What About Van?
After receiving this email I decided to turn the page over to the webmaster since
he answered the question better than I could have?
Inform me as to why about Van
I'm a 17 yr old girl and my name's Renee. I admit that I am still in the stages of
getting to know Van. The first time I'd ever heard Van was when I was young, hearing
his famous hits - 'Brown Eyed Girl' and 'Have I Told You Lately' on our camping trips
around Australia, singing along. I never really loved him until a few months ago when
I got my mum's CD out - 'The Best Of' and listened, really listened to it, for hrs,
days, weeks. I talked to my english teacher about my new found obsession and he lent
me two of his CD's - 'Into the Music' and 'Poetic Champions Compose'. My favourite
songs were 'Alan Watts Blues' and 'I Forgot That Love Existed'. In one day I went out
and bought 7 Cd's. I received 'Moondance' for Christmas and have, as almost a ritual,
listened to Van Morrison every day. I love the passion in his songs; his voice; his
manipulation of words and the symbolism used throughout his songs. It's true poetry.
I have started to read all about Van Morrison. Finding out where he was born and
various bands he's been in. That's what has me writing to you. I've read many criticising
articles on him. Articles stating that he's a hypocrite and to put it bluntly - a lousy
human being. Dave McElfresh, in his article states 'he both spits and spiritualize so
artfully that we look forward to both, and we don't mind that one never addresses
the other'. Dave claims that Van praises God in his songs but then sings songs like
"Why Must I Always Explain" appearing hypocritical. Dave also spits on Morrison's
divorce from his wife (featured on 'Tupelo Honey') hinting that his isolated ways
was what initiated the divorce. You only have to read the first paragraph of the
article to understand what I mean (http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/06-15-95/music.htm).
I'm still pretty uninformed that's why I need to ask - 'What am I missing?' Why is it
that I am finding all these sights totally bagging the Man that I've come to admire?
He is a human being like every one else and humans make mistakes. I just don't understand.
Please inform me!
I must say that your e-mail was very thought provoking. Which is why I took a couple
of days to think about my answer.
Let me start by saying that I started listening to Van Morrison about seventeen years
ago. I fell in love with the sheer poetry of his song 'Have I Told You Lately' and
I scowl everytime I hear the Rod Stewart version of it. Since then I have listened
to everything he has recorded and have come to appreciate the genius of Van Morrison.
I did read Mr. McElfresh's article on the man and came away with the same feeling
I have for most critics and reviewers: Those who cannot write a song or sing a song
or perform a song, criticize. I think that McElfresh has a hidden angst-driven desire
to be a songwriter/singer but since he cannot do either, he takes his frustration
out by writing a scathing diatribe of one-sidedness that probably made him feel better.
Besides, Tucson is not the music mecca of the world.
It is nearly impossible to understand Van Morrison the man, but it is easy to understand
Van Morrison the singer/songwriter. He writes from the heart and delivers his message
from the soul. Sometimes it's a scathing message on the plight of the world...Sometimes
it's a personal, introspective piece of karma that he's willing to share with the
world...And sometimes it's one of the most heart rending love songs you've ever heard.
Believe me when I say that Van Morrison is not the first musical genius to be cut to
shreds by critics and reviewers. Everyone from Elvis Presley to Janis Joplin to Jimi
Hendrix to David Bowie to Prince to Melissa Etheridge have come under the surgical
pen of critics and been sliced to shreds. You know what? Fans don't care. It's the
music that's important to us, not the personal little tidbits and problems of our
musical heroes. We all have little foibles and flaws in our inner beings...but that's
what makes us different from everyone else. And in Van Morrison's case that's what
drives him on to write music for the world.
So he keeps to himself and refuses to be interviewed...I still believe that an individual's
personal life is just that - personal. As long as it doesn't hurt anybody then it's
nobody's business what goes on behind closed doors. Let the man write and sing until
he can do it no longer and let the fans enjoy every word and note that he produces...Twenty
years from now people will still be enjoying the musical genius of Van Morrison, but
will have forgotten who Dave McElfresh and all the other critics are.
As Steve Tyler once sang, 'Let the music do the talking'...So listen with your heart
and soul and never let anybody tell you that it's wrong because they don't agree with
someone's personal beliefs or standards. If the music touches you on the inside, then
let it show on the outside, also.
I did find a very good article on Van Morrison that you may enjoy reading...
Scroll down to the article entitled 'Van Morrison: The man with a vision'.
Hoping this helped to answer your question...
- Richard Blaine
* Richard Blaine's views and opinions do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the staff at Twin-Music.