Bright Side of the Road

"Bright Side of the Road" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included on his 1979 album Into the Music. It was also one of the outtakes that made up the 1998 compilation album, The Philosopher's Stone. As a single "Bright Side of the Road" was released in September 1979 and charted at #48 in the Netherlands, #63 in the UK and just outside the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA at #110.

"Bright Side of the Road"
Single by Van Morrison
from the album Into the Music
A-side"Bright Side of the Road"
B-side"Rolling Hills"
ReleasedSeptember 1979
RecordedSpring 1979, Record Plant, Sausalito, California
GenreCountry rock
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Van Morrison
Producer(s)Van Morrison
Van Morrison singles chronology
"Kingdom Hall"
"Bright Side of the Road"
"Full Force Gale"

Recording and composition

It was recorded in spring 1979 at Record Plant Studios in Sausalito, California, with Mick Glossop as engineer.[1]

According to biographer Brian Hinton it is "an answer in song to 'The Dark End of the Street' and it is wonderfully light, in spirit and texture."[2]

Other releases

"Bright Side of the Road" is featured as the opening tune on the 1990 compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. Another version of it was on the collection of outtakes on the 1998 compilation album The Philosopher's Stone. A live version as performed at the festival appeared on the 2006 limited edition CD Live at Austin City Limits Festival. As it appeared in the movie Fever Pitch in 1997, it is one of the songs included in Van Morrison's 2007 compilation album Van Morrison at the Movies - Soundtrack Hits. A remastered version of the song was included on another compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits that was released in 2007.

In the media

It was featured in the soundtrack of the American fantasy motion picture, Michael released in 1996.

In 1997, featured in a commercial for the Toyota Camry.

In 2004, "Bright Side of the Road", was featured in the UNESCO advertisements for World Press Freedom Day.


"Bright Side of the Road" has been covered by many artists over the years, including: Shakira, Josh Graves, Hothouse Flowers, Raul Malo, Jerry Garcia Band, 001 Ensemble, Brendan Boyer, Antawn Jefferson, and David West.

On 20 January 2009, Shakira performed "Bright Side of the Road" at the Live at the Neighborhood Ball for President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony celebrations.[3]


Personnel on The Philosopher's Stone

  • Van Morrison - vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
  • Herbie Armstrong - guitar
  • David Hayes - bass
  • Mark Jordan - piano
  • Toni Marcus - violin
  • Peter Van Hooke - drums


Chart (1979) Peak
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100[4] 110
Dutch charts[5] 48
UK singles chart[6] 63


  1. Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence?, p. 523
  2. Hinton, Celtic Crossroads, p.220
  3. Pareles, Jon (21 January 2009). "Music for Many Firsts at Inauguration Events". Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  4. Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.
  5. Van Morrison: Dutch charts
  6. Van Morrison: UK chart stats


  • Heylin, Clinton (2003). Can You Feel the Silence?, Chicago Review Press ISBN 1-55652-542-7
  • Hinton, Brian (1997). Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, Sanctuary, ISBN 1-86074-169-X
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