Van Morrison is a popular singer from Ireland who has been making music since the 1960s. He first started performing with the band "Them," and then went on to an extremely successful solo career. Over the years, Van Morrison has released an eclectic range of albums, with elements of rock, jazz, blues, country, and other musical forms.
During his childhood in Belfast, Ireland, Van Morrison became fixated on music. His father bought him a guitar at age twelve, and he formed a band with some of his friends from school. As a teenager, Van Morrison also learned to play saxophone. He first gained commercial success as the singer for Them, which broke up after two years.
In 1967, Van Morrison released his first solo album. A single from that album, "Brown-Eyed Girl," was a top ten hit, and is still played frequently on classic rock radio stations. The next year, Van Morrison released the album Astral Weeks, a sprawling, improvisational, mystic-themed record that is today hailed as one of the classic rock records of all time.
Van Morrison recorded and toured steadily through the 1970s; one of his most successful and critically acclaimed albums was Moondance. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of his albums were derided for being too experimental or too generic, although he still had a few successes. More recently, he has been involved in many collaborations with other artists, including Mark Knofler of Dire Straits, Ray Charles, and Tom Jones.
Many other musicians cite Van Morrison as an essential influence on their work. Some artists who claim Van Morrison has inspired them include U2, Counting Crows, Tom Petty, and Patti Smith. Van Morrison has been recognized as an essential American artist, with six Grammy Awards to his name and a membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.