing singer. There's a clip of her on YouTube, and that's where the talent came from. She worked the Belfast pub circuit. His dad, George, quite unusually, had travelled to Detroit and lived there back in the 40s and 50s. And the key was this record collection of his dad's. It was Muddy Waters, Charlie Parker and Woody Guthrie.
So lots of bands, heroes as as a kid were black. There was no bigotry in that household. And some people sort of say he's never really sort of gone and made a big political statement. But he has. And the healing has begun. He didn't need to be party political or sectarian political. Also, you know, nobody from East Belfast was crossing the border in 1973 and holidaying like Van was in Arklow and writing about it that just crossing the state, the border, I think was a statement about peace.
So he has been a very unifying force with fans locally from across the divide.
Now, he had his first hit with them and the band them, and he was only 19 years of age.
Well, Gloria was the second song he ever wrote, Gloria, the ultimate garage band song, according to Steve Van Zandt, who says it's even better than Wild Thing on Louie Louie, which is praise indeed. Yeah, he was going to the states and having hit records in his teens. And again, that was really unusual because the only way you make music on the island of Ireland are made money was to be in a show band. And Van thought I've had enough of doing other people's songs.
I'm writing my own tunes, I want to perform them. And to do that, he had to buy a window cleaning rounds. That was his solution. I can make original music and be a window cleaner for ever more. That was his expectation. So he'd go off during the day, clean windows, play the clubs at night.
And of course there is a song called Cleaning Windows, which are documents that time that so many people admit to being fans of Van Morrison.
You kind of expect Hozier, Janet O'Connor, who's doing a song soon, and Damien Rice and Damien Dempsey. You can hear you can really hear the van in them. But Asham therapy, the academic youngsters like Joy Crookes, a Malang for Gemma Bradley and Jayce Stuart Jacobs in his teens himself. I'm from Belfast and a real pop act. But he relates to Van as a Belfast boy, but also the songwriting craft. The Ghile vary and he really is the musician's musician.
And that's interesting, too, because one or two people claim that Van can on occasion be a little tiny bit grumpy. We know this is not the case, but I think he speaks in music. He demands perfection. You mentioned Brian Kennedy. Brian spent six years touring and recording with Van the Great France. And Brian says Van demands the very best. If you give that to him, he will treat you brilliantly. Unlike him, you'll hang around for six years being quite well paid and travelling the world.
Now, your favourite album of a massive catalogue. And in fact, there's so much unreleased music that you've learnt about, but maybe we will someday get to hear.
Well, it does appear he has more songs in the vault than Prince or nearly as many. There's going to be lots of records when he does eventually die. But I think fans indestructible. He'll be there 110. Oh, there are so many to choose from. And I must just mention, talking of unlikely fans, I was talking to Brandon Flowers and the Killers and he just was gushing about Van. And I thought when I said, What's your favourite tune?
Probably say Brown Eyed Girl, which he'd played in Belfast where the killers but but know the greatest vocal performance ever, and that includes Aretha Franklin is Lyndon Ardern stole the highlights. And I must admit, I didn't know the song that well. I went back to it. And Brandon, I'm not sure about Aretha Franklin, but it's definitely up there as one of the greatest vocal performances. I'm going to be very cliched and go for Astral Weeks from 1968.
I mean, Cypress Avenue, Madame George, he paints such vivid characters. But we asked everybody, of course, for their favorite album. The 75 contributors to Ravon Van Morrison and ones that came up all the time were Vidant Fleece, St. Dominic's Preview at Interest. His band and the street choir from 1970, which van disowns because the record company changed the title without his permission and he's still in a bit of a weed on about that. But it's a wonderful, wonderful record.
And again, listening to that, you get what Bruce was doing with the E Street Band.
So remind us once again, Stuart, on this day when Van Morrison turned 75 about tonight and the hot YouTube channel from seven o'clock, the likes of Glen Hansard, Hozier and Mykelti Higgins, the Ravon, John Donne, I was smiling.
It's just so beautiful.
A lovely gesture from the president's store clerk, deputy editor of Hot Press. Thank you very much.