|Who is it?||Actor|
|Birth Day||August 31, 1945|
|Age||75 YEARS OLD|
|Birth name||George Ivan Morrison|
|Also known as||Van the Man The Belfast Cowboy The Belfast Lion|
|Genres||Rock R&B folk blues soul celtic jazz country gospel|
|Instruments||Vocals guitar harmonica saxophone keyboards drums tambourine ukulele|
|Labels||Decca Bang Warner Bros. London Mercury Exile Polydor Verve Point Blank Virgin Universal Blue Note Lost Highway Listen to the Lion EMI Manhattan RCA|
Into the Music: "The album's last four songs, "Angelou", "And the Healing Has Begun", and "It's All in the Game/You Know What They're Writing About" are a veritable tour-de-force with Morrison summoning every vocal trick at his disposal from "Angelou's climactic shouts to the sexually-charged, half-mumbled monologue in "And the Healing Has Begun" to the barely audible whisper that is the album's final sound." (Scott Thomas Review')
George Ivan "Van" Morrison was born on 31 August 1945, at 125 Hyndford Street, Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland, as the only child of George Morrison, a shipyard electrician, and Violet Stitt Morrison, who had been a singer and tap Dancer in her youth. Morrison's family were working class Protestants descended from the Ulster Scots population that settled in Belfast. From 1950 to 1956, Morrison, who began to be known as "Van" during this time, attended Elmgrove Primary School. His father had what was at the time one of the largest record collections in Ulster (acquired during his time in Detroit, Michigan, in the early 1950s) and the young Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Lead Belly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and Solomon Burke; of whom he later said, "If it weren't for guys like Ray and Solomon, I wouldn't be where I am today. Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn't for that kind of music, I couldn't do what I'm doing now."
Known as "Van the Man" he started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Van Morrison rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria". His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967. After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Though this album gradually garnered high praise, it was initially a poor seller.
Morrison's father bought him his first acoustic guitar when he was eleven, and he learned to play rudimentary chords from the song book The Carter Family Style, edited by Alan Lomax. A year later, when he was twelve years old, Morrison formed his first band, a skiffle group, "The Sputniks", named after the recently launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1. In 1958, the band played at some of the local cinemas, and Morrison took the lead, contributing most of the singing and arranging. Other short-lived groups followed – at fourteen, he formed Midnight Special, another modified skiffle band and played at a school concert. Then, when he heard Jimmy Giuffre playing saxophone on "The Train and The River", he talked his father into buying him a saxophone, and took lessons in tenor sax and music reading. Now playing the saxophone, Morrison joined with various local bands, including one called Deanie Sands and the Javelins, with whom he played guitar and shared singing. The line-up of the band was lead vocalist Deanie Sands, Guitarist George Jones, and Drummer and vocalist Roy Kane. Later the four main Musicians of the Javelins, with the addition of Wesley Black as Pianist, became known as the Monarchs.
Morrison attended Orangefield Boys Secondary School, leaving in July 1960 with no qualifications. As a member of a working-class community, it was expected he would get a regular full-time job, so after several short apprenticeship positions, he settled into a job as a window cleaner—later alluded to in his songs "Cleaning Windows" and "Saint Dominic's Preview". However, he had been developing his musical interests from an early age and continued playing with the Monarchs part-time. Young Morrison also played with the Harry Mack Showband, the Great Eight, with his older workplace friend, Geordie (G. D.) Sproule, whom he later named as one of his biggest influences.
Upon returning to Belfast in November 1963, the group disbanded, so Morrison connected with Geordie Sproule again and played with him in the Manhattan Showband along with Guitarist Herbie Armstrong. When Armstrong auditioned to play with Brian Rossi and the Golden Eagles, later known as the Wheels, Morrison went along and was hired as a blues singer.
Morrison lived in Belfast from birth until 1964, when he moved to London with Them, and then three years later, he moved to New York after signing with Bang Records. Facing deportation due to visa problems, he managed to stay in the US when his American girlfriend Janet (Planet) Rigsbee, who had a son named Peter from a previous relationship, agreed to marry him. Once married, Morrison and his wife moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he found work performing in local clubs. The couple had one daughter in 1970, Shana Morrison, who has become a singer-songwriter. Morrison and his family moved around America, living in Boston; Woodstock, New York; and a hilltop home in Fairfax, California. His wife appeared on the cover of the album Tupelo Honey. They divorced in 1973.
Building on the success of their singles in the United States, and riding on the back of the British Invasion, Them undertook a two-month tour of America in May and June 1966 that included a residency from 30 May to 18 June at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. The Doors were the supporting act on the last week, and Morrison's influence on the Doors singer, Jim Morrison, was noted by John Densmore in his book Riders On The Storm. Brian Hinton relates how "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks." On the final night, the two Morrisons and the two bands jammed together on "Gloria".
Following the death of Berns in 1967, Morrison became involved in a contract dispute with Berns' widow, Ilene Berns, that prevented him from performing on stage or recording in the New York area. The song "Big Time Operators", released in 1993, is thought to allude to his dealings with the New York music Business during this time period. He then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and was soon confronted with personal and financial problems; he had "slipped into a malaise" and had trouble finding concert bookings. However, through the few gigs he could find, he regained his professional footing and started recording with Warner Bros. Records. The record company managed to buy out his contract with Bang Records. Morrison fulfilled a clause that bound him to submit thirty-six original songs within a year to Web IV Music, Berns' music publishing company, by recording thirty-one songs in one session; however, Ilene Berns thought the songs "nonsense music … about ringworms" and did not use them. The throwaway compositions came to be known as the "revenge" songs. They were officially released on the compilation set The Authorized Bang Collection in 2017.
His transcendental signature style first came into full expression with his 1968 classic, Astral Weeks and he was noted to have remained a "master of his transcendental craft" in 2009 while performing the Astral Weeks songs live. This musical art form was based on stream of consciousness songwriting and emotional vocalising of lyrics that have no basis in normal structure or symmetry. His live performances are dependent on building dynamics with spontaneity between himself and his band, whom he controls with hand gestures throughout, sometimes signalling impromptu solos from a selected band member. The music and vocals build towards a hypnotic and trance-like state that depends on in-the-moment creativity. Scott Foundas with LA Weekly wrote "he seeks to transcend the apparent boundaries of any given song; to achieve a total freedom of form; to take himself, his band and the audience on a journey whose destination is anything but known." Greil Marcus wrote an entire book devoted to examining the moments in Morrison's music where he reaches this state of transcendence and explains: "But in his music the same sense of escape from ordinary limits – a reach for, or the achievement of, a kind of violent transcendence – can come from hesitations, repetitions of words or phrases, pauses, the way a musical change by another musician is turned by Morrison as a bandleader or seized on by him as a singer and changed into a sound that becomes an event in and of itself. In these moments, the self is left behind, and the sound, that "yarragh," becomes the active agent: a musical person, with its own mind, its own body." A book reviewer further described it as "This transcendent moment of music when the song and the singer are one thing not two, neither dependent on the other or separate from the other but melded to the other like one, like breath and life..."
Morrison moved back to the UK in the late 1970s, first settling in London's Notting Hill Gate area. Later, he moved to Bath, where he purchased the Wool Hall studio in January 1994. He also has a home in the Irish seaside village of Dalkey near Dublin, where legal actions against two different neighbours concerning safety and privacy issues have been taken to court in 2001 and in 2010. In the former case, Morrison pursued his action all the way to the Irish Supreme Court.
In 1971, he released another well-received album, Tupelo Honey. This album produced the hit single "Wild Night" that was later covered by John Mellencamp. The title song has a notably country-soul feel about it and the album ended with another country tune, "Moonshine Whiskey". Morrison said he originally intended to make an all country album. The recordings were as live as possible – after rehearsing the songs the Musicians would enter the studio and play a whole set in one take. His co-producer, Ted Templeman, described this recording process as the "scariest thing I've ever seen. When he's got something together, he wants to put it down right away with no overdubbing."
By 1972, after being a performer for nearly ten years, Morrison began experiencing stage fright when performing for audiences of thousands, as opposed to the hundreds as he had experienced in his early career. He became anxious on stage and had difficulty establishing eye contact with the audience. He once said in an interview about performing on stage, "I dig singing the songs but there are times when it's pretty agonising for me to be out there." After a brief break from music, he started appearing in clubs, regaining his ability to perform live, albeit with smaller audiences.
