BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast: 27th September 2016
In an extremely rare series of interviews with Leo Green, the legendary Van Morrison looks back at his life and work.
This first episode of four takes in Van's early life as a musician, his first influences and the start of his career in Belfast and Hamburg with the band Them.
After working with Them's New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit 'Brown Eyed Girl' (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.
Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.
Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.
Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic's Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.
Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.
Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.
Awards and accolades - a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attest to the international reach of Van's musical art.
Van Morrison - Domino [Polydor]
Lonnie Donegan - Muleskinner Blues (Feat. Van Morrison) [RCA]
Rory And Alex Mcewan - In The Pines
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Blue Feeling [N/A]
Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line [Old Gold]
Jimmy Giuffre - Train And The River [Great Movie Themes]
Ray Charles - What I'd Say [Rhino/WSM]
Bobby “Blue” Bland - Yield Not To Temptation [Ace]
Them - I Got A Woman
Them - Gloria [Polydor]