In 1967 Van Morrison hit with his first solo single, “Brown Eyed Girl.” He had hit the top 40 twice before as the lead singer of Them, first with 1965’s “Here Comes the Night,” which peaked at #24. That song’s writer/producer, Bert Berns, produced “Brown Eyed Girl,” a Morrison composition. The song hit the top ten, which didn’t make Morrison happy. “I never wanted to be commercial, and suddenly ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ was making me even more commercial,” he complained.
The relationship deteriorated between Morrison and Berns, who besides being a songwriter and producer ran Bang Records, the record company to which Morrison was signed. Morrison’s next album would be on Warner Bros. Records.
Released in 1968, Astral Weeks produced no top ten singles. As a matter of fact, it didn’t produce any charting singles. The album failed to chart as well. Morrison was following his musical muse.
These days Astral Weeks is considered Morrison’s best work and is a rock era classic.
Today Morrison turns 70 years old. Here are twenty career highlights, including “Brown Eyed Girl” and a healthy lot of songs from Astral Weeks.
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