During a three-week vacation visit to Ireland in October 1973, Morrison wrote seven of the songs that made up his next album, Veedon Fleece. Though it attracted scant initial attention, its critical stature grew markedly over the years—with Veedon Fleece now often considered to be one of Morrison's most impressive and poetic works. In a 2008 Rolling Stone review, Andy Greene writes that when released in late 1974: "it was greeted by a collective shrug by the rock critical establishment" and concludes: "He's released many wonderful albums since, but he's never again hit the majestic heights of this one." "You Don't Pull No Punches, but You Don't Push the River", one of the album's side closers, exemplifies the long, hypnotic, cryptic Morrison with its references to visionary poet william Blake and to the seemingly Grail-like Veedon Fleece object.
The 1974 live double album, It's Too Late to Stop Now has been noted to be one of the greatest recordings of a live concert and has appeared on lists of greatest live albums of all time. Biographer Johnny Rogan wrote, "Morrison was in the midst of what was arguably his greatest phase as a performer." Performances on the album were from tapes made during a three-month tour of the US and Europe in 1973 with the backing group the Caledonia Soul Orchestra. Soon after recording the album, Morrison restructured the Caledonia Soul Orchestra into a smaller unit, the Caledonia Soul Express.
The name "Caledonia" has played a prominent role in Morrison's life and career. Biographer Ritchie Yorke had pointed out already by 1975 that Morrison has referred to Caledonia so many times in his career that he "seems to be obsessed with the word". In his 2009 biography, Erik Hage found "Morrison seemed deeply interested in his paternal Scottish roots during his early career, and later in the ancient countryside of England, hence his repeated use of the term Caledonia (an ancient Roman name for Scotland/northern Britain)". As well as being his daughter Shana's middle name, it is the name of his first production company, his studio, his publishing company, two of his backing groups, his parents' record store in Fairfax, California in the 1970s, and he also recorded a cover of the song "Caldonia" (with the name spelled "Caledonia") in 1974. Morrison used "Caledonia" in what has been called a quintessential Van Morrison moment in the song, "Listen to the Lion" with the lyrics, "And we sail, and we sail, way up to Caledonia". Morrison used "Caledonia" as a mantra in the live performance of the song, "Astral Weeks" recorded at the two Hollywood Bowl concerts. As late as 2016's Keep Me Singing album, he recorded a self-penned instrumental entitled "Caledonia Swing."
On Thanksgiving Day 1976, Morrison performed at the farewell concert for the Band. It was his first live performance in several years, and he considered skipping his appearance until the last minute, even refusing to go on stage when they announced his name. His manager, Harvey Goldsmith, said he "literally kicked him out there." Morrison was on good terms with the members of the Band as near-neighbours in Woodstock, and they had the shared experience of stage fright. At the concert, he performed two songs. His first was a rendition of the classic Irish song "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral". His second song was "Caravan", from his 1970 album Moondance. Greil Marcus, in attendance at the concert, wrote: "Van Morrison turned the show around...singing to the rafters and ...burning holes in the floor. It was a triumph, and as the song ended Van began to kick his leg into the air out of sheer exuberance and he kicked his way right offstage like a Rockette. The crowd had given him a fine welcome and they cheered wildly when he left." The filmed concert served as the basis for Martin Scorsese's 1978 film, The Last Waltz.
Morrison took three years to release a follow-up album. After a decade without taking time off, he said in an interview, he needed to get away from music completely and ceased listening to it for several months. Also suffering from writer's block, he seriously considered leaving the music Business for good. Speculation that an extended jam session would be released either under the title Mechanical Bliss, or Naked in the Jungle, or Stiff Upper Lip, came to nothing, and Morrison's next album was A Period of Transition in 1977, a collaboration with Dr. John, who had appeared at The Last Waltz concert with Morrison in 1976. The album received a mild critical reception and marked the beginning of a very prolific period of song making.
Beginning with his 1979 album, Into the Music and the song "And the Healing Has Begun", a frequent theme of his music and lyrics has been based on his belief in the healing power of music combined with a form of mystic Christianity. This theme has become one of the predominant qualities of his work.
Morrison and his family have been affiliated with St. Donard's Parish Church, an Anglican congregation of the Church of Ireland located in east Belfast. During the Troubles, the area was described as "militantly Protestant", although Morrison's parents have always been freethinkers with his father openly declaring himself an atheist and his mother being connected to Jehovah's Witnesses at one point. Van left Northern Ireland before the Troubles reached a peak in violence and distanced himself from the conflict, although later "yearned for" Protestant and Catholic reconciliation. Van Morrison had been linked to Scientology in the early 1980s and even thanked its founder L. Ron Hubbard in one of his songs. Later, he became wary of religion, saying: "I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole." He also said it is important to distinguish spirituality from religion: "Spirituality is one thing, religion... can mean anything from soup to nuts, you know? But it generally means an organisation, so I don't really like to use the word, because that's what it really means. It really means this church or that church... but spirituality is different, because that's the individual."
