The Essential Van Morrison

The Essential Van Morrison is a two-disc compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released on August 28, 2015.[2] It is part of Sony BMG's Essential series of compilation albums and includes tracks from Morrison's solo output, as well as tracks from his days with Them. The tracks consist of Morrison's biggest hits from 1964 as leader of the Northern Irish band Them through his 2009 release Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl. The liner notes were contributed by David Fricke.

The Essential Van Morrison
Compilation album by
ReleasedAugust 28, 2015[1]
GenreRock, pop
LabelLegacy Records (Aus), Sony Music Japan
ProducerDick Rowe, Lewis Merenstein, Van Morrison, Ted Templeman, Mick Glossop, Georgie Fame
Van Morrison chronology
Duets: Re-working the Catalogue
The Essential Van Morrison
Keep Me Singing


Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz[4]
American Songwriter[5]

The Green Man Review says that the Northern Irish singer and songwriter has spent the past 50 years fusing American jazz, pop, blues, soul and rhythm & blues with Anglo-Irish folk music to create something that's been dubbed Celtic Soul. The Essential is a two-disc, 37-track collection from Sony Legacy celebrates that half-century of song, as part of a huge new reissue project.[6]

Vintage Rock says that with the Essential Van Morrison is a double-disc, 37-track career-spanning anthology that kicks things off in grand style as a thorough introduction to Van Morrison. It all starts with those early Them nuggets like "Gloria" and "Here Comes The Night" before moving onto to Morrsion's first solo hit "Brown Eyed Girl." Of course, "Astral Weeks," the title track of his second solo album changed the game entirely, leading to a career of musical exploration that transcends those early R&B and pop flavorings to more organic strains of country music, jazz, Celtic folk and rock.[7].

Roz Milner from Bearded Gentlemen Music says:

What is about Van Morrison that inspires such loyalty and passion? While I’m sure there are a casual Van fans, most people I know either fall into two camps: they know of him, but just a couple of the big singles or they’re hopelessly in love with the man’s music.

When I say hopelessly in love, I mean absolutely, completely, in-over-their-head and hopeless kinda love. I’ve traded emails with a guy who keeps track of what music he listens to and he’s literally listened to Van Morrison thousands of times. I know people who collect albums, outtake compilations and bootlegs for the guy. [8]

Track listing

Disc one

No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."Gloria"Van MorrisonThe Angry Young Them (1965)2:38
2."Here Comes the Night"Bert BernsNon-album single (1965)2:46
3."Spanish Rose"Van MorrisonBlowin' Your Mind! (1967)3:06
4."Brown Eyed Girl"Van MorrisonBlowin' Your Mind! (1967)3:05
5."Astral Weeks"Van MorrisonAstral Weeks (1968)7:03
6."The Way Young Lovers Do"Van MorrisonAstral Weeks (1968)3:12
7."Moondance"Van MorrisonMoondance (1970)4:34
8."Crazy Love"Van MorrisonMoondance (1970)2:35
9."And It Stoned Me"Van MorrisonMoondance (1970)4:31
10."Into the Mystic"Van MorrisonMoondance (1970)3:26
11."Domino"Van MorrisonHis Band and the Street Choir (1970)3:08
12."Wild Night"Van MorrisonTupelo Honey (1971)3:34
13."Tupelo Honey"Van MorrisonTupelo Honey (1971)6:56
14."Jackie Wilson Said"Van MorrisonSaint Dominic's Preview (1972)2:59
15."Warm Love"Van MorrisonHard Nose the Highway (1973)3:23
16."Fair Play"Van MorrisonVeedon Fleece (1974)6:16
17."Caravan" (recorded on November 25 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom with The Band)Van MorrisonThe Last Waltz (1978) [lower-alpha 1]5:46
18."Hungry For Your Love"Van MorrisonWavelength (1978)3:45
19."Cleaning Windows" (recorded in March 1983 at the Grand Opera House, Belfast)Van MorrisonLive at the Grand Opera House Belfast (1984) [lower-alpha 2]4:22
Total length:1:17:16

Disc two

No.TitleWriter(s)Originally fromLength
1."Bright Side of the Road"Van MorrisonInto the Music (1979)3:44
2."And the Healing Has Begun"Van MorrisonInto the Music (1979)7:59
3."Tore Down a la Rimbaud"Van MorrisonA Sense of Wonder (1985)4:07
4."Someone Like You"Van MorrisonPoetic Champions Compose (1987)4:04
5."Irish Heartbeat"Van MorrisonIrish Heartbeat (1988) [lower-alpha 3]3:52
6."Whenever God Shines His Light" (featuring Cliff Richard)Van MorrisonAvalon Sunset (1989)4:54
7."Have I Told You Lately"Van MorrisonAvalon Sunset (1989)4:19
8."Real Real Gone"Van MorrisonEnlightenment (1990)3:38
9."Enlightenment"Van MorrisonEnlightenment (1990)4:05
10."Why Must I Always Explain?"Van MorrisonHymns to the Silence (1991)3:51
11."Days Like This"Van MorrisonDays Like This (1995)3:11
12."That's Life"Dean Kay, Kelly GordonHow Long Has This Been Going On (1995)[lower-alpha 4]3:48
13."Rough God Goes Riding"Van MorrisonThe Healing Game (1997)6:15
14."Precious Time"Van MorrisonBack on Top (1999)3:45
15."Once in a Blue Moon"Van MorrisonWhat's Wrong with This Picture? (2003)3:28
16."Magic Time"Van MorrisonMagic Time (2005)5:05
17."Playhouse"Van MorrisonPay the Devil (2006)4:11
18."Sweet Thing" (recorded on November 7/8 2008 at the Hollywood Bowl)Van MorrisonAstral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2009)5:33
Total length:1:19:58



  • Peter Bardens – keyboards, organ (track 1)
  • Billy Harrison – guitar (track 1)
  • Alan Henderson – bass (track 1)
  • John McAuley – drums, piano, harmonica (track 1)


Chart (2015) Peak
US Billboard 200[9] 101
Australia ARIA Charts[10] 23
Belgium Ultratop[11] 176
Dutch Album Top 100[12] 88
New Zealand Recorded Music NZ[13] 6
Spanish Productores de Música de España[14] 82

Release history

Country Date Label Format
Worldwide August 28, 2015[15] Sony Music, Legacy Records[16] CD, digital download


  1. "Caravan" originally appeared on the album Moondance (1970).
  2. Van Morrison's studio recording of "Cleaning Windows" is found on the album Beautiful Vision (1982).
  3. The song "Irish Heartbeat" was originally released in March 1983 on Van Morrison's album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, this version is the 1988 re-working by Van Morrison and The Chieftains.
  4. "That's Life" was originally recorded in 1963 by Marion Montgomery and was made famous by Frank Sinatra's hit 1966 version.


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