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Listening to Van Morrison

Greil Marcus

‘Van Morrison,’ says Greil Marcus, ‘remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of modern popular music.’ When Astral Weeks was released in 1968, it was largely ignored. When it was re-released as a live album in 2009 it reached the top of the Billboard charts, a first for any Van Morrison recording. The wild swings in the music, mirroring the swings in Morrison’s success and in people’s appreciation (or lack of it) of his music, make Van Morrison one of the most perplexing and mysterious figures in popular modern music, and a perfect subject for the wise and insightful scrutiny of Greil Marcus, one of America’s most dedicated cultural critics.

This book is Marcus’s quest to understand Van Morrison’s particular genius through the extraordinary and unclassifiable moments in his long career, beginning in 1965 and continuing in full force to this day. In these dislocations Marcus finds the singer on his own artistic quest precisely to reach some extreme musical threshold, the moments that are not enclosed by the will or the intention of the performer but which somehow emerge at the limits of the musician and his song.

RRP: £12.99

Published: 06/17/2010

ISBN: 9780571254446

Length: 208 pages

Format: Paperback

About Greil Marcus

Greil Marcus was born in San Francisco in 1945. He is the author of Mystery Train, Invisible Republic, Lipstick Traces, Double Trouble and Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010
and the editor of Lester Bangs’s Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. In 1998 he curated the exhibition ‘1948’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He writes the Real Life Rock Top 10 column for The Believer and teaches at the New School in New York. He was described by John Rockwell in the New York Times as ‘a writer of rare perception and a genuinely innovative thinker’. Greil Marcus lives in California.