Morrison has received several major music awards in his career, including two Grammy Awards, with five additional nominations (1982–2004); inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (January 1993), the Songwriters Hall of Fame (June 2003), and the Irish Music Hall of Fame (September 1999); and a Brit Award (February 1994). In addition he has received civil awards: an OBE (June 1996) and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996). He has honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster (1992) and from Queen's University Belfast (July 2001).
In addition to It's Too Late to Stop Now and Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Morrison has released three other live albums: Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast in 1984; A Night in San Francisco in 1994 that Rolling Stone magazine felt stood out as: "the culmination of a career's worth of soul searching that finds Morrison's eyes turned toward heaven and his feet planted firmly on the ground"; and The Skiffle Sessions – Live in Belfast 1998 recorded with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber and released in 2000.
A Sense of Wonder, Morrison's 1985 album, pulled together the spiritual themes contained in his last four albums, which were defined in a Rolling Stone review as: "rebirth (Into the Music), deep contemplation and meditation (Common One); ecstasy and humility (Beautiful Vision); and blissful, mantra like languor (Inarticulate Speech of the Heart)." The single, "Tore Down a la Rimbaud" was a reference to Rimbaud and an earlier bout of writer's block that Morrison had encountered in 1974. In 1985, Morrison also wrote the musical score for the movie, Lamb starring Liam Neeson.
Morrison's 1986 release, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, was said to contain a "genuine holiness...and musical freshness that needs to be set in context to understand." Critical response was favourable with a Sounds reviewer calling the album "his most intriguingly involved since Astral Weeks" and "Morrison at his most mystical, magical best." It contains the song, "In the Garden" that, according to Morrison, had a "definite meditation process which is a 'form' of transcendental meditation as its basis. It's not TM". He entitled the album as a rebuttal to media attempts to place him in various creeds. In an interview in the Observer he told Anthony Denselow:
After releasing the "No Guru" album, Morrison's music appeared less gritty and more adult contemporary with the well-received 1987 album, Poetic Champions Compose, considered to be one of his recording highlights of the 1980s. The romantic ballad from this album, "Someone Like You", has been featured subsequently in the soundtracks of several movies, including 1995's French Kiss, and in 2001, both Someone Like You and Bridget Jones's Diary.
In 1988, he released Irish Heartbeat, a collection of traditional Irish folk songs recorded with the Irish group the Chieftains, which reached number 18 in the UK album charts. The title song, "Irish Heartbeat", was originally recorded on his 1983 album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart.
The 1989 album, Avalon Sunset, which featured the hit duet with Cliff Richard "Whenever God Shines His Light" and the ballad "Have I Told You Lately" (on which "earthly love transmutes into that for God"(Hinton)), reached 13 on the UK album chart. Although considered to be a deeply spiritual album, it also contained "Daring Night", which "deals with full, blazing sex, whatever its churchy organ and gentle lilt suggest"(Hinton). Morrison's familiar themes of "God, woman, his childhood in Belfast and those enchanted moments when time stands still" were prominent in the songs. He can be heard calling out the change of tempo at the end of this song, repeating the numbers "1 – 4" to cue the chord changes (the first and fourth chord in the key of the music). He often completed albums in two days, frequently releasing first takes.
The 1990s also saw an upsurge in collaborations by Morrison with other artists, a trend continuing into the new millennium. He recorded with Irish folk band the Chieftains on their 1995 album, The Long Black Veil. Morrison's song, "Have I Told You Lately" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1995.
Morrison met Irish socialite Michelle Rocca in the summer of 1992, and they often featured in the Dublin gossip columns, an unusual event for the reclusive Morrison. Rocca also appeared on one of his album covers, Days Like This. The couple married and have two children; a daughter was born in February 2006 and a son in August 2007. According to a statement posted on his website, they were divorced in March, 2018.
The Hall of Fame inductions began in 1993 with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Morrison becoming notable as the first living inductee not to attend his own ceremony, – Robbie Robertson from the Band accepted the award on his behalf. When Morrison became the initial musician inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame, Bob Geldof presented Morrison with the award. Morrison's third induction was into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for "recognition of his unique position as one of the most important songwriters of the past century". Ray Charles presented the award, following a performance during which the pair performed Morrison's "Crazy Love" from the album, Moondance. Morrison's BRIT Award was for his Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Former Beirut hostage, John McCarthy presented the award; while testifying to the importance of Morrison's song "Wonderful Remark" McCarthy called it "a song … which was very important to us."
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B, such as the popular singles "Brown Eyed Girl", "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)", "Domino" and "Wild Night". An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually-inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks and the lesser-known Veedon Fleece and Common One. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic soul". He has received two Grammy Awards, the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Other awards include an Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1995, the BMI ICON award in October 2004 for Morrison's "enduring influence on generations of music makers", and an Oscar Wilde: Honouring Irish Writing in Film award in 2007 for his contribution to over fifty films, presented by Al Pacino, who compared Morrison to Oscar Wilde – both "visionaries who push boundaries". He was voted the Best International Male Singer of 2007 at the inaugural International Awards in Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, London.
Morrison received two civil awards in 1996, firstly the Order of the British Empire for his Service to music, secondly an award from the French government which made him an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Along with these state awards he has two honorary degrees in music; an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Ulster, and an honorary doctorate in music from Queen's University in his hometown of Belfast.
He also produced and was featured on several tracks with blues legend John Lee Hooker on Hooker's 1997 album, Don't Look Back. This album won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1998 and the title track "Don't Look Back", a duet featuring Morrison and Hooker, also won a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1998. The project capped a series of Morrison and Hooker collaborations that began in 1971 when they performed a duet on the title track of Hooker's 1972 album Never Get Out of These Blues Alive. On this album, Hooker also recorded a cover of Morrison's "T.B. Sheets".
His father died in 1998 and his mother Violet died in 2016.
Morrison additionally collaborated with Tom Jones on his 1999 album Reload, performing a duet on "Sometimes We Cry", and he also sang vocals on a track entitled "The Last Laugh" on Mark Knopfler's 2000 album, Sailing to Philadelphia. In 2004, Morrison was one of the guests on Ray Charles' album, Genius Loves Company, featuring the two artists performing Morrison's "Crazy Love".
Morrison has also appeared in a number of "Greatest" lists, including the TIME magazine list of The All-Time 100 Albums, which contained Astral Weeks and Moondance, and he appeared at number thirteen on the list of WXPN's 885 All Time Greatest Artists. In 2000, Morrison ranked twenty-fifth on American cable music channel VH1's list of its "100 Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll". In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Morrison forty-second on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Paste ranked him twentieth in their list of "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" in 2006. Q ranked him twenty-second on their list of "100 Greatest Singers" in April 2007 and he was voted twenty-fourth on the November 2008 list of Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
In 2001, nine months into a tour with Linda Gail Lewis promoting their collaboration You Win Again, Lewis left, later filing claims against Morrison for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination. Both claims were later withdrawn, and Morrison's solicitor said, "(Mr Morrison's) pleased that these claims have finally been withdrawn. He accepted a full apology and comprehensive retraction which represents a complete vindication of his stance from the outset. Miss Lewis has given a full and categorical apology and retraction to Mr Morrison." Lewis' legal representative Christine Thompson said both parties had agreed to the terms of the settlement.
The album, Down the Road released in May 2002, received a good critical reception and proved to be his highest charting album in the US since 1972's Saint Dominic's Preview. It had a nostalgic tone, with its fifteen tracks representing the various musical genres Morrison had previously covered—including R&B, blues, country and folk; one of the tracks was written as a tribute to his late father George, who had played a pivotal role in nurturing his early musical tastes.
A 2004 Rolling Stone magazine review begins with the words: "This is music of such enigmatic beauty that thirty-five years after its release, Astral Weeks still defies easy, admiring description." Alan Light later described Astral Weeks as "like nothing he had done previously—and really, nothing anyone had done previously. Morrison sings of lost love, death, and nostalgia for childhood in the Celtic soul that would become his signature." It has been placed on many lists of best albums of all time. In the 1995 Mojo list of 100 Best Albums, it was listed as number two and was number nineteen on the Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. In December 2009, it was voted the top Irish album of all time by a poll of leading Irish Musicians conducted by Hot Press magazine.
Morrison's 2005 album, Magic Time, debuted at number twenty-five on the US Billboard 200 charts upon its May release, some forty years after Morrison first entered the public's eye as the frontman of Them. Rolling Stone listed it as number seventeen on The Top 50 Records of 2005. Also in July 2005, Morrison was named by Amazon as one of their top twenty-five all-time best-selling artists and inducted into the Amazon.com Hall of Fame. Later in the year, Morrison also donated a previously unreleased studio track to a charity album, Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now, which raised money for relief efforts intended for Gulf Coast victims devastated by hurricanes, Katrina and Rita. Morrison composed the song, "Blue and Green", featuring Foggy Lyttle on guitar. This song was released in 2007 on the album, The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3 and also as a single in the UK. Van Morrison was a headline act at the international Celtic music festival, The Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway, Outer Hebrides in the summer of 2005.
He released an album with a country music theme, entitled Pay the Devil, on 7 March 2006 and appeared at the Ryman Auditorium where the tickets sold out immediately after they went on sale. Pay the Devil debuted at number twenty-six on the Billboard 200 and peaked at number seven on Top Country Albums. Amazon Best of 2006 Editor's Picks in Country listed the country album at number ten in December 2006. Still promoting the country album, Morrison's performance as the headline act on the first night of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on 15 September 2006 was reviewed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top ten shows of the 2006 festival. In November 2006, a limited edition album, Live at Austin City Limits Festival was issued by Exile Productions, Ltd. A later deluxe CD/DVD release of Pay the Devil, in the summer of 2006 contained tracks from the Ryman performance. In October 2006, Morrison had released his first commercial DVD, Live at Montreux 1980/1974 with concerts taken from two separate appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Still on Top – The Greatest Hits, a thirty-seven track double CD compilation album was released on 22 October 2007 in the UK on the Polydor label. On 29 October 2007, the album charted at number two on the Official UK Top 75 Albums—his highest UK charting. The November release in the US and Canada contains twenty-one selected tracks. The hits released on albums with the copyrights owned by Morrison as Exile Productions Ltd. — 1971 and later — had been remastered in 2007.
Morrison has said he believes in the jazz improvisational technique of never performing a song the same way twice and except for the unique rendition of the Astral Weeks songs live, doesn't perform a concert from a preconceived set list. Morrison has said he prefers to perform at smaller venues or symphony halls noted for their good acoustics. His ban against alcoholic beverages, which made entertainment news during 2008, was an attempt to prevent the disruptive and distracting movement of audience members leaving their seats during the performances. In a 2009 interview, Morrison stated: "I do not consciously aim to take the listener anywhere. If anything, I aim to take myself there in my music. If the listener catches the wavelength of what I am saying or singing, or gets whatever point whatever line means to them, then I guess as a Writer I may have done a day's work."
In December 2009, Morrison's tour manager Gigi Lee gave birth to a son, who she asserted was Morrison's and named after him. Lee announced the birth of the child on Morrison's official website but Morrison denied paternity. Lee's son died in January 2011 from complications of diabetes and Lee died soon after from throat cancer in October 2011.
Morrison has been announced as of the 2010 honorees listed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Morrison appeared in concert at Odyssey Arena in Belfast on 3 February and at the O2 in Dublin on 4 February 2012. He appeared at the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival as a headliner on 7 July 2012.
In August 2013, it was announced that Morrison would receive the Freedom of Belfast, the highest honour the city can bestow. On 15 November 2013, Morrison became the 79th recipient of the award, presented at the Waterfront Hall for his career achievements. After receiving the award, he performed a free concert for residents who won tickets from a lottery system.
On 13 October 2014, Morrison received his fifth BMI Million-Air Award for 11 million radio plays of the song Brown Eyed Girl making it one of the Top 10 Songs of all time on US radio and television. Morrison has also received Million-Air awards for Have I Told You Lately
The Songwriter's Hall of Fame announced on 8 April 2015 that Morrison would be the 2015 recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award on 18 June 2015 at their 46th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner in New York City.
In 2017, it was announced that the Americana Music Association would honour Van Morrison with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at its September Honors & Awards ceremony.
Morrison will release his 39th studio album, You’re Driving Me Crazy on 27 April 2018 via Sony Legacy Recordings. The album features a collaboration with Joey DeFrancesco on a mixture of blues and jazz classics that include eight Morrison originals from his back catalog.