Sir George Ivan Morrison (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer. His professional career began as a teenager in the late 1950s, playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, he rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band, Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria". His solo career began in 1967, under the pop-hit orientated guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl". After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Though this album eventually garnered praise, it was initially a poor seller.
Morrison has a reputation for being at once stubborn, idiosyncratic, and 'sublime.' His live performances have been described as 'transcendental' and 'inspired.' Some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now, are highly acclaimed. His albums have performed well in Ireland and the UK, with more than 40 hitting the UK top 40. He has scored 18 top 40 albums in the US, 12 of them between 1997 and 2017.Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances. He continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances, and sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains.
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks. 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, the 2017 Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was knighted for services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